If OnMilwaukee.com was a child â€“ and it many ways it feels like one to me â€“ Milwaukeeâ€™s Daily Magazine would be getting its driverâ€™s license today.
It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.
Itâ€™s pretty amazing to me, even as a parent of a real human, that anything I created could be 16-years-old, but OnMilwaukee.com is just that now. And every one of our 15 full-time employees, one part-timer and another dozen freelancers has raised it, watched it grow and nurtured it into the well-mannered teenager it is today.
Iâ€™ve said this many times before, so I wonâ€™t repeat myself (too much), but I didnâ€™t know that when we "flipped the switch" on Sept. 1, 1998, that weâ€™d still be doing this â€“ and growing â€“ all these years later. But like my business partner, Jeff, and like many of our employees â€“ some who have been here almost since the start â€“ this company has become a big part of my identity. Calling it our baby really isnâ€™t a huge stretch at all.
This week, we all worked on our Editor & Publisherâ€™s EPPY Award application, a prize we took home in 2012 for the countryâ€™s best entertainment website. Obviously, we hope we win again, but in writing it all down, it reminded me that we have a special business here no matter what accolades are bestowed upon us. Sure, I feel that every day I come to work, but seeing it in front of me reinforces that our lofty business plan, pre-Google, pre-Facebook, was not just good for us and the people who weâ€™ve employed, but also good for Milwaukee.
So please indulge me and take a look at a portion of our application. And thank you for your continued support of our almost-grown-up baby. We expect 2014 to be our best year ever in lots of ways. I believe the best is still yet to come.
Founded in 1998, OnMilwaukee.com is a full-service digital media company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with more than 16 years of award-winning publishing experience. We provide media consulting, web development and publish Milwaukeeâ€™s only online daily magazine, OnMilwaukee.com. We have developed many community sites, host an online marketplace and power national advertising solutions through our subsidiary, Lift Digital.
With 15 full-time employees in our downtown office, we have stayed true to our grassroots mission and are growing through collaborative partnerships with local and national media.
In 2013, OnMilwaukee.com averaged about 400,000 unique visitors a month. In June, our audience grew to 631,000 monthly page impressions*, up over 43.17% from last year.
Usability is important to us, both in terms of delivering functionality with an elegant interface, but also balancing the needs of our advertisers. We have developed all our software in-house, and every day, we are building new enhancements to our one-of-a-kind content management system. For example: The main column is curated content, hand-picked by our editorial staff. The right column shows every piece of content published on the site in chronological order. Below that are other modules organized by blogger. We also curate Twitter feeds and other dynamic content from our event calendar that connects our writers to our readers.
As an online magazine, we take our social media to the street. Our Twitter reach has grown to almost 30,000 followers, with Facebook Likes at more than 27,000. Socially, we encourage all of our articles to be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We interact with our readers in a real time way that no one in the market does.
At OnMilwaukee.com, we provide the best in all entertainment coverage â€“ with weekly and daily newsletters focusing on music, movies, dining, bars and clubs, sports, and the market-leading OnMilwaukee.com Weekend Preview, which is a one-stop shop for weekend events. We also provide and feature the best of events and activities in Metro Milwaukee. Whether our readers are looking to attend a music festival or a family-friendly event, we have it covered â€¦ and probably sponsor it, too.
With the local sponsorships that we carry in our arsenal, we provide content and updates in real time with a local and national flavor you get nowhere else. Six full-time editorial members, buffeted by a dozen veteran freelancers (including a Pulitzer-nominated reporter), write 10-20 daily articles, briefs and blogs. Readers have come to expect behind-the-scene interviews in the arts, music, and dining, and well as "sticky" listicles and photo galleries that only a passionate, professional and local staff can provide. With more than 31,000 active articles in our archives, our readers know that they can visit OnMilwaukee.com daily to get their fix of the best of what Brew City has to offer.
Along with great entertainment content we also offer our readers amazing Milwaukee Guides. New this year weâ€™ve added a Food Truck Guide along with a partnership weâ€™ve created with the areaâ€™s food truck community. Our readers wanted more information - so OnMilwaukee.com created this GPS-based Food Truck Finder that not only parlays dining reviews of participants in the food truck community, but lets mobile users locate and experience these great resources for themselves.
OnMilwaukee.com has won many prestigious awards during our 16-year history. Our sports editor, Jim Owczarski, won an Associated Press Sports Editors award for investigative journalism in 2012; and many of our writers have won Milwaukee Press Club awards over the last decade. Both of our founders â€“ Andy Tarnoff and Jeff Sherman â€“ have been named to "40 Under 40" and top young leaders lists in Milwaukee. Notably, President George W. Bush visited the offices of OnMilwaukee.com in 2005, spotlighting the areaâ€™s only young, high-tech digital-only publication.
And of course, OnMilwaukee.com won Editor & Publisher Magazine's 2012 EPPY Award for Best Magazine Website, and was a finalist in 2003 and 2008. Weâ€™re looking to bring it home again in 2014, and appreciate the consideration and all you do to power modern media.
Happy Birthday....you're a great dad! OnMilwaukee.com has been my homepage for many years now...keep up the good work and on your 21st birthday I'll buy you a beer (Miller High Life) :-)
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
Published April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.
Published April 25, 2016
I've known about Mel Brooks' upcoming June 11 visit to Milwaukee for a little while now. Make no mistake, this is a "bucket list" show for me: Brooks is one of my all-time favorites in Hollywood, and "Blazing Saddles" has sat atop my favorite movie list forever.
Published April 15, 2016
For the many dozens of times I've visited the historic Pfister Hotel - for meetings, meals, weddings and drinks - until prepping for OnMilwaukee Hotel Week, I never spent an overnight at this Victorian masterpiece. Cross that off my bucket list - and I didn't even have to meet a ghost to do it.
Published April 14, 2016
As today's the wonderfully-made up "414 Day," or "Milwaukee Day," depending on who you talk to - it's a sexy day to look back at this excellent video from 2014 by the Five Card Studs.
Published April 11, 2016
I've been binge-watching HBO's "Vinyl." During a scene at an L.A. beach party, the camera panned to a sideburned record executive, smoking a joint and talking about Elvis. Even 25 years since I saw him last, I knew immediately that was my friend from high school, Dave Shalansky. I'd recognize that guy anywhere.
Published April 4, 2016
I'm sitting here on Opening Day, in the first row of the press box at Miller Park, and it's quiet. Too quiet. I mean, I can hear the fans in the ventilation over the sound of stands in this not-sold-out stadium. Apparently, other people here are either rolling their eyes in the fifth inning (or they're passed out).
Published April 2, 2016
It's been a long while since we interviewed FOX6 meteorologist Vince Condella for a personal profile, but with the long-time weather man's upcoming retirement, it was time to catch up.
Published March 15, 2016
I'm a big fan of Atlas Obscura, a website that calls itself "the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places." And it does a good job. Yesterday, it took a look at Milwaukee and its 12 quirky treasures.
Published March 3, 2016
Sometimes, the `90s in Milwaukee feel like a distant memory; other times I can't believe they're so long gone. But then I looked at some of the photos I took while building the shell of what would eventually become OnMilwaukee, and these scenes seem ancient, indeed.