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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

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Happy birthday to us!
Happy birthday to us!

OnMilwaukee.com's sweet 16

If OnMilwaukee.com was a child – and it many ways it feels like one to me – Milwaukee’s Daily Magazine would be getting its driver’s license today.

It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.

It’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.

I’ve said this many times before, so I won’t repeat myself (too much), but I didn’t know that when we "flipped the switch" on Sept. 1, 1998, that we’d still be doing this – and growing – all these years later. But like my business partner, Jeff, and like many of our employees – some who have been here almost since the start – this company has become a big part of my identity. Calling it our baby really isn’t a huge stretch at all.

This week, we all worked on our Editor & Publisher’s EPPY Award application, a prize we took home in 2012 for the country’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 we’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 Milwaukee’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 – 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 … 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 we’ve added a Food Truck Guide along with a partnership we’ve created with the area’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 – Andy Tarnoff and Jeff Sherman – 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 area’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. We’re looking to bring it home again in 2014, and appreciate the consideration and all you do to power modern media.

Talkbacks

TosaJim | Sept. 1, 2014 at 8:16 a.m. (report)

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) :-)

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Saltydog | Sept. 1, 2014 at 4:53 a.m. (report)

Congrats! Now bring back the forums!

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