Whitehill Online will be celebrating its 10th Birthday on Friday the 24th February. This will mark 10 years of serving the Kidsgrove community with independent news and views from the Kidsgrove and surrounding areas.
On the 24th February 2002 Whitehill Web was founded and launched as a website on the old Yahoo Geocities, web platform. This was a service that allowed anyone free web space to setup and host their own websites to share with the connected world. Whitehill Web was very much a static website that provided information and news from Whitehill and Kidsgrove. The site was actually designed in a yellow and black format and was surprisingly popular, considering the limited number of people with internet access at this time.
Whitehill Web was actually listed as one of the first local village websites produced and as far as we are aware, the only local websites in Staffordshire older, are one in Leek and one in Stafford.
It was in 2003 that Whitehill Online first came on to your screens. The editor of Whitehill Web decided that he wanted to pursue other interests in life and the site passed over. The site had a rebrand in 2003 and became Whitehill Online, the black and yellow had been replaced by the white and blue colour scheme. It became evident that residents now expected us to deliver not only news from the Kidsgrove area, but allow them to express their opinion on what matters to them in Kidsgrove.
In 2003 the first Whitehill Online Forum was founded, however this version was provided freely by an external source, so the decision was made in early 2004 to move to our very own Whitehill Online Forum. This is the same forum that is in use to this day, where residents come together to share their views on what matters to them in Kidsgrove. It amazes us how the popularity of the forum continues to grow year on year.
In 2006 Whitehill Online had another redesign, which at the time was aimed at making the website more interactive and user friendly. The same blue and white colour scheme remained, however the focus was now very much on reporting Kidsgrove news and views. It was also clear at this point that some local councillors were not enjoying the focus that local news placed on them. To this day some local councillors refuse to even comment when challenged by this site or even accept we exist.
In 2010 Whitehill Online underwent its last major design change. The website became larger as user needs and expectations continued to grow. Whitehill Online now covers the whole area of Kidsgrove, as well as providing local Policing news, Kidsgrove weather, Kidsgrove poetry, Kidsgrove fact file and of course the ever popular forum boards.
More recently we have developed the Whitehill Online Twitter feed and Facebook pages, which allow users the chance to follow the news stories as they happen. Whitehill Online has now ensutred that the website allows Kidsgrove residents access on their mobile devices, taking the site to a whole wider audience.
Whitehill Online always has and always will remain politically independent. The site has no commercial sponsorship and is certainly not a replacement for any local media outlet. In fact we fully support the work of The Sentinel, Kidsgrove News, Newchapel News and another local publication that may have been forgotten about.
Finally it is only fair to praise the contribution of local Councillor Mary Maxfield and Police Inspector Martin Stevenson. Both give up their own time to contribute to the website, answering questions and tacking problems raised. We also appreciate the contribution that everyone makes to the site and only hope that it continues to grow over the next 10 years.
Many thanks for all your continued support.