Newspapers: Make money online, minus the news

Who knows more about Santa Cruz, California than the Santa Cruz Sentinel?

Well, that’s debatable, but let’s put it another way: Who’s bothered to put together a modern, readable Santa Cruz site for tourists?

That’s right, the Santa Cruz Sentinel. is live, and it looks like a damn good idea.

Destination Santa Cruz

Build a site that has nothing to do with news, don’t put your brand anywhere on it, fill it up with valuable content for tourists looking for hotels, restaurants, etc., and sell some ads.

The site looks and feels new and real, not like the sort of cheap hotel aggregator site full of paid links and annoying pop-ups I often find through search engines.

Instead, the Sentinel used Joomla, an open-source content management system, without worrying about shoehorning all this content into an existing database on its existing, conventional, and slightly outdated newspaper site.

I love it. I would tell friends and family to use this site to find a hotel here. If I’m willing to recommend it to my Mom, that means you did a good job, folks.

I’ll be interested to see where this site comes up in search engines. Hopefully, the use of, y’know, actual content, will help it beat out the crud.