Website Design Overhaul for Largest Alternative Newspaper in the U.S.

“We discovered AppEvolve in November and asked them about re-designing the website of our weekly newspaper. We wanted a site that was truly desktop and mobile-friendly. Our site contains many parts constantly updated, including archives that go back to 1972."

Jim Holman, Owner & Founder
Technologies Ellington CMS, Django, Vue.js
Industry: Real Estate
Work Type: Web
Platform: Web

Being confined to a decade-old website in today’s modern world is difficult. Old websites don’t adapt well to the variety of devices people have in their pocket and are not user-friendly, especially for high-volume websites like the San Diego Reader. This news publication has set their mark in the alternative newspaper world and has risen to the number one spot. The one thing lacking was a modern website that lives up to the technology standards of today. The previous website was not mobile friendly, which made it hard for users to reach all the great content on their website. Not being mobile-first also inhibited search engine rankings now that Google’s algorithm takes mobile-friendliness into consideration when deciding what’s going to show in the search results first.


The San Diego Reader website was built on top of the Ellington CMS product; Ellington CMS was the very first product built with the Django framework. Because AppEvolve is a Django shop, this was very exciting! Because of the website’s large volume, there are a lot of safety precautions that need to be taken to avoid interrupting the users. This website is over ten years old and had thousands of pages, so we had to plan the design carefully.

Because so many users viewed the website from their mobile phone, it was imperative that AppEvolve built this website with mobile as the first priority. Ellington has been updated many times over the years, so this also had to be taken into consideration. Not only did the design need to be updated, but so did the technology. For this case, Vue.js was used for the front-end; AppEvolve also had the opportunity to help improve the back-end of Ellington. Be sure to check out the beautiful new design and implementation at

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