Patch, Aol‘s hyperlocal community site, is introducing a redesigned website meant to create more social networking and discussion between members. According to paidContent, the redesign is also being used to reduce the need for paid editors and freelance writers. At the beginning, the changes will only show up on five Long Island Patch sites and will spread to another 50 by the end of the year. the 800 remaining sites will be redesigned at the beginning of 2013.
The goal of Patch is to combine “content, conversation and commerce,” according to Patch CEO Jon Brod. Traffic on the site is up 40% since the start of this year, and the redesign is intended to better incorporate readers and specific groups, like, for example, “Police and Fire.” All of the businesses listed in the Patch directory will become groups where business owners will be allowed to post content and customers have the opportunity to post reviews. Editors will still be writing editorial content, but will take a smaller role in the sites. Patch is also releasing a redesigned mobile app in November.