Thirteen years after Bowlers Journal International rolled out one of bowling’s very first Web sites, we are introducing — Version 2.0.

Okay, so we’re not as quick as Bill Gates with our updates. But we hope you’ll agree that this new and much improved site will have been worth the wait.

When the original site went live in 1997, it was cutting-edge. For the past five years or so, it was anything but. We’re the first to admit that.

As the bowling industry has “down-sized” in recent years, so, too, did the BJI staff. First and foremost, BJI is a magazine — marking its 97th year of continuous publication in 2010 — and the staff devoted most of its time and energy to producing the best magazine possible. In 2008, we introduced a front-to-back redesign of Bowlers Journal, modernizing the graphics, fine-tuning the editorial, and introducing four dedicated sections: Inside Line, Pro Bowling, Clinic and Business.

Response to the “new” BJI has been heartwarming, and we truly appreciate the ongoing support of our long-time subscribers and advertisers.

Now, we’ve taken the next step — introducing a world-class Web site to complement a world-class magazine. In conjunction with our relaunch, we’ve also created a new community on Facebook. We hope you’ll join us there to keep abreast of what’s new on the Web site and to interact with like-minded fans of bowling and the magazine.

What can you expect to find when you visit the new A lot... including:

• At least one new posting every day of the week, every week of the month, every month of the year. For that reason, we hope you’ll bookmark the site, and perhaps even make it your homepage.

Breaking news. While we don’t have the staff or resources to compete with or in this arena, we do intend to keep you up to date on the most important news in the sport and industry. Staffers are setting aside time each day exclusively for Web site updating. It will make for longer days, but it also will demonstrate our commitment to keeping this new site fresh and vibrant.

• Interactive features. Care to comment on something that appeared in the magazine or something happening in the industry? A new Letter to the Editor form makes doing so fast and easy. Need help with your game? A special form for the magazine’s “Ask the Coach” column will send your question directly to columnist Mike McGrath.

• Archives. When a magazine has been around for 97 years, there is a vast library of material from which to draw. Leading up to BJI’s 100th anniversary, we will continually add historic materials to various sections of the Web site, enabling you to relive some of the greatest moments and learn more about the most colorful people in bowling history.

• Magazine highlights. We will expand the number of columns and features culled from the pages of BJI — although the magazine will continue to be your one-stop, go-to source for all-things-bowling.

Almanac. A fixture in BJI’s January issue, this stat-packed, fact-filled resource will be expanded online with new categories. This will be a constantly evolving section that you’ll want to check out often.

• Ball Reviews. At long last, you’ll have a single sortable source for information on virtually every ball introduced during the “modern era” of bowling — from the latest releases, reviewed by Joe Cerar Jr., to the “classics,” featuring the original reviews (time-stamped for perspective) of Larry Lichstein and Mike Riggins. We’ve already posted the most recent reviews, and will gradually expand the “ball archives” with reviews from the past. We know many bowlers will want to check out what was written about every ball they’ve ever owned.

... and lots more.

The rollout of the new would not have been possible without the vision of Keith Hamilton, the dedicated design work of Thomas Madrecki, or the artistic contributions of Andrew Nowak.

I hope you enjoy clicking through the new site, and we certainly welcome your input. Simply use the “Letters to the Editor” form to contact me directly.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for reading Bowlers Journal International — in print and online.

Bob Johnson