About Lafayette Online

Lafayette Online’s History

A screen shot of Lafayette Online from 1996

A screen shot of Lafayette Online from 1996

Lafayette Online originally appeared in early 1995 as a list of hyperlinks to local sites of interest on the website of Greater Lafayette’s first Internet Service Provider, Metropolitan Data Networks. Requests to expand the information on the initial page were so numerous that the simple document soon grew into an entire website.

After six months of intensive development, Lafayette Online was officially launched on July 4, 1995.

The launch was featured on the WLFI news for three days, made the front page of the Lafayette Business Digest and got a mention in the Journal and Courier’s business section.

More and more content about the Greater Lafayette community was located and added to the database. By mid-1996, maintaining and developing Lafayette Online had become a job unto itself and the decision was made to spin it off from MDN.

In November of 1996, Lafayette Online moved from www.mdn.com/LafOnline to its new address, www.Lafayette-Online.com.

Since its launch, Lafayette Online has won numerous awards for depth of content, ease of use, and overall design. Awards include the NetGuide GoldSite award, the Reader’s Digest “LookSmart” Editor’s Choice, Starting Point Editor’s Choice, Eye on the Web “EyeSite” designation, and also a coveted Cool Site label from the Open Directory Project. Lafayette Online also enjoys top listings in nearly all of the major search engines thanks to the richness of the content and ceaseless efforts to improve and expand its offerings. You can check out all of our awards in our Awards Gallery.

Staff Bios

Carolyn Shelby
Webmaster and Owner of Lafayette Online, LLC

Photo of Carolyn Shelby

Carolyn has been designing and building websites since late 1994. She served as the webmaster and operations manager of Greater Lafayette’s very first Internet Service Provider, Metropolitan Data Networks, from 1994 through 1998. She created and launched Lafayette Online in July of 1995.

Carolyn is responsible for determining what content will be added to the database, creating new graphics and layout, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the business. In addition to managing Lafayette Online, Carolyn also provides consulting services in SEO (search engine optimization), Small Business Marketing on the Web, Copy Writing and Content Development, and Domain Names.

Carolyn speaks at Search Industry conferences and about search in general at non-search industry conferences and seminars. Her current and past speaking engagements can be found at CSHEL.com.

John E. Hogg, Contributing Editor

Photo of J. Hogg

John received his BA in Communications from Purdue University in August of 2003, and was a staff writer for the Exponent for two semesters. In addition to fact checking and providing editorial assistance for the Lafayette Online News, John has extensive technical support experience and assists web hosting customers with technical issues and performs site maintenance.


Our mission is to put as much useful local content online as possible, and to provide a central location through which Greater Lafayette information and data can be accessed.

As part of our long standing commitment to providing content, Lafayette Online provides free web hosting and very low cost web design and email access to Greater Lafayette not-for-profit organizations. We also provide free services to the general public, such as free classified ads, a community message board and an events calendar to which groups may submit events they would like to share with the community.

Further, we play an active role in assisting the major search engines and directories catalog local websites by volunteering as category editor on the Open Directory Project for the Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Purdue University, and Battle Ground categories.

Our project is constantly evolving, but our goal to provide the users with fresh, up-to-date information in an aesthetically pleasing manner remains unchanged.

Greater Lafayette Community Calendar

 October 2020