WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Republican National Committee debuted its newly redesigned online portal GOP.com Tuesday - but not without a few technical headaches, including some that left the site completely unavailable for parts of the day.
“Due to a high volume of web traffic, our new website experienced a few technical difficulties, but we are working out the glitches to bring it back to full working order,” the RNC's Director of Media Affairs LeRoy Coleman said in an e-mail to CNN.
The new version of GOP.com, which prominently features images of women and ethnic and racial minorities, plugs the party's involvement in social networking sites. A section on the homepage allows users to see posts on the GOP's Facebook page, where roughly 93,000 people have connected with the RNC. From the new site, users can also view the RNC's Twitter feed along with YouTube videos and a flickr slideshow.
The party says new site will also act as a Web platform that will play host to applications which the party is encouraging conservative online activists to build for the site. It also hosts eight new blogs, including a blog written by Steele, entitled "What up?"
"The Internet has been around for awhile, now," Steele writes in his first blog post on the revamped site. "Today, I want to begin to better connect with Republicans everywhere."
But not all Republicans are happy with the new approach, as the site faced some early criticism from conservatives. A blog post on the conservative portal townhall.com called GOP.com a "(Red) Hot Mess" and "downright embarrassing."
"Playing into all the medias' favorite stereotype, the RNC seems so desperate to avoid being labeled the party of 'old, white men,'" writes conservative Meredith Jessup.
"After sitting and clicking for a while, it becomes embarrassingly apparent how the RNC is seemingly desperate for female and minority voters. Instead of showing pictures of all different kinds of people, the RNC has singled-out these people and, more specifically, their votes - a petty political maneuver and one of many reasons disillusioned Republicans are so fed up with the party in the first place."
The Democratic National Committee almost immediately took gleeful note of the round of glitches that plagued the site today, including the inadvertant posting of password and administrative instructions on some areas of the site; the apparent absence of content in several sections, including the "Future Leaders" page; and failure of Web pages on the site to load. At times, GOP.com was completely unavailable for access.
Steele shot back in defense of the site. "It's a beta site, meaning that there - we're working out a lot of the kinks and the bugs," he told Fox News. "So the Dems can have their fun. Go play with it, have some fun with it. ...But the reality - but the reality of it is, it is a new tool to communicate the new GOP."