How to build a WordPress news site

Middlebury College recently rebuilt and launched their news site. Their #1 point of pain was workflow as their current news site was slow and difficult to manage. Middlebury also publishes the campus news in print every week and needed to be able to publish digital editions to match this schedule.

What did they do? They turned to WordPress. Here were their needs:

  • Publish and launch each issue every Friday
  • Feature articles on the home page
  • Access articles by department (sports, arts, opinion, etc.)
  • Run a news blog alongside the articles
  • Archive and provide easy access to past issues
  • Feature Twitter discussions and encourage article comments
  • Easily share articles and blog posts through Twitter, Facebook, RSS, email etc
  • Show off each author’s publishing history on the author’s info page
  • Let readers subscribe to the news by email

Watch the video below to see how this news site was put together to fulfill all these requests, and note this was built for less ($) than you think.

The site was designed by Middlebury and constructed by who implemented the design and built all the functions in WordPress using a handful of plugins. The end result is what I think is a state of the art news site.

Here is a list of all the sofware and services used to create the site:

WordPress publishing platform (of course)
IssueM plugin which turns WordPress into an issue based publisher (zeen101’s sponsor)
MailChimp for email subscriptions
GravityForms (affiliate link) for contact form capture
JetPack plugin for social sharing
DISQUS for comment management
YARPP yet another related posts plugin for displaying related article links

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