Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

10 great Wordpress themes for your online magazine

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on January 13, 2011

Earlier this week, I suggested Flavors.me has the edge over WordPress, when it comes to creating a visually unique portfolio website for journalists.

But, when it comes to doing something more complex – such as creating a new online magazine, then WordPress still wins hands down (in fact, don’t even try using Flavors, it wasn’t designed for it!).

If you are starting an online magazine, or a complex blog, you’ll need a theme with the flexibility to create new articles and arrange them, create featured posts and media galleries. Luckily, hundreds of WordPress theme designers have come to the rescue with some awesome themes – many of which, won’t cost you a thing!

After a several weeks lost in theme galleries, I have picked out 10 really exceptional themes. I won’t describe each one – you can see for yourself whether it suits your purposes. Remember, don’t just pick themes based on their colours or fonts – those can be changed by editing the theme’s CSS file.

Free wordpress themes

(A NOTE about free themes: these themes come from trusted producers (such as WPShower), or via a trusted curator, such as Smashing Magazine. However there are dangers with using any old free theme you can find, as highlighted in this article. Thanks to @mike_rawlins for the tip)

Suburbia by WPShower | Demo

Magazeen by WeFunction | Demo

Sight by WPShower | Demo

Imbalance by WPShower | Demo

Premium wordpress themes

The Style by Elegant Themes $39 per year | Demo

Magazine Theme by Organic Themes $69 | Demo

Le News by Mrmema $35 | Demo

FolioStudio by BeanTheme $42 | Demo

Blogazette by Readactor $30 | Demo

Bulldog by SweetThemes $33| Demo

Why pay for a theme? Some of the benefits of a premium theme are better support, often better coding, and more flexibility. I have used both free and premium themes in the past; the free ones can have bugs and be a lot harder to understand for a novice web designer.

Any more to add? Stick ’em in the comments!

Advertisements

How to add some Flavors to your online portfolio

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on January 10, 2011

Image Credit: youngthousands on Flickr

Up until recently, I have advocated WordPress.org as the best platform for building your own, easy portfolio site. I talked about it at length in last year’s Blogging for Journalists series, and in this article for journalism.co.uk.

But all is not well.

Over the Christmas break I started reworking my portfolio website. Up until now I’d been using a WordPress install with a decent free theme. I’ve been updating it through 2010, but its message was confusing, and crucially, it wasn’t bringing in any new work. I decided I needed something new: something simple and eye-catching.

So, I started the hunt through hundreds of WordPress themes, free and paid for…and after three frustrating days – I found nothing.

Hundreds if not thousands of developers create new WordPress themes all the time, but many of them focus on using all the features, creating themes packed with text, widgets, columns and menus. There was no room for simple, elegant theme (incidentally, if you’re a WordPress theme designer reading this: gap in the market!)

I almost gave up…and then I discovered Flavors.

Why use flavors?

Flavors.me‘s tag-line is “make a homepage in minutes” – and that’s what it is about. It is a platform for you to create a one-page destination for your digital world, detailing who you are, and bringing all your different feeds into one place.

For me, Flavors offers three really significant things for someone trying to make a quick, distinctive website:

.01 simplicity: there are no pages, posts, comments or widgets to worry about. You can actually create the whole site in about 30 minutes, which for a website is pretty remarkable

.02 versatility: despite this, no two flavors.me sites I have seen look the same. And it gives you the chance to use the whole browser window and create a really attention grabbing theme.

.03 curation: flavors.me was designed to provide a one-stop shop for all our different digital outlets. So you connect your Twitter feed, your blog output, your Tumblr, Flickr and Vimeo feeds – and they can all be viewed from one page.

Wordpress vs Flavors: which is more eyecatching?

How to use flavors

  • You start with flavors.me by registering with the service for free and creating your own url – at first http://www.flavors.me/yourname.
  • Then you’re taken to your page, and a floating ‘design’ panel lets you add all your news feeds, edit the name of your site, and mess around with the shape and size.
  • Flavors lets you adjust the positioning of your content to about six or so templates, for example, to the left of the screen, right in the centre etc. You can also adjust the font, size and colour of your text.
  • Finally, you can decide on the background for your site. People use photographs, their own graphic designs or just plain colours. They all appear full screen, right across the browser, which instantly makes your own website stand out from the crowd.

What about your portfolio?

So, how do you create a portfolio of work inside Flavors.me? This is where the site’s curation tools are most useful, because you can connect them to the third-party sites holding your portfolio work and it does the rest of the work.

For example, as a video journalist, I want my films available to view on the site. But I don’t need to worry about creating a new post for each film, and embedding it: I simply connect Flavors to my Vimeo page and it does the rest.

It works the same with Flickr and Picasa (and others) for photojournalists, Soundcloud for audio journalists; Behance for designers and all the major blogging platforms for writers.

Best of all: clicking on each feed, opens it up in an adjoining panel: so people can watch your content without leaving your website.

How to match it to your domain name.

Flavors.me is free to access most of the features. However, to get all the fonts and full range of design options, SEO metadata and domain matching you’ll need to pay an annual fee of $20 (£12).

The paid version also lets you add a nifty ‘contact’ page and a few other things too.

If you really like your Flavors site, you might want to make it your official homepage. Obviously, you’ll need to own a domain name (try services like Bluehost (affiliate link) if you don’t have one already); but once you do, redirecting is pretty simple.

You need to log into your domain name’s Control Panel, find the options to change DNS records, and add a new A-record, changing the IP address to the Flavors.me server.

Flavors offer  quick guide to doing this, so it’s pretty straightforward.

Examples of great journalists portfolios

Loads of journalists are already experimenting with Flavors. Here are some examples of it being used to great effect. If you want more inspiration, the site’s directory is a great place to start.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are some design downsides: the site’s full-screen nature means it looks different on each computer. I am also not sure how it looks on mobile devices or an iPad.

NOTE: Lovely readers, including Philip John and David Berman have pointed out my site looks less impressive on an iPad. Clearly something to test with your own background designs.

Image Credit: Philip John

What you compromise is the flexibility of WordPress: there are no plugins, no widgets, no CSS; but what you gain is the chance to design a website that really stands out. And with the number of websites in the billions and growing daily, that’s what matters.

Blogging week #5 Five big mistakes I wish I hadn’t made

Posted in 6x6 series, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on August 13, 2010

In this week-long series, I’ll be taking a look at why you really can’t ignore blogging if you’re a journalist, guide you through the basics of getting started, and reveal some top tricks for making blogging work for you.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times this week that I have been doing the blogging thing for about five years. You’d think that means I know what I’m talking about…what it really means is I’ve made plenty of rookie errors along the way some of which I have been able to fix, others I’m still living with now.

Five things I wish I knew when I started blogging

.01 Get your own web space and domain name

This blog, you’ll notice, is adamwestbrook.wordpress.com. It is a wordpress hosted blog, all the files and posts are stored by them. It works great sure, but it means there are lots of limits.

I can’t embed any flash or javascript code into a post to, for example, embed a video on the BBC iPlayer. WordPress doesn’t like i-Frames, it thinks they might be a security risk.

It means I miss out on Google Analytics, SEO, and advertising options like Addiply.

I can’t host my own files and I can’t create a stunning portfolio with it either. To do that, I have created a separate portfolio site (take a look, it’s at adamwestbrook.co.uk).

Why does that matter? Because when most people talk or write about me, they link back to this blog and not my portfolio, and it’s the portfolio that ought to bring in more work. I could (and probably will) transfer it all over, but the risk is I loose all my readers.

So here’s the takeaway: if you haven’t set up your own site yet, then really think about spending £60 a year on web hosting. I use BlueHost for my other 3 sites and I think it’s excellent.

.02 Do the mailing list

If you’re going to blog about your specific niche, and you know you’ve got a well defined target audience, then for lordies sake get their email addresses.

It means your blog can eventually become a weekly newsletter and if you get enough readers, then you could even get it sponsored! Appearing in someone’s inbox makes them more likely to read what you write too. You can use sites like Aweber or MailChimp to do the legwork for you.

.03 Be specific

I wasted years of blogging time just writing about any old crap. It wasn’t until I narrowed what I write about right down did the readers come. Don’t make the same mistake – know what your blog is about (can you summarise it in a single sentence?) and then stick to that. And do it really well.

.04 Be valuable

This chesnut again: but it matters. Ask yourself before you click “publish” every time ‘will this post make my readers’ lives better/easier?‘. This is where those old news judgements come in – does it tell them something they didn’t know before? Will it surprise them? Amaze them? Make them laugh? Will it save them money or time?

If your post does one or more of those things then it’ll get eyeballs, comments and it’ll go round Twitter & Facebook like the clap.

.05 Be profound, be prolific

Write lots. Aim to turn out around 2 or 3 posts a week (especially to start with); but your ‘draft posts’ folder should be full of loads of articles, most of which will never see the light of day. You need to write lots to get better, but also to let you choose only the very best to publish.

And finally, don’t be in this to do something mediocre – to be yet another voice in the ever-growing crowd. Be in this to do something epic: become the go-to site for your niche, become a thought leader, aim to change peoples’ lives with your writing, that after all is why blogging is so powerful.

How to keep writing

One of my readers, Will, asked last week if I could include something on how to keep a flow of ideas running, so you’re never stuck for something to write. The creative block is a bugger, and it affects us all, but there are somethings you can do to prevent it.

Keep inspired

The key thing is to make sure you never run dry with inspiration. Regularly fill your mind with new ideas: that means reading all the other blogs & consuming all the other media in your field of interest.

It also means reading blogs and consuming media outside of your field of interest too. So many ideas for this blog, for example, have come from reading design blogs or business blogs where the word ‘journalism’ does not appear.

Get out there

Go to museums, read magazines, take photographs, or just go for walks. Exercise is a great way to overcome a creative block: it clears your lungs and your head – if you can, take 30 minutes each day to go for a walk.

Oh, and watch less television.

Write things down

Whenever I am hunting around for inspiration it’s always with a pen in hand. Don’t passively consume new ideas – write them down, and save them for later. Writing stuff down makes it more likely to resonate later inside your brain. Use something like Instapaper to save good articles for later; I usually set aside time on a Sunday to go through my save pages and make notes on them.

Mix up formats

If you’re really stuck for a blog post idea, go through the different formats I have discussed in the past week. Is there a good list post I could do? What about a guest post – who could I invite to write something? Could I do a special series this month? Is it time for a sneeze post? What about a link parade?

Ask your readers!

And the greatest way to make sure you’re always keeping your readers happy is to ask them what they want to read – and then deliver! You could write an appeal as a blog post, or email your subscribers with an online survey. You could even ask the Twittersphere.

Journo-blogger of the day: Pieter Wisse

To end the week without mentioned photojournalism would be a crime, so today’s journo-blogger is Dutch photographer Pieter Wisse.

If you want an example of using a blog to be both prolific and profound, Pieter’s hits the mark. 500 Photographers is more than just a blog, it’s a whole project: to document one photographer a day, every weekday, for 100 weeks.

Regular as clockwork, a new photographer appears every day (he’s currently on 095). Each post is small in words and contains a few images and often a film about the featured photographer. The aim? At the end of it, Pieter hopes “of being an archive of amazing photographers of the 21st century.” That’s pretty epic.

Thanks for reading this week! Now a question: do you want more articles like this in the future? Go on, hit me with some feedback!

Blogging week #4 Give your blog a visual edge

Posted in 6x6 series by Adam Westbrook on August 12, 2010

In this week-long series, I’ll be taking a look at why you really can’t ignore blogging if you’re a journalist, guide you through the basics of getting started, and reveal some top tricks for making blogging work for you.

As I said earlier in this series, WordPress remains the most popular blogging and website platform for journalists and news businesses.

It has it’s problems, sure, but it’s also the easiest to grasp and the most flexible. Plus, if you choose to install WordPress.org onto your own website, the possibilities are almost endless.

Whether it’s finding a cool theme to make your blog stand out, or those nifty plugins to make it more usable, WordPress wins hands down.

So here’s a helpful list to help you through the countless options out there…

Themes

The best way to find good themes for your blog is to search “wordpress magazine themes” or “wordpress portfolio themes“. Adding the word “free” to the search gives you the free options.

Generally a paid theme will cost anything between $20-$80 depending on how good it is. For the cost you get better usability, (although I am yet to find a reason to really compel me to pay for a theme).

Through personal experience I have found two providers particularly good for journalists & creatives: Graph Paper Press (who designed the theme for my personal website, not to mention Duckrabbit & KigaliWire) and Organic Themes (who I’m using for studio .fu‘s redesign later this year).

NOTE: you can only install your own themes if you are using installed WordPress software from wordress.org on your own hosting. Any WordPress.com sites have their own, limited themes.

Some cool portfolio & magazine themes from around the web:

Modfolio Theme, Graph Paper Press

Portfolio Theme by Organic Themes

Portfolio theme by WPESP

Workaholic Theme, Graph Paper Press

Irresistable theme by WooThemes

F8 static theme, Graph Paper Press

Plugins

Plugins are easily added to any wordpress blog through its dashboard. They work behind the scenes to create added functionality, such as better SEO, cool comments boxes, or a javascript gallery to show off photographs (and you don’t need to know what javascript is to use them). They’re accessed by going to the ‘plugins’ tab to the left of your WordPress dashboard.

NOTE: The majority of plugins are only available on self-hosted WordPress.org sites.

All-in-one-SEO for WordPress: this is an essential plugin because it automatically does most of your Search Engine Optimisation for you. You give it some keywords when you install it, and you can choose to update individual articles with search words too.

Maintenance Mode: a boring one but good practice to get this. Activating it creates a “My website is currently down for maintenance, check back soon!” type message, while you carry out tweaks or redesigns. It stops people seeing your site with its pants down, which is always a good thing.

SlideDeck: a nifty, and scarily simple plugin I discovered only recently. It lets you create mini slideshows on your website, just by filling in a box with words or images. The resulting images are displayed in javascript too, which means even iPhones and iPads can read it.

Page-links-to: also boring, but useful. It turns an item on your websites navigation bar into a link to another website (useful, if your work is spread over several sites).

Google Analytics for WordPress: sorry, plugins are quite boring aren’t they? This one is good though – installing Google Analytics gives you a really accurate breakdown of the visitors to your site (where they’re from, what pages they visit, how long they stay) – you can really use this to your advantage.

For more, check out this article I wrote for the European Journalism Centre, and an extremely comprehensive list of 85 plugins by Paul Bradshaw on the Online Journalism Blog.

OK, it’s been a technical one today, I know, but don’t be scared off by the sheer numbers of options out there! Themes are a great way to make your blog stand out, and if you intend on using it to host a portfolio of your own work, vital. Plugins are free. They’re fast. They make your site awesome. Simples.

Journo-blogger of the day: Jen Grieves

With just 11 posts under her belt, British journalist Jen Grieves is the newest blogger featured this week. But if I tell you every one of those posts has been written this month (today is the 12th) you’ll realise she means business.

I have included Jen (who I worked with briefly in my radio days) because she’s a good example of choosing a specific niche, which you know loads about. Jen is diabetic and her blog Young, Fun and Type 1 answers a specific problem her readers have: can you enjoy your roaring twenties with diabetes? And how? (See her post on dating with diabetes for an example).

They say there are three ‘mega-niches’ to write about (which people will always be interested in): Health, Wealth and Relationships. It’s early days but Jen is writing about two of them and that’s a sure-fire way to bring in readers. She has, too, the potential to build a community of young diabetics from around the world, turn her site into the go-to place for ideas, information, support…and from there the possibilities are endless (books, courses, events, products, documentaries…). Jen is making a good start on that responding to every comment she receives (see yesterday’s post) and plugging the blog on Twitter & Facebook.

See why blogging is so important? You don’t even have to be blogging about journalism (and in fact, it’s probably better if you’re not).

Tomorrow: five things I wish I knew when I started blogging & some help on making sure you always have something to write about!

Blogging week #2 How to create your own blog

Posted in 6x6 series, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on August 10, 2010

In this week-long series, I’ll be taking a look at why you really can’t ignore blogging if you’re a journalist, guide you through the basics of getting started, and reveal some top tricks for making blogging work for you.

Today, let’s get the basics demystified once and for all.

Firstly setting up a blog is cheap (and it can be free); it’s quick (you’ll be up and running in less than 20 minutes); and really, it is easy…I promise.

There are two options: buy your own webspace and install a blogging platform (if, for example you want to tie it in with your portfolio website); or just register with a blogging website.

I’ve covered the installation process in other articles, like this one for journalism.co.uk, so let’s just talk free platforms.

WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous, Blogspot…

There are a whole host of blogging platforms out there (they’re known widely as Content Management Systems or CMS).

Each one has its own benefits and downsides. Look for other blogs you admire and like the look of, and follow their route. Here’s a quick introduction.

WordPress.com

URL: http://yourname.wordpress.com
Cost: free
Used by: Adam Westbrook, journalism.co.uk, Duckrabbit, studio .fu, Innovative Interactivity, 10,000 Words

The best thing about WordPress is its ease of use, regular updates and flexibility in terms of appearance. Writing a blog is as easy as filling in a box, formatting some text, and inserting pictures.

WordPress opened up their code to developers years back which led to the creation of countless unique themes anyone can use. It means you can give your blog a personalised appearance quite easily. You can use ‘portfolio themes‘ to show off your work and ‘magazine themes‘ to give your blog a newspaper appearance.

It has some downsides though. WordPress is particularly vulnerable to spammers and security hacks, simply by way of its popularity.

Tumblr.com

URL: http://yourname.tumblr.com
Cost: free
Used by: NewsWeek, Paul Balcerak, Dave Lee, Adam Westbrook

I’ve really grown to like Tumblr of late. It’s an appealing alternative to WordPress, designed for short-form blog posts, sometimes as short as a single photograph, quote or link. Readers can leave comments, but more often ‘reblog’ the post.

If you don’t have time to write lots, or prefer using images and video to communicate then Tumblr’s a great option. It’s all about sharing good content: photographs, links, videos, audio. If you spend an inordinate amount of time browsing the web, taking photographs, or shooting video Tumblr is a great place to share your discoveries. For example, if you’re a science journalist, it could be a great platform for either sharing links to articles you’re researching, or for documenting the shooting/editing of your multimedia.

On the downside, Tumblr’s themes are far fewer in number and it has fewer options for customising the look of your blog. However, for many users that’s OK – they’re all about the content.

Posterous

URL: http://yourname.posterous.com
Cost: free
Used by: Cafacio, Rebecca Thompson

Posterous is relatively new to the blogging scene and has a USP all it’s own: you update it via email. No need to login to update your website – you just send it an email. Attach any media you want and it appears online. Although WordPress now offer a similar function, it has given Posterous an edge in some quarters.

Posterous are now trying to claim more of the blogging market by making it easy for users to transfer from a WordPress, Tumblr or Blogspot host to their own.

Their pitch is their simplicity – again if you want a blog you can update very regularly and on the move. However, if you’re all about the long considered articles, you might find Posterous limits you.

Blogger

URL: http://yourname.blogspot.com
Cost: free
Used by: Angela Saini, Bombay Flying Club

By far and away my least favourite blogging platform, this is the one Google product I am no fan of. Blogger (or Blogspot) is one of the older platforms, but like MySpace, its age is starting to show.

I have not used it seriously myself, but a Blogger blog is easy to spot – it’s usually the familiar Orange or light Blue. I gather it has similar functionality to WordPress (in some ways better, as it lets you embed any media you want) but lacks sorely in appearance.

If you want to make your blog look different you have to edit the HTML or CSS yourself, which explains why so many Blogger sites, well, look alike.

Typepad

URL: http://yourname.typepad.com or http://www.yourname.com
Cost: $8.95/month – $29.95/month
Used by: FeatureStoryNews, Recovering Journalist

Finally, the paid-for option, Typepad, which markets itself towards the Small Business/Professional market.

For the price it offers ‘beautiful themes’ and mapping your domain is included. As a very happy WordPress user, I can’t really see what Typepad could offer which would make me get my credit card out – but please feel free to correct me in the comments!

So they’re the main players. There are plenty more including LiveJournal and Xanga – you can read a brief history of all of them on Mashable. There others of course, but I think for beginners WordPress, Tumblr or Posterous offer the most realistic options. So, what are you waiting for? Go get signed up!

Journo-blogger of the day: David Stone

David Stone is a local radio news editor in the west of England, a job I know from experience, is extremely time consuming. Yet somehow he finds time to run broadcastjournalism.co.uk a blog & resource site dedicated to radio and television news.

He describes his blog as “…a jotter-pad for my own constant attempts to refresh and expand my learning, and partially a way of sharing what I know with aspiring journalists and interested third parties.”

David’s constant attempts to improve his skills has led to great practical articles on things like how to conduct the perfect vox pop, and how to find news in a quiet local news patch. He’s also teaching himself shorthand so expect some good tips on that too.

Broadcastjournalism.co.uk does what most blogs should do: it is useful. It is step-by-step. That’s the reason it’s a regular read for me. Is your blog useful?

Tomorrow: how to build an audience for your blog!

Online ad revenue: what journalists are getting wrong

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on April 9, 2010

Image credit: DavidDMuir (cc)

How much money has your website made you recently?

For all but the lucky ones, the figure is rarely enough to buy a latte, let alone support a family. And for all but the smart ones, the figure is usually from Google Adwords revenue.

Here’s the crunch: journalists running their own websites, whether they’re hyperlocal blogs,  online magazines or video sites are getting it wrong. They think there’s only one way to make money from a website – advertising. It’s how newspapers do it, so why should they think any different?

Actually, running a website for profit isn’t about building an audience of millions and raking in the ad revenue. For most of us, even the top niche bloggers, your audience will be in the thousands, not the millions. And that just doesn’t pay.

Doing it right

I was kindly invited to speak London’s prestigious Frontline Club this week, on how to make it as a freelancer in the modern age. Speaking alongside me was the inspiring Deborah Bonello, a journalist who actually has made money from her website, without using ad revenue at all.

In 2007, realising she wasn’t doing the journalism she dreamed of, she packed her bags and moved to Mexico, to carry out what she called “an experiment in digital journalism”. She set up MexicoReporter.com, a website which would be the foundation of her business. Starting life as a free wordpress blog (like this one) Deborah spent months filling it with content, covering stories all over the country.

It became hugely popular with the English speaking expats in Mexico, of which Deborah estimated there are more than a million from the USA alone.

If you ask Deborah how much she made from ad revenue, chances are the amount would be small. But if you ask her how much her website has made her: she’d answer ‘a lot’. By putting loads of free content online she had a strong portfolio to show editors when she approached them with stories. Before long she was getting commissions, and shortly after a retainer from the LA Times.

Now based in London, she’s landed a great gig with the Financial Times. In other words, her website has made her thousands.

And it’s likely she wouldn’t have had the same luck without MexicoReporter.com.

How to really make money from your website

The secret is this: your website is a vehicle for making money elsewhere, not an automatic money making machine on its own.

01. promotion: keep your website regularly updated with examples of your work. And keep producing content, even if it’s without a commission. It pays dividends when you’re offered work or a job off the back of your portfolio. Deborah’s work came because she updated MexicoReporter.com even though she had no-one to pitch to.

02. expertise: maintain a targeted, well promoted, blog which establishes you as an expert in your field. The money comes when you’re offered work because you can prove you know what you’re talking about. I have become both a lecturer and a trainer because of this blog, for example.

03. affiliate: be clever with your links. Affiliate links are dedicated hyperlinks to a product which give you a cut of the money if that product is sold. Reviewing a book, CD or anything else available on Amazon.com? Use an affiliate link to share the revenue. Many companies offer affiliate deals to bloggers.

04. sell: use your website as a vehicle to sell products, targeted around your niche. If you specialise in a certain type of journalism, or Google Analytics tells you your audience are a certain type of person, can you create an online store so they buy direct from you? Tracey Boyer has opened a store on her blog Innovative Interactivity with just that in mind, and Media Storm run a store too.

05. and yes, adverts: but you can be clever with adverts too. The UK based service Addiply created by Rick Waghorn solves some of the problems with Google Ads by offering locally targeted adverts for local based websites. Local bloggers say it’s bringing in results.

A combination of two or more of these things could bring in more money than the Google Ads cheque could. If more journalists looked beyond advertising as their sole business model, we’d move so much faster towards a financial base for the future of journalism.

A new look to the website

Posted in Adam by Adam Westbrook on March 16, 2010

The more astute of you will have noticed my portfolio website at www.adamwestbrook.co.uk has been offline for the last week.

It’s undergone a bit of a makeover and is now back up and shiny and new. Although it is now not connected to this blog, a feed of my last posts are available on the front page, plus lots of examples of my multimedia, radio and teaching work. Although I am using a different theme, I have kept the same general feel for both website and blog.

You might find it’s cheaper and easier to put together a distinctive portfolio website than you first thought, and I’ve shared how I did it on Journalism.co.uk this week.

And on a completely different note, I’ve been interviewed for this article about SEO for journalists over at Distilled.

Mashable’s How To on launching your own Indie Journo site

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on September 25, 2009

There’s a tidy post over at Mashable today with advice on how to launch your own indie journalism site.

It doesn’t offer anything we didn’t know before, but sums it all up quite nicely:

  • it’s pretty much free to set up a site like this
  • think about how to get advertisers or sponsors (without losing editorial control)
  • wordpress is best
  • use Twitter and Facebook to build up an audience

Interestingly, at the time of writing, this article – by Maria Schneider over at Editors Unleashed – has been retweeted 445 times and facebooked 25 times.

There’s clearly an appetite for this and with so many lay offs this year, it’s not surprising. Will 2010 be the journo-start up year?

Comments Off on Mashable’s How To on launching your own Indie Journo site