Tech tip: WordPress for division publications

WordPress can be a useful tool for creating websites and division publications.

By Keith Cooke

WordPress can be a useful tool for creating websites and division publications. I recently worked with Div. 46 (Society for Media Psychology and Technology) to help them move to WordPress for their division publication, The Amplifier Magazine. The division leadership wanted to use current technology to improve their member communications and wanted to move to an electronic publication instead of a print-based PDF. The first issue was shared with the division membership in mid-December and it has received very positive feedback. Mary Alvord, Div. 46 president, said, “Great job with the layout and it has lots of curb appeal.” Krishna Kumar, Amplifier editor, said, “The new format certainly has been received with great enthusiasm.”

Kumar gathered all the content for the issue as usual, and I used an existing WordPress template to create the new site, with did additional formatting and set-up such as linking to Facebook and adding a photo gallery. Kumar reviewed, provided feedback, and changes were made. 

WordPress is free, with small fees for additional features such as no ads, a dedicated domain name or adding video. Fees for editing and design in the Division Services Office are very reasonable.

Some of the new features include:

  • The home page is the table of contents for the current issue, including titles that link to the articles themselves.
  • Readers can search across the site (and across multiple issues) and can sign up to follow the blog, or get updates by email.
  • The current issue features photos from the convention.
  • Readers can review articles by category (awards, reviews, etc.).
  • Each article includes comments and links for emailing, liking on Facebook, tweeting and more.  
  • The site highlights the society’s Facebook page and includes a photo gallery of authors and division members.
  • There are links to past issues and the society’s website, Facebook page and membership application.

One question about this type of site is how to print. It’s not possible to print the entire issue, just like you wouldn’t print a whole website, but readers can print individual articles, and this HTML format is friendlier to accessing the contents and individual articles on smartphones, sharing articles on Facebook and sending an HTML email to the membership with links to the articles.

Another question is about archiving. It’s easy to keep the issues on the site with a contents page for each complete issue and it’s possible to put all the articles into a PDF. With the HTML pages, it is also much easier to search across issues.

If you’d like more information, contact Keith Cooke.