Web design basics for journalist dummies

I’m excited about taking another big step toward becoming an independent journalist — and for many of us that will be largely on the Web — with the start of a four-week online class on building a WordPress site from the ground up.

“Launch Your Site With WordPress” starts tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 15. (It’s not too late to sign up; the cost for the entire four-week program is $165. Click the previous link for more details.)

It was designed for post-newsroom journalists by a post-newsroom journalist who has devoted an entire site to those of us wishing to do journalism in an entrepreneurial fashion. Former Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Rich Heidorn started the TreeHouse Media Project as a way for displaced journalists to rebuild their careers outside the newsroom.

The blog you’re reading was done the quick and easy way as a WordPress-hosted blog, and it’s a great way for first-time bloggers to get started. But if you’re serious about building a personal brand online, it’s essential to build your own site. Ideally with your own name behind it. So look for this blog, and my other Web work, to look vastly different very soon.

As I have repeatedly told other former print hacks: “If I can do this, you can do it . . . ”

The TreeHouse class is set up through lynda.com, a terrific place to learn online skills at your own pace, and at rather affordable rates: $25 a month, and $250 a year.

Here’s more on what all the fuss over WordPress is really all about. Here’s Rich’s story of how he reached this point. And fill out the survey of skills and interests if you want to join TreeHouse. It’s a great way to connect with fellow journalists who want to stay in the profession.

Another advocate of entrepreneurial journalism, Jason Preston of the Eat Sleep Publish blog, has posted a helpful guide to resources for journalists looking to promote their work online. A number of them are obvious to folks already on the social Web (sharing articles on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.) but some of them are new to me.

And social marketing guru Seth Godin lists the essential skills and habits any kind of Web worker should have, if they don’t already.

So I’ve got lots of learning to do.


2 thoughts on “Web design basics for journalist dummies

  1. I’m glad you found the resource helpful!

    I know that some things on the list will strike people as being obvious, but I didn’t want to exclude anything because I really think that any journalist, no matter how print-minded they currently are, can successfully learn to work online, and to that end, it wouldn’t be very helpful of me to assume that everyone already knows the basic stuff 😉


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