Friday, May 15, 2009

BT takes leap forward with CMS

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 5/15/2009
Those close to me know that I'm a bit of a dork when it comes to content management systems.

I'm fascinated by how they put order to a wild World Wide Web - blown away by the fact that an automated system is smart enough to move stories around based on tagging and give a news site an overall finished look.

A few years ago, when I was first Online Editor at St. John Fisher College's student newspaper the Cardinal Courier, my buddy John Reade and I used to create every edition by scratch. We had templates, sure, but we'd copy and paste every story and rearrange them accordingly. Nothing to automatically set priorities, nothing to resize images for us; it was hard, tiring work.

We looked into a CMS to take the load off of us, so we could focus instead on Web-exclusive content, breaking news, blogs, and so on. We signed up with College Publisher and the rest was history: Cardinal Courier Online.

With more than 500 stories posted and 2,000 tweets the last three and a half months, the time was right for Breaking Tweets to implement a serious CMS. And that's just what we did today, moving our site from Blogger to Wordpress.

Blogger served us well, but Wordpress brings us to the next level, allowing for section pages, story pages, author pages, and a unique home page. Plug-ins have allowed us to take the site to the next level, automating even more of what used to be the dirty work. Every story has related stories and the site's navigation just improved 100 times over.

It's the next logical step for a site that has grown beyond my wildest dreams the last three and a half months. If someone told me that the personal blog I threw together on Jan. 31 - first posting on the Australia Open and Super Bowl - would generate more than 50,000 unique hits and 100,000 page views in such a short time, get reviewed by dozens of blogs and journalism staples like Poynter Online and Journalism.co.uk, get linked to by Sky News on a major international breaking story, and receive visits from more than 150 countries - I would have said they were crazy!

I don't know where the site will go from here, but this was the next move, an appropriate move. Google News just started indexing us last week and we just named regional editors today who will help recruit and post content. If the next three and a half months are half as exciting as the first, I'll be one happy guy.

Have a peak at the new look: http://www.breakingtweets.com

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