What would be the ideal News/Magazine architecture

Tom Tran's picture

What:

We are working on a few publishing projects by now and there seems no final good option out there to quickly get the site up and running. We are investigating what's best solution to build robust premium Magazine/News themes (by this I actually mean a complete Drupal website profile).

Goal:

We want to develop at least 5 different Drupal News and Magazine themes and offer them as basic off-the-shelf package and add customizations on top per bespoke business requirements.

Designs:

Themeski News Magazine Drupal theme
or this one http://themeski.com/sites/default/files/Ahedron.jpg

Background:

Still last year, Openpublish seems to be a promising option with a decent amount of people apparently were having good experience with this distribution. But now Openpublish seems to be pretty idle and it's even tough for non-devs to even upgrade core without it's breaking apart. I am currently working on a bigger publishing site and from this real life project, I am experiencing these problems first hand.

Options:

So instead moaning around that OP is dead, we would like to learn from users what do you think would be the best solution to build commercial magazine/news themes.

1) Build from scratch like on http://akihabaranews.com/ a tech magazine that we support and maintain for the client

2) Collaborate on Openpublish, fix current issues, join as maintainer and improve functionality, update old modules and ensure all works with newest code possible.

3) Use Panopoly/Panels. Instead blocks/region/context use Panels, Page Manager and more to build out a base Magazine distribution (like on http://www.bnhcrc.com.au/, Panels + Bootstrap)

4) Why build premium themes when building custom solutions from scratch makes you more money.

Hope this group is still showing signals of having an interest in making Drupal a leading news/magazine/publishing solution.

Comments

So -- ask yourself what your

Tran's picture

So -- ask yourself what your pricing market is as a themer/developer.

If you're in the $200 or less range, you're aiming at small publishers. And there are thousands of them.

And after the failure of Patch.com, many journalists are trying their hand at publishing. They've gravitated to wordpress and the largo theme. http://largoproject.org/

Wordpress/largo is easy to launch and maintain, but it lacks the flexibility of drupal.

Here's what a small community publisher needs from a news installation/theme.

1) Affordability.
2) Customability - ability to change the logo, maybe back ground image, colors and fonts so that they don't look cookie-cutter.
3) Sliders are overrated. A clean look is best
4) *****Lots of Slots for Ads BEFORE the reader gets to content on mobile. Roughly 5) 50 percent of my readers are mobile. Sidebar ads don't get seen. Dirty little secret and one that needs to be addressed.
6) USER GENERATED CONTENT -- Content types for users to post new. Photo galleries where the editor starts the gallery, but users can add pictures without changing other users pictures/captions in the same gallery.
7) Mobile-first
8) Calendars

By the way -- I visited

Tran's picture

By the way -- I visited Themeski the other day and anxiously await the launch of the news themes.
Put lots of regions up top for banner ads!

By the way -- I visited

Tran's picture

By the way -- I visited Themeski the other day and anxiously await the launch of the news themes.
Put lots of regions up top for banner ads!

Thanks for listing a few

Tom Tran's picture

Thanks for listing a few features of a publisher. This is pretty well covered. I will send you an invite soon and you might want to test out.

From my original options:
(1) Build from scratch
(2) Collaborate on Openpublish
(3) Use Panopoly/Panels

I'd like to know which build paradigm would you prefer (a) as site admin, (b) as editor? Or you don't care that much how it's built as long as it works and it get's documented?

On Linkedin I asked many people and almost 70% seems to suggest Panels for any content authoring intensive workflows.

I personally believe using OP and improve it is the fastest way to make anything, as it's been field tested by many users here and seems it works alright.

News Themes (for Newspapers)

Pica's picture

@Tom, we have built over 250 newspaper sites using D6 & D7. Here are three of the latest: www.RangerReview.com Glendive MT, www.SWOKNews.com OK, www.MaxToDo.com MI.
The major problems we've had:
1) Classified, there is no "good" classified system out there.
2) Right side display ads in mobile, you're right they are all at the bottom except for the banners.
3) Very small choice of themes, right now we are using only two Masthead and DoubleM.
4) Not so much Calenders needed as Events (people read events).

Here are some examples of very attractive Drupal sites, none are complete with functionality. It's a good idea to pay attention to the typography & font selection for the best reader experience (the BostonGlobe.com did this extensively before they launched.)
http://www.blouinartinfo.com/ http://www.alaskadispatch.com/ http://mvgazette.com/

wonderfull

emiratehomes.com's picture

@Pica, i love your news sites, its really great. can i ask about these menus , i wana use it on my website.

thank you

The issue I see with your

Tran's picture

The issue I see with your site, Pica, is that when I click on any single link: http://www.rangerreview.com/news/two-glendive-schools-principals-hired

There is only one ad above the story.

Companies are not only transitioning away from print to the internet, they are transitioning to mobile.

I can't charge someone $200 a month for an ad that 50 percent of the readers on a page won't see because the responsive screen pushes the ad underneath the content.

With the Date module, calendars/events are the same thing.

Mobile ads

Tom Tran's picture

Guys, we are close to get responsive ads working for any mobile which is based on Google responsive ads.

About ads on sidebar showing at bottom. There are many ways with Drupal to get ads served independently when mobile is detected. Meaning you can define ad blocks in the middle of your text, but it will only show up on mobile. On desktop it shows as full-width ad.

Would that help increasing your bottom line?

Mobile ads on Drupal site

Pica's picture

This would be great. Yes, it would definitely the sales and effectiveness of the advertising. (Would positions rotate randomly or are the ads fixed?)
If you ever want to talk, just call, Rob
PicaNewMedia.com (I'm about to rebuild this site.)

News sites, borrow ideas

Pica's picture

One area I am looking closer at is reformatting a newspaper - big pages, unlike a magazine.
It needs to be readable on a tabel, much like Conde Nast has been doing with their magazines.

I don't use google ads.

Tran's picture

I don't use google ads. Google ads, for the most part, is filler revenue. Most publishers can't exisit on google ads. I use the simple ads module.
If you can make the ads move from the sidebar to inside the text, that's awesome.
I'm anxious to see your news themes. But I still encourage room for at least two banner strip ads

I don't use google ads.

Tran's picture

I don't use google ads. Google ads, for the most part, is filler revenue. Most publishers can't exisit on google ads. I use the simple ads module.
If you can make the ads move from the sidebar to inside the text, that's awesome.
I'm anxious to see your news themes. But I still encourage room for at least two banner strip ads

I don't use google ads.

Tran's picture

I don't use google ads. Google ads, for the most part, is filler revenue. Most publishers can't exisit on google ads. I use the simple ads module.
If you can make the ads move from the sidebar to inside the text, that's awesome.
I'm anxious to see your news themes. But I still encourage room for at least two banner strip ads

Please send me a quick mail

Tom Tran's picture

Please send me a quick mail (tom-at-geekpolis.com) or reach me on skype (webtomme). I'll get you a test site for the first phase. I want to improve ads solutions, esp. mobile next.

  • Do you think paginated long articles is something useful for readers?
  • How do you build a content block? With Panels or with block and use Context?
  • Besides Google Ads what are popular Ads networks publishers want to be integrated?

Newspapers on Drupal

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