Do This, Not That
Do Post Daily – Don’t Post In Issues
Get rid of all of the terms we used for print. Don’t work in issues, deadlines or sections. Post daily. Post when news happens. Post all hours.
Do Write about Characters – Don’t Write about Events
Rethink the “Who Cares” method. If someone cared about the event, they would have been there and already known what you’re writing about. If they didn’t care to attend the event, they probably don’t care about your summary. However, if tell stories about the characters involved -then everyone will care to read your story.
Do Work Ahead – Don’t Work from Behind
Have stories ready for upcoming events. MLK day, St. Patrick’s, holidays, snow days and other events should be ready to go far ahead of time. Don’t write all your stories AFTER they happened. Follow them: Tweet, brief, follow up, in-depth, editorial, feature. Connect all these with links.
Do Link In Stories – Don’t Allow Yourself to Be the Only Source
Not only should you link within your site, but show your reader where you found your information. Link to studies, polls, surveys and other items. (Never link the work “here.”)
Do Go to Them – Don’t Think They’ll Come to You
Market your site daily. Use social media for headlines, news blurbs, photos and more. Hand out pens, magnets, notepads and business cards at school. Have a “follow us” card you give out daily. Pass out flyers in the parent pick up line.
Do Work Together – Don’t Label Yourself as Newspaper
The broadcast, yearbook, lit mag and photo classes need to be an active part of your publication. And you need to be a part of theirs.
Do Use One Navigation Bar – Don’t Over Navigate Your Reader
Trim your navigation bar to easy-to-follow links. Double stacking navigation bars causes the reader to overlook options or dig for hidden gems. Use your footer for things the daily reader already knows: contact us, policies, etc.
Do Use Social Media – Don’t Use Social Media on Your Home Page
The purpose of using social media is to bring in readers. Most likely they already read your tweet to get to your homepage. Use that real estate for entry points to other sections in your site.
Do Think World Wide – Don’t Think School Wide
Your website reaches more than your community. Make the site read for anyone.
Do Move – Don’t Be Still
Aim to have something moving on your page. Videos, interactive elements, maps, photo galleries are a few options to get movement on your page. Be careful, not to get too many moving things, it’s not 2001. One or two elements are good. (Moving doesn’t mean gifs or animated graphics.)