Normally old newspapers try to start websites. This story goes in the opposite direction. The Stroud Times is a U.K.-based WordPress site started in 2020 and is now expanding to a physical version:
“Readers are fed up with doom and gloom stories, we pride ourselves in being the beacon for positive news and engaging human interest stories, comprehensive sports coverage, supporting and championing local businesses’ success, and leading the way with high-quality photography. We don’t use stories harvested from social media and we actually engage with our audience face-to-face.”
“For all its naysayers Gutenberg is a game changer for digital news apps. Its a force multiplier for your team. We’ve spent the last 3 years going “all in” on block development. Here’s a little thread of what’s possible with the right investment into Gutenberg. The homepage, the top of topic pages? Those are all being built out in Gutenberg. Last fall we launched an updated version of our most complex digital product, the Political Typology Quiz. It’s built out in our Gutenberg powered PRC Quiz plugin. Two months ago we launched our new Chart Builder plugin, also powered by Gutenberg. You can build out charts with high levels of customization and see the changes in real time, its game changing! By end of summer we’ll be launching two new “quote sorter” interactives that will be our first built out in Gutenberg. What’s becoming a common interactive format for us will be something that a producer and designer can work together to create with minimal dev involvement. And this isn’t even taking into account every post, fact sheet, and data essay are built out in Gutenberg using a mix of core blocks and our custom block library. Half of our sidebar “widgets” (the TOC, Related Posts, and Popular Posts) are actually PHP rendered manually created blocks, a group block with special custom blocks like our TOC or Story Item block. This may seem like overkill, but it forced us into a block first approach that means by end of this fall we’ll be ready to go all in on full site editing. Which just means we can do more with fewer people and more consistently and better than before.”
It’s worth checking out Human Made’s review of their TechCrunch redesign. The new site is headless and required them to build a whole lot of new tools. The review has Github links to all the tools used during the build process.
“Founded in 2005, TechCrunch is the leader in online publishing in the tech and startup space. They are one of the most renowned publications in the technology and startup industry with an unparalleled insight into the nuances of Silicon Valley and its impact on the wider technology ecosystem. They are leaders in breaking technology news, averaging approximately 40 million monthly visits and amassing huge influence through their renowned TechCrunch Disrupt events. TechCrunch approached Human Made to collaborate on a redesign project and help them achieve their goals of a better performing, more streamlined CMS. Already familiar with the advantages of WordPress, Head of Product, Nicole Wilke, chose to accomplish this by capitalising on advancements with the WordPress REST API to build out a headless architecture on managed WordPress hosting.”
The site had initially launched with a paywall but found that it was not successful for them:
Civil Beat went with a paywall and $19.95-a-month subscriptions. After emphasizing dialogue in discussion chains after each story, layering in events and other membership benefits, making the paywall more porous, and dropping the price to $4.99 a month, Civil Beat still found itself with only a few more than 1,000 paying subscribers in 2016.
They dropped their paywall and have a new revenue goal:
“25% small donors, 25% larger local donors, 25% institutional giving and 25% ads and sponsorships.”