American News X

American News X

American News X, Site Revamp and Theme Change

Site redesign, change from a free WordPress theme to a professional one (MH Magazine). 2016

During my time as editor, writer, and WordPress consultant at American News X — a news and politics blog launched by Thomas Clay, Jr. — we decided that the site needed a cleaner, more approachable look. The site had grown to 350,000 Facebook followers and 500,000-1 million visitors a month in less than a year. We also needed better integration with social media, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, Rev Content, and our payment plugin for writers (payment was based on ad revenues for the articles we wrote). In addition, with over 60 percent of users browsing the web on their smartphones, we needed to make the site more mobile friendly.

I loved working on this site. We had lots of talented writers with strong opinions and fascinating personal stories that often bubbled over into their work.

This is how the page and masthead originally looked.

American News X - site redesign - before screenshot.

For starters, we needed to switch to from a free to a professional theme that could handle the heavy traffic we were getting and play nicely with the various plugins we needed to use. We also needed to lighten the dark background so the site would be more readable. Since Matt Silvan — a very talented graphic designer — had already made a beautiful logo, we just had him make some adjustments to it. His new version of the American News X logo looked fantastic.

American News X - Site Redesign - Elisabeth Parker's portfolio.

Managing Editor, Writer, and WordPress Consultant, American News X, 2016-2017

  • Produced, edited, curated, and shared engaging, relevant, accurate, and timely content on 13 Facebook pages for a news and politics blog start-up with 600,000 page views per month.
  • Managed busy newsroom with 10 writers and editors.
  • Ensured articles had strong titles, eye-catching images, compelling ledes and summaries, and high SEO scores.
  • Oversaw major website upgrade using the MH Magazine theme for WordPress and specialized plugins for SEO, social media, payments, advertising, responsive design, and customized visual elements.
  • Created a writers’ guide and tutorial for editorial standards and requirements, styles (modified AP), sourcing and formatting images, SEO, and WordPress basics.
  • Analyzed statistics from Google Analytics, AdSense, Facebook, and WordPress to increase traffic, rates per mille (RPM), engagement, and search rankings.

The site no longer exists, but you can see it in the Wayback Machine.