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Complete Wellbeing – A Magazine Using WordPress – I

Complete Wellbeing screenshot

Complete Wellbeing (CW) is a monthly print magazine, dedicated to you and your wellbeing, a first-of-its-kind in India. Yours truly had the opportunity to build an online presence for the magazine under some restrictions. The online website was supposed to play a role of a companion website, something that will promote the print magazine and build a place for discussions on the articles.

The website allows a preview into the print issue, that is, about 3 – 6 articles per issue are available in full online. The others are available only in the print issue. The aim is to finally make the magazine completely available online, without compromising on the experience and with a solid business model for it. The current version is limited to only a preview.

Another big one was that the website was already due last year, and I knew of no other tool better than WordPress to do this job.

Why WordPress?

WordPress does blogging tasks so well that it is suitable for any article management system. The ease in writing, the multiple categories, the ability to schedule posts and a good comment management system does most of the publishing tasks for you. The additional facilities of roles and user management make it excellent to host multiple authors in the system. And so many years of open source experience has made it ideal for usable in a variety of environments.

There is one more reason why WordPress is good for building web sites. It gives you complete freedom in

  • data retrieval
  • processing
  • presentation

This makes it one of the best tools to build a web site quickly, where WordPress does most of the hardwork for you. The markup is completely in your hands, and the excellent template hierarchy gives you ways of building in the common behavior as well as specialize. Most of the processing and retrieval is done by the WordPress loop, but you can very easily write your own queries and your own plugins/filters/actions to modify or add to it.

What did I do?

With the article management taken care of, I could focus on modeling the content types required into WordPress.

CW Issues of a year

A CW issue is modeled into a WordPress monthly archive. It not only provides most of the backend code, but also lets you use a very intuitive URL structure. For example, http://www.completewellbeing.com/magazine/2007/03/ takes you to the March 2007 issue. Also, the yearly archives have been modified to display issues in that year, e.g., 2007 Issues displays all the issues in 2007. Now this required very less effort with date.php, as most of the code was already provided by WordPress.

The most work I had to do was to build in ability to associate multiple authors to a single post. There are a couple of plugins out there which already do this, using the custom field, but I wanted to establish a one-to-many relationship, like it is between a post and categories. This allowed me to retrieve articles by an authors without having to look into two tables. author.php played the role of an author profile and articles in the template.

The next big thing I had to do was to build the various article types into the system, e.g., cover story, the foreword. This and the topics (we are still working on a better word) were easily implemented by the multiple categories. The latest issue is recovered using the latest cover story available.

Things to do

I still have to some more work to do. One is to modify the feeds to suit the magazine. The default behavior will give out 40-50 elements as soon an issue is available, which might be unusable. I am wondering if a single element excerpts of all articles, or a combination of single element per full article and one for all the print-only ones will work better. Feel free to chip in and give suggestions.

We are still working on some content. There is also a plan to add a blog so that a lot of non-magazine events and topics can be discussed there. Other aspects that are still not complete are SEO, tags and advertising. This will continue in the background. I somehow feel that no site can remain static for more than a month nowadays. Either it has to have inbuilt adaptibility or has to continuously evolve.

However, I felt that it was time to open this up to you and get your feedback. Feel free to throw bouquets or brickbats, both will ultimately benefit the site. I am going to release some code as plugins once the web site is completely done.

I will follow this with more explaining some more design elements.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. NatalieMac said:

    Excellent use of WordPress. I have a potential client who’s on a tight budget, but wants to create a web site for his bi-weekly local newspaper. I was wondering if I’d be able to use WordPress for that, and apparently I can! Thanks for the insight.

  2. Vinod @ VinodLive! said:

    Congratulations Abhijith. That site was designed excellently.

  3. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Thanks Natalie! Yes, WordPress is very good for any article management system, ideal for a companion website.

    Vinod, I am glad you liked the design. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Jonny Rogue said:

    I’ve tried a couple of WordPress themes that say they are a “webzine” or “magazine” theme but non of them did me any good. The navigation is just too confusing. Yours on the other hand is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do. In fact, I layout (paginate) a California monthly tabloid and now my client wants a website that supports the print version. I’ve been dreaming up in my head exactly what you have accomplished. Thank you.

    Now, I want to know how you got the monthly covers to appear as links in the sidebar? Is it a plugin? Thanks again.

    – Jonny

  5. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Jonny, it is not a plugin. The code retrieves the year and month from the monthly archive and constructs the URL where the images are stored in a year/month heirarchy. WordPress by default stores the uploads in such fashion.

  6. Modifying FeedBurner Plugin on iface thoughts said:

    [...] have used a similar concept in a project I am working on. Complete Wellbeing is a monthly magazine and the feed for its companion web site now returns all articles of the [...]

  7. Wordpress Hack - Category And Authors Without Posts on iface thoughts said:

    [...] is a hack, which I am not very fond of. I have used it in the Complete Wellbeing web site to handle profiles of multiple authors. But I will be looking for a better solution. I [...]

  8. WordPress Wednesday News: Almost 1 Million WordPress.com Blogs, Over 4 Million Themes Downloaded, and You Want More News? at The Blog Herald said:

    [...] as a Magazine: Abhijit Nadgouda takes you through the process of turning WordPress into an online magazine for Complete Wellbeing [...]

  9. Debashish said:

    A wonderful job indeed :) I recall my frustration of trying to build Nirantar on wordpress, I eventually settled on Joomla (with the iJoomla component). I just hope you could make your code changes (or atleast the pseudo code) public so that others benefit too.

    I had also posted one question on an idea of creating a Newsreader magazine using WordPress that I posted at WordPress forum but got no reply. Do take a look and reply if it interests you :)

  10. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Thanks Debashish. Yes, I intend to provide the code that I used after the project is over. I am not a big fan of iJoomla. One it is not open source and second it is only a layout component. Will get back to you on the newsreader magazine.

  11. Nabil said:

    Hi there! This theme looks fantastic; I really like the way you handled the issues. Any chance of releasing the plugins soon? It looks like it’s been awhile since this page had activity…

    Thanks,

    Nabil

  12. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Thanks Nabil. Yes I intend to release the code, but have to work on it to generalize it a bit, and am struggling to find time for that. Even if I cannot package the code as plugins, I will release the code snippets soon.

  13. Mike said:

    This is wonderful! Thanks for the great example. Have you released the code? If so, where can I find it?

  14. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Mike, I have still not been able to release the source code yet, and it is mostly myself to blame. It needs some transformation to make it generic, and I have not done it yet. Thanks for the push though, maybe this will help me make it through.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
India
+91 9819820312
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