Journalism for the Web

Advice for starting your own website/blog

February 28th, 2016 . by Justin Schultz

As some of you already know, I founded and currently run a website that focuses on the Milwaukee Brewers and advanced statistics. The site is called The First Out At Third. My site includes blog articles, projections and a player profiles page. In just over a year, The First Out At Third has reached 40,000 hits and counting — not bad for a one-man website. Like this blog, I use WordPress, which I’m a firm believer is the easiest website builder out there.

Because I’m pretty proud about what The First Out At Third has come, I thought I’d share some advice to you guys, in case anyone has interest in creating their own thing.

1. Have an unique idea

In with the new and out with the old. If you have a creative idea for a site that doesn’t really exist, readers will flock to your website like ants on an ant farm. Coming up with something unique is quite difficult, obviously, but the reward for having a brilliant idea is huge.

2. Write/post/update as much as possible

If you post once a week or just a few times a month, you’re going to have a tough time building an audience. People will only come back if there’s a reason to. If you have the same blog post up for two straight weeks, readers will think that if you don’t have the time to work on it, why should they waste their time to visit? Writing as much as possible is an absolute key.

3. Be active on social media

If I didn’t utilize Twitter or Reddit the way I do, The First Out At Third would probably be dead by now. Most of my audience comes from social media. My articles are usually far down on the Google search list, so I’ve learned to adapt and get my work out there by sharing links and engaging with my audience on things like Twitter and Facebook. You need to advertise your site, and social media is the perfect platform for it.

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I hope this helps at least a little. The list of how to run a successful website goes on and on, but to me, these three are some of the most important. Running a website isn’t easy, but as long as you find a creative idea, write as much as you can and utilize social media in a positive manner, you should be well on your way.


Three changes

February 19th, 2016 . by Justin Schultz

I recently made three changes to my blog. I added a two new pages and I completely changed the theme design of my site. Adding pages is important because it gives the blog more depth.

I added an About Me page because I think it’s important for people who read my blog to understand who I am. I only wrote a few sentences but I plan on adding more as this course goes on.

The second page I added is a list of websites I currently write for. I created/founded my own website and I also write for a popular Brewers blog. Hopefully this brings a little bit more traffic to both sites.

I also changed the theme of my blog. I did this because I like the way this design looks better than my previous one. I like the blue color it portrays. It also creates a much better use of white space.


When will newspapers completely die?

February 13th, 2016 . by Justin Schultz

I fully believe newspapers will be dead in the next 30 years or so. It’s a dying breed that’s becoming more and more closing to extinction. But while I believe this, I find it hard to imagine a world without The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Well, hard-copy versions of them, at least.

The internet and online reading is dominating news cycles and how we get our information. We can get it immediately. With newspapers, we have to wait a specific amount of time in order to receive it. It’s just not topical anymore.

My hometown newspaper used to be daily. Then it turned to weekly. Now it’s bi-weekly. Soon, I fear, it will go monthly before dying. There’s just not a need for it anymore. If I want my hometown news, I’ll just go to their website. It’s that simple.

Technology is the rulers of our world, and newspapers have fought a battle they can no longer keep up.

Do you think newspapers will ever become extinct?


The problem with clickbait articles

February 7th, 2016 . by Justin Schultz

More and more, at least from what I have seen, websites are trying to lure readers in with catchy headlines. And when I say catchy, I don’t mean smart, clever headlines. I mean headlines that are so outrageous that people want to click on them. Sometimes the article has barely anything to do with the content of the article.

When Bleacher Report was first starting out, they thrived on this. With titles like “50 of the most overrated athletes of all time” and slideshow after slideshow, it hooked readers in, despite the content being lackluster. Some sites only survive because of its clickbait headlines.

And that’s a problem.

For one, it lacks journalistic integrity. It also makes the audience dumber. When I read something, I want to get smarter, not the exact opposite.