Striving to make the literary conversation more inclusive, The Chicago Review of Books highlights small and independent presses and diverse writers and genres, especially those based in Chicago. It publishes book reviews, author interviews, and literary news. Looking to grow a publication like this one? Here are five things we love about the site, which you can try on your own.
A custom logo, front and center
The Chicago Review of Books logo, designed by branding studio Tiny Bold Creative, is a green and white graphic of Gwen the owl, named after Gwendolyn Brooks, the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. This logo is displayed across the magazine’s social profiles — Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — creating a visually consistent experience.
A clearly organized main menu
The Chicago Review of Books displays a primary menu underneath its logo. Clear and easy to navigate, it includes tabs and dropdown menus of essential information (About), content organized by categories (Articles), events for lovers of literature (Events), and resources for readers in the Windy City (Chicago).
In a menu, you can link to more than just pages and categories — you can direct readers to a link elsewhere on the web, or to an individual post. The Members tab, for example, leads to a specific post that provides details on how to become a member, patron, or sponsor.
Quick tip: Create a custom menu at My Sites → Customize → Menus and promote a mix of pages, categories, custom links, and important posts.
Prominent social icons
The Chicago Review of Books takes advantage of the Nikau theme’s built-in social menu at the top right of the site. Displaying icons to its Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles makes it easier for readers to follow along across various platforms.
Quick tip: If your theme supports a social menu, create one at My Sites → Customize → Menus. Once you’ve created this new menu, click on Menu Locations inside the Menus panel to set the location to Social Menu.
A visible group of contributors
If you’re a site administrator, you can add people and assign user roles with varying levels of access, including other site administrators, as well as editors, authors, and contributors.
As you can see in the masthead, The Chicago Review of Books has a team of editors and writers; each post on the site includes a byline, so authors are clearly identified. Managing a collaborative site with specified roles — versus publishing guest posts under a single administrator — is an ideal option for publications like this one.
Quick tip: Ready to expand your team? Go to My Sites → People and click on the Invite user icon on the right. You can invite people via their WordPress.com username or an email address, and also specify their role on the site.
An eye-catching gif in the sidebar
In the right sidebar, The Chicago Review of Books displays a GIF inside an Image Widget. The GIF rotates through a set of colorful book images, which catches the reader’s eye without being distracting.
Quick tip: You can upload a variety of file types to your Media Library, including JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF, PDF, and more. Go to My Sites → Media → Add New to first upload an image or GIF to your site, which you can then use in an Image Widget. New to GIFs? Create one with a free tool like LICEcap or GIPHY Capture (for Mac).