How to Start a News Website: 7 Easy Steps for Success
Today, launching a news site is easier than ever. To do this, you do not need programming skills, web design and the talent of a writer - only idea and desire to work hard a lot are enough. You can do without a lot of money if you try. How to do this is described in our article. The instruction consists of seven simple steps that everyone can follow.
Oddly enough, but the most important and difficult thing in launching a news portal is the choice of what it will tell visitors about. Yes, you can simply create a website and write there about everything, copying the content of popular sites (BBC, Fox News or The New York Times), but do not expect success from such a project, since your content will not be unique (new), you will constantly fall behind in time and you will have a low ranking in search engines.
It is much more correct to choose a specific niche and concentrate on a separate target audience. For example, you can choose the niche “sports news” and the target audience “athletes”, “Europeans” or “American students”. For each such target audience you will require different content:
The choice of niche and target audience should be done based on:
Access to content on such sites can be free or sold for a fee for each article (scientific research). For educational and scientific institutions, access is usually completely free.
Name. Ideally, by the name of your portal, the user should immediately understand that this is a news site and what kind of news is there. At the same time, one must also take into account the specifics of the selected niche and target group. For example, in the USA there is the publication The Washington Post, so if you name yourself The Springfield Post, Americans will understand that this is Springfield news. In other countries, people might think this is a Springfield mail site.
Another example is the use of slang and specific terms. So, if you want to write news about technology and / or software, you can call the site Geek news, Geek word or Geek report. In other areas you can find similar specific words or phrases thanks to which you will find out what the site is about: iNews, MMOWorlds, EMc2 News, etc.
Domain. Another important factor when choosing a name is whether the right domain name (site name) is free. You can find out about this on Checkdomain, GoDaddy, or another similar site. The check needs to be done for the main zones (.com, .net and .org), regional (if the site is focused on a separate region) and two more: .info and .news. Of course, it’s better to buy a domain in the .news zone, since this will immediately indicate the specifics of the site and at the same time simplify your choice of name.
CMS WordPress is free, easy to learn and has the largest number of themes (templates) and plugins, and most web developers, editors, copywriters and designers are familiar with it, which simplifies the selection of staff. Plugins and themes can be either free or paid.
Website Design Choice. On the surface all news sites are very similar to each other: a news feed consisting of headlines and sidebars with links to relevant analytical texts and interviews, as well as a lot of advertising in the form of banners, pop-ups and videos. At the same time, sometimes there is a lot of advertising, which is the main problem of news portals.
Such design suits both website owners and users, provided that there is not too much advertising and it is non-intrusive. The following collage will tell about other problems of information sites the best way:
The official websites of government services, companies, non-profit organizations and individuals. The best source, if you need to refer to the original, but you need to remember that the press services present information in a form that is advantageous to them and often miss things that are disadvantageous to them.
Other news sites. It's about news portals like The New York Times, The Washington Post, or Nature. On such sites it’s good to track analytics, interviews and insiders. You also need to track content on regional news sites, if you have chosen such a niche.
Social Media Pages and Blogs. The main source of content for news sites about celebrities, athletes, musicians or politicians. Usually it’s on their pages that people report something interesting or important. At the same time, you need to track the publications of not only media personalities, but also their relatives, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbors. Often they (of their own free will or by chance) become sources of interesting content.
Jurisdiction. All countries have legislation governing copyrights to text, image and video. In some countries, there are also other restrictions related to the propaganda of terrorism, racism, religious intolerance and others. In other places, propaganda of homosexuality, a foreign religion and ideology is prohibited. Study them before launching your site to avoid litigation, which can lead not only to fines, but also to a prison term.
Search Engine Rules. Search engines like Google, with natural search results, give priority to unique content. Rules that determine the uniqueness of content are usually hidden. Internet users are given only general information, and not how the algorithms decide what is unique and what is not. However, this is enough to understand that a simple copy of the text will lead to a drop in the rating or blocking the site. To avoid this, we need copywriters who will rewrite the text of the news in their own words.
Content source. The rules for borrowing content from social networks, photo stocks or other news sites are usually subject to the laws of the country where the content source is registered, and the terms of the user agreement.
So, in most countries, you can use photos taken on news sites, if you specify the source. Whereas it is better not to use photos and videos from social networks without permission of the source or use an HTML link to content from Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, that is, use an iframe. Reposts are not considered as borrowing content.
Methods of promotion should focus on the selected and target audience. For example, millennials prefer to read the news on Facebook, while older people prefer one, sometimes two, publications that reflect their political and ethical preferences. Another example: women prefer Instagram, men prefer YouTube. And there are a lot of such nuances.
Here are some general guidelines for your main traffic sources:
Use clickbait! Even Nature, the most scientific news site in the world, does it.