Creating a news website may seem to be hard work, considering the size and reach of companies such as The New York Times or The Washington Post. However, anyone can start an online news portal today, in just a few easy steps.
Before you start, select your target market, determine relevant topics within your region and industry, and plan a marketing strategy, just like any other business. However, in the news business, your main product is information.
Let’s review how to start a news website and what tools are needed.
If you’re planning to establish a media company, please, read our article on how to launch a media startup.
Technically, you can start a news website in four steps:
- Pick a domain name and a web host.
- Install WordPress with a selected theme.
- Set up WordPress plugins to expand your functionality.
- Create website categories, their structure, and start publishing.
A domain name is a website’s unique address. Try to compose something special, accurate, and memorable. You have to pay a fee to register a domain name. The registration fee depends on the domain zone and its popularity. To host a website, select a proven web hosting service. Find out its capabilities, and pay close attention to its user reviews.
WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) for any website type. It provides a wide range of templates for news portals as well.
You can customize a selected theme with your own design, logo, fonts, etc. However, check the theme’s rating (4-5 stars), the date it was last updated, and the number of installations. Pick a mobile-friendly WordPress theme so that your audience can easily view your web pages on either a desktop or a mobile device.
Many web hosts have the capability to install WordPress for your website automatically. After setting up the CMS with your favorite template, add the most important WordPress plugins.
A CMS with an attractive theme is the core of a news website. Plugins are additional pieces, with their own specific tasks. For example, with the Classic Editor plugin, you will have the ability to add, edit, save and publish your posts.
Before adding plugins, pay attention to their size (in Mb). Try to reduce the load on your server. In doing so, you will increase the load speed of your website.
Furthermore, read user reviews about plugins, check the frequency of their updates, ratings, and learn about potential issues and support features.
Here is a list of the most popular WordPress plugins:
- The Classic Editor or the Block Editor
- TinyMCE Advanced
- Contact Form
- Yoast SEO
- WordPress Related Posts
- WP Super Cache
- Simple Share Buttons Adder
- Recent Posts Widget With Thumbnails
Your choice of plugins is dependent on your business goals, website design, template, etc. Occasionally, you may want to search for new plugins, with better features, to get new capabilities for your website.
Before publishing news, create a clear structure for your website. Define categories, devise a plan for your content. What content will you publish?
The target market for your website may be based on your interests, or on the potential for income. However, it is usually best to mix both factors.
Our recommendations for creating high-quality content are:
- Originality of content
- Editing correctness, and on topic
- Inclusion of images, audio, and/or video
- Clear article structure
- Intriguing titles
- Links to related topics
- Compliance with SEO requirements
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps to reach TOP positions in Google or other search engines. A successful SEO strategy will generate more traffic than paid ads. Besides, you will get prolonged effects with step-by-step website optimization, instead of short-run results of digital advertising.
Learn more about SEO in the Google guide.
A news website has specific promotion tools compared with e-commerce platforms. It uses fewer ads, but more activities in social media or forums for raising website authority and influence.
Besides attracting new visitors, news website owners have to focus on getting subscribers to return. With this approach, you will get a stable, loyal audience for your content.
Tools for job:
- Email. Set up a contact form on your website to collect subscriber email addresses. Email marketing is a powerful tool to inform a loyal audience about the most important events, updates, services. Learn how to send emails to multiple recipients.
- Push notifications. This technology is convenient for instantly informing subscribers about breaking news, the latest updates, and articles. A push notification subscriber base begins being collected automatically upon installation. With web pushes, online media generally gets an increase in website traffic of over 10-25%. Learn how to send push notifications.
- Social media. Add a few social media buttons for sharing posts, linking your website to Facebook, Instagram, etc. This will spread the influence of your news website to other platforms. In addition, social signals improve SEO indicators.
- Call to Action. CTA buttons will not generate return visitors but can increase the time a person spends on your website. On top of that, CTA is your chance to lure visitors to paid services.
Making a profit
The more external platforms your company covers, the broader the audience you can reach. The main value a news website has for advertisers is readers. How many audience segments do you have? What are their characteristics? This info will give you an idea of who you should pursue as an advertiser.
You can start looking for investors before launching your website. If they are excited by your idea, you will get resources for business development. Alternatively, if you have already published content, try to engage advertisers from your target market, or related industries.
While you are establishing your website authority, set Google AdSense on your web pages. This may not initially generate significant income, but you will start monetizing. After your website’s influence and traffic start growing, its popularity will attract advertisers. However, you can employ a sales manager to develop a sales strategy to increase your revenue.
Besides seeking advertisers, you can also provide paid content for your readers. You have to analyze what topics are in demand, what rare info can be valuable for your audience. For example, establish online courses or provide research on your industry for a fee.
- To create a news website, register a domain name, select a web hosting service, set up WordPress with a relevant theme, and install the most important plugins.
- Decide on your target market and website categories, and build its structure intuitively.
- Focus on content quality, originality, and its value for your readers.
- Follow the SEO guidelines while creating content for a website.
- Start publishing news, stories, and reviews relevant to your industry.
- Use ads, and/or some creative ways to promote your online media.
- Set up forms to collect contact info from your readers, so that you can send promotional and/or informational emails to them.
- Install push technology to communicate with your audience instantly and prompt them to return to your website.
- Create profiles on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Add social media buttons to web pages to share content.
- Use Call To Action buttons and Recent/Related post blocks to increase time spent on your website.
- Monetize your website with Google AdSense. Attract advertisers from your industry. Provide them with multiple tools to interact with their target audience through your media.
- Create paid content to make a profit – offer online courses, videos or downloads.
In summary, you need knowledge in several fields to start your media business. Fortunately, today we have many helpful tools to make it easier and faster than it used to be. There is no need for printing operations in order to disseminate information anymore.
Gravitec.net provides media websites with tools for audience engagement. Our push platform has an intuitive interface, segmentation, and automation features for marketing campaigns. You can experience the technology, and see the benefits right now, free of charge!
If you have any questions on how to start using this service, please, contact our support team.