In this article, I will not only tell you how to start a news website but will also explain different strategies to make it successful.
Before starting a news website, you should determine its niche.
If you have enough resources, you can go broad and publish general news, that is news covering all niches like business, sport, entertainment, etc.
But if you don’t have enough resources, you can niche down to cover the news of only a single niche.
For example, you can choose education as the niche of your news website and then, publish news relating to education.
After deciding the niche of your website, it’s the time to choose a right content management system (CMS) for your news website.
Choosing a right CMS enables you to easily create, edit and publish your content.
Out of many content management systems like Joomla, Drupal, etc. WordPress is the most popular one.
Starting a news website with WordPress is very quick, easy and straightforward.
Many news websites like TechCrunch, The New Yorker, BBC America, MTV News, The New York Times Company, etc. use WordPress.
In this article, I will teach you how you can start a news website by using WordPress.
Steps for starting a news website-
Starting a news website is no different than starting a normal WordPress blog.
Follow these steps to start a news website-
- Purchase a domain name
- Purchase a web hosting
- Connect them and install WordPress, then install a theme and required plugins on your website
- Start publishing news articles.
Setting up a news website is slightly different from a regular blog and in this section, I am going to elaborate all those differences.
Always prefer a domain name with .com extension.
If you are planning to publish news related only to your country, then you can also prefer your country code top-level domain (ccTLD).
For example, .us and .de are ccTLDs for the United States and Germany respectively.
You can also choose ccTLD if you are planning to start a local news website.
But if your plan is to publish global news, then you should definitely choose a .com domain.
Buying a cloud hosting with good resources is a good option to handle huge traffic to your news website.
If you can’t afford cloud hosting, initially you can prefer shared hosting but in the later phase, when your website sees growth in traffic, you should definitely invest in cloud hosting.
Always prefer hosting with solid-state drive (SSD) and not hard disk drive (HDD), as SSDs are a lot faster than HDDs.
There are many WordPress themes in the WordPress repository for news websites.
You can also choose themes from theme marketplaces like MOJO Marketplace, Themeforest, Elegant Themes, StudioPress, etc.
You should enable NewsArticle schema in your theme settings.
You should create different categories in your website based on the topics which you cover.
For example, Mashable, a famous technology news website has several categories like entertainment, culture, tech, science, mobility, etc.
You should install caching and SEO plugins for your news websites.
If your theme doesn’t have schema settings, you can implement schema with the help of SEO plugins.
In the schema settings of your SEO plugin, under the article type select News Article.
You should also use a plugin for compressing your images or use TinyPNG to compress images.
Install a social media sharing plugin as this helps the readers of your news website to share the articles.
- Design an attractive logo for your news website.
- Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) as this helps your news articles to load quickly on mobile devices.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) so that your website loads fast across the world.
- Use Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed on your news website.
- Ensure that the navigation of your website is good, that is ensure that users can easily navigate from one category to another.
- Craft attractive headlines for your news articles.
- Organize your news articles in grid layout.
How to get content for your news website?
As you need to regularly publish news articles, you should consistently hunt for content.
Here, I will tell you the various content sources from which you can get content ideas for your news articles.
You can utilize the content from other sources and work upon them.
When you obtain content from any source, you need to credit (attribute) them.
You should never copy and paste content from other websites as this falls under plagiarism.
If you have enough resources, you can hire journalists and produce news by attending events, conferences, meetings, etc.
Befriending journalists and editors also helps you to get news.
You can use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to obtain news.
It has approximately a million sources and more than 75,000 journalists and bloggers.
Many popular media outlets like Reuters, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, etc. utilize HARO.
You need to keep an eye on the other news websites in order to get new content ideas.
After sourcing the news ideas, you should perform research and write news in your own words.
The problem with this method is that many other news websites follow this same method and thus, they all create news articles on the similar topics.
So, you need to act fast and publish your news articles as soon as possible.
Every now and then, new trends emerge both on the internet and in different parts of the world.
If you keep a tab on these, you will never face any scarcity of news topics and traffic.
You can also get content ideas by being active on social media, interacting with your followers, following famous personalities and brands.
So, if you have the necessary resources for investigative journalism, you can do it.
You can conduct interviews of famous personalities and publish them on your news website in the form of an article, podcast, video, etc.
When those interviewees share their interviews with their audience, you will get a huge traffic to your website.
You can set up Google Alerts for being constantly updated with the latest news published on the web.
Almost every day, many companies and organizations all over the world do press releases to communicate their news and latest developments with the world.
You can utilize these press releases as the source for your news.
By subscribing to the press releases, you will never miss them.
Strategies for success-
In this section, I will tell you the various methods which will help in the success of your news website.
You should use push notifications on your news website in order to instantly share your news articles with your subscribers.
Every time you publish a new article, all your subscribers would receive notifications by which they will visit your website and this allows your website to have returning visitors.
The loyal readers of your website will definitely subscribe to your push notifications as subscribing is very effortless and doesn’t require them to provide personal details like name, email address, etc.
Your news website should have its presence on all social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, etc.
Effective usage of social media will help you to get more followers, readers and engagement.
You should also learn social media marketing.
You should optimize your website to get into Google Discover as it has a whopping 800 million monthly active users.
Google News is the world’s largest news aggregator service which aggregates news articles from many publishers and magazines.
You should get your news website to be approved by Google News.
By showing in Google News, your news website will have great chances to go viral.
You can advertise your news website on search engines (Search Engine Marketing), social media (Social media marketing), etc. to get more eyeballs to your website.
Approximately half of the web traffic comes from mobile devices.
People love using apps on their Android and Apple devices.
So, you should build an application for your news websites and market through different methods like through your website, Public relations (PR), App Store Optimization (ASO), etc.
Almost all the famous news websites have applications.
You should utilize email marketing and email automation to send news to the inboxes of your audience.
Email subscribers will become lifelong readers of your website unless they unsubscribe from your email list.
As a news website, you can regularly run contests from time to time to keep in touch with your readers and also to attract new readers.
For example, the hindu organizes several contests for every age group and distributes prizes.
You can also do PR stunts to stay in the limelight.
Methods to earn-
There are multiple ways to earn from your news website.
As a news website receives a ton of traffic, you will definitely make a lot of money out of it.
Almost all the news websites earn through displaying advertisements.
This is the most common method of earning and to display ads on your website you can join multiple advertising networks like Google AdSense, Media.net, etc.
You can also display direct advertisements.
Through your news articles you can promote tools, services and products.
If you are promoting any newly launched product, tool or service which not many people have previously used, you can make good conversions.
The main reason for this is that news articles rank very highly quickly and as a result they draw in many visitors who may convert.
As a news website, you can also earn by functioning like a public relations agency.
Here, the companies, individuals or organizations will pay you for covering news about them.
You can also earn by offering memberships and subscriptions to your news website, setting up a paywall to access your news articles, sponsorships, by selling your own products like magazines, books, etc.
Advantages of a news website-
Massive traffic and earnings-
If your news website gets approved by Google News, then your news articles will show up in the top stories carousel at the top of the SERP.
This will drive huge traffic to your website.
Getting picked up by Yahoo! News and Bing News also helps.
As news websites are capable of attracting millions of traffic per month, this means that news websites also earn very well.
Within a few minutes, the articles of your news website will get indexed by search engines.
This means that the articles which you publish will quickly reach the readers.
Usually, news covers the latest topics which no one has covered and thanks to little or no competition for that topic, news articles can rank well even with a few hundred words.
People have been consuming news for many centuries and the future of the news industry will definitely be brighter as there will be no dearth of people consuming news.
Acta Diurna’ was the first newspaper to be published around 59 BC.
Even now, many people all over the world consume news on a daily basis all through the year and this explains the popularity of news with humans.
So, if you start a news website and are able to scale it up, you can be in business forever.
Disadvantages of a news website-
Short life of articles-
The life of a news article will not extend beyond a couple of days.
After this period, not many people will be reading your previously published news articles which means that your articles will quickly become stale.
This is the major downside of operating a news website.
Need more updation-
A news website should be daily updated with new news articles.
This means that if you are the only person working on your news website, you cannot take holidays and will probably get burnt out by working on your news website.
It is aptly said “With great power comes great responsibility”.
When you run a news website, you have the power to influence millions of people, so you should act responsibly.
You should never spread any fake or biased news as by doing so you might put your credibility at stake and might also face legal ramifications.
Starting a news website is very easy but operating it is not.
It is almost impossible to single handedly run a news website, you require a team to do so.
There are so many things to be taken care of while operating a news website like researching for articles, publishing many articles on a daily basis, performing SEO, staying active on social media, etc.
Therefore, you need a skilled team in order to make a news website successful.
When you hire a team of content writers, editors, SEO specialists, etc. you need to pay and manage them.
If you plan to do everything on your own without hiring a team, then a single news website will consume all your day and you cannot focus on any other website or blog.
So, it’s recommended to hire a team or start a news website when you already have a team.
In addition to paying for your team, you also need to invest in expensive cloud hosting to handle the high number of visitors to your website.
You cannot use an affordable shared hosting, as it cannot handle a large amount of traffic.
News website vs. blog-
There are some differences between news websites and blogs which I am going to list out in this section.
The articles of a news website will rank well quickly compared to that of a blog.
Usually, blog posts take several months to rank well.
Google’s Top stories are reserved for news articles and not for usual blog posts.
Length of content-
Generally, news articles are shorter in length with a few hundred words than the blog posts which can stretch up to several thousands of words.
Life of articles-
The life of news articles is generally a couple of days whereas the life of blog posts ranges from many months to years.
This means news articles attract traffic only for a few days but blog posts get traffic for many years.
Number of topics-
For a news website, there will be no shortage of topics and everyday the news bloggers can find something new to write articles on.
But this is not the case for a blog, a blog focused on a narrow niche (micro niche) might run out of topics after publishing some tens of articles.
Frequency of updation-
On your news website, you need to daily publish news articles but on a blog, you can publish one blog post per week.
A blog is very passive compared to a news website.
Requirement of a team-
A team is required for managing a news website whereas a single person can effortlessly run a blog.
So, are you excited to start a news website?
If you are already running news websites, what are your experiences with them?
Please tell me through comments.
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