Deciding to start your own news website can seem like a daunting prospect if you’ve never done it before. Luckily, plenty of other entrepreneurs have done this, and you can benefit from the wisdom they gleaned from their successes and their news website mistakes.
This guide on how to start a news website, whether it’s your first or your 10th, will help you with everything from finding and validating your money-making idea to figuring out your marketing strategy to finally launching your product or service.
Evaluate your resources
If you already have a following in your niche, awesome. If not, now is a good time to start working on building one. Identify your potential audience and understand what they might want from you—and why they’d want it.
For example, do people in your target market want daily news updates? Would they rather read long-form features? What platform are they using most often? The answers will inform which publication model makes the most sense for them (the newsletter method; sending links to regular posts via email; etc.).
Don’t skip that step! Sometimes it’s tempting to just jump right into starting something without fully evaluating what resources and content you have at hand.
Choose the right platform
There are two main ways to set up your news website—Blogger or WordPress. Both offer free versions to help you get started, though more sophisticated options exist. For example, you’ll want to choose a good high-quality theme for your website and ensure you have both domain and hosting before getting started.
For basic needs, these services should cost about $20 per month. You can find out more about choosing WordPress vs. other platforms here. Once you’ve chosen your platform, setting up your site is easy (though it will take some time). This step-by-step guide walks through how to do it yourself.
If you prefer hiring someone else to do it for you, several companies specialize in creating new sites. The going rate is around $300-$500 but again varies based on what features and functionality you want to be included in your site.
Design your user experience
Once you’ve established your niche, it’s time to get granular about who your audience is and how they’ll engage with your website. What do they want from their news? How will they consume it? Will people read an email newsletter, listen to Apple Podcasts or open an app for push notifications?
These are all decisions you have to make and set in stone before you even start building anything. So design a user experience (UX) that keeps in mind exactly how people will interact with your site. Will people read short blurbs in snippets or dive deep into long reads? When will they click through links, and when should you prompt them with pop-ups or other calls to action? Figure out what works best before moving on.
Writing Your Articles
People will always be drawn toward news and information, especially local stuff. Getting your name out there can help you build a network and gain connections within your community. Write with passion and empathy while maintaining high-quality themes, domain, and hosting on your website. Attracting an audience is key! Get started by signing up for email newsletters from reputable providers; you’ll already have some ideas as to what people in your community want to know about.
Finding an Audience
While domain names, high-quality themes, and hosting are essential, nothing is more important than getting your content in front of people. And one of the best ways to do that is by starting an email list. Reaching out to a targeted audience ensures that your content will be relevant and useful when it gets in front of their eyes. Also, it’s free (and you can’t beat free), so there’s little risk involved. But how should you get started?
Designing your site, branding, and promotion
Once you start writing articles, you must promote them online using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to stay active on these sites so that people can find your work easily. You should also consider advertising through Google AdWords or even working with an SEO specialist who could optimize your site’s search engine ranking potential.
If you really want to take things up a notch, try starting a podcast or creating videos of yourself reporting live at events in your community. This way, when you get interviews or quotes from other sources for future stories, they might remember seeing or hearing you elsewhere before and trust that you are indeed capable of providing accurate news coverage of their organization or business!
We believe you will never again inquire about how to start a news website. The rate of technological advancement is quite rapid, and the number of people reading daily online news is increasing dramatically. Because of how easily accessible a realm of Internet-based information is, most news sectors are moving online.