How to Create a News Website: A Quick Guide to Success

Are you looking for a way to share the latest industry updates in your niche? Perhaps you’re hoping to provide insightful local news articles on all the current goings-on. Or maybe you’re a blogger looking for your next project.

If any of the above resonates, creating a news website could be your next venture.

Sure, you could set up a social media page, but that’s not going to instill the same confidence in your readers that a website would. To become a go-to source of reliable news stories, you need a professional-looking, high-performing website. 

Knowing how to create an online news portal may not be a skill you have in your arsenal yet. However, getting started is quick, simple, and doesn’t have to break the bank. So, we’re revealing how to create a news website in just eight easy steps!

But first, here are five things to reflect on before you hit the ground running:

1.  Have a Plan 

The type of news you’re focusing on will dictate your content creation plan. You need to know exactly what niche/location will be your site’s focus. On top of that, you’ll also need to familiarize yourself with your target audience. Think about the different media platforms they’re already getting their news from, and how your content might fit in. As a fledgling new website owner, you’re unlikely to be competing directly with the New York Times, but that doesn’t mean that your content doesn’t deserve a place in your readers’ news feeds. Small news blogging sites can bring to light stories that larger, more established sites might miss. 

With these considerations at the front of your mind, you’re better positioned to create a news content plan that engages your readers. 

2. Choose Your Platform

If you’ve never dabbled in website creation before, the sheer volume of options can be a daunting prospect to wade through. However, with over 40% of self-hosted websites using WordPress, you’ll be in good company if you pick WordPress for your site’s content management system.

WordPress powers many types of websites. Not only is it incredibly affordable, but it’s also user-friendly, meaning anyone can get up and running by following just a few simple steps. 

First, you’ll need to consider the kinds of features you want your site to have. Embedded video, ticker-tape, RSS feeds in the sidebar – WordPress offers you the complete freedom to make your breaking news site as complex or as simple as you like. 

If you don’t possess coding smarts, don’t worry. Most successful online news outlets start with a basic WordPress template. You can then modify this as you wish, using WordPress.com’s in-built drag and drop web page editor. 

As one of the most adaptable and flexible website builders on the market, here are just a few more reasons why WordPress is worth considering for your news website:

  • It’s easy to add media and text content to your web pages.
  • By default, WordPress automatically shows your latest posts at the top of your homepage, which is ideal for news sites.
  • If you’re using a WordPress.com subdomain, it’s free to get started.
  • WordPress is incredibly customizable.

Whether you’re using a free WordPress.com subdomain or purchasing your own custom domain name, it’s how readers will identify your website, so you’ll want to develop something memorable and relevant. You could even use the .news TLD!

3. Choose Your Website’s Core Functionalities

By ‘functionalities,’ we’re essentially referring to what your website can do and how it performs. This includes everything from your chosen theme to the plugins you use. All these factors massively impact how your site looks and how visitors interact with it. In essence, your website’s functionality determines the quality of your user experience.

‘Website functionality’ is somewhat of an umbrella term, so let’s break it down a bit:

Themes

Your website’s theme plays a huge role in establishing your site’s aesthetics. Fortunately (if you’re on a budget), there are lots of free news themes – all of which are customizable. From tinkering with the color scheme to shuffling the page layout, there are lots of elements you can change so that your website reflects your brand’s visual identity.

With literally thousands of themes to choose from, both free and available for purchase, it’s all too easy to select the flashiest option. Make sure you opt for a theme that best meets your needs; in short, don’t prioritize style over substance. 

As you go about picking a WordPress theme, ensure it offers high degrees of customization. This will give you the freedom to craft a news website that truly stands out from the crowd and instills your readers’ trust.

Best of all, when it comes to finding the perfect WordPress theme, WordPress has done most of the hard work for you. They have a collection of templates specifically tailored to the needs of news websites. So, if you’re unsure where to begin, this is undoubtedly an excellent starting point. 

Plugins

With the WordPress.com Business Plan, plugins are straightforward to install and use. These are the easiest and quickest way of adding extra features to your website. There are thousands out there, but not all are essential. 

Pro Tip: Avoid installing too many plugins onto your news site. Otherwise, you’ll risk compromising its performance and load time, both of which are crucial for SEO and providing a first-rate user experience. 

The WordPress.com Free plan comes with a wide-ranging feature set that will serve the needs of most basic sites. That said, you may need specific third-party plugins such as WooCommerce if you are looking to monetize your news site (more on that below). WooCommerce enables you to quickly and easily launch your own online store.

At this point, it’s worth noting that to make use of these kinds of plugins, you’ll have to opt for WordPress.com’s Business plan (or higher). This package enables you to install an unlimited number of plugins, which, as we’ve alluded to, is key to extending the functionality of your news website. 

4. Content

If you keep up to date with the latest digital marketing and business blogs, you’ll no doubt have come across the phrase ‘content is king’.

This advice couldn’t be more accurate– and when it comes to creating a trending newspaper website, producing valuable, well-written content covering all the latest news is imperative. 

Producing up-to-date, high-quality content should be the core of your news site. There’s no point building an all-singing, all-dancing website only to populate it with subpar content. This is a surefire way of increasing your bounce rate.

By taking the time to create fresh content, you’ll encourage more visitors and regular revisits, building a loyal readership as you go.

 Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Writing well-researched articles
  • Taking and using relevant photos
  • Producing high-quality video content
  • Publishing engaging and informative infographics

5. Revenue Streams

Monetizing your news website is an easy way to make a profit, or even just to cover the costs of running the site itself. Whether you’re hiring freelancers for content creation and photography, or purchasing web domains, plugins, and premium themes, you’re likely to be spending a fair amount running your news website. That’s why it’s important to explore the various ways to monetize your site.

For instance:

  • You could put premium content behind a paywall where only paid-for subscribers can access
  • You could run a small online store as part of your news website, selling eCommerce products – perhaps you could have some merchandise made? 
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Google AdSense

Over time, there’s no reason why your news website can’t become a profitable small business.

How to Create a News Website: A Quick Tutorial

Once you’ve considered the themes, plugins, and content for your news website, you’ve done the majority of the legwork. Now, all that’s left is to create the site itself, which you can do from start to finish by following these eight elementary steps.

  1. Go to WordPress.com, and click ‘start your website.’
  2. Sign up for a WordPress.com account using your preferred email address and create a password
  3. Choose a name for your news website.
Naming your WordPress.com news website
  1. Add your first web page using WordPress.com’s block editor. To do this, click on ‘My Sites,’ followed by ‘Site,’ ‘Pages,’ then select ‘Add New Page.’ This will launch the Block editor. You’ll have the option of choosing a template or starting from scratch with a blank page – the choice is yours. Now look to the right-hand side of the editor. You should see the document settings. Here, you can:
    • View the status of the web page
    • Add categories and tags to posts.
    • Set a featured image
Adding pages to your WordPress.com site
  1. Now, you can add whatever content you want to the web page, from simple paragraph blocks to image galleries, videos, surveys, and more. 
Creating your first page
  1. Open WordPress.com’s customizer and modify your site to your liking. You can change fonts, colors, menu layouts, and much more. 
Creating your homepage
  1. Set a homepage and a posts page. To set a homepage, select the ‘Homepage Settings’ and decide whether your homepage showcases a list of your latest posts or whether you would prefer a ‘Static Page.’ If you opt for the latter, you can pick an alternative web page to list your published posts.
Changing your homepage settings
  1. Add a menu by selecting ‘Menus’ followed by ‘Primary,’ and then ‘Add Items.’ This should display a list of the pages you’ve just created. Now, select the web pages you want to show on your navigation menu. To reorder your menus, you can click and drag the pages around. 
Customizing your menus

Last but not least, don’t forget to hit ‘Publish’ to save your work.  That’s it – you’re done!

Once you’ve followed the steps above, you can then go back and customize whatever you want. For instance, you can add whatever plugins you want, and truly make it your own using the five points we discussed earlier. But getting your WordPress website off to a flying start really is as simple as the eight steps outlined above.

Get Your Own News Website Up and Running Today

If you’re overrun with newsworthy content ideas, then what are you waiting for? Armed with our tips and our easy eight-step guide, nothing is holding you back from creating your dream news website today. 

Signing up for your own WordPress.com account takes a matter of minutes. If you’re still on the fence about whether WordPress.com’s the right website builder for your news site, why not take its free package for a spin? It’s a risk-free way of testing the waters, so you have nothing to lose everything to gain by diving straight in today without spending a penny.

Let our experts build your custom WordPress.com website.

Whether you need a landing page or a full ecommerce site, an online learning academy or an interactive informational site for your business, we can build it for you.

Apply now

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