What are the steps involved in building a news website?

Portrait of handsome young man using his mobile phone in the kitchen finding the steps involved in building a news website

With the amount of website builders available on the market, starting up your own news website has never been easier. Local newspapers are bearing the brunt of the rapid decrease in revenue for print journalism, and as they sadly start to shut down they create a gap in the market for online hyperlocal news sites.

In fact, between 2016 and 2018, there was a 50% increase in membership to LION, a US-based hyperlocal website association. It doesn’t have to be local news though; there is also a market for nationwide or global news, as long as you find an original angle to take your news website. To make the website part easier, Go Sitebuilder is a website builder that can have your news site up and running in a few minutes – but you need to do more than just find a website builder that works for you! Here are the steps you need to take to set up your own news website. 

1. What will your publication be about?

There are thousands of news websites out there on the internet; you need to make sure yours is unique if you want it to stand out. This is easier with hyperlocal news, as you’re unlikely to have too much competition, but if you’re planning on a more global approach, what will your publication have that will make it different? 

It’s a good idea to focus on a “mission statement”, where you define what you want your publication to achieve, and who your target audience is. Maybe you want to focus on sustainable technology, long form analysis of current affairs, or just short and snappy pieces on your local area for residents to stay informed. 

2. How will you make money?

Starting a news website is not a way to make fast cash. Although online news can be lucrative, you’ll have to commit your time to creating high quality content regularly and gather a decent following before you start to see a significant return on your investment. However, it’s good to think about the way you plan to make money as you start, so you can drive your site in the right direction.

There are multiple ways to earn money from your news website. Advertising products on your site is easy, especially using a platform like Google Adsense, but you may find you are advertising products completely unrelated to your site, and it can make your site look a little cluttered.

Sponsored content is another possibility, and as you start gaining traction with your site you’ll probably find that you will receive multiple emails from content creators wanting to pay you to publish their content on your site. This seems like a win-win situation, but you should be careful that their content doesn’t devalue your site as a whole; only accept content that is genuinely relevant and interesting to your target audience. 

Another way to get revenue from your site is to create a subscription model. This is risky, as you risk losing many readers who don’t want to pay for their news content, but it can be very valuable if you have a loyal audience. There are two ways to do this; either by blocking all of your site content unless the visitor has a subscription, or allowing unpaid views to your site, but a subscriber gets extra benefits, like a weekly email with the latest news or access to long form investigative journalism that took more time and money to create. 

 3. Choose a platform

When you start looking for a platform for your news site, it can get overwhelming trying to choose between all the website builders available to you. The best way to choose is to create a list of things you’ll definitely need for your news website, and go with a website builder that provides all of them. 

You want a website builder that is both flexible and scalable; the last thing you want is to start making some headway with your news website and then have to change to another platform. Check that it doesn’t have a limit to the amount of pages you can create, or images you can upload. Many people check their news on their phone, so having a responsive web design is paramount, as well as having an integrated SSL certificate and being SEO friendly. Before you ask – Go Sitebuilder has all this and more.

4. Create your content

This is the fun part! Make sure your content is high quality and original, and embellish it with images, infographics and videos to make it more dynamic. This is also a good test period when you start, and will help you decide whether you can create all of the content on your own or whether you will want to hire other writers or editors. 

Make sure you are writing and producing content on a regular basis to improve your chances of people seeing your articles. 

5. Create a digital marketing plan

This isn’t as scary as it sounds! Seeing as many people get at least some of their news from social media (in the US it can be as much as two thirds), creating a social media strategy is a great way to get your content in front of your target audience. For hyperlocal news websites, join local Facebook groups and publish your content there, or for wider reaching news, make the most of hashtags on Twitter. 

If you’re ready and raring to go with your online news site, then why not register for a free 14-day trial with Go Sitebuilder today? Our platform offers ready to go web designs, unlimited blog posts, fully responsive design and more – and it only takes minutes to set up. Spend your time creating quality content, and let Go Sitebuilder take care of making sure your news website looks stylish and professional.