Have you ever thought about trying out your luck (or better yet, your capabilities) in the hectic entrepreneurial world and running your own online newspaper?
Turning an idea not just into reality, but into a profitable business can potentially be quite a challenging task. But it can certainly be done with a proper strategy in place.
And when it comes to launching a news website, in particular, it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or overly technical.
In case you are not completely sure what that strategy is and how to make a news website, here are the most important steps you should follow.
Make an initial plan
As with any new business venture, proper planning is a crucial part of the process.
Making the necessary projections could help you be prepared for various outcomes along the way and potentially avoid some risky situations that can cost you time and money.
Choosing and focusing on a certain demographic right from the start will determine the trajectory of other aspects of this process.
It will dictate content and topics on your website, the marketing approach, the sort of writers you would want to hire, the type of platform you choose to use, even potentially the visual presentation of your news portal.
Some of the factors in deciding on the target demographic is the size of the audience, as well as the competition.
Finding a large enough audience in a niche with a minimum number of competitors would be an ideally-balanced scenario.
So thinking thoroughly about the specific niche you want to dedicate your attention to, and the group of people you would want to attract is a good place to start.
Unlike many other new businesses, launching a website doesn’t cost a lot. But, you will still need to have some sort of startup capital, mainly for quality design and developing a good marketing strategy.
The most efficient way to start is to sort out your own finances and make financial projections of any future expenses, fees, and profits (if needed, you can consult an expert at this point in the process).
Here are just some of the expenses to think about along the way:
- paychecks for the writers
- regular website maintenance
- possible expert opinions and advice.
If you don’t have your own money to invest, or you just don’t like the idea of risking it, there are different financial solutions you can explore in order to fund your business venture.
You can apply for a bank loan, invite investors (such as family and friends, or outside investors), think about seller financing, etc.
You can also have a side online job that can help you earn some income to fund your news website. Sites like Mturk are quite popular these days.
Consider all your options and calculate the one that would suit you the best.
Naming and Branding
Naming the news portal is probably the easiest part of the process and it is entirely up to you.
But even though the name is completely arbitrary, the best option would be to name it in such a way that it suggests the type of news and articles you have on your portal.
Another step is to check if the name you have chosen is available.
If it is, make sure that you secure your domain name as soon as possible, before someone else does.
When it comes to branding, it is important that you have a clear notion of what you are trying to accomplish with your website.
Creating a brand is a way of making a cohesive image of your news site and portraying it to your audience.
It covers the visual representation, the message and voice you are trying to present, the style of writing, etc.
Your marketing strategy could (and should) involve other social media platforms.
The more active and present you are across various platforms, the bigger reach your initial website will accumulate.
That reach is a crucial part of expanding and gaining new business.
In other words, it is fairly simple, the increasing number of people that visit your news portal will talk about it, share it, post it, and in that way, attract even more people.
Traffic generates more traffic.
After you established the initial plan and all its factors, it is time to proceed to the more concrete, technical steps.
Select a Platform
The most popular platform of choice is WordPress, especially among independent publishers. The main reasons for that are its low cost and the fact that it is quite easy to use.
However, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to go for WordPress as your publishing platform.
The choice of the right platform will be defined by your particular needs, ideas, and business strategies, as well as the specifics of the whole news site.
These are some of the things to look for in a publishing platform:
- high security
- adjustable and customizable design
- responsive sites
- to be SEO friendly.
Create a Website
Once you chose the platform for your news portal, the next step is to create the actual website. This is a very technical step, so unless you possess the knowledge to do it yourself, chances are you will have to hire a professional.
The website needs to be well-organized, easy-to-navigate, and also esthetically pleasing.
All of these factors, especially the esthetical aspect, need to match the voice of your brand, making sure you are connecting with your target audience.
When you attract the readers, the design of the website should make them want to stay longer, and explore it even further.
After you managed the technical part of the whole plan, it is time for actual work. It is all about the valuable content, carefully chosen, and professionally written.
So you need to be familiar not only with the writing process but with the editorial job as well, arranging all the articles, photographs, videos, and putting together content that will get your audience excited.
In the beginning, you can even write yourself (if you are a writer) before hiring other writers once your budget allows you.
If you decide to hire other writers, you can try out platforms like Writers Work, which we have covered in our Writers Work Review.
Additional tip: Focus on the headlines since they attract the readers to open the article, and try not to duplicate your content.
This is a final step of the process since the advertisers like to see the product before they endorse it, or in this case, they like to see a functional news portal before they decide to start advertising on your website.
That means you would have to show how your news site is functioning and put out regular (and quality) content.
A lot of publishers will skip this step altogether as it is not essential, but it could be a potential source of additional income.
Again, it all depends on how you want to structure your website and in what direction you want
As you can see, the process of how to start an online newspaper is far from an impossible task.
In fact, it requires less money and has fewer technical obstacles than many other entrepreneurial ventures.
If launching a news site was your business plan, now you are equipped with the tips and guidelines to help you get started.