How to Start a News Website: 6 Expert Tips
Many years ago, watching the news was a lot simpler. You’d turn on the TV at six o’clock, choose from one of three or four channels, and a famous long-time newscaster would tell you what was going on.
It’s not like that anymore. Over the past decade, the widespread availability of social media and lightning-fast online video has made it possible for independent producers and journalists to deliver the news straight to viewers on the web.
In a challenging and complex world, people are hungry for breaking news and increasingly seek it out on the internet. More than two-thirds of news consumers use online sites as their primary news sources, and seven out of ten of them visit news sites several times per day.
These are encouraging statistics for independent media. Current events are a well of content that never runs dry, and viewers aren’t just looking for on-the-scene reporting. They’re seeking analysis, opinions, high-level explanations, and in-depth breakdowns that are harder to find on broadcast and cable television.
The upshot is that there’s never been a more lucrative time to start a news website. In this post, we’ll provide you with six expert tips for how you can become a trusted and engaging source of information for your audience.
What is a news website?
A news website is any website where the content focuses primarily on providing timely coverage of current events. You can have a general news site that covers the most significant happenings of the day, no matter where or what they are. Or you can have a news site that sticks to a specific topic, industry, region, or business.
News websites aren’t just for audiences who consume the news as entertainment. Businesses rely on the news to provide vital information about markets, social trends, and other developments that affect their industry. When a new website launches to cover a niche that had previously been lacking in detailed coverage, it can quickly rise to a trusted and influential position.
Why should you start a news website?
Starting a news website is an excellent way to give your audience the content it wants while generating significant benefits for your business. First, let’s take a look at the things that make news websites so appealing to viewers.
Audience Benefits of News Websites
- Accessibility – Viewers can catch up on the news anywhere, on any device, whenever it’s convenient.
- Customizable – News feeds can be filtered and prioritized to show viewers the subject matter that’s most relevant to them.
- Timely – Online news sites can publish stories instantly (as soon as news breaks).
- Interactive – Your audience doesn’t have to consume the news passively. They can react, post comments, share links, and engage with it in a way that’s impossible with traditional print and broadcast news media.
- Specialization – News websites can specialize in delivering content to specific audience segments and provide detailed, in-depth information that might not appeal to a more generalized audience.
By providing viewers with positive features like these, you can attract a loyal audience that will help you realize useful business benefits.
Business Benefits of News Websites
- Expanded reach and increased traffic – Let’s face it, some people are “news junkies” and will only patronize sites that can provide fresh, up-to-the-minute information. By catering to this audience, you’ll be able to attract more visitors to your website.
- Improved brand recognition and reputation – When you become a trustworthy news website that provides accurate, insightful, and timely information, you’ll find yourself linked, cited, and regarded as a subject matter authority.
- New revenue opportunities – A wider audience brings in more advertising revenue. Many viewers will have an interest in paid subscriptions for premium news services.
Features of a Great News Website
There’s no single way to run a great news website. The optimal look and feel for your site will depend on your subject matter, target audience, budget, and many other factors. However, there are several key features that can improve any news website.
By allowing users to create personal accounts to log into your website, you can track their activity, serve them personalized content, offer premium features, and allow them to save their preferences.
Customizable Display Options
People will be viewing your website on different devices and may have specific accessibility needs. Giving them the ability to customize the display elements ensures that technical limitations won’t get in the way of a positive, engaging experience.
Multiple Media Formats
Some people like reading text, others prefer listening to podcast audio, and many prefer video to any other form of media. Don’t lock your important news stories into a single format. With the proper media production technology, you can automate converting a story into multiple formats, giving your audience the full range of options.
Notifications and Digests
When a big story drops, you don’t want your audience to miss out. Send them a breaking news notification through their chosen communication channel. It’s also great to send weekly newsletters or digests to clue them into great content that they might have overlooked.
Comment Sections and User Blogs
You can stimulate engagement and keep your audience coming back for more (even when it’s a slow news day) by allowing them to contribute their thoughts and opinions.
How to Start a News Website: 6 Expert Tips
Here are six actionable tips that will help you create a viable and sustainable news website:
1. Establish a Clear Vision and Goals
Now more than ever, audiences want news sources that reflect their values and interests. An independent news website that tries to be all things to all viewers is not likely to get very far.
By defining your vision, spelling out your mission, and establishing clear goals for your news site, you’ll make smarter decisions about what to cover and how to present it.
2. Choose the Right Broadcasting Platform
When selecting a platform to host your news site, there are many options to choose from. A text-based blogging platform might be an appropriate choice for a website that focuses on long-form journalism, but a breaking news site will likely require a platform with more robust multimedia capabilities.
If video is going to be your primary media format, an OTT (over-the-top) video platform is often the best choice because it allows for a wide range of streaming and playback options.
3. Produce High-Quality Content
You can source news content in many ways, but you must ensure that you provide accurate information and real value to your viewers. Experienced journalists and fact-checkers will help establish your credibility.
On the production side, the right tools and resources can make your content polished and appeal to your target audience.
4. Streamline Your Video Production Capability
Video content is often the backbone of a high-traffic news website since it tends to be the most appealing content format for audiences and elicits higher levels of engagement.
The issue with video is that it can be time-consuming and expensive to produce. One way to solve this problem is to use an AI video generator like Reals by Hour One. It can automate the video production process and eliminate the need for costly equipment, crews, and even on-screen talent. It’s fast, affordable, and easy to scale, such as preparing multiple versions of a story in different languages.
5. Monetize Your Content
When you know you’ve got great content, you don’t have to give it away for free. Putting your stories behind a paywall is one option, but that can make it harder to grow your audience. You can also try selling advertisements, partnering with affiliates, or creating premium subscriber-only content. The greater the value you can offer your viewers, the easier it will be to monetize your news site.
6. Diversify Your Media Formats
Important news stories shouldn’t exist in just one single format. To bring in the widest audience and maximize your monetization opportunities, you should make sure that every story that matters is available in all of the media formats your audience is interested in—text, audio, and video. AI video generators can be an excellent solution for this. They can automatically produce professional-quality video content out of a single text document.
And That’s The Way It Is
In our interconnected digital world, the news is constantly breaking, and there is always a demand for accurate, informative coverage. A high-quality news website can command large audiences and significant revenue streams. The right tools can make it easy and affordable to produce engaging news content.
AI video generators like Reals by Hour One are among the best solutions for creating news videos that won’t blow through your budget, and many sites are already using them. If you’re interested in watching an AI-generated newscaster present one of your written stories as a video broadcast, try it out for free here.