Six Key Factors for a Online News Website

1. Compelling Content

Regardless of your topic, the single-most important factor for any news publishing venture is the quality of your content.  Your ability to gather and report news on your topic should be an early consideration in your business planning.  Larger businesses can obviously hire staff with domain knowledge.  If your business is a startup, the likely reality is that you are also the reporter of record.  If you're covering a community, there is no substitute for a long history and deep knowledge of that community and the people that live there.  If you're covering an industry, having worked in that industry and having deep personal connections is a must.

2. Sponsors/Advertisers

Maybe your business is established to the point that followers will pay to subscribe to your website or newsletter just to hear your perspective on the news of the day.  However, most publishers will find that they need sponsors and advertisers to make their business model work.  Sponsors and advertisers are usually businesses or organizations with a vested interest in your subject matter.  Maybe they are businesses in the small town that you cover.  Maybe they are vendors that sell to your potential readership.

3. Registration

Once you have attracted potential readers to your website, the trick is to keep them coming back.  The best way to do this is to limit the content they can access until they register and provide you with an valid email address.  Modern news publishing system will include features that validate the registrant's email address as part of the registration process.

People usually think about site registration in conjunction with pay-walls where paid subscription is required to access a site's content.  This is not always the case.  There is also value in simply capturing the contact information for site visitors so that you can reach out to them later with email newsletters or other marketing messages.

4. Frequent Updates

It's the nature of news that frequent/timely updates are considered a measure of quality.  In the online news world, frequent updates are what brings focus to your message and draws readers back to your site, creating more advertising opportunities and increasing revenue.

5. Email Newsletter

Online news consumers expect the option to subscribe to an email newsletter that contains headlines and links to your most recently posted content.  Without this capability, you are at the mercy of the reader to remember to return to your website to look for the latest news.

Modern web publishing systems will ensure that you only enter your content once.  Once entered, it should be available via web, mobile, newsfeeds, etc.

6. Social Outreach

Lastly, it is important that you understand social networks and have a social marketing plan for your content.  This centers around the fact that today's younger readers expect the news to come to them.  There best way to reach them is often inline in their social networking activities.  Web savvy publishers are finding ways to promote their best content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and even Pinterest.



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