We are in a jet age, and things/events are moving at a faster rate than you can imagine. I have seen and read of many newspaper editors and journalists launching out to start their own online newspaper with a view to injecting the 21st century advantages that an online business offers, compared to having a physical presence of the old traditional newspaper outfit.
When starting, I recommend you chose one of this optimized Google Adsense Ready WordPress themes ( read on)
Infact, so many people are launching out to start their own viral news website like Viralnova, buzzfeed and distractify because of the easy ways and potential to make thousands of dollars every week in this simple niche ( Viralnova recently sold his site to Zealot media for USD100 million).
Infact, the rise of online newspaper is so encouraging , and a report came out on how a particular online newspaper publisher wants to buy a full fledged operating newspaper house prints ( read the details here)
In essence, I’m advocating that these venture is a profitable niche and adventure so far you are ready for the task ahead, be prepared to learn and apply recommended tips to becoming successful.
The advantages of starting an online newspaper
- It is cost effective- you can start with as low as USD100
- You don’t need to have a physical office presence before you can launch out ( you can start from your room)
- For a start, you can do everything by yourself ( making the research, write ups, editing, posting and publishing)
- Expenses such as salaries, remunerations, travelling cost for interviews ( for each staffs/journalists) is cut off
- You can quickly build an online dedicated fans and subscribers ( as compared to the old traditional approach)
- You can become successful and make four figure earnings within a space of six months if you invest little bit of money in social media campaign ( building twitter followers, boosting and promoting your Facebook page, sharing images and pinning them on Pinterest, build your Google+ circles for your page and sharing contents on LinkedIn) – Honestly, these aggressive campaigns will give you faster success rate and the honest truth is you are just going to invest little money ( probably 50-100USD per month).
How to create an online newspaper
This tutorial will be focused on:
- How to build and set up your online newspaper
- How to set it up and have it running
- The design and technical settings
- How to promote, market and spread its reach
First, I will want you to read the full guidelines and step by step technical on how to set up, install and launch a Blog based on WordPress. ( click the image link below).
Ready, lets kick in!!
- 1# Requirements on How to start an online newspaper
To start , create and launch your own online newspaper, you need the following:
- Domain name
- Web Hosting
- An active internet connection and little bit of your time to set up everything ( about 20-30 mins)
A simple understanding of domain is this: its basically the name your online newspaper e.g. rollingstone.com, nytimes.com, telegraph.co.uk, theguardian.com e.t.c. So, chose a name that will fit perfectly for this new venture of yours.
A domain name is useless without a webhost. A webhost simply houses the contents of your domain name for the outside world to be able to access and view it.
To make things easy for you, it is better, convenient and technically sensible to get both your domain and webhosting services from one single source, or else, you might be confronted with the issue of DNS change and configuration. To this end, I recommend that you chose Bluehost
With Bluehost, you get a free domain name and a 3.95USD monthly charges on your webhosting needs.
Again, for the full technical set up and installation of necessary plugins, I recommend you check on the below tutorial to familiarize yourself with.
Must read: How to launch and set up a self-hosted online newspaper blog using WordPress
- 2# Chose a publishing platform
Once done with the above tutorial link I mentioned earlier ( it’s a 4000 word content that shows and teach you how to install and get your site running); the next step is to chose the publishing platform you are going to use.
While there are many options out there, the best and easy to use platform is WordPress, and the beauty of it all is that it comes pre-built in the Bluehost hosting package I earlier mentioned. You just click on the icon and it will automatically get installed.
Of course, we have free platforms like wordpress.com, tumblr and blogspot e.t.c; but what behoves on you as a professional online business owner is to have excellence and integrity because all of these culminates in making the site become popular and successful.
To this end, I recommend you settle for the self -hosted wordpress platform and its already prebuilt in your Bluehost hosting package.
- 3# Chose and buy a professional newspaper online design
Information is power and we are in a time whereby 2-5 minutes of research on the internet will give you any result you are looking no matter where you are in the global space.
About 3 years ago, to have a beautiful and professionally looking newspaper site, you will need to invest thousands of dollars to a website designer, but gone are those days. Again, the disadvantage in hiring all those website designers is because you will have to continue paying them to do one or two updates/news publishing for you.
With WordPress, you now have full confidence to become Jack of all trade and become master of all!!
If you want a Google friendly, SEO ( Search engine optimized), mobile responsive and a professionally looking design, then I recommend:
- Genesis Themes
- Themeforest MarketPlace
Example of such designs below:
Now, to the next step!!
- 4# Commit and invest in social media
They say ‘experience is the best teacher’; I am showing you the steps you need to take to make your online newspaper becomes a success. I have helped lots of clients start theirs and I’m offering to you the easy ways to go about it.
To become successful, you need people/target and readers who will be willing to subscribe, stay on your site and read contents. Depending on the search engines at the initial stage is tought, and as such, just invest some little funds and time in:
- Building a Twitter Account that is active: Open a twitter account using the domain name you chose; create a good profile and use professional background. Build your twitter followers, spend little dollars on Twitter Ads ( 10-100 USD a month)
- Have a Facebook page and engage it: This is the first step; create a Facebook page using the name of your domain. Spend as little as 10USD on Facebook Ads to get as much as 1500 fans/likes e.t.c
To be honest with you, I highly recommend you take your social media account seriously; as your FB and twitter followers grows, so also will Google, Bing, yahoo and other search engines start noticing you.
- 5# Start off with Original and quality content
Google loves fresh and quality content. However, based on your mode of operation; some known publishers simply aggregate and curate news stories, if that is the case, then its a different ball game and such publishers that curate and aggregate news stories should/must and would have already invested in having lots of social media followers on Facebook and twitter.
If your news publishing model is to curate/aggregate news, I will discuss about how you can get this rolling in the course of this tutorial.
- 6# Get the news stories yourself from original sources
If you are not going to be curating news stories, then its important you get the source of the stories from the originator. what I mean is this; if you interview people, or you are a journalist, then you can write the stories/updates yourself and then publish. However, if you deal with industries, companies, issues, politics e.t.c.; then you can get original stories by:
- Subscribing to the feed of companies, organizations, brands e.t.c.; in such case, any update/press release from them will be sent automatically to your email. You can simply subscribe using your email ID.
- Follow their twitter account handle to get first hand information as soon as its being released
- Be present at major events, functions, parties, seminars and symposiums.
- 7# Present yourself professionally- have a business model
If you are taking your online newspaper as a business, and you are ready to make it successful, there are some little things you need to implement:
- Create a About page
- Create a ‘ About me’ Page
- Create a visible contact page
- Let your menu look neat with accurate navigation to important categories and pages
Apart from making it look professional with those factors, it is also important because intending Advertisers will see you as a credible and serious professional. Secondly, it is mandatory if you want to monetize it ( especially when using Google Adsense).
Once this is done, you need to have a strong business model, you need to think and implement:
- Think of how you are going to maintain and sustain the newspaper site
- Think about your competitors- know their strength, their Advertisers and strategies
- Start the business yourself, as it grows, you can invite your wife ( or girlfriend) to join and assist you. Later, if you start making money, employ an intern or a full staff to manage some operations for you.
- Create an Advertisement page to attract advertisers and create a professional, compelling facts/reasons why they should advertise with you.
- 8# Monetize from Day 1
Run advertisement on your online newspaper from the very beginning. Dont wait till you have a thousand readers and subscribers. You can start with the use of Google Adsense and when you start growing, start inviting third party and direct adverts.
Lesson: Doing this inspires you to move on!!
- 9# Be professional- Watch out for mistakes and Grammatical errors
An hallmark of a professional online newspaper is its attention to details and the absence of poorly written articles and contents. Please, watch out for plagiarism, typographic errors e.t.c.
- 10# More details
The following task needs to be completed also:
- Interact with bloggers and other online newspaper publishers
- Guest posts on their blogs/related blogs; posts on local blogs
- Set up an easy way for people to submit their stories/materials for you to publish ( of course, you still need to check and edit before publishing theme)
- Promote it using Google Adwords
Once your newspaper site is live, quickly do the following:
Once the account is opened/using an old Gmail account, set the following important Google Tools up:
- Google Analytics: Use WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin to install the tracking code
- Webmaster Tools: the same Yoast plugin will help in adding the tracking code
- Feedburner: allows your visitors to subscribe to your posts by RSS or email.
- 11# How to curate and aggregate news stories
If you have set up the site using my explanations above and you simply want to aggregate your stories, follow the below guidelines:
- Install this plugin; https://wordpress.org/plugins/wpematico/
- Activate the plugin
- Check out websites that you want to copy their stories/news from; check if they have rss or atom feeds ( simple way to check is by: ‘nameofthesite.com/feed/), if it has, it will be displayed.
- Visit the main official page of the plugin, where you will get guidelines on how to set it up: check the official page of the plugin)
- Create a campaign ( for instance, let each campaign be a category). e.g. for politics campaign, I will simply copy the rss feed of a leading political online newspaper, set up the feeds as shown on the dashboard and auto-activate auto publishing. The news from this campaign will automatically be going to my politics category. You can then do the same thing for various categories you want to have on the site.
- Need my help, contact me!!
- 12# How to make quality money and be succesful
Take or leave it!!, you need great audience to make quality money. Start with social media first and you will have the adequate followers.
To make the money: Please read:
Must Read: 60 proven ways to monetize and make money on a blog
Must Read: How to make money from a wordpress blog after installation
- Get a domain name and host it straight-away
- Get quality premium website design template ( you can get it at : Mythemeshop, Genesis, Themeforest
- Install necessary plugins
Thanks for reading’ How to start an online newspaper’; Need my help on setting up your blog and the installation, please, do not hesitate to contact me; I will be more than glad to be of help.
And please, help share it on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”