These days, more people than ever are getting their news from online sources, with internet news set to overtake television soon.
That means that it’s a better time than ever to get into the industry. But becoming one of the top news websites isn’t as simple as it sounds.
It requires knowledge of SEO, great sources, and brilliant writing. Sounds difficult, doesn’t it?
But don’t fret, with a little bit of help, it’s possible to create the next great media empire. Here are six tricks to learn from the top news websites.
1. Timeliness Matters Most
More than anything, it’s important to deliver accurate news in a timely manner. If a site can break a story first, they’ll do wonders when it comes to traffic generation.
Therefore, it’s important to focus on timeliness.
Break stories in real time whenever possible and add details later. Even top sites like CNN update past articles with information whenever possible.
Often, whichever site breaks a story gets the most views. So if a site isn’t first to break a story, it may as well be last.
2. Answer The Important Questions First
Good journalism is predicated on the simple concept of the five Ws and one H:
These simple questions serve as the framework for just about every news story ever written. Therefore, it’s important that prospective news sites master them quickly.
For that matter, research the inverted pyramid structure.
Over the years, our attention spans have shortened. As a result, top news websites have shifted the way they deliver news so that the most important details come first.
The first paragraph of a news article needs to have all of this information condensed in an easy to read way.
3. Personal Interest Stories Count As Newsworthy
Anyone who has spent time on top news websites will see that they cover more than global affairs, like the international work Dr. Moshe Kantor is doing. There are entire sections dedicated to entertainment and human interest stories.
Don’t neglect these sections, they often track as well as “hard” news. In fact, injecting a bit of positivity and personality into a site is a great hook.
4. Implement Video…But Prioritize Written Content
We live in an age where watching a new story is often easier than reading it. So it makes sense that video content should come first, right?
Well, not so fast.
Research indicates that millennials prefer reading news over watching it. Therefore, make an effort to prioritize written content.
That isn’t to say video content should be neglected entirely. On the contrary, it’s a great way to boost SEO. Just make sure to have a good balance of both.
5. Moderate The Comments Section
Anyone who has ever ventured into the comments section of a news site can vouch for how combative it can get. Everyone has their own opinion and should be entitled to it.
However, that doesn’t mean that a site needs to stand for harassment or hate speech.
Those looking to run a successful news site need to have heavily moderated comments. News sites should be a place for discussion and information, not vitriol.
6. Focus On Great Design
This article has focused mainly on content, but let’s take a step back. If a site isn’t easy to use, even the most well-written content won’t get read.
Before the first article goes up, have a solid grasp of usability. Consider a site from the user’s perspective. What elements matter most?
If a news organization focuses on its audience, there’s no way to go wrong.
Final Thoughts On Tricks From The Top News Websites
When creating a news site, use the above as a recipe for success. And speaking of success, a news site can’t function if it’s down.