Nowadays, everyone is getting their news on the Internet and it’s hard to remember when we last saw a real newspaper.
This opens up tons of possibilities for you to start your news website – it could be a specific niche, geared to a local area, a favorite topic, a hobby or really anything you want!
In the past, you’d need a local news organization or a real newspaper to publish the latest news but now you only need a website.
Websites essentially democratized access to news and news creation. And considering we spend so much time on social media already – it’s very plausible your content has a viral moment, allowing you to earn some money with your news website.
It’s never been easier to create your website: enter WordPress.
WordPress paved the way for non-technical people:
- It’s optimized for text content and supports multimedia (pictures, videos, music, etc.)
- It automatically shows new content on top (ideal for a news aggregator)
- It has a robust text editor that allows you to format your content as needed
- It’s completely free (you’ll need WordPress hosting to get your website online)
- It has thousands and thousands of free plugins and themes to enhance your site
WordPress themes control how your site looks, feels, and functions. It’s important to choose a well laid out, responsive, and optimized theme so your visitors can quickly access your website and want to come back again.
A well structured site increases user retention. You can start with a free theme and then switch to a premium theme that offers more features once your site picks up on traffic.
You can check out the official WordPress theme directory here to find a good starter theme for your website.
Once you’re on the WordPress theme directory, follow these steps:
Click the Feature Filter on the index page, and tick the News checkbox under the Subject section to see themes only designed for news websites:
We’ll also list some themes we think are worth checking out, as they tick all the right boxes for a news website (optimization, responsiveness, features).
Mission News is a free, minimalistic, and fully responsive theme that you can expand with additional features if you purchase the Pro version. It’s built around the content to come first and has WooCommerce and Elementor support. It has nine different flexible layouts, eight widget areas, and supports ad integration.
This theme also has a free and Pro versions, and while the free version is a bit limited – you can make it work as it’s minimalistic and beautifully designed. It’s fully optimized, SEO friendly, translations ready, and offers support for WooCommerce. The theme provides five different layouts you can use, custom widgets and customizer options.
Madd Magazine is one of the best free news themes, and it’s straightforward to set up and use. It comes with two widget-ready sidebars, is fully optimized, responsive, and SEO friendly. The theme has a built-in responsive slider with image and video features.
ColorMag is perfect for any type of publishing website (news, magazines, blog), as it has easy customization options, excellent performance, and responsiveness. The theme has over 100.000 active installations and 900+ 5 star ratings in the WordPress theme directory. It’s WooCommerce compatible and supports all major page builders (Gutenberg, Elementor, Beaver Builder, etc.).
NewsPaper is a premium theme built for content-rich websites. It has a responsive layout, SEO, speed optimization and it’s translation ready. The theme has powerful customization features, including a feature section where you can showcase beautiful HD images. It has social media integration out of the box, supports awesome fonts and icons, and is compatible with the Mega Menu plugin, which is handy if you have a lot of main menu options.
WordPress has tons of features built-in, but you can add the missing functionality using plugins. News websites require some specific features and functions, so you can easily add them using free and premium WordPress plugins. We’ll list some plugins we believe work well to run a proper news website.
WP News and Scrolling Widgets
This plugin adds a separate section to your website for news and articles and allows you to customize how they appear. It’s handy for a news website, especially since you can use a scrolling news widget to make it look more professional.
Simple Author Box
You want to feature your authors and introduce readers to them, so this plugin helps with that. It adds the responsive author box at the end of each post with the name, gravatar and bio. It’s fully customizable and supports social icons so your readers can connect with your authors.
You don’t want your visitors only to read your content, so you need to interact with them to increase engagement. Polls are the perfect way to engage your readers and WP-Polls is one of the best WordPress plugins to add these to your website. It has over 100.000 installations, it’s easily customizable via CSS, and has tons of options to adjust polls to your liking.
AddToAny Share Buttons
Since you’re pumping out news and stories, you need a way to share them to increase the traffic and engagement. Adding social media icons to each story helps with that, and your readers can easily share your content with their friends and followers. The plugin supports all major social networks and websites, is fully customizable, offers follow buttons and custom share icons, and displays counters (to see how much was something shared) if needed.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
You want your visitors to stick around after reading a piece of news or featured article, and this plugin comes in handy for that exact purpose. YARPP is highly optimized, so it’s safe to use on our cloud network, and it will automatically add related content links at the end of each article. It supports posts, pages, custom post types (to refer to) and you can display that content in a thumbnail or list view.
Lastly, here are some general tips and tricks you should follow for best results:
- Ensure that your website layout is minimalistic as you don’t want people searching for information too long
- Your content is the most crucial component of your website, so always keep it fresh and entertaining
- A website needs to be fast, optimized, and fully responsive
- The homepage needs to be action-packed with tons of content your readers can enjoy and keep them interested
- Use ads and affiliate links to generate revenue, but don’t go overboard as that would push away readers
- Carefully design your logo as that’s the first thing visitors notice, and it influences how they feel about your brand. The font that you use on your site is equally important, so make sure it’s readable and eye candy friendly
- Create and maintain active social media accounts as an additional channel to drive your audience to your website
- Organize your content in categories and tag your articles to keep it clean, as clutter can be confusing