Thinking of starting a news website? Even if you’re not planning to be the next New York Times, there’s plenty of space for creating your own news site for your favorite topic, local area, or anything else.
It’s also easier than ever to make your own news website thanks to a free piece of software called WordPress, which makes starting a news website accessible no matter what your budget or technical knowledge level is.
In this article, we’re going to talk about why WordPress is such a good match for news sites. Then, we’ll walk you through the process of starting a news website with WordPress in four steps. Let’s talk news!
Why you should use WordPress for your news website
WordPress is a free piece of software that helps you create any type of website. It’s actually the most popular way to make a website in existence, powering almost one-third of all the websites on the Internet.
Here are a few reasons why WordPress is a great choice for starting a news website…
- It offers a robust editor that’s also easy to use.
- It’s optimized for text content, but you can also add images and other multimedia content easily.
- The platform automatically shows your latest posts at the top, which is ideal for a news site or an aggregator.
- You can use themes and plugins to easily customize your news website.
How to start a WordPress news website (in 4 steps)
Over the next four steps, we’ll cover the basics of starting a news website. When we’re done, your only task is to get to work on your first articles. Let’s begin with the very basics.
Step #1: Choose a domain, select a web host, and install WordPress
The first step to starting a website of any kind is always the same. You’ll need both a domain name and a web host to power your site. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when choosing them:
- Domain name. Your choice of a domain name should be memorable since it’s going to represent your news site from now on. Picking a domain is highly personal, so take your time and weigh up multiple options. If you’re stuck, a domain name generator can help you brainstorm ideas.
- Web hosting. Not all web hosts are made equal. You need to choose an option that offers great performance and features to make your life easier, such as automated backups, top-notch security, and more. In any case, shared hosting or a basic Virtual Private Server (VPS) should be more than enough to start you off. Here are some of the best WordPress hosts.
We do recommend as an easy-to-start web hosting solution by Bluehost. When you’re ready to sign up for hosting, make sure you use one of the Bluehost links on this page. Going through them will result in two things: (1) they are affiliate links, which means that we receive a small commission if you buy through them, (2) it will unlock a $2.75 vs $3.95 discounted price for you. You won’t get this discount if you visit the Bluehost site in any other way.
Once you have both of those, you’ll need to install the WordPress software so that it can power your news sites. Many hosts can automatically install WordPress for you. Or, you can always do it manually. Our post on how to install WordPress covers your options.
Step #2: Find a suitable WordPress news theme
Once you install WordPress, you can use a “theme” to control how your news website looks.
To change your WordPress theme, you’ll first need to pick a new theme to use. The official WordPress.org Theme Directory is a great first stop to find some free options.
Head to the directory, click on the Feature Filter button at the top, then tick the News option under the Subject section and run a search. This way, you’ll only see themes designed for news websites:
Picking a WordPress theme is difficult since we all have unique tastes and needs. However, there are a couple of aspects you should always keep in mind:
- Opt for themes with at least 1,000 installs and an average review score of four or more stars.
- Check if the theme you’re looking at has received updates within the last six months.
If you’re struggling to find a theme that you like, check out our list of the best WordPress news themes.
Step #3: Set up plugins to add greater functionality
WordPress already includes many features you need to run a news website out of the box. However, by using various “plugins”, you can easily add any functionality you think is missing.
For example, you may benefit from using the WP News and Scrolling Widgets plugin. This tool adds a special section on your site for news articles and lets you display your articles in interesting ways:
You may also want to set up a plugin to add social media sharing icons to your news articles. This will let visitors share posts with their friends, which has an impact on traffic numbers and the chance of a viral post. The free Orbit Fox plugin makes that really easy:
Finally, if you want to automatically curate news content from various sources, an RSS import plugin makes it easy to automatically display the latest headlines or use RSS feeds in other ways. For example, you can use a plugin called Feedzy RSS Feeds to import RSS feed items to your news site:
With over 50,000 free plugins, plus thousands of premium options, you also have the option to add plenty of other features!
Step #4: Get up to speed on creating posts and pages within WordPress
So far, we’ve been laying the groundwork for your news website, visually speaking. However, now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty by publishing your first news article.
To do this, you’ll need to use WordPress’ new block editor (AKA Gutenberg). This editor features a modern, uncluttered interface that’s perfect for writing news articles. More importantly, formatting your text and adding multimedia files through the editor is easy:
Using the editor is fairly intuitive, but we recommend you check out our Gutenberg for newbies article if you want to get the most out of it. We also have a more detailed block editor guide.
Once you feel comfortable using the editor, get to work on your first piece and hit the Publish button when it’s ready!
Or, if you don’t like the new block editor, you can also disable the block editor and keep using WordPress’ older Classic editor.
The time for starting a news website is now!
Using WordPress, you’ll be able to write, format and edit top-notch news articles, and showcase them in style.
Starting a news website with WordPress is simple enough, and you can do it in four steps:
- Choose a domain, a web host, and install WordPress.
- Find a WordPress news theme.
- Set up plugins to add other key functionality.
- Get accustomed to the WordPress editor and start creating content.
Do you have any questions about starting a news website with WordPress? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!