In the age of Internet and mobile phones, the world moves and changes faster than ever before. Trying to keep up with the latest developments related to one’s area of expertise or favorite hobby can be an overwhelming task. To manage it, we are turning to newspapers, TV stations and yes, web sites, to provide us with everything we need to know.
As a webmaster, you can use the desire of people to save time and still stay up-to-date by setting up a news service on your site. It is a great way to get more visitors and keep them coming back to your pages. Because newsworthy events take place daily, your readers will have to stop by often if they want to know what is happening. Any marketing expert can confirm that such return traffic is one of the keys to getting your advertising revenue and your sales to skyrocket.
It sounds like I’m urging you to compete against CNN by reporting major news about every possible subject. That doesn’t seem like a very good move, and it isn’t. However, I’m not suggesting that it is what you should do. Instead, focus on a niche. The big guys can cover a lot of ground with their thousands of reporters, but they aren’t covering everything. For instance, there are hundreds of sites that are using computer hardware news to draw several thousand unique visitors each day. Just how successful you’d be if you received that much traffic?
Is it for you?
Not everyone can benefit from running a news service. Sites devoted to some subjects, such as computer gaming, nearly have to maintain one as there’s always a lot of action in that industry. Other topics aren’t as well suited for this purpose, so estimate whether a news feature would be an useful addition to your site or not before you take any action.
Keep in mind that selecting the stories you’re going to report and writing small blurbs about them takes up time, so you must be willing to devote some of it to this project. A daily news feature requires at least 1-2 hours/day to maintain, depending on how many interesting news there are on that day.
When you begin, select a publishing schedule (daily, every three days, once a week..) and then stick to it unless it is completely impossible to do so. If people become accustomed to seeing you post fresh news every day and you suddenly take a two- week break without telling them about it, you’ll risk losing a good part of your regular readers. Should you eventually notice that your schedule is too tight for you, either switch to one you can handle or take down your news page.
A prominent spot is needed
As there is a lot of work involved in keeping your news fresh, burying them in a place where they can’t be found doesn’t make any sense. The front page is usually the best location for your news feature, as it is the entry point most of your visitors use.
Displaying the news in a visible place ensures that the word about them spreads faster and your audience grows quickly. It will also enable regular readers to easily tell whether you have posted more news since their last visit.
Secure a few sources
You can’t report that something has happened unless you yourself know that it indeed has. Every news feature has got to have its sources and the more you have, the better. At the very least you should follow the largest discussion forums that deal with the topic of your choice, subscribe to as many high-quality newsletters as you can find, read magazines and monitor other news services.
However, the best possible situation that every reporter should target is one where you have established relationships with people who work for the biggest corporations and organizations in your industry. This can be difficult to do, but if you can pull it off your news will be more fresh and you’ll be able to report about stories no one else knows about yet.
Archive old news
After the news items have become stale and other, more current news have bumped them off your front page, don’t just throw them away. Archive everything you write starting from day one and offer your visitors access to these archives. In addition to giving you an excellent way to check whether you’ve already reported a news item or not, visitors love to browse a well- organized news archive.
Lauri Harpf runs the A Promotion Guide website, where he offers free information about search engines, directories and other promotion methods. His site can be found at http://www.apromotionguide.com/