Four Elements That Make Up a High-Performing News Site
What makes a high-performing news site? Aside from having loads of relevant articles published daily, the quality of content and overall branding is what truly sets a great news site apart from its competition.
As a website owner, your goal is to provide readers with a meaningful reading experience while respecting the value of news. Yet, with any news website, the way you present that information is just as important as the information itself.
In this article, we introduce 4 elements that make up a high-performing news site and provide insight and tips for improvement.
Smart structure is important for any website displaying tons of content. If you want a great news website, organize your content as efficiently as possible.
Through a process called “content mapping”, prioritize the right news at the right time to the right reader. This will allow your visitors to easily find your news. If your content is diverse, use modules to strategically classify and sub-classify your content based on categories. This will give distinction and promote search engine optimization. Once you’ve set the foundation, apply “visual content hierarchy”. Prioritize which stories or sections are more important and highlight them to attract readers.
Most media sites today use advertising space for monetization. If this applies to you, make sure to strategically place ads against your existing content. This will help maximize space, improve customer journeys and encourage advertising inquiries.
Why is having a clear content structure important? When a page is heavy with content, but lacks hierarchy, it’s easy for readers to get distracted or lost. Browsers also look at the semantic HTML structure of your site and positively impact your SEO, if applied correctly.
User Experience includes site navigation, customer journey, user behavior, individualized preferences and device type. It stems from a process of identifying errors and finding solutions in your overall site experience. Ultimately, goals are centered around prompting a site action or keeping visitors loyal.
As for news-related content, investing in User Experience will either make or break your website. If your site is hard to navigate and unintuitive to discover more content, you could easily disinterest your readers. But, if you assess your user’s journey on your website and learn their preferences and behavior, there is a high chance they will continue engaging with your site.
In any case, good User Experience isn’t achieved overnight. Practice patience, gather enough insight and test repeatedly to strike that perfect balance.
On large media sites like The New York Times or Bloomberg, you’ll notice a common look and feel. A sleek, modern and minimalistic design is all that is needed to bring the content to life. That’s because people aren’t coming to see the website itself, rather to read the news that it contains. Consider a design that is not too overpowering, but rather supportive to its content.
Blend beautiful typography, imagery and contrast for effective design. This will positively enhance structure, User Experience and your reader’s overall perception. Note that these are complementary additions and should not distract from the actual content.
As for color, consider using white for large space, neutral colors for headlines and subheadings, and brighter colors as accents for call to actions, depending on your branding and other factors.
Lastly, typography controls the “design” of your actual text. It can influence the way your reader initially perceives an article’s tone and impacts an article’s readability. A great article design will also include multiple layers of headers and sub headers, helping both the reader and browser know what’s the most important content and what’s not. (Hint: think visual hierarchy).
A high-performing news site does not exist without high-quality content.
Write articles that meet quality standards, engage your audience and are true to your voice. To compliment your written text, add rich media like images, video, podcasts and webinars in places likely to capture attention and enhance user engagement. (i.e your homepage).
With content, it’s important to create with SEO in mind. Focus on ‘Key Phrases’ instead of ‘Keywords’, and include page meta titles and description tags for an extra boost. Be aware that sources, images and links can influence the way your articles are read too.
Lastly, if your business goals are lead generation and engagement, add your social media links and newsletter subscription in strategic locations. With strong call-to-actions, you can drive visitors offsite to other locations while still keeping them loyal.
Are you a small or large scale media company in need of website improvement? Contact Lúgh Studio for a free consultation.