10 September 2013
10 September 2013,

Whether you’re just now giving your publication an online home or you’re updating from an older style website, it’s easy to get over whelmed with the overall project.

The key is to start simple and gradually grow.

Even our most basic packages give our publishers a wide variety of features, but that doesn’t mean you have to use every single one of them right from the start.
Start by making sure your site effectively provides the content your readers want, and then start adding features to engage them.

Before you take your site live, it must have a basic content functionality. This means your navigation menus must be complete as well as the categories assignments on your home page, as readers will see both of these instantly when coming to your site.

Although you can switch your mast head at any time, it’s a good idea to have a quality design in place from day one. Just like in print, branding your publication is important online.

Deciding how to organize your content is also a good goal to cover during initial site design. You can always add or remove categories as you go, but starting with a good content organizing system makes your site stronger. Online readers want to quickly navigate to the content that concerns them.

Be sure to have your online categories and subcategories reflect the organization of the sections in your print edition.

Once you have the basic content flowing on your website, now is the time to look at setting up other features such as reader polls, online classified ads, or reader forms.

When you choose to set up one of these features on your website, be sure to get it fully up and running before allowing your readers access to it. Nothing makes a reader angrier than clicking a link to place a classified ad and learning it goes nowhere. Yes mistakes sometime happen, but avoiding the avoidable will help your website grow faster.

Each publication is different, so it’s important to utilize the features that your readers find useful. Listen to your audience, then give them what they want.

After you have the features you want set up, it’s time to start making money by hosting online ads. With our system, you can place Google ads or locally sold ads anywhere on the website. If you don’t have any local ads ready to go yet, I suggest you sign up as an advertising partner with a serve such as Google. This gives you the ability to place different ads around your site, making it look more complete, until you can sell some local ads.

This is just a basic guideline to setting up a new website for a publication. Stays focused and keep it simple, it will grow over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was any great online newspaper.

If you find that designing your new site takes too much time away from you or your staff, we are here to assist you. For a small one-time fee, one of our professionals customizes your website to your specifications. For more information, call 1-888-685-1788.

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