How to Create a Newspaper or Magazine Website Using WordPress

Over the past decade, the number of people getting their daily news online has exploded.  Over 37% of Americans now read online news at least three days per week and global news sites are hitting record traffic levels.  According to ComScore, Yahoo News had 138million unique worldwide visitors in November 2009, with Google News recording 100 million, The New York Times 92 million and CNN 66 million. 

The public’s appetite for online news is booming and more and more people are setting up their own news blog each and every day.  So we’ve put together a guide on how to create a newspaper or magazine website using WordPress.  This free website builder program has all the features you’ll need to create a visually rich, reader orientated site that you can manage yourself.

What Kind of News Website?

If you decide to develop a news website or blog, it’s best to choose a niche market.  Unless you’re a journalist with a global reputation, there’s no point trying to compete with the big boys and start a global news channel online that can compete with the likes of CNN or the BBC.  Choose a niche market where you know you’ll be able to secure a good slice of your audience.

Perhaps you’re an expert in a particular field and want to create an online newspaper with the latest industry developments?  Or do you want to create a travel magazine about your local area?  Whatever you decide, do your research and ensure you have the knowledge to create a unique website that people will want to read over and over again. 

3 of the Best WordPress News Themes

Once you’ve downloaded WordPress as your free website builder, there’s a vast choice of free and premium themes available to suit your needs.  A theme is basically a software package that creates a design and layout for your website, to which you then add content and images. 

Here are our top 3 news and magazine themes, which are available to download from our themes page:

  1. News Magazine Theme 640this is a free WordPress news theme that’s very clean and simple yet visually impressive.  It’s ideal for news or magazine blogs, with a three column display for every post and page, alongside plenty of customizable features to make your website unique.  You can also showcase 5 featured categories on your homepage, which is great for enticing your readers to click on your latest features and stories. 
  2. Magazine WordPress Themethis theme is ideal for a magazine style website, with a simple and reader-friendly design that will showcase your headline stories and latest features.  Made by StudioPress, who are one of the leading theme designers, you get a lot of support with this package.  It costs $59.95 for use on one website, which provides access to detailed theme tutorials and future theme updates at no additional cost.
  3. myMag:  this news theme is packed with features to enhance your readers’ experience.  You can add JavaScript slideshows to the front page to showcase your latest news in pictures, a built in news ticker, drop down menus and three widget ready sidebars.  You can choose from three color themes and there are multiple columns to display all your latest features and news stories.  This is a really great theme, especially considering it’s completely free to download and use.

5 Essential News and Magazine Plug ins

Whatever news niche you decide on, there are a number of key plug ins to help you bring in the traffic, visually impress your readers and ensure they keep coming back for more. 

Here are 5 essential news and magazine plug ins, which are all available to download from our resources page:

  1. I Love Social Bookmarkingif you want to publicize your blog you need to make it easy for your readers to share your content with their social networking friends.  This plug in creates a drop down menu after each post, which allows readers to quickly share the article through a number of social media networks, including Twitter and Facebook.  Another great social sharing plug in is ShareThis, which displays social media icons after each post. 
  2. VideoPressreaders now expect moving images to be part of their online experience, and this plug in makes it extremely easy to embed video from sites such as YouTube and GoogleVideo onto your WordPress website.  This plug in is the perfect complement to your free website builder program, and although it costs $59.97 per year, it really is worth the investment if you plan on adding a lot of video to your news website.  For more information about putting moving images on your blog, this article provides 3 Simple Ways to Add Video to Your WordPress website
  3. News-Ticker: this plug ins allows you to create a sliding or fading news ticker of all your latest posts and articles.  This really brings your website to life and is the perfect way to showcase all your latest news and spark interest in your articles.  You can also display images in the ticker, set the number of posts to display and the ticker speed.  This plug in is definitely recommended for magazine and newspaper websites to create a modern style that’s up to the minute.
  4. Magazine: if you have a website or blog offering news and features about the latest developments in your industry, you may want to keep your readers informed and provide them with a newsletter.  This unique plug in allows your readers to download a monthly magazine PDF that contains all your posts from the previous month.
  5. WP Post Columnsthis plug in makes the job of converting your free website builder program into an impressive magazine or newspaper website much easier.  It creates columns within each of your posts or web pages, allowing you to easily produce the look of a magazine or newspaper, without having to write complicated html pages and tables.  This is ideal for a newspaper style blog, providing you with a simple method of producing a column or two of text, alongside an image.

WordPress makes it extremely easy to create your own newspaper or magazine style website and blog.  The key to success is to find the right niche, use social media to get the word out there about your site and then set about writing some highly engaging news stories that ensure your readers come to your site first for all the latest news.

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About the Author

Melanie Citron

Melanie Citron is a freelance writer and self proclaimed “techie” who lives in Denver with her husband, Glenn, and their three dogs Ralph, Sam and Billy. Melanie has become the “go to person” for creating online businesses for her friends and family. “I do it every day so I may as well write about it” Her knowledge has appeared on websites, in local newspapers and in person as a public speaker. In her spare time Melanie loves the outdoors and hikes and cross country skis.