Six Tips to Make Your News Website Successful

Six Tips to Make Your News Website Successful

Of late, we have seen the birth of so many online news publications. This makes the industry more competitive than ever before. Still more, there are other people who are still interested in establishing their own news website after seeing the opportunities the online news industry has to offer. However, they are failing to break the market. The market is too tight to penetrate because there are other publications that have already made a name.

So, in this blog post I have compiled a list of few tips that can help you be successful with your online publication and stand out from the crowd.

1. Know your objective

It’s a common trend that many people just start a news publication just because others are doing well or just for the sake of starting it. They don’t have a single problem they want to solve. Believe me, you can’t survive if you don’t know your main objectives of going online. You have to sit and write down the main objective of your publication. What problem you are solving?

2. Know Your Target Audience

It is also important to know your audience well before you launch your publication. This is because different people love different things. We all have different stuff we like. So, if your publication is about everyone, you will fail miserably. Therefore, you need to ask yourself questions like; Whom am I targeting? From where? What do they like to do on daily basis? What’s their age range? What about their knowledge in terms of computers or internet? What’s their education level? Again, knowing your audience can as well help you get right advertisers who are in that field.

3. Be Unique. Why you?

As said, there are now hundreds of online publications not forgetting blogs. But you can’t tell me that you visit all of them. There is one only which you like and visit very often to check what’s new. Why is it that? Why do you always visit this website? There is something unique. This is what we call value proposition or unique value.

Why you? Why should people bookmark your website? What is it that you are publishing that others are not? Are you authentic or you are those type of people who just copy and paste stories from other popular websites? Again, sit down, come up with something unique that nobody is offering on the market. It can be same things that other people are posting but how can you make yours unique?

Doing this, will even help you to get advertisers or sponsors. Because if you go there, the advertisers will ask you, why should we advertise on your website? Why should we opt for you over the other publications? And you can only be able to convince them if you know your value proposition.

4. Be Consistent

This is a common problem among many online publications in Malawi. If you want to be successful online, make sure you stick to your posting schedule. Are you a daily news, weekly or monthly? Let people know and stick to it. It doesn’t make sense for a daily publication to be posting news just once in a week. You will keep your followers away because nobody can bookmark a site which doesn’t publish often. So, stick to your schedule, keep on posting regularly. Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing also like websites that have got fresh content always, which is another huge boost for you in terms of rankings.

5. Clear Business Model

We have to be honest here. This is business unless if your publication is about humanitarian stories. But either way, you will need money to run it and make it successful. This is why there is need for you to come up with a clear business model. After having listed your target audience, it is important to know who is your paying customer. To do this, you need to segment — mere users and your paying customers.

However, you need to validate it first. Ask your target paying customers if they will be willing to sponsor or advertise on your website. You can do these through random interviews or any other methodology you think can work for you. Don’t start the publication if you are not sure where money will be coming from. So, make sure you validate that you have customers who is willing to pay, very often and at a price you have set.

6. Content

They say content is a king and that’s very true. If you dream to be successful with your news publication, you have to make sure that you are writing articles that can provoke someone’s mind. Something that can draw attention and make people comment and or share with their friends. The pictures should be of high quality and relevant. Before you write any article or a news story, ask yourself as to why that article is worth reading. What action do you want your readers to take or what informed decision do you want them to make at the end of reading the article? Be creative! Don’t just write anyhow.

This goes hand in hand with the title or the headline of your story. Make sure your headlines are catchy to make people click to read your stories.

There are so many things you can do to make your online news publication a success and these were just a few among those. So, if you are our website monthly subscriber you can always get in touch with us for one-on-one strategy.

Meanwhile, let’s hear your views below.

Have You Included Website in Your Year-end Review?

Have You Included Website in Your Year-end Review?

A website review is very important for every organization or company if you are serious about your business. It should always be included in your year-end review.

If you ask people on how their businesses or their personal lives fared in 2016, obviously you won’t get same answers. This is because we all had our own expectations, our own aspirations and resolutions. Some will tell you they have managed to achieve them while others haven’t. It is normal though.

If you are a business owner, how you did in the year ending is very important as this is what determines the status of your business. If you have done well, it will help you to see how you can do even more in 2017. If you failed to meet the targets, definitely, it will help you see where you went wrong and perhaps figure out on how you improve in the future (if it is within your control).

However, when coming up with a year review, it is rare to see many people making a website as one of the priorities on their list. In Malawi, where technology is new, it’s even worse. I can guarantee you that only 10% if not 5% in Malawi will consider their website in their year-end review.

This normally happens because most of them don’t know the importance of a website in their business’s growth strategies. As long as they have the website up and running – it’s cool with them. But let’s be honest here. If you are not including your business website as part of your growth strategy, you are losing a lot of opportunities.

In this 21st Century, the website has proven to be the most cost-effective ways of taking your business to the next level. Many companies have now cut their traditional advertising budget and invest much in online marketing and mainly their website. This is because having a website is no longer an option but a must for every business.

As said in my last post, a website is very important because it connects you with your existing or prospect customers. It is a tool that you can use to update your customers what is happening within your organisation or company, give them offers and provide them with a chance to touch base with you anytime, anywhere. However, above all these, it helps you increase more sales as your Return On Investment (ROI).

So How Can You Best Review of Your Website?

The most important way of reviewing your website is to get opinions from current users. Don’t rely on internal stakeholders only. Listen to the opinions of the users and target audience.

You can do this by producing questionnaires, perform interviews, take a look at your existing web statistics, look at the competition, and get real feedback about existing functionality/features and possible future improvement.

Try to mix both open and closed-response questions when gauging opinion of the current site, areas for improvement, and obtaining suggestions for improvement.

After you have gathered the feedback, it is now time to set your next goals. The best way to do this is to use SMART objectives method.

The objectives should be:

  1. Specific – Your objectives should clearly specify what they want to achieve
  2. Measurable – All objectives should be measurable. This will help you to know whether you are meeting them or not.
  3. Achievable – Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable?
  4. Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?
  5. Time – When do you want to achieve the set objectives?

Following the above method will help you to set clear goals and come up with something measurable.

How much money did you spend on hosting and maintenance fees? How much did you benefit as you ROI? The benefits are not only hard cash. It can be the increased number of customer challenges solved through your website, a number of quotes requested among other things. Let me know by putting your comment below.

Don’t have a website yet? You can check our new offers here.

You may also try our 30-Day free trial on all our hosting packages.

How Much Money is Your Website Making?

How Much Money is Your Website Making?

If you have a website, it is good to sit down and ask yourself how much money the website is making as your Return On Investment (ROI).

Sometimes, people hire a web developer to create a website for the sake of just having it. This could either be because they have no idea what the online industry can offer to their business or simply they don’t know its objectives. Nonetheless, it is so encouraging to note that others are really serious about establishing and maintaining their online brand because they know its benefits.

The most worrisome and unfortunate thing though is that very few of those who are aware of the benefits of online industry do succeed with their website. Instead of generating revenue from their website, they continue spending large sums of money either monthly or annually.

Through my interactions with some companies and organisations who already have websites, I have discovered that the problem lies on several factors. But the main ones are that the client did not communicate his problem well to the agency or he made a wrong choice.

It is clear fact that most business owners need their website to bring more visitors who may potentially become eventual customers. For most NGOs, they want to have more donations coming in and they rely much on the expertise of web development agency to guide them on how they can achieve this.

So, normally the mistake lies on choosing a web development agency. Many business owners make a mistake by choosing agencies either because they are widely known or because they offer cheap services. They barely care whether they get their solution solved or not, all what they need is just to get website.

But believe us, it is not just about having a beautiful website but how it helps your business grow by generating more revenue or bringing you new customers. Consider your website as any other investment. You need to benefit from it.

If your website doesn’t seem to solve any specific problems of your existing customers or offering important information regarding your products and/or services to your prospect customers then it is useless.

To succeed with your website requires a lot of efforts. Don’t make a mistake by talking much about you on the website as most people do. Talk much about your customers. What benefits are they getting? What pains are you solving? And it is not just about talking, they should be able to see it for themselves. That is why the website should be simple and user friendly.

If your website is just beautiful, with no any value – nobody will be interested to come back. Ask yourself, what things can our potential or existing customers find on the website without calling or visiting our offices? How is this website different with the brochure that we have at the reception?

The moment you ask these questions is when you will be able to realise whether your website deserves to exist or not.

At Freelance Web Solutions Malawi, we help to guide our clients on how they can maximise profits from their website. We give them new ideas and come up with strategies which are reviewed after a set period of time to make sure that they are working or they need a change.

Our Objective Based Approach makes this possible. If you are interested, contact us so that we can do a free analysis on your current website and advise you on where you are doing well and where to improve. That’s what makes us different from the rest.

How Much Does a Website Cost?

How Much Does a Website Cost?

How much does a website cost? This question may sound simple but it’s NOT for every professional designer. What people don’t know is that that having a website is just like buying a cellphone or any other product.

You can’t just go to the shop and ask a salesperson for the price of a cell phone and get a straight answer. Obviously, you will always be asked a lot of questions such as the kind of a cell phone you want, features and functionalities etc. Are we not right?

It is the same with a website. Unfortunately, when you ask people these kind of questions, they think you are just wasting their time or you are not serious with your business. This is because they don’t know why most web development agencies ask these questions.

There are so many tools used to develop or design a website and these questions help the designing agency to know the best solution to your needs which normally comes based on your answers. It helps the developer to understand whether what you need is a dynamic website, a static website or just a blog and charges vary depending on the amount of work involved.

You might have experienced that some developers or agencies take ages to complete projects. This again, also happens when you haven’t communicated well your needs and wants. This doesn’t only reflect well on you as a customer but to the agency too! Why? It just shows you don’t know what you are doing and why you are doing the things you are doing.

Your responses to the questions asked also help the developer to know whether your work will require a custom design or if just a simple template/theme can do. So, if you are considering of hiring a web development agency to create a new website or revamping the existing one, these are the things you need to keep in mind.

If you find a web developer who just gives you a straightforward figure – you won’t be wrong to doubt him. Ask yourself questions like, is he really a professional who will do what I want or he is just interested in getting my money? Does he really care about my pains?

Of course, some might have packages already set and will just ask you to choose which one fits your budget. However, I believe these are mere estimates, the final accurate quote will come only after you have given enough required information about your website project.

So, if you are a designing or developing agency, learn to ask so many questions so that at the end, you can come up with a robust product. If you are a person planning to have a new website or planning to revamp the existing one, then this process will not only save you a lot of energy but money as well.

As for us at Freelance Web Solutions Malawi, it’s more than a platform selection. We strive to understand your goals and objectives of the website. What problems you want us to help you solve, your target audience, demographics etc. because we know how important these questions are.

Why You Should Keep Your Website Updated

Why You Should Keep Your Website Updated

Updating website will help you boosts your online reputation and ranks you higher in search engines such as Google,Yahoo or Bing.

So, in this post, I am gonna talk about some of the things that most clients overlook. This is about adding new content to make sure your website is fresh, and updating your Content Management System (CMS) so that it meets latest web standards.

Search engines like Google and people love websites that are user friendly and updated frequently. It boosts your online reputation and ranks you higher in search engines. Imagine visiting a website where you find the same content all the time? Or the moment you click on some pages you are always greeted with 404 Not Found messages? Will you even think of going back to that site? Absolutely, not.

Websites with outdated content and those with broken links tell visitors that either the company no longer exists or doesn’t care about its reputation. As a business owner, this makes you lose a lot of opportunities which can hinder your growth because nowadays, many people depend on searching services or products online. So, if your website is no longer functional, you stand to lose a lot.

Regarding security, if your website is built on Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal and you haven’t logged in to your website for a while- chances are that your scripts are outdated. New versions are released oftenly which contain a lot of bug and security fixes and new features are always added.

Some of these new features might not be compatible with your current theme or plugins and chances are that your site is at risk of getting hacked or even becoming unavailable due to outdated scripts.

The good news is that when you login into your wordpress dashboard or Joomla administration panel, you are greeted with notifications that your CMS or one of your plugin/extensions or themes/templates is outdated and needs an update. Unfortunately, not all people take this seriously or know which steps to be taken.

It might also be because they don’t see the importance of doing it. Therefore, it is always important that you check with your web developer and ask them on how you can go about it.

Of course there are some scripts, like WordPress which now has an auto updating capability. However, if you have some premium addons, it will require your manual interventions by entering a purchase code etc.

But we must warn you- Don’t attempt to update the scripts if you don’t know what you are doing. Sometimes it requires a complete website backup before proceeding in case something goes wrong. So,do this only if you have been trained on how to do it.

Another bad thing could be that you don’t know on which CMS your website is built on. This is because not all developers are kind enough to tell their clients about this and not all clients also think of asking. It is understandable it from the point of view of a client because what he needs is a solution to his problems and doesn’t care about the technology used. However, we can encourage you that if you haven’t considered this, it’s time to do so now!

If you are a Freelance Web Solutions Malawi client, and you have signed a maintenance contract with us, there is nothing to worry about. If not, then we encourage you to contact us and see how you can benefit from our services. We take care of the rest while you blissfully live your life.

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