One of the key features of running a successful website is supplying it with a steady stream of fresh content. Interesting articles and features designed to attract readers, drive traffic, and to give Google’s search engine algorithms something to crawl when they assess a website for value and authority.
For most websites, blogging is the major source of fresh content. Articles are posted to a rigorous schedule, and blog posts are announced to email subscribers and through links on social media outlets. Its a time tested strategy, and many online businesses rely on their blogs as the single most important source of fresh content.
But what if you could supplement your regular blog posts with an easy to create stream of fresh and interesting content that keeps your website humming day in and day out? Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But adding a dedicated news section to your website can keep fresh content flowing through your website, content that will attract visitors and will give the search engine bots a regular stream of data to assess.
News Section vs. Archive
Some websites already have what they call a “news section”. This is typically where they publish press releases and any specific news items concerning the company itself. It’s a smart add-on to a successful website, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. The type of news section I’m advocating is an area of your website dedicated to current affairs news stories that are relevant to your industry, and that will be of interest to your core demographic.
For example, an internet service provider might have a ‘Net News” section that keeps readers informed on changes in government regulations, new scientific advancements that effect the industry, or the latest online safety tips. These would be breaking news stories that are of interest to the website’s general readership.
Blog vs. News Section
A news section is different from a blog, and ideally a website should have both with little or no overlap between the two. Blogs are by their very nature more informal, and prominently feature the opinions of the writer. Blogs also have a wide leeway as regards topics and formats. A news section, on the other hand, must be much more formal, and should never be colored by the opinions of the author. Pieces published on your news section should be timely, and entirely based on fact. There should be no room for personal comment or opinion in your news section.
Once you establish a news section on your website, you have the opportunity to submit it to Google News for increased exposure. You’ll want to submit your news sitemap into Google Webmaster Tools as an additional sitemap. Google has some general guidelines to follow, many that I’ll describe in the next sections.
Sources for Relevant News Stories
To supply your news section, you will have to find sources for breaking news and trending topics. Any reputable news outlet is fair game, and most business professionals are already looking at daily news items with an eye toward what is relevant to their industry. Consider the following sources for timely news items that can be placed in your website’s news section.
- Broadcast news, both television and radio.
- Traditional print and online news outlets can be scanned for relevant news items. Consider bookmarking newspaper sections that regularly contain articles that are relevant to your industry. For example, the above internet provider might bookmark the New York Time’s Science and Technology section.
- Use Google Alerts to find topics and articles that are trending for your industry.
- Keep up to date with press releases on PR Newswire or similar and news items from organizations relevant to your industry.
Writing and Publishing Your News Stories
There are a few important tips to remember when writing up the stories for your news section. First and foremost, remember that these articles are not blog posts, and must be approached with a different level of professionalism. Think like a journalist, and only publish factual accounts of breaking news items. Consider the following when preparing your news stories:
- Cite your sources, and only use sources that are trustworthy.
- Never post anything that can not be verified, and never post anything defamatory.
- Never plagiarize. Tell the story in your own words.
- Proofread your articles for grammar and spelling errors.
- Post your news item as quickly as possible.
- Optimize your article’s headline and title tag for searches.
- Link to your news item on your social media platforms.
- Add social sharing buttons for all of your news items.
Like a good blog, a news section provides a steady flow of new and exciting content for your website. More to the point, a good news section allows you to be on point for hot topics that are trending in real time, thereby keeping your website fresh and vibrant in between regular blog posts. We all know that good content drives traffic, and directly impacts a website’s online performance. By adding a dedicated news section to your website, you can increase the flow of quality content and traffic with minimal effort and maximum return.