Aside from their content, there are many interesting features about some of the biggest news sites out there. One of the areas in which these sites tend to excel is in innovating new ways to present content. Simply because they have so much of it, news sites have trended toward looking more and more like a newspaper. Multiple columns, bold headlines and teaser text that lead to an article continued somewhere else on the site and large images that enhance the headline stories are all features that people who remember the days when the newspaper was dominant will recognize instantly.
Here are some of the interesting trends that you’ll see in websites devoted to bringing people the news these days.
Social Media Formatting
Buzzfeed and several other websites have started to look more and more like the newsfeed on a social media site. In fact, if you take a look at such news sites, you’ll see that the relationship between them and social media is obvious. There are some real advantages to formatting a site in this fashion:
- Instantly recognizable
- Easy for users to navigate
- Easy to feature important content
- Easy to keep content chronologically ordered
Consider adding some of the features of social media sites that really work for people to your news website. You may find that people have an easier time going from article to article and from section to section if you do.
Social Media Linking
Many social media sites are set up so that people can share stories quite easily. This is something that has not been lost on the people who run news websites. Adding social media icons to the bottom of articles is a great way to encourage people to share those articles. The easier you make it the more likely they are to share it.
The other advantage in allowing people to share your content easily is the fact that it allows you to avoid having to pay for a lot of social media advertising. While advertising on social media sites hasn’t proven to be a particularly effective strategy for promoting anything, users actually sharing content on their own most certainly is. Consider adding social media icons to your website.
Too Much Advertising
This is one of the bad trends that you’ll see on news sites these days. If you look at some websites devoted to bringing people the news, you might get the impression that the people who run those sites have simply gotten greedy. Tons of advertisements fill up the columns on these sites and, in some cases, advertising content is snuck in among legitimate content. Even if you flag that sponsored content, it makes it less attractive to users.
Advertising dollars will be important to promoting any news site, but be sure that you are sensible about how much advertising you do on a given page. Don’t let your desire to turn a profit ruin your great website.
Aggregate sites take content from other sites and bring them together on their own site. The Huffington Post is an example of an aggregate site. It has content that is generated by the staff themselves, but there is a great deal of content on the site that actually comes from other sources.
If you’re going to go the route of aggregating news, you have to make absolutely certain that you are doing it in the right way. If you reproduce content without proper attribution or in violation of the way that the original content creator permits, you may find yourself in hot water for copyright violation. This is something you definitely do not want to deal with.
News sites are always great places to look for the latest trends. Just be sure you recognize trends that are good and recognize trends that are bad for what they are.
Matt Dandurand is the CEO of MediaContour.com, offering web design in Los Angeles, CA.