This teaching is a full practical demonstration on how to start, build and create a news aggregation website for an online news portal, a sports, entertainment and/or magazine site.
The following are quick briefs on requirements to make an online aggregation website:
- A start up cost/set up of approximately USD180-400
- An SEO optimized ready made mobile WordPress themes that is retina ready
- Acquisition of a domain name & a cost effective Webhosting server that accommodates your traffic growth potentials
- WordPress software installation and configuration
- Installation and configuration of the perfect WordPress aggregation plugin
- Daily commitment and consistent hard work
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Facts/Technical Set up
- What is a news aggregator website?
- 7 Important Hard Core Facts You Need To Know
- Choosing the Perfect WordPress Themes
- Choosing a Domain name and Web Hosting
- WordPress installation and Configuration
- Best WordPress Aggregator plugin
- Practical Set up Instructions (Must Read, Highly important)
- Maintenance of the site
- Getting on Google search Index
Success Tips / Promotion
- How to use Social Media to gain success
- How to monetize an aggregator website
Now, get ready for an interesting but long tutorial!!
What is a news aggregation website?
An aggregation website is one that gathers and collects contents/information from the RSS feeds/atom of selected blogs/sites across the web and pulls them together on one single platform for easy access.
It works in this manner; when you set up an aggregation site, you will need to collect and get contents/articles using the RSS feeds of the source sites/blogs. So anytime the source site/blog publishes an article, it also gets published on your site automatically ( though, on some, it may be subjected to manual approval for publication). The contents in context ranges from text, videos, music and even pictures.
7 Important Hard Core Facts You Need To Know
The following are some important truths you need to know before starting or launching out;
Invest to achieve early success
Not everybody likes to hear or read this painful truth. I am talking from my own experience running something similar. If you honestly wants this business to succeed and achieve early success, you will need to invest in the following area:
- Social Media (Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn)
- Guest Posting
Without them, forget about the growth of the site because it will naturally fizzle out. You see, out there, there are lots of competitions, clustered crowds and challenges. The social media networks, especially Facebook are the ones that will give you the initial traction and also keep you going. Just take a look at successful news aggregator site, check their Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts and twitter, you will be surprised at the thousands /Millions of followers, fans and likes they have.
- Run Facebook Ads ( spend about USD1000 to get roughly 30,000-100,000 likes/followers)
- Do the same thing with LinkedIn and twitter ( but for twitter, use Manageflitter App)
- However, take Facebook seriously!!
Second Points to note;
Have long terms goals
Because you are investing and taking this project as a business, it is recommended you put in place a long term plan. The plan should include a time frame for your ROI (return on investment), your quality time you are spending managing it etc.
Ask yourself questions such as; ‘will this site be online in the next 1-2 years if I am not making the money/revenue I initially thought I would be getting?
Serious hard work and Content Organization
Though we say it is on autopilot, please understand that this is a myth when it comes to being serious with it as a business entity. You will need to check your site quite often to see if everything is going on well. Some sites usually changes the settings of their RSS feeds, this makes the plugin you are using to break and not to be able to import their contents.
Again, running a professionally looking aggregator website is not just by throwing the post anywhere, you need to come up with a structured organization and planning of the contents. Each content should be published under its unique niche (i.e. category) e.g. news on Finance should be published under a ‘finance’ category etc. This makes it possible for your readers to easily find the stories and contents they are looking for. Sort and arrange your site using the right category (explanation on this is discussed further below).
Friend, spend quality time with your site to make sure everything is running smoothly, don’t just set them on autopilot and go to sleep!!
Variety is the spice of Life
Do not be too rigid, people and visitors loves varieties. In simple terms, do not just focus on one single source of getting your stories/news. You need to have lots of sources from where you can be aggregating the contents from.
Give Credits- Attribution
What makes your site to be respected in part is the influence and impact of attribution. This means you should always place the name of the source of the story/news at the end of the story or you simply link to it from the beginning through the title of the article/story.
This act makes your site credible, respected and you are also saved from possible litigation (source of story not suing you in court for content theft).
Forget about making money in the first 6 months
This is a new business venture, I say this because it is the true reality. Most people usually have this initial setback and tends to get wearied; the enthusiasm and passion of running such niche business begins to gradually fade away.
However, if you have it at the back of your mind, that despite your hard work for six months, you are not going to make money, then you are going to be strong and succeed.
The truth is this; you will not make any sensible earnings in the first six months. Let that sink in you!!
Start Local, Start Small, then scale up
I highly recommend you start local i.e. start by running a local news aggregator website for so many obvious reasons.
Running a site on a global scale takes lots of efforts and investments; if you start small, you have the privilege to manage your finances, dominate a niche, dominate a region or country and from there you can start scaling up / expand as your growth increases.
Quite also, you can start with a webhosting for as low as USD3.5 instead of going straight for a package that starts from USD25 upwards. Manage your resource, time and funds available to you. Then you learn many things and start gathering experience as time goes on.
Choosing the Perfect WordPress Themes
The top five most popular online news aggregator website are minimal in style and approach; they are not image or picture centric heavy. This is one reason why they are so successful.
- Drudge report
- The Web List
To build a site for this niche, we will be making use of WordPress themes (SEO ready, mobile responsive website template). One of the chief reason for recommending WordPress software and its themes is because WordPress is the best content management system (CMS) software out there, It is built to contain and manage data; this feature is what most other website building software lacks.
The following are carefully selected premium (you will pay and buy them) WordPress themes you can use for this purpose, some of them looks like alltop, wpdrudge etc.
However, if you want a beautiful themes with pictures etc.; befitting of a proper news site, then I suggest you check the companies below:
Once you are able to get this themes, buy it and download the ZIP file, I will show you in the next stage the steps you need to take in uploading and configuring everything.
Choosing a Domain name and Web Hosting
To have a presence on the net goes beyond the purchase of the above mentioned themes, you will need to get a domain name and have it hosted on a web server. It is after you have achieved these 2 requirements that you can then upload your themes and set everything up.
To get your domain name, I recommend you use the search form below from Bluehost to search, check and verify the availability of any name you can think of.
You can get an idea of domain names from the following most popular news aggregator websites below:
- Name of site: alltop ; domain name: alltop.com
- Name of site: wpdrudge ; domain name: wpdrudge.com
If you are able to get and secure the name of your choice, register it immediately, then the next step is to host the registered domain name as soon as possible.
Buying a space on a web server to host your domain name and the contents you are going to upload in it is called web hosting.
I always recommend bluehost Webhosting Company because with them, you can start small and then scale up as you increase in page views and growth. There is no point paying as much as USD15-USD75 per month to a different webhost elsewhere for a new site. You need to calculate your risk, measure it and minimize it by cutting down on unnecessary expenses.
Bluehost packages starts from USD3.5; with this package, you have unlimited bandwidth to accommodate the heavy task of importing/aggregating contents using RSS feeds on autopilot settings.
Forget about the nonsense people says about bluehost, they simply wants you to spend your money on expensive webhost. But of course, by the time you start getting about 10,000 pageviews per day and upward, common sense should also tell you that your USD3.5 per month is not going to handle such level of traffic, you need to upgrade your hosting packages.
Some of the reasons why I am still using Bluehost and also recommending them to you is summarized below:
- The company is reliable and highly dependable.
- Their customer service in unmatched; they operate a 24 hours customer service with live chat for online customers that are present.
- Perhaps, one of the best deal about them is this; they refund your money back once you decide to cancel your hosting with them, their refund policy is unmatched in the industry.
- They have a very strong secured platform offering a seamless integration of your domain name DNS and hosting all under one single platform.
- If you register a domain name and decide to host the name, they make the domain name free, saving you a total cost of approximate USD18.
Once you achieve, this, then the next stage is the installation of the WordPress software, explained below.
WordPress installation and Configuration
WordPress is best for this type of business because it is the best content management system out there, with excellent organization and date management.
Bluehost Company also handles the installation of this software for you in the background and under few minutes, the installation will be completed.
Follow the instructions and images below for easy understanding of the whole process.
Note down the following important points;
- The URL address of your site: www.example.com
- WordPress login address: example.com/wp-admin/
- The WordPress login address requires two things: Username and password, the username is your email address or ‘Admin’; while the password should be created by you during the installation of the software.
- Because, anytime you want to work on your site, you will need to login to your WordPress site and not your Bluehost account. You are done with Bluehost for now.
- So, anytime you need to access your site and do one or two things; you make use of the WordPress login URL address (the image below will be displayed to you)
- Just type your username and password!!
Best WordPress Aggregation plugin
WPEMATICO PLUGIN image
There are lots of aggregator plugins out there, both free and premium. So many people will claim theirs is the best.
However, I am a living witness of actually running a news aggregator website with focus on South Africa, I only made use of a plugin and it really worked very well for me.
I can only recommend two aggregator plugins:
- WPP Plugin
However, it is only Wpematico I used, I do not have experience with the second one I mentioned ( WPP plugin).
To me, Wpematico is the best aggregator WordPress plugin; their free version is 100% perfect for running your type of minimal site design, however, if you are thinking of going advance, you may need to buy their Add ons ( e.g. getting full posts and not excerpt).
Watch this video on how to use the Wpematico plugin and set it up properly:
In this guide further below, I will show you how to install, activate and use this plugin, along with some other important plugins for a WordPress site.
Practical Set up Instructions
This is the main stage, this is where we are going to practically learn about how to handle and achieve the main objective.
Under this, the following issues will be discussed and practically explained.
- Uploading and installing the aggregator plugin purchased
- Header, footer and Logo Adjustment/ Settings
- Setting your Menu settings
- FrontPage Design- Arranging your categories, optional picture uploads etc.
- Widgets, Pages, category, post set up instructions
- Set up permalinks
- Installing needed WordPress plugins
- Installing the Aggregator plugin / Setting up the plugin
Step 7 (1)
Theme /template Upload and installing of aggregation plugin
If you have purchased the required templates as earlier suggested, then we need to upload it; I suggest we upload the demo contents of the themes so that your site will look almost the same as that of the templates.
Follow this guide to do that:
- Login to your WordPress (using your WordPress login address i.e. example.com/wp-admin/
- Use your username and password to login
- When inside your dashboard, Locate themes (sometimes, you will see it under appearance, at the left hand side), click on ‘ add new themes’
- On the page displayed, click on upload button, check for where you downloaded the purchased themes (it is usually downloaded in ZIP file format). Click on it and upload it.
- After 1-10 minutes, it should be done, click on activate and the theme will be activated.
Demo upload of the WordPress themes
We are not over yet, remember we are uploading the demo so that everything will be easy, to do this,
- First, you will need to locate and find the demo file inside the ZIP file. However, you will need to UNZIP that file, then secondly, look for the demo contents (usually, it is denoted by .XML or demo.xml etc.)
- After the above, go to your dashboard, scroll down and locate ‘tools’, from there, click on ‘import’
- From the import page, click on the ‘import plugin, it is the last option displayed as seen above.
- Install and activate the plugin
- After successful activation, the plugin will locate the demo.xml (or anything that looks like.XML, it may be another name and not demo.xml); instruct the plugin to import it.
- The plugin will ask for some information, just ascribe all contents to Admin and click on import demo
- After 2-10 minutes, the demo contents will be uploaded.
The advantage of using the demo upload is that all technical settings is also being imported, so you are just going to edit them to your own desire and preferences.
Go to your homepage and refresh it, the new site will show and look like the demo from the purchased template exactly.
If you don’t understand very well, I suggest you watch the video below:
Now, to the next step.
Step 7 (2)
Header, footer and Logo Adjustment/ Settings
Below is the image of the header
The header is important because it houses the menu (very important element), logo and the byline (brief description) and sometimes the large advertisement (728 by 90).
To adjust and set the header, see below:
- See the dashboard and look out for the ‘theme options’; from there, instructions to edit the header is there
- Another vital area to check in order to edit the header is the widget area; check under appearance and you will see the widget, from there, you can edit the header and remove the elements you do not want any more.
The logo represents your brand and to upload your own logo, follow the same steps as outlined for the editing of the header, especially in the ‘theme options’ and also in the widget settings area.
In the case of the menu, detailed instructions for it is further explained below.
The image below is the footer; it’s a graphical representation so that you will understand better.
The footer is the bottom base of the site and it contains / houses some pages etc. To edit the footer, check the same theme options and the widgets area.
Step 7 (3)
Setting your Menu settings
The menu is the most vital element of the header as seen below.
The menu has two parts, the primary and secondary menu and both of them can be adjusted and edited in the menu settings.
A successful news aggregation news website leverage on the navigation power and influence of the menu; pages and posts that will convert should be the main elements you should put inside your menu.
To create a menu and have it appear under the header as seen above, follow the steps below:
- Click on menu, you will see the menu icon under ‘appearance’
- On the menu page, click on ‘create menu, give it a name (e.g. topmost), then make it as the ‘primary’.
- Towards the left hand side, you will see lists of all posts, pages and categories of the site; select the right page and it will be added to the main you’ve created. Do this and build up your menu
- Go to your homepage and you will see the menu appearing under the header.( remember to refresh the page so that you will see the new changes).
Step 7 (4)
FrontPage Design- Arranging your categories, optional picture uploads etc.
Now, the FrontPage design and settings is a serious, one in which you have to be careful in setting, most especially for a news aggregation website.
Now, if you are using a minimal design with no featured images, it is a different ball game compared to when you want featured images to be present.
First, it is important you have all the categories of the site to be present and displayed on the homepage (FrontPage).
Your first task should be the creation of the various categories (you can read how to create a category as you read further down).
- Local News
Now, all these categories (and the ones I am unable to remember right now) should all be displayed on the FrontPage).
Again, you will need to determine if you want the excerpt of the news/stories to be displayed or just the headlines/title; though these is dependent on the settings you chose in the aggregator plugin (will discuss about this further below).
If you are using a theme that displays images/features images on the FrontPage, then you can also make your site to be like that. It also depends on the import instruction you assign to the aggregator WordPress Plugin (how to do this is explained further below).
To edit the FrontPage/homepage and implement what I have discussed, follow this guideline:
- Going to the theme options
- Going to the Widgets
- Going to the FrontPage directly
See the image on this below
Please remember, that this feature depends on the theme you are using. Some theme providers (company) may decide to package every editing instructions in the theme options and then the theme options in the dashboard, maybe below appearance etc. Just look at the dashboard and try and see if there is one.
If there is none in above, then the use of the widget settings is the best place to edit anything you want. You can start adding the categories one by one to the FrontPage all from the widgets. Don’t stress yourself because you will see the links and instructions clearly in A, B, C language.
Sometimes, you will see the edit link directly on the FrontPage (you will see it if you are in edit mode for the homepage).
Step 7 (5)
Widgets, Pages, category, and post set up instructions
The widget is pre-made because it serves as the main engine room of the entire set up activities of the site. image of the widget is shown above.
From the widgets, you can set up the sidebars, set up your Google AdSense placement etc; even from the widgets, you can set up the FrontPage, edit the headers, footers etc.
Because we made use of the imported demo from the purchased WordPress themes, it means some pages will have been created.
Go to the page source, as seen below, and edit/remove the pages that are not supposed to be there.
If you want to create a new page, follow the guidelines below:
- On the dashboard, you will see the link for ‘Pages’, visit the icon and click on ‘add new page’.
- On the new page, give it a title and publish it.
Please note a page is different from a post!!
All your news, stories and published updates falls under the post. The category is made up of posts; however, you should know that some posts would have been published already because we made use of the demo contents.
So, go to the post settings page and remove the odd ones there, as seen below
To learn how to publish a post, I recommend you watch the video below:
However, you can also follow the guidelines below:
- From the dashboard, you will see the icon for post, go there and click on ‘Add new post’
- On the post page, as seen below, give the post a title, select the category under which you will publish it (you will see this option at the right hand side of the post); and towards the end of the same right hand side, chose a featured image ( you will need to upload it); but of course, you should remember whether you want images to show on the FrontPage or not, but if you are running a minimal site as expected of a mobile responsive news aggregation website, then no need for this.
Step 7 (6)
Permalinks Default Adjustment
Just follow the image below and adjust the permalinks settings; the permalinks settings determines how your published URLs will look like on the browser and these setting is of significant importance to the search engines.
- Go to ‘settings’, from there to permalinks
- Change the default (present) settings to a name based URL permalinks structure ( for this niche, let it be in date based archive)
- Click save, and exit the page
Step 7 (7)
Installing the Aggregation plugin
Please be patient because I assume you know all these things and just wants to know how to set up the aggregation stuff, however, this detailed tutorial is both for you and the people that does not know anything about this whole stuff.
Now, we need to install and activate necessary WordPress plugins that will power your site; the installation and configuration for the specific aggregator plugin is discussed after this particular task.
Basic and important plugins to install and activate on your site are listed below:
- Yoast SEO plugin
- W3 Total Cache
- Akismet Plugin
- Jetpack plugin
- Sumo plugin
- Nofollow plugin (very important so that your site will not be leaking dofollow backlinks!!)
Do install all these plugins and have them activated. To do this, watch the video below or follow the images below:
Or following images:
Step 7 (8)
Detailed Set up /Video
This is the main work and I would love you to be patient and follow the teachings carefully. If you need help or you do not fully understand, please reach out to me.
As earlier mentioned, please understand the following facts:
- I am making use of the Wpematico plugin, https://wordpress.org/plugins/wpematico/
- Make sure you have already created your categories
- Have it at the back of your mind that only the ‘excerpts’ will be aggregated
- Have the lists of various RSS feeds/atom you are going to use;
Allow me to explain this aspect very well
- Please know that not all sites allows you to copy and use their RSS feeds/atoms; some will even hide it, so you will have to dig and find out yourself. A very simple and easy way to do that is to simply put ‘feed’ or ‘rss’ at the end of the URL address e.g.
- lasvegaslatest.com/feed or www.lasvegaslatest.com/rss ; if the feed or rss is working, the feeds will be displayed.
Again, an important development you must know.
Let us assume that my category contains the following, ‘ politics’, ‘finance’, ‘local news’ etc and I have also configured these to appear at the FrontPage.
Now, I will either look for;
- A respected blogs/sites that specifically deals with that particular niche e.g. finance
- A respected news site and get the feed from them.
However, to get the feed from a news site, do not just put feed or RSS at the end of the main homepage URL, but rather, go for the category and put the feed or RSS there, an example below:
- lasvegaslatest.com/category/finance/ , then I will now put the RSS or Feed like this: www.lasvegaslatest.com/category/finance/feed/ or www.lasvegaslatest.com/category/finance/rss/
Doing this will give me articles/news/stories from that particular niche/category; it is this type of feed you are going to arrange and put inside the settings of the aggregator plugin, and once the plugin runs and import/aggregate from that source, it will arrange them in the ‘finance’ category of your own site etc.
So, the work before you is to list out various sites you are going to get your feeds from and check them out one by one; after this, implement the above strategies
- Again, it is not advisable as a starter to set your settings on ‘automatic publish’; you will need to sort out the weed and remove the ones you do not want the visitors and public to see. This is important because you are just starting, as time goes on, you can set it on ‘automatic publishing’.
The success of any would be news aggregator website is to be patient and do not implement the ‘automatic publish’; learn from your aggregator plugin, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse till all is good to go on automatic mode!!
Installing and setting up the Aggregator plugin
The WpeMatico plugin can be seen at https//:www.wordpress.org/wpematico; to install the plugin, follow the same guidelines above on how to install a plugin.
To get the settings, watch the video below:
Note some observations:
- Most settings you are going to select on the plugin (e.g. import featured images etc.) depends to some extent on the type of WordPress themes you have bought and want to use. Again, some of these features may not be perfect except you buy premium version of the plugin.
- Secondly, you need to watch the ‘timing’ you are giving the plugin to fetch these feeds. If the timing is too close (e.g. in seconds), then it means you will having lots of contents to publish and it may also weigh down the server (unless you upgrade your hosting to a higher hosting, which means you pay higher).
Maintenance of the site
The beauty of using WordPress software is that you do not need to worry about updating the software every now and then. This is one reason why it is very much secured compared to others.
Maintenance of the website is basically:
- Updating your plugins
- Updating your WordPress themes
- Editing/Updating your contents
Now, the first two points is very much easy; you may need to check and login to your WordPress dashboard once per week etc. to check. There will be a notification telling you that some plugins and your themes need update. Just click on the link to update and it automatically update by itself.
The third point is done manually and even without updating it, you are safe. You may need to check the settings of the aggregation plugin, check whether some feeds are broken (if broken, the plugin will tell you because red sign will be displayed) etc.
Getting on Google search Index
You are not done yet, you need to get on the radars and wings of the search engines, starting with Google.
Your starting point will be to get on board Google search console, register freely (using a Gmail account, do no use your personal Gmail account, create a new one for this purpose)
You will need to submit your site to Google search console ( https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) for it to get indexed. To do that, I recommend you watch the video below:
Once you achieve all the steps above, then you have finished everything on how to set up a news aggregation site.
Google News ( Requirements and submission)
Read the two resource materials below:
The next step discusses how to make it successful and make money.
Success Tips / Promotion
The following are success tips you need to implement.
How to use social media to gain success
I briefly mentioned this above (at the beginning of this tutorial) on the importance of social media networks.
Friend, you need them; without the social networks, your site will never be known and nobody will visit it at all.
Building up credibility and awareness starts with the use of Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Go and open a free account on these social networks,, set up your profile very well, get active and start sharing your news post on them.
You can read these resource material further:
How to make money from a news aggregation website
Making money from this type of site is difficult but achievable. It is difficult because you are using attribution and linking out to the source origin. Your only solution is the use of Google AdSense.
Now, let me explain what you can do to use Google AdSense to make quality money from this business niche.
- Do not link out to the source from your title (especially when the post is on the FrontPage). This means that whenever a visitor clicks on the ‘topic’ or ‘title’ of any news story, it should not go to the original source, but should open to the excerpted post you published on your site. Do you understand?
- Only link out to the source at the end of the ‘excerpted’ story/news. E.g. Read more or Source should be stated at the end of the excerpts.
- Set the aggregator plugin to only fetch the ‘excerpts’ from the source feed/RSS (this can be anywhere from 40-150 word count).
- Do not fetch the full content, doing so is against the law and Google will ban your accounts
- Use Related WordPress plugin to show related news story; this will make your post page to be full and active
- Once you do and accomplish all the above mentioned points, then you can insert your Google AdSense codes into the site.
In addition, depending on the niche you are, you can also apply for an Amazon account and start referring Amazon products on your site.
However, the best way to make money is by direct advertisement. This only works if your site is popular, how grown to the extent that you are getting over 10,000 page views per day. Then you can start writing to companies to run adverts on the site.
This is a comprehensive guidelines of 5500 word count; I hope this resource will be helpful to you in setting up this niche online business.
If you need help, do reach out to me, I will be glad to be of assistance.