As someone who has launched a hyper local news site in Contra Costa County, I encourage everyone to launch their own website. Whether it’s a hyper-local news site or even a niche website providing any type of information—food and wine, drones, beauty supply, clothing tips, toys, trends, kids stuff, just create something.
How to start:
- Pick Community to Cover: This could be geography or even a niche, such as food or entertainment. If you love High School sports, create a High School sports site. Either way, your hyper local site should be niche.
- Purchase a Domain Name: Costs vary from $5 to $20 for a basic name that is available. The domain does not matter as much as the content on the hyper local site or blog.
- Website Template: These can cost anywhere from $15-$100 depending on the one you want. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars with a developer if you are willing to learn a little bit of HTML or Google how to do something.
- Web Hosting: In six years, I’ve used three hosting companies. Verve Hosting, BlueHost and currently using A2Hosting. A2 Hosting by far has been the best experience for me because of the simultaneous connections and can handle traffic.
- Social Media: Finally, be sure to set up social media pages that reflect your business or website. As someone who build my audience on the back of social media, it worked at the time, but now building an audience on Facebook is harder than ever. Social Media is not the savor, the whole point is to drive people to your website, not keep them on social media platforms. For those with Facebook Groups, consider investing time to building a website instead. If you need help, we can help you with this.
If you are launching a website of your own, clearly you need a solid computer, but after that, the equipment becomes subjective, especially if you are going with videos and sound. But the one thing you will want to invest in is a decent DSLR camera and good microphone.
Personally, I love the Canon Rebel Series. They are cheap, easy to use and if I break them I am not going to cry as I would with a $2,000 camera. The following products are ones that I have used and would recommend because they have worked for me.
Again, its not that I am trying to sell you something, but want to save you time in money in looking for your own equipment.
The Canon Rebel T6I is a very good entry level camera that will not break the bank. I am currently using out in the field while shooting incidents that will allow you to learn as you go. Easy controls, shoots quickly and again, a good value for the dollars spent. Most importantly, the WiFI is a fantastic feature and the battery life is solid.
The Canon Rebel T7I is the newer model that I do not use out in the field yet still using mostly for video as a backup. This is a little higher end from the T6I but again, a good value for the money spent.
If you want to focus on video, a solid entry level camera is the Sony Alpha A6300. It is a bit more in price, but its worth it when it comes to video. Where Sony will get you is if you want better a better lens. But again, this camera gets the job done without spending thousands of dollars.
Finally, more important than visual is audio. A few items you may want to look into are microphones. Again, these are products that you should only need to buy one time every few years but they make all the difference in the world in finished products.
When it comes to audio, just make the investment and go with Rode as it will save you headaches later if you are using lower quality products.
Having a high-quality camera and good sound is the key to becoming visually appealing. It also will help you grow social media quicker while building credibility.
No matter what you do whether it is news or a niche, do right by your readers. Remember, the truth is always undefeated.