Top Features of a News Apps and Portal : A Product Owner’s Guide

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Are you a media agency or a journalist looking to target millennia’s or the right audience to engage with your media/news content? Having only a website no longer can make the cut to generate the millions of views you want on your news articles. With mobile app development company for news app, you can increase your reach by at least 3x by developing a news app for Android and iPhone devices.

Irrespective of the size of your organization i.e. if you are a large agency or an independent journalist, cloud tools provide you the right scale while keeping in the right budget. Subscription-based systems allow single user vs agency-level licenses allowing you to build websites and apps based on your agency size.

Based on our experience, below are the key success factors as well as key features each News Agency Product Owner should keep in mind while building their publishing platform.

Key Success Factors for a News App

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – For any news site or app, SEO is the most critical element because as soon as a news article drops, search engines should pick it up and surface it on Google search before other news outlets report it. A news platform should be highly Search engine optimized and should have a dedicated team of SEO experts driving the same. But that said, the nature of high churn good quality news content can automatically contribute to search results rankings, so if you have a great focus on high-quality content, you can be assured that the search engines will value your site in its results ranking.
  2. Page Performance – When someone wants to consume fast content like news, the user does not want the wait for a page load, so it makes a lot of sense to invest in page performance by writing optimized code, investing in high-performance servers, establishing CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), etc. Another key aspect of SEO is page performance, Google will definitely rank your page better if he is highly performant.
  3. Mobile Reach – 70-80% user now consumes content on mobile, so you cannot afford to have a site which is only developed well for laptops or desktops. Building a Mobile Responsive front end for news apps is very important for not only higher reachability but also for search results ranking. Google lists the Mobile compatibility of a website as one of the key contributors to page ranking.
  4. Language Availability – In this global era, content is going more and more local. If you want to increase the readability by 2x, 3x or even 5x times, its important to build a multi-lingual best ios news app. But do not rely on automatic translation tools like Google Translate as they are not 100% accurate. In order to achieve multi-lingual content, you would have to ensure you also have a team of other language writers who can write in other languages or journalists who can write news in the specific local language.
  5. User Analytics – Don’t just focus on traffic on your sites, use end-user analytics using free tools like google analytics, etc. to determine what category or type of content are your end-users liking. You can focus your teams in that direction because a repeat user will only come when you serve them content that they like.
  6. Uniqueness / Innovation – Gone are the days of just simple journalism, you need to think differently because the average time span a user spends on a site or news has drastically reduced, so you need to capture the user’s attention within the first 5-10 words. Hence you need to start thinking differently like how you can summarize a long news article into a summary, or allowing the user to just enable an audio player and the news starts getting read out to him/her, allow swiping gestures to go through content just like they go through Tinder, etc. There are many such innovative ideas that can make your news app unique. Our UX experts at Grey Chain, can help you think through such concepts in a discovery workshop setting depending on your use case.

Key Features of a Best News App

  1. Multi-Format News Content – Video, Audio, Text, Images, GIFs – you name it and now news needs to exist in all these forms. So, if you are a news media house just churning our text and image content, it is not enough. Video and short-form content are the most effective tools to engage audiences. So if you are building the news app please ensure it supports all forms of content and that too with a fast loading experience.
  2. Easy Navigation – News sites by design are heavy on content and in order to ensure your end user reaches the right content, Navigation should be thought through with a clean and simple UX. If you are mostly serving similar content like entertainment news, etc. then your focus should be on how to keep on serving related articles one after the other to the user for e.g. if a user had read through the content of a TMZ new type article, then the next one should be a similar hot scoop.
  3. Category / Interest Subscription – There is no better engagement if you users start subscribing to content by type. Repeat customers it he one that bring in the most ad revenue to your platform or is more inclined to pay for any premium service. So give users options to subscribe to content types, so that the right content is pushed to their feed.
  4. Adaptive Notifications – In-App notifications can be a very effective method of keeping your user interested. But abuse of in-app notifications can lead to your user uninstalling your news app. You would have seen that many apps start sending you notifications as soon as you install them, it is a risk that some news app choose to take because they are working on collecting your usage data because if out of 10 notifications, you end up opening the political article, they would know that you should be served more of political content. Adaptive notifications are based on some simple rule based engines to complex AI / ML models which allows the platform to learn and engage the user automatically.
  5. Fast Browsing – Though this sounds obvious, but this does not mean that your site should be only high performing. This means that by the time, the user has finished reading the current article, the next content has already loaded in the backend, so that it opens in an instant. A lot of news app keep on optimizing the page performance, but even simple UX tricks like pre-loading anticipated content can lead to a higher engagement rate.
  6. Optimized Advertisement Space – Admit it, ads are annoying, but the correct ad placement can make a huge difference. Ads no longer need to be random, it is highly imperative that you engage the right ad provider who can provide you various kinds of ads that suit your content type for e.g. if your news articles is about a car model release, the ads of competitor cars are more likely to get a click or even less of dislike from the user as compared to a buy a home decor product ad. Ad placement and that too with optimized content form can make or your break your user engagement and effectively your ad revenue.
  7. Premium Subscription – As I said before, Ads are annoying, so why not offer users who are willing to pay that extra 1$ or 5$ to have the facility to remove ads all together. This is just one type of premium subscription, you can even think about having hot off the press to be made available only for premium subscribers. But ensure, you have a strong committed user base first before making some content premium.


Hope the above would have helped you think through the important features which you would want in your news mobile app development or even your news website or portal. You can always choose to reach out to us for a free consultation on your news apps or platform.

Pallavi Bansal

Pallavi Bansal