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7 Tips for Developing a Web Portal for Media Companies

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Developing a Web Portal

Media companies are often handling a huge amount of data types and information, including broadcasting, news, film, photography, journalism or online services. It may have to be sent to clients, journalists working in the field, PR staff, governments, and more. Finding a way to ensure all data types, news sources, image files and more is accessible to staff and audiences is essential, but it can sometimes seem difficult to find the best way of distributing it in a way that is fast, timely, preserves file quality and is easy for users to access, download and use. Building a web portal could be the ideal solution.

What is a web portal?

A web portal is a single access point of information. It acts as a space where all types of information, files and other information sources can be gathered, allowing for users to access them easily. Sources can be downloaded, read, or otherwise integrated into other formats for use. Storage is secure and protected by user-access only controls, as well as making it much quicker to find the right files and resources from one single place. For a media company, it brings together sources of information from various places, including social media, news, email newsletters, TV announcements, video clips and more. 

Web portals may be more familiar to those working in specialist sectors or sales, but their values extend beyond this, thanks to their multiple capabilities with storage, file type, security and connections with industry contacts and direct sources. 

What types of web portals are there?

There are two main types of web portal: vertical and horizontal. Discussing your needs for a web portal with your development team will help them decide which version suits you, but it’s worth knowing what both mean.

A vertical web portal will focus on delivering a single specific service to a business and allows multiple people to access it. Vertical portals like this usually focus on one aspect of a business – for example, it could be a web portal for suppliers that allows them to add status information or share key business dates. Vertical portals allow people both within and external to the company to access and add information to contribute to processes.

Horizontal web portals pull data from multiple sources and collate into a broad-spectrum view. This means it can pull information from news, TV, press releases and social media to bring all the information together from across the board. Multiple people can access and review the data collected from one single source, making it ideal for those with specialist topics, or for people needing to keep up to date with their industry and sector.

7 tips for developing your media company web portal

Think about what you need it to do – what’s the number one priority? 

Talk with your development team and explore all your options around portal development, and review some examples of website portals before committing.

Consider security

If you’re likely to be handling sensitive data or embargoed news, you need to make sure your portal has a secure, staff-only, log-in system – not all portals come with this as standard.

Integration is key

A web portal should seamlessly integrate data from multiple sources to allow for the one-stop-shop approach. If you use any specialist pieces of software or need the capability for people to upload data from the field, check that your web portal will be able to handle such files. It should also align with your current company website or intranet systems.

Size matters 

As a media company, you’re likely to handle large high-quality image and video files. These types of files can slow down websites that aren’t properly optimised to handle files like this. Make sure your web portal can handle and store or playback these files in the right resolution and speed.

Responsiveness and updates

The web portal should be responsive (i.e. it should respond to fit on mobile, tablet and desktop screens) and frequently update to ensure bugs, security updates and all types of file are properly supported with no glitches. Portal web design done properly will incorporate these aspects into the build.

UI and UX design

With so much data in one place, you need to make sure your web portal is built with UX (user experience) principles and design, and to ensure that the portal is user friendly, interactive and easy to navigate so people can find what they need.

Testing 

Testing a web portal is an essential step in ensuring you’ve designed something that is really fit for purpose. Throughout the portal development process, you should be testing with experts who can spot development errors and with people who are unfamiliar with it – they’ll be able to give you a genuine insight into how it works for the average user, and better iron out any issues ahead of launch.

Testing a web portal is an essential step in ensuring you’ve designed something that is really fit for purpose – make sure you build enough time into the project to allow for testing and quality assurance. Throughout the portal development process, you should be testing with experts who can spot development errors and with people who are unfamiliar with it – they’ll be able to give you a genuine insight into how it works for the average user, and better iron out any issues ahead of launch.

Developing a web portal could be the way forward for your media company to offer additional value, security and exclusivity in a saturated market of news (often with dubious sources). If you think creating an online portal would be a good fit for your business, the expert team of bespoke software developers at Forté Group are here to help. 

Common FAQs

How much does it cost to build a web portal?

A web portal should be seen as an investment piece for your company, as it helps to streamline information gathering processes and provide a single point of contact. An average cost to build a portal usually sits around $5,000, but depending on the exact functions needed, the type of software used in the build, and all kinds of custom factors required by the client, the cost can be higher or lower.

What’s the difference between a portal and a website?

Your website is the front window of your business. It draws people in, gets them to look around, ask questions, find things out, maybe purchase something. It’s intended to be a digestible snapshot of who you are and what you do, and it should drive traffic through to help generate leads.

A web portal is much more specific, and as a general rule is usually limited to a set group of users – like the stockroom of a store. For example, in a media company, your web portal might be limited to journalists. They need access to specialist sources for news and to upload their work in a secure manner before it is released to the general public.

Both have fantastic applications and uses for businesses including media companies – it’s about figuring out what you need for the business that will help you offer greater value to customers and users.

Are web portals still relevant?

The term ‘web portal’ might conjure up images of clunky, outdated platforms that were built maybe a decade or two ago. But web portals have come a long way and offer an excellent space for delivering specialist services and needs for many businesses. With security more important than ever, and with the diversification of business and interests becoming more niche, being able to offer exclusive access through a web portal provides you with a unique edge in the market – making you and your portal highly relevant.

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