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How to Create an Online Magazine

Vee Banionis

at General

Developing an online publishing business is the perfect way to expand your reach and improve your visibility. However, creating an online magazine has its own unique set of considerations and differs substantially from your print magazine. It’s not as easy as replicating your existing print magazine and transforming it for the digital space.

Online magazine layout design tips

At Flip180 Media, we have the knowledge and tools to helping businesses go digital and achieve their unique business goals. Check out our tips for creating a thriving online magazine.

At Flip180 Media, we have the knowledge and tools to helping businesses go digital and achieve their unique business goals. Check out our tips for creating a thriving online magazine.

Create an Online Publishing Strategy

The first step in creating an online magazine is to define your strategy. Online magazines can be offered to users for free or via a subscription.

Free content is mostly funded by ads and sponsors, while a subscription-based model is typically funded by subscribers through a monthly or annual fee. 

Create Separate Designs for Print and Digital

While you may think it’s easy to simply replicate your existing print magazine and transform it for digital, this really isn’t the case. Designing your digital publication is incredibly important and has its own unique set of considerations that are essential for improving the reader’s experience.

Your existing print magazine can absolutely influence your digital edition, however, you’ll want to ensure your digital magazine is optimized to improve readability. It’s imperative to adhere to best practices such as breaking up a large amount of text with graphics, use friendly headers, and light, airy backgrounds which engage readers and encourage them to keep consuming content.

Consider including interactive elements, hyperlinks, and videos within your digital edition to enhance the user’s experience. It’s a good practice to add value and differentiate your digital edition, so your print readers have a reason to check out your online magazine.

Check out some of our best practices for improving your digital publication’s readability, here.

Choose the Right Format for your Digital Magazine

Next, you’ll want to choose the digital format that fits your content format and audience.

There are three main types of digital formats: Classic Style Flipbook, Modern Style online magazine, and magazine portal.

The classic flip book provides your users with an interactive reading experience and is most similar to an existing print magazine, as it allows the user to flip through pages.

The modern online magazine is similar to a long form webpage. Users can scroll through content in a visually appealing and engaging manner. With the modern online magazine, it’s very important to keep the iconic linear navigation and to isolate the content by the individual issues.

The portal is a special website designed to publish magazines. In order to be effective, the portal format has the magazine or issue archive page with the most recent issue at the top, followed by the issue page with a table of contents and editor letter. Finally, the feature pages with navigation are included between other features within the issue.

Build a Magazine Website

After you have chosen the right format for your digital magazine and have developed a cohesive, engaging design, you’ll want to go live online with your publication and build a magazine website.

The beauty of a well developed magazine website is that it works with every format and every publishing model.

A high-performance website is incredibly important for digital publishers as it will help you attract traffic, drive people through the funnel, and encourage them to take action and subscribe.

Check out this basic sitemap template:

magazine navigation sitemap for UX best practices

Develop a Multi-Channel Content Distribution Infrastructure to Attract an Audience

Once you have built your website, it’s necessary to put together a content distribution strategy.

This will include archiving your content, creating a newsletter, ensuring your content is search engine optimized, and fed to Google Play and iTunes, two major magazine newsstands.

You’ll also want to put a plan in place for amplifying your content and promoting it digitally. This will include creating blog posts, social media posts, unique videos, slideshows, infographics, podcast, and white papers, which aim to drive people back to your website, consume your content, and subscribe to your list.

Take a look at this content distribution diagram below: 

A content distribution flowchart

Attract an Audience and Grow your Following

Optimize your digital publication and issue archive to help people find you. It’s important to do research on what people in your niche are looking for. Develop valuable, high-quality content regarding those subjects and integrate long tail keywords into your content, including their title and metadata.

Convert Visitors to Free Subscribers

The main goal of your content and a digital magazine is to grow your subscriber list. This will be important for attracting relevant advertisers.

Including strong call to actions and guiding your users to take action and sign up for your newsletters is a must. By integrating dynamic reusable widgets on your website, you can engage your visitors and convert your traffic. Banner widgets, subscriber widgets, and call to action pop-ups can be used in different combinations to encourage visitors to convert to subscribers. 

Attract Relevant Advertisers

As you’ve built strong content and attracting an active audience, you’ll be able to attract relevant advertisers by showing your value.

You’ll want to start tracking basic website traffic data every day to see how well your website is performing. Your advertisers may ask relevant questions such as how many visitors visited your site, how many are unique, and how many returning. Not only will this help you optimize your site, it will help attract advertisers. 

Implement Other Monetization Options

In order to grow your online magazine, you’ll want to find other monetization options. We recommend looking for relevant product and service affiliates that might work in your niche and start to promote them in your magazine and newsletter. As you generate leads and business for your affiliates, you can get commision when somebody buys the product or service.

Developing your own product or service is one way to grow your online magazine. It might be from creating a book, an online course, or holding an event. Many online publishers hold online conferences, where they provide something of value in exchange for a small fee.

Another thing you can try is to sell marketing research services. Companies are highly interested in consumer data, so any insights or data you can offer may increase the value of your ads and who will purchase your services.

Studies show consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. To create a supplemental income, you could explore becoming an influencer. Once you have built a community, attracted a new audience, and provided value, other businesses and affiliates may reach out to you, asking you to promote their products or services.

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Tools to Build your Magazine

We know that it can be a bit overwhelming when building your digital magazine. Fortunately, Flip180 Media has a suite of tools to help you build your magazine. Our proprietary tools make it easy to create fast and responsive digital magazines that are beautiful and easy to consume. Once you’ve created your digital magazine, our FlipAds Unit can help you connect with your target audience quickly, driving conversions for your advertisers.

As experts in the industry, we’ve put our knowledge together to make it easier for publishers to transform their existing print magazine for the digital world.

We can help.

Whether you are ready to start a publishing magazine or are currently running a print magazine, but wish to go digital, we can help. From strategy to implementation, marketing and monetization, we can help your business achieve unsurpassed growth. Explore our digital publishing tools and services today and contact us if you have any questions.

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