Online Magazine: Step-By-Step Starting Guide.

So you are looking to start and launch your own online magazine. That is a great way to build authority in your niche and make money from your passion!

However, creating a quality digital magazine takes time, effort, top-notch writing, and patience to reach the right audience. These factors are just a fraction of what goes into growing a successful readership.

Read on to figure out what you need to start an online magazine.

What You Need to Start an Online Magazine

Running a magazine is more than just posting trending articles on a website. One of the most important things we’ll recommend from the start is for you to hire and form a team. 

We understand how tempting it is to just start by yourself, especially if you are on a budget. However, there is so much work to do when creating a new magazine. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and give up halfway through if you insist on working on it alone.

You will need a web designer, a team of writers and editors, SEO, monetization channels, and a marketing strategy. This way, you can simultaneously plan a strategy to grow the magazine while it’s being worked on.

Domain Name and Hosting

online magazine: Domain Name and Hosting

Before starting an online magazine, you will need to buy hosting and domain name. Having a website will help not only to host your magazine but also to build your brand around. You can do a little bit of marketing to hype up the magazine launch while it’s still being put together.

Pro tip: make sure you purchase a hosting package months before you launch to make sure the name isn’t taken.

If you plan to have more than one magazine, buy the domain names now to have them available when you launch.

Website Design

online magazine: Website Design

When learning how to make an online magazine, you’ll go through different types of website layouts. The web design must be customized to serve the niche and purpose of your magazine. But it also needs to be easy to navigate for the readers.

For example, if you have a magazine on photography or art, the layout should primarily showcase the photos and designs.

On the other hand, if you have a news outlet with more text than photos, the website layout should be simple, clean, and easy to read.

Avoid stuffing the pages with too much content, photos, and big fonts. Not only this will deter the visitors, it will also make your magazine look unprofessional.

A Topic or Niche for the Magazine

online magazine: A Topic or Niche for the Magazine

Before you start an online magazine, you need to narrow down a niche or a topic for the content.

To do this, you should analyze the current market trends and see if there’s something missing.

For instance, there are so many lifestyle magazines out there, but not all of them have the same audience or quality of content. Make yours different.

Do you have knowledge or expertise in a particular topic? That might be a great niche for your magazine. As long as you provide something new to the table, you’ll attract a loyal audience.

Bear in mind that topics like world and national news, scientific research and discoveries, health and medical publications, and other sensitive topics need to be factually accurate without room for error.

Consider whether you have access to enough resources before publishing content in these niches.

Writers, Editors, and Other Team Members

online magazine: Writers, Editors, and Other Team Members

Every magazine, be it print or digital, needs quality content to attract readers.

This is why when you think about how to start your magazine, you need a team of professional writers.

You’ll also need an editor who assigns topics and checks the quality of the articles but also helps with the marketing strategy and search engine optimization.

Next, don’t forget the importance of visual content. Hire a good graphic designer to create visual content for the magazine which in line with your branding as well.

Remember that the people who work for you, whether in-house or freelance, are the ones who make your magazine thrive. Your job as the founder is to motivate them and help them thrive as well.

Marketing Plan

online magazine: Marketing Plan

You can have the best online magazine in the world, but if you don’t have a solid marketing strategy, it won’t see the light of day.

One of your first and foremost hires should be a digital marketing specialist who will create a detailed marketing strategy for the magazine.

The marketing plan may include:

  • Social media strategy and campaigns
  • Paid advertisements on the website
  • Distribution channels (Amazon, Apple’s app store, Google store, online book/magazine retailers)
  • Publishing content
  • SEO
  • Boosting traffic
  • Building a community around the content
  • Lead generation

The marketing manager will craft a strategy based on your niche, the market research, and the target market.

Then, they’ll decide on the best tactics to break into the market. Once your readership grows, the marketing specialist will make a plan to grow the magazine’s online presence further.

Monetization Plan

online magazine: Monetization Plan

Starting an online magazine is similar to starting a business – you need to make money from it to keep it moving.

This is why you can’t launch before you’ve outlined a detailed monetization plan. Make a list of all possible monetization tactics and see which would work best for your magazine.

Maybe you’ll sell ad space on your website, accept sponsored posts, use affiliate links, or put a paywall for your content.

You can also sell memberships, digital products or make your magazine subscription service.

Consider the earnings of your audience before you put a price on your products.

Higher-income readers can afford to pay a monthly fee to read your magazine, but if you want to reach broader audiences, consider lowering the price or making most of your content free.

Distribution Channels

online magazine: Distribution Channels

As you start an online magazine, you’ll need to find ways and channels to reach your target audience.

The easiest way is through social media, but consider if your readers are actually there.

For example, if you’re targeting millennials, social media may be the only distribution channel you need.

But if your target market is businessmen who don’t have time to check social media, the best way to reach them is through more direct channels, i.e., email, SMS, push notifications on their phone, or mobile apps.

Digital Publishing Platform Partner

online magazine: Digital Publishing Platform Partner

You might also want to consider using a digital publishing platform service as your partner. They will be very helpful in reducing the amount of work and cost you will have to put in, especially if you are planning to publish and distribute your magazine as native mobile apps.

For starters, if you are not using a digital publishing platform, you will need to hire separate app developers into your team. They will also need to design and build your mobile app from scratch, which takes a lot of time and costs a lot. 

Without a digital publishing platform partner, you will also need to set up everything in Apple, Google, and Amazon stores all by yourselves. If you are just starting out, this can take a while to figure out, and in turns, will also cost you.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a digital publishing platform. First and foremost, we recommend finding one that is within your budget. Some digital publishing platforms use the subscription model, and some use the publish-as-you-go approach. There are a lot of pros and cons with each platform, and you will need to take into consideration your own magazine business model to see which one will fit the best.

(Pssst, just to let you know, MagLoft can help build your app and publish them just starting from $199 per month!)

Ready to Start Your Digital Magazine?

If you’re looking to start an online magazine, these tips will help you learn the technical and editorial basics, but also the monetization tactics.

For more useful articles and tips, check out our blog.

If you have any questions or would like to try our online magazine plans, contact us today.

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