Are you considering to create the best digital magazines ever? You have a great idea!

But how do you get started? How do you ensure your magazine has useful content and generate revenue?

You’ll find so much advice on the internet, and everyone will be telling you to try out different ideas. But you shouldn’t give up. Starting a digital magazine may not be half as hard as you possibly think.

All you need for the best digital magazine is to look at what the top digital magazines are doing and learn from the things they’re doing right and avoid the wrong ones. Here are eight best digital magazines that you can use as inspiration:

1. Vogue

the best digital magazines: vogue

There’s a reason why Vogue is one of the biggest and most influential magazines in the world.

Not to spark the old debate print vs. digital magazine (again), but unlike most fashion magazines out there, Vogue keeps its brand strong by making its magazine available digitally. They have a strong digital presence while keeping their print version alive.

Although they are well known for their fashion and beauty content, Vogue also went ahead and explored political and social issues in its features and editorials. Who can really tell what the reasons are why they’ve explored these topics? But I believe that this is one of the reasons why they are still relevant today. Vogue doesn’t limit themselves to be just one thing. They evolve with modern society.

Vogue’s digital magazines are available on various platforms, such as the Apple App Store, Nook, and Kindle Fire. Although it’s very unfortunate that their app is only available in the US region and not available in the Google Play Store, especially considering that their readers are spread throughout the world(some of them should be using Android devices, right? 😉 )

What You Can Learn From Vogue

Make sure your digital magazines are available in multiple online/digital platforms to reach a wider range of audience.

Keep up with what’s happening around you and let your content reflect that, as this will help your magazine stay relevant with your readers.

2. National Geographic

the best digital magazines: national geographic

As one of the most recognizable names and brands out there, it seems like National Geographic is in a league of its own with no competitor that even comes close.

Back then, using photos in magazines was considered a taboo, and people preferred illustrations or simply text.  National Geographic, which is also known as NatGeo, is one of, if not the first magazine that used photos in its magazine. They believed photos that highlighted the beauty of nature would get readers to focus even more.

Although the industry was skeptical at first, the public’s interest in photojournalism proved NatGeo right. Not surprisingly, they are now known for their specific standards and aesthetics for photojournalism.

NatGeo’s digital magazines are accessible on most digital platforms as well as their website. Their app has a fresh and unique layout that loads fast. You will be able to personalize the topics that you can see in your feed.

Each article is available for reading instantly which makes it easier for you to pick the ones that interest you. You can also choose to browse through photos and videos.

What You Can Learn From National Geographic

Choose the font that makes your article as easy as it can be to read. When necessary, link your articles to other internal content that is relevant/similar to engage your readers more.

Make sure to include high-quality photos and videos in your magazine as well to grab the attention of your readers and make your content more attractive and exciting.

3. The Atlantic

the best digital magazines: the atlantic

Started as a humble literary and cultural commentary magazine in 1857, The Atlantic is now known as one of the giants in the publishing industry.

Their website provides daily coverage and analysis of various topics, from breaking news, politics, to education, tech, health, science, and culture.

The Atlantic is available as an app in the Apple App Store. It is also available in Google News, Kindle, and Nook. Their iOS app features a great layout and is easy to navigate. It also comes with some of the best tech writings.

The content in their magazine is easily shareable and can also be browsed by topical sections.

What You Can Learn From The Atlantic

Categorizing your issues by topics can be very helpful for your readers, especially if your magazine has a wide range of content.

In this era of hyper-connected society, letting your readers share your articles easily will help you gain more exposure (and more readers).

4. Rolling Stone

the best digital magazines: rolling stone

As one of the most popular magazines for musical coverage and political reporting, Rolling Stone is not to be missed.

When they started to increase their coverage of popular culture (although music is still their dominant topic), there was criticism that the magazine prefers style over substance.

However, we believe that they simply adapt to constantly changing musical, cultural, and political climates.

Their app has a very simple layout, but practical. Instead of having static pages where you have to pinch in and zoom in every time you want to read, they make their articles responsive. It will adjust to your phone’s screen and you can simply scroll down to read longer articles.

You are also able to change the text sizes, switch to ‘night mode’, and bookmark pages in the articles. The article/page is also easily shareable from the app.

What You Can Learn From Rolling Stone

Offer as many reading settings as possible so your readers get more comfortable reading your articles. The more comfortable you can make their experience, the longer they stay in your magazine, the more engaged they become.

Responsive content is better than static print-like pages, always. Even though the content is the same, creating digital magazines means that you will need to adapt to digital features to offer better user experience.

5. KROMA

the best digital magazines: kroma

With all the crisis you’ve heard happening in Greece in the past few years, who would’ve thought that an arts magazine would bloom spectacularly in the middle of all that?

Kroma’s very own Yannis Spanoudis already had a big name in the development and design of digital publications, both in Greece and abroad. Which made the launch of Kroma one of the most awaited. And of course, they didn’t disappoint 😉

Their app is available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Being awarded 3 years in a row as the Best App, Best Mobile Edition, and Best Smartphone/Tablet magazine was something they have rightfully earned.

They always feature beautiful pictures and photos (as they should as an art magazine, duh) combined with a responsive layout, which makes their digital magazine all the more awesome.

What You Can Learn From KROMA

Don’t skimp on the design of your magazine! Content is important, yes, but a beautiful design will attract more attention and engagement from your readers.

6. Kinfolk

the best digital magazines: kinfolk

If you’ve been on Instagram for the last five years, you surely will notice that there’s a certain aesthetic trend that people aim for.

It was Kinfolk’s doing.

Which, we also like to point out, there was a moment where you won’t be able to scroll through your Instagram’s feed/explore without seeing Kinfolk’s magazine paired with a cup of coffee.

Called “The Martha Stewart of Portland set”, what is it about Kinfolk that is so powerful that makes it become of the most influential forces in the modern design world?

With its clean design and unique photographic aesthetic, combined with its focus on home and communities (slow lifestyle, as they call it), Kinfolk was a breath of fresh air when they first launched their magazine.

Unfortunately though, at the moment Kinfolk’s digital magazine is only available via their website. Their website is optimized for smartphones, but it feels like such a miss that they don’t have native mobile apps for their magazine.

What You Can Learn From Kinfolk

Build strong branding.  Rather than following a trend, try to come up with a unique concept for your magazine. Make sure your magazine has something different to offer.

7. Harvard Business Review

the best digital magazines: hbr

Carrying the name of one of the best school in the world, it’s hard to not be at least a little bit curious about Harvard Business Review.

Although it seemed to start that way, Harvard Business Review was always meant to be more than just a typical school publication.

The magazine focuses on general management issues that affect business leaders, and calls itself ‘magazine for decision-makers’. If you’ve ever asked anyone who works in the American corporates what to read, they will probably lead you this way.

Harvard Business Review’s apps are available worldwide in Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Their content is displayed per articles, so you can directly go to the ones that interest you instead of having to flip through the whole issue.

They also offer a feature where you can directly screenshot their articles, which we love, as well as the ability to share their articles easily.

What You Can Learn From Harvard Business Review

Be the authority of your magazine’s topics. If your content is always high quality (and factual), even the experts will refer to your magazine when asked for references.

8. Forbes

the best digital magazines: forbes

For a magazine to be able to exist more than 100 years, there must be something that Forbes is doing right, right?

The magazine itself focuses mostly on finance, investing and marketing topics. But it seems that Forbes is most known for its lists and rankings, such as 30 under 30 and The World’s Billionaires (which we like to scroll through, more than we’d like to admit)

Forbes apps allow you to download the issue as PDF so you can read it later offline, which is awesome. You can also easily switch the view from PDF to text which allows you to read the content easier.

What You Can Learn From Forbes

Allowing your readers to download your issue on their phone to read offline later is always a good idea. Not everyone can spare the time to read magazines right away.

Final thoughts

Starting a digital magazine can be confusing and challenging. We know how overwhelming it can be, but that should not intimidate you!

Take your time and study the strengths and weaknesses of the best digital magazines out there. If you do so, you’ll be able to establish a digital magazine that target readers will love and subscribe to.

With MagLoft, you will be able to focus on your content and branding. Let us take care of the technical part! Your digital magazine will have all of the awesome features mentioned above.

Did that intrigue you? Learn more about creating and publishing your digital magazines with MagLoft! Feel free to contact us now.