Are you wondering how to start an online magazine? 🤔 If you’ve never created a website before, you might feel a little disheartened.
Fortunately, WordPress can simplify the process for you. This content management system (CMS) can help you build any type of website, including an online magazine. Using the right 🔨 tools, you can create a digital publication that your audience will be able to enjoy both online and offline.
💡 In this article, we’ll talk about:
Let’s get to it!
Are online magazines still relevant in 2023?
The basic definition of an online magazine is any publication that comes out with new issues on a regular basis. Blogs are typically not considered online magazines because each post is a standalone entry.
Magazines, on the other hand, contain multiple entries per issue:
With a magazine, you get to deep-dive into specific topics for each issue. Moreover, your audience might be more willing to pay for a complete publication than they would for individual articles.
The internet is full of examples of premium magazines, such as Vogue, National Geographic, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and more. However, this doesn’t mean there’s no room for smaller, newer publications.
If there’s enough interest in the topics you want to write about, you can build an online following and become an authority in your niche. You can then monetize your content through ads, brand sponsorships, product features, and more.
What types of online magazines can you start?
Before you learn 👨💻 how to start an online magazine, you’ll need to think about the type of publication you want to publish. Some popular examples include:
- Subscriptions. Readers pay a monthly or yearly fee to access your magazine. This guarantees recurring income, but you’ll need to make sure that new issues are published regularly to keep subscribers happy.
- Pay-by-the-issue. Enabling readers to pay for individual issues doesn’t guarantee a recurring income. However, it can help you attract customers who might not want to pay for a full subscription.
- Free periodicals. Releasing issues for free can help you attract a larger audience. Most magazines that do this monetize their work through ads, sponsorships, and product placements.
- Freemium publications. This model involves releasing part of each issue for free (think of it as a sample) and requiring readers to pay for the rest. This can help drive attention to issues that might not otherwise garner too much interest.
Regardless of what type of magazine model you opt to use, it’s important to understand that it takes time to monetize an online publication. Just as with a blog, you’ll need to learn search engine optimization (SEO) and use the right marketing strategies to reach your audience.
How to create an online magazine with WordPress (in 5 steps)
Now, let’s look at 🔎 how to create an online magazine with WordPress. As mentioned earlier, this popular CMS makes it very easy to start a website and share digital content with users. You should:
Step 1: Research potential magazine niches
Researching your niche is the first step in launching any type of website or online business. More specifically, you’ll need to:
- Understand the niche. Launching a magazine in a niche you have no expertise in is nearly impossible. It takes years to become an expert in a field and if you don’t have that expertise, or the money to hire people who do, your magazine might be dead in the water.
- Evaluate the demand for content. The best way to understand the demand for a niche is to see how popular it is. Are there a lot of websites creating content for it? Do relevant keywords garner a lot of traffic? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you may have found the right niche.
- Analyze the competition. If there is competition for a niche, how well-established is it? Do your potential competitors publish articles daily? You might also want to look at the type of content they publish and see if you can provide something better.
This research can help you create an online magazine that resonates with your target reader. If you have a niche with an audience that’s ripe for the taking, it can help get your magazine off the ground a lot faster.
Step 2: Identify your magazine’s ideal audience
Identifying the ideal audience for your magazine goes hand in hand with the niche you choose. Different niches will appeal to different audience segments. If you have a niche in mind, you probably have a good idea of what kind of readers are invested in it.
To identify your target audience, you’ll need to know the answer to two questions:
- What type of content do you want to publish? For example, is it geared towards beginners or experts? Do you want to publish tutorials or reviews? The type of content you publish will largely determine who reads it.
- What are your readers’ needs? Every magazine (or at least the successful ones) fulfills some kind of need. For the publication to succeed, it needs to offer readers some type of value, be it informational or emotional.
If you want some additional advice on how to identify the ideal audience for your magazine, you’ll need to do some extra reading. We have an article on how to identify your blog’s target audience. While blogs and magazines are not interchangeable, we cover a lot of tips that are applicable to both.
Step 3: Come up with a name and register the domain
This next step is one of the most critical (and fun) when creating an online magazine. Every successful magazine needs a great name and yours isn’t an exception.
If you’re not sure what to pick for a name, we recommend that you stick with something that’s related to your niche. You can quickly check domain availability using a domain registrar such as Namecheap:
Once you pick a name, go ahead and register it. The process should only take a few minutes. If you choose a .com top-level domain (TLD), it should only cost between $10-15 (which you’ll need to pay yearly).
Step 4: Set up WordPress and choose a magazine theme
Next, you’ll need to choose a web host to power your magazine website and then install the WordPress software.
If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend Bluehost because it has an easy setup process and cheap prices starting at just $2.75 per month.
Installing WordPress is relatively simple. Most web hosts offer a quick install process where you only need to fill out some basic details about your website. If you use managed WordPress hosting, your provider might install WordPress for you.
We recommend that you choose a fast and responsive theme. This way, you can make sure that your magazine looks good on all devices.
Once you choose a theme, you can start customizing it using WordPress’s built-in settings, such as the Customizer.
Step 5: Get to work on your first issue and publish it
Once the website itself is ready to go, it’s time to start working on your first issue. When it comes to publishing your magazine in WordPress, you have several options:
- Publish articles as posts. Presenting magazine articles as individual posts enables users to read them more easily. Moreover, this can help people find your content in search engines when looking for information. You could also make the article available as a downloadable PDF.
- Sell magazine issues as virtual products. WooCommerce works perfectly for this approach, as you can use it to sell digital products. If you want to offer the magazine for free, WooCommerce enables you to offer products for $0.
- Hide magazine issues in members-only sections. You can use membership plugins to hide parts of your website from non-members. This means you can charge for exclusive content and get regular subscribers to the magazine.
- Use a PDF viewer to embed issues on your site. There are different tools you can use to embed PDFs on your website. These enable users to navigate magazine issues without having to download them.
After publishing your first issue, you’ll need to start marketing your magazine. You can use SEO to get organic traffic, promote the magazine on social media, or even use paid ads if you have the budget for it.
Create your online magazine today 🏁
Learning how to start an online magazine is not an easy endeavor. However, WordPress can make the process much simpler, at least from a technical standpoint. Plus, it can help you generate passive income through subscriptions and paid ads.
To recap, here’s how to start an online magazine in five easy steps:
🙋 Once you publish your first issue, you can use these 👉 10 ideas to get traffic to your magazine.
Do you have any questions about how to start an online magazine? Let us know in the comments section below!
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