The 12 most important things to consider when starting an online magazine
If you’re planning to start an online magazine, this feature checklist will help you make sure it’s built on strong foundations. Simple feature omissions early on can lead to time-consuming and expensive updates later.
Feature #1 – Excellent content management
As an online magazine publisher, you should have complete control over adding, editing and removing your content, preferably without having to know HTML or other technical skills.
Feature #2 – Enable Multiple Streams of Income
Like offline magazines, you need to make sure that implementing multiple revenue streams is easy, including placing ads, adding affiliate links, charging for subscriptions, and selling things through your own online store.
Feature #3 – Member Database
Every online magazine, whether free or paid, should have a way to collect visitors’ names and other personal data. The database should be searchable, exportable and easy to customize.
Feature #4 – Integrated Payment Processing
Payment processing is often added as an afterthought. It shouldn’t be like that. It is essential that credit card processing capability is tightly integrated into your website so that you can use this feature to bill for subscriptions and product sales and generate revenue from other services.
Feature #5 – Flexible functionality
When you start an online magazine, you can never be sure how it will develop. Therefore, you should start with a website that can easily be upgraded and new features added.
Feature #6 – Search Engine Optimization
There is a lot of talk about search engine optimization, but the truth is very simple. You should have a website that is very easy for search engines to index. If it’s easy to find and you keep adding high-quality content, the search engines will include you in their results pages. Make sure that search engines can index every page, including pages in password-protected members’ areas.
Feature #7 – Multimedia content
Specialized information websites today must have content in multiple formats, including text, images, audio and video. Even if you don’t plan to use these formats today, make sure your website is enabled to use them in the future.
Feature #8 – Relationship Building Apps
Once you get visitors to your online magazine, you need to start building a relationship with them to encourage them to come back. Applications that enable relationship building include email newsletters, forums, and comment boxes under articles.
Feature #9 – Integrated login and password access
Most publishers who start an online magazine build the website first and then try to add username and password protection later. This is a recipe for disaster. Password protection that gives members access to premium content should be seamlessly integrated with the member database and content management service from the start.
Feature #10 – Management Information
You should have easy access to all the information about how your website is performing in one Web Stats Management report. This should include the number of visitors and page views; time spent on the website and most popular pages; where your traffic is coming from and much more. Only when you have this information at your fingertips will you be able to understand your customers’ needs.
Feature #11 – Monitoring, Security and Backup
Publishers often overlook the importance of having secure flexible hosting with automated backups. Most websites, including the leaders like eBay and Amazon, have downtime. You should minimize the risk of corruption by regularly backing up all your content.
Feature #12 – Simplified control panel
As you will see from the above list of features, a good online magazine consists of many different applications. If possible, the service you choose should include all (or most) applications running from a single, easy-to-use control panel.
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