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How to start a magazine

February 4, 2011 Uncategorized

Online magazine websites, magazine templates, start a magazine, publishing a magazine, magazine publishing

Publishing software is so rich with functionality and so affordable now, allowing even complete novices to start a magazine with little risk and cost.

The stages of starting a magazine should include:

Identify a niche that makes you feel excited!

Publishing is a noble commitment that requires plenty of effort to get things off the ground. Even when your publication is rocking along, it will require your attention and care. If you are not passionate about the area of publishing you have chosen, you will quickly lose energy and your readers will pick up on this.

Remember, “you never work a day in your life if you love your job.”

$1000 budget

You should have around $1000 to start this business. Your early costs will include a website and hosting, some telephone bills and an internet connection. The good thing is that all your costs are tax deductable.

Content policy

Create a 1-page content ‘mantra’ type of document, which clearly outlines what sort of content you will publish and what content you will not publish. This will help you better understand who your publishing business is and what it represents. This will in turn help you identify who will read your publication and what sort of businesses might want to advertise in it.

Your market

Write 2-paragraphs about your readers. Who are they? Imagine what sort of things they are interested in. How they spend their time, especially their relaxation time. Even a business magazine is often read with a cup of tea! With so much content out there, you must strike upon a reader’s motivation immediately and give them plenty of reasons to return again and again to your site.

In publishing they say if you get the content and distribution right (and distribution online means getting your target audience to visit your website) the advertisers will follow. But they need a prod. Who are your likely advertisers? Why should they advertise on your site and not somewhere else?

Get yourself a website

An online magazine website allows you to start marketing yourself. You can create your image and content quickly, easily and without the risk that goes with print. It allows you to prove your concept. There are lots of magazine website templates out there and some very smart technology available to power these.

An online magazine website also allows your readers to engage with you. To submit articles, comments, email you, upload video and much more. Unlike print, the online magazine really is a two-way street.

Finally, a magazine website allows you to start earning income straight away. Ultimately you want to to go directly to businesses that would benefit from advertising on your website, but while you are doing this you can start earning income from Google and Yahoo! Ads.

You can also consider the many other revenue avenues available to your online magazine.

List building

Start building a list of community groups and businesses that could benefit from exposure on your magazine website. Tell them that they can submit articles to your website and you will offer them free exposure. They can even insert links in their articles back to their own websites. That’s a hard offer to refuse and it gets you plenty of content much faster. Anyone who gets an article published on your magazine website will also tell others to read it there.

Setup a weekly or monthly newsletter that aggregates all recent articles and sends to a list of registered users. The newsletter will show some of the article and the ‘read more’ takes the user from the inbox to your website. Newsletters are excellent for driving traffic and building brand.


Create a sales page on your website that really hits home the wonders of your publication and why advertisers should sign up. EzyMedia can help you with this.

When you have 20 articles on your site and 20 registered users, you are ready to start calling or emailing potential advertisers. Make sure you send them all to your advertising page! Offer them all a free article with every booking of $100 or more. Are you selling your ads as monthly, quarterly, annual or performance based? See what works out there, but if you can avoid selling ads on performance only you will be much better off. Performance based advertising (eg pay-per-click) really depends on good traffic and the quality of your ad.

EzyMedia offers ad-design for $25.


Try to get into a routine. Set time aside each week to:

  • Contact potential article and advertising sources.
  • Write some articles
  • Research your industry
  • Think about business growth

Growing your magazine business

If your model is a good one, you might want to move to print. Or you might want to simply stay online but offer an online edition, eg a pageflipper version of your magazine website content, and invest in Search Engine Optimisation and growing your traffic. You might see offshoot possibilities for creating related websites. Always keep growth in mind, for this is what drives successful businesses.

Good luck and happy publishing!