At a subscription website, whether someone pays for the content or not, users subscribe in order to have content pushed (delivered) to them – by email, website, app or the U.S. mail – on a set schedule via their subscription.
A magazine subscription website and newsletter subscription website are, of course, familiar subscription products from far back in the print era, and portal subscription websites are Internet creations that share the same characteristic. In all three types of subscription websites, content is continually published and pushed to subscribers on a regular schedule.
In order to be a premium subscription website, the content being sold must stand out in the crowd to get customers to pay for it. By its very nature, the word premium means that the information product you’re creating is better than most of the products already available. It must meet an unmet customer need that’s compelling, valuable and easy to communicate.
Magazine and newsletter sites are usually premium (paid), and portals are free. Their purpose of a portal is to attract visitors with free content, convert them into email subscribers, and then push them to the magazine and newsletter subscription websites. They’re all valid and quite profitable website business models for publishers and are supported by Mequoda and our Haven Nexus CXMS.
One of the best things about subscription website publishing is that unlike a magazine, the website allows an observer to study all aspects of the publisher’s operation: content, design, curation, frequency, advertising and marketing.
While many magazine and newsletter publishers have avoided building subscription websites, the rapid growth of tablet computers and the sale of tablet-based app subscriptions are convincing them to include digital subscription marketing in their core long-term publishing strategy.
However, as publishers begin to include website access in their long-term publishing strategy, they’re beginning to discover other ways of bundling web access into print and digital packages. The first, Universal Pricing, bundles platforms at a discount, but the second, Contrast Pricing, we’re finding is more profitable and gets consumers to pick higher priced bundles.
Success in subscription website publishing takes mastery. And no matter whether you’re just starting a subscription website or you already have one of the Internet’s successful subscription websites, you can learn and do more with your subscription website after you read our new FREE 130-page handbook, Subscription Website Publishing.
If you’re a publishing professional, don’t wait a minute longer before downloading our best practice handbooks. They were carefully curated into what we think are the most comprehensive handbooks on the four most important digital publishing topics: Continue
Like any other business, subscription website publishing relies on getting your website taxonomy exactly right. Information architecture isn’t easy to understand – people earn special college degrees in order to grasp it! But subscription websites are different from ecommerce, event, retail, or a dozen other kinds of websites. And you simply can’t learn about subscription website taxonomy from those. Continue
A Mequoda Audience Development System is a physical, turn-key content management system that is customized to help publisher’s attract new visitors, convert them into email subscribers, engage them, and finally, monetize by converting those visitors into paying customers and subscribers.
To build every Mequoda Audience Development System (Mequoda System for short), we use the Mequoda Method — a collection of best practices that have been formed by watching the world’s most successful online publishers. We also document the results of every a/b and split test that our portfolio of clients are testing every day, and when we see consistent results over time with one methodology, we share it as a best practice with our clients. Continue
The publisher websites with the greatest ability to drive traffic and build audiences utilize proven strategies and relevant technology. Today we take a look at some of these publishers and the changes they’ve made to their websites recently. Continue
The Internet has made it cheap, easy and efficient to launch new streams of niche media revenue. Choosing your content focus is a business-critical decision, as the focus you choose pretty much dictates your chances of success with a subscription website. However, more serious than the focus on content for a subscription website is the business model.
Before launching a digital magazine, read through these ten resources.
When it comes to launching a digital magazine, there’s no one FAQ online that can answer all your questions. What edition should you build? How should you price it? Which software is best, and can you get away with a simple PDF edition? We tried to Continue
Knowing how to start an online magazine requires first understanding the differences between an online magazine and the dozens of other publishing models available to you in the 21st century.
These differences range from the obvious – a comparison with print products, for instance, is pretty straightforward – to the more nuanced: say, discerning an online magazine from a digital magazine. What could possibly separate the two other than terminology?! Continue
You don’t get from point A to point B without goals and milestones. This applies to most situations in life, from a cross-country road trip, to training for a marathon, to a career in publishing.
In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda explains the four most important goals a publisher should hold close to their heart, in order to thrive as a multiplatform subscription publisher. Continue
Online content marketing is antithetical to anything we knew prior to 20 years ago — something Seth Godin terms interruption marketing. Everything I learned in college and during my early career, whether space ads, TV commercials or direct response, employed hardcore, confrontational marketing messages. Continue
We’re not sure why most association magazine websites bury free and magazine content, but we’ll try to help them see the light.
If you’re an association website, do you spin off your magazine on its own, or do you keep your organization and the content you publish under the same roof? In other words, do you Continue
The term “subscription” is a hot topic these past few weeks, especially for new age publishers and media companies like Twitter and Medium. Twitter recently sent a survey to users to ask if they’d be interested in a paid $20 subscription account that would give users access to a premium product, which all seems to boil down to having a cleaner, more curated feed through Twitter’s TweetDeck App. Continue
For every publisher who dreams of creating a subscription website, choosing the right subscription management software can be a daunting task
When we set out to launch the I Like Crochet digital magazine website (the first of its kind) and tablet edition, we knew we wanted to build a state-of-the-art publication management system. We needed subscription Continue
We all know the four basic advertising models, Cost per Thousand (CPM), Cost per Click (CPC), Cost per Action (CPA), Directory/Classified advertising platforms. But what else is out there?
In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda explains how niche publishers are boosting sponsorship revenues with one innovative strategy that advertisers love. Continue
Before hiring subscription website publishing experts, take this advice straight to the bank.
If you’re looking to grow the most beautiful rose garden on the block, would you prefer to go to your local gardening center and rifle through the rose section to see what’s brightest, or would you head straight to specialty rose nursery, with employed experts in growing roses?
So then why is it that so often we hear of publishers who hire web development companies that have no experience developing subscription websites for publishers? A magazine or newsletter website requires an expertise in search engine optimization, conversion architecture, subscription management, and content management, in addition to an array of other specialties. Continue
While the challenge of choosing the right subscription and single copy pricing strategy is not new to magazine publishers, it’s virgin territory for most subscription website publishers and many publishers exploring the digital newsstand landscape.
Even magazine publishers are faced with new economic realities.
The marginal cost of delivering a digital subscription to your own website is near zero. The cost of delivering digital issues via the Apple, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble digital newsstands is based on remit and the cost of delivering a digital issue paid to your digital publishing software provider (Mag+, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, etc.). Continue
A Mequoda subscription website Portal generates value from both users and sponsors
Mequoda has guided the development of more than a 300 successful niche media websites on a wide variety of niche media topics. Our best practice is to pair a free subscription website Portal with any premium subscription business model like a magazine or newsletter.
When you charge Continue
Most website copywriting tips will fall short of their potential if word choice isn’t a top priority for your copy.
Words are more than just symbols on a page that provide information. They communicate thoughts and ideas. They speak to the human psyche. They evoke emotions. But they don’t do any of these things very well Continue
“Do your job.”
Those are the famous words of New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, and the mantra of the whole team, who I imagine you already know just won their fifth Super Bowl in the greatest game of all time (no New England bias here, nope!)
If you have a magazine, you have a magazine subscription website. Most publishers don’t use the same definition as we do, because I don’t think most magazine subscription websites do their job. They exist, and they process payments, but they do very little to attract (provocative pricing), entice (great copy and packages), and keep subscribers happy (digital archives and access). Continue
There was a time when investors were shying away from publishing media because “journalism” is “expensive” and user-generated content is “cheap”.
But as the world changes tides and begins to preach the quality over quantity sermon, investors have begun to appreciate journalism again. It reaches specific audiences. Now, who else do we know who creates that kind of content? Why, it’s the niche publishers Mequoda has always served! Imagine! Continue
How to use A/B testing tools for creating subscription landing pages that turn more visitors into subscribers
How many times have you been in a meeting where you and your colleagues “think” or “feel” like a direction on a project is the way to go? Maybe it’s pricing for your subscription website, or maybe it’s the Continue
We all have a need to feel taken care of. How many things do you buy to fill that need?
Don’t we go to a restaurant not just for the food but to be treated like royalty? What really matters is what they do to help us feel nurtured.
Every purchase is a symbol for emotional satisfaction. Buying decisions are emotional commitments to gratifying perceived needs and desires that we are often unaware of having. Continue
These days, when people talk about newsletter best practices, they’re usually referring to free email newsletters, used as a marketing tool to drive inbound traffic to websites. But because some of us are old-time journalists here at Mequoda, we also think fondly of paid newsletters, a classic journalistic form that survives today in the digital era. Continue
As humans we’re always in competition. We want to have a better job, a bigger bank account, a happier life, a healthier family, a cooler side hustle or better behaved dog than everyone else we know. And business it isn’t any different. We want to be the one with the original ideas, generating more revenue, and hiring more people to support a thriving business. Continue
A couple of years ago, Don outlined the attributes of a premium content subscription: not a website itself, but the thing that customers buy – the content subscription.
In updating this post (as we often do with our website content – a Mequoda best practice), we decided to give you an actual example of the perfect premium content subscription, and we settled on CooksIllustrated.com, the companion website to Cook’s Illustrated magazine from America’s Test Kitchen.
Deconstructing the phrase “premium content subscription” is a helpful exercise for getting this discussion onto the right track. Let’s take a look at each of the three words individually. Continue
It’s amazing to look back to just a year or so ago, when digital magazines were still something of a novelty. Today, it’s a given that print publishers will soon create a digital version of their product if they haven’t already.
Portals are seen most often because not only are they a profitable model on their own, they’re also intended to build and feed an audience for affiliated premium subscription websites. They are specifically designed for SEO, email marketing, list building, lead generation and building engagement and loyalty. It’s a Mequoda best practice to build a portal for every subscription website we create. Continue
Your subscription website publishing performance the key to doubling, or even tripling, your organization’s revenue over the next five years. Continue
Your membership website development firm should be more than just a technological jester, they should be your sherpa.
If you’re a publisher, or are selling a subscription-based information product, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be looking for a new membership website development firm. We know this because most of our clients have come to Continue
Some of the most successful publishers let their users generate more than 99 percent of their content. The publishers that can do this become masters at building communities that draw users to both read and post.
Out of the nine subscription website business models, the community subscription website archetype is the only one where the publisher relies on its community to create the content. There are six premium (paid) archetypes, and three affinity (free) archetypes. This is one of the three free ones. Continue
TripAdvisor offers subscriptions; Facebook attempting to appeal to subscription website publishers; Apple looks at original content
Subscription website services develop out of necessity and a desire to develop new revenue streams. In today’s digital world, the opportunity to make more from these streams continue to grow as devices and accessibility grow as well.
First, we’re seeing TripAdvisor Continue
Last year Mequoda launched seven new systems, went agile, and upgraded fulfillment options for our state-of-the-art CXMS
The history books will never look back at 2016 as an uneventful year. We elected Donald Trump as POTUS. Britain left the European Union. An ebola vaccine that’s 70-100% effective was invented. The Cubs broke their World Series curse. Continue
The one-time cost of building a magazine subscription website could reduce overhead indefinitely
For $3 per month or $36 per year, there is subscription service called The Sink that will automatically deliver you everyday toiletry products every month. (Sorry CVS and Rite Aid, you’re being replaced.)
For $10 per month or $120 per year, you can get Continue
Magazine events bring in user and sponsor revenue, and many publishers have made a profitable business model out of them.
When we talk about multiplatform publishing, it’s easy to jump right into the obvious choices: the ones with words, like books and portals and ebooks. But some of the biggest publishers I know have incorporated live Continue
Resolve to investigate the possibility of added revenue with a club-style business model in 2017
Every publisher and subscription marketer should recommit in 2017 to customer relationship building and asset leveraging—after all, these are two things that you already have, customers and content! And one of the hottest new trends for capitalizing on your content and Continue
Whatever your specialty, there are membership website ideas you can profit from
Membership websites are defined by the fact that users access the content on-demand, when they have a question they need answered or a learning tool they need to access. A membership subscription website archetype provides paid members with a library of information on a specific topic of Continue
Digital magazine engagement should be top priority for publishers in 2017
If there’s one area of publishing that has not stood still, it’s digital magazine publishing. In 2015 it was more important than ever for publishers to understand the five digital magazine archetypes and get app magazines at least one step up from a replica. And in Continue
Aggregating great content is just as valuable as creating great content
Content aggregation is often given a bad name, because it’s often done incorrectly.
The best content aggregators approach the process as the valuable art form that it is. Content aggregators recognize the web is all about content aggregation, and their work allows users to reach new depths on the subject matter they care about.
We first wrote about content aggregation in 2011. At that time, he had been researching best practices for content aggregation and strategies content aggregators should avoid. Continue
Magazine publishers have been giving away their content for decades in an effort to attract new subscribers. In online publishing, ad-driven subscription websites have an additional incentive: Increasing the eyeballs that see their sponsors’ ads.
Publications like Mother Earth News put all their magazine content on their subscription website. They believe it hasn’t hurt their circulation, and at the same time, says General Manager Bill Uhler, it helps them cast a wider SEO net. Continue
This week’s subscription website news shines a light on new marketing initiatives and revenue generated by successful subscription services
We’re seeing that subscription website news takes on some interesting dimensions early on in 2017.
The first story, filled with some intriguing insight for subscription and digital marketers, features Aiden — a digital marketer created with artificial intelligence. Continue
Our most-read subscription website publishing posts of last year show an interest in building profitable subscription websites and improving the usability and site speed of existing websites.
In 2016, toward the end of the year it was made abundantly clear to publishers they would need to focus on more simple site design with faster loading times. Continue
Subscription publishers love to see surges, and that’s what’s happening at Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times
We love to report on successes in the publishing world, and what better to report than subscription publishers seeing increases in the sizes of their audiences.
The Columbia Journalism Review is reporting on two publishers that have increased Continue
Our top-read multiplatform publishing posts of last year show an interest in native advertising and publishing expansion
This year has been a huge time of change in publishing, and we’re excited to see that much of that change comes in the form of multiplatform publishing. Even the most hesitant publishers have started to adopt new subscription Continue
Coming up with the right subscription website business model(s) is usually the biggest stumbling block for those wanting to get into this business.
Choosing your content focus is a business-critical decision, as the focus you choose pretty much dictates your chances of success with a subscription website. However, more serious than the focus on content for Continue
If you publish a monthly magazine and each issue includes 50 articles, you have content for 600 blog posts. That’s almost two years worth of blog content, or a twice daily publishing schedule if you only post five days per week.
Although your magazine content could sit in a member-only editorial archive with past issues of your print content, we suggest recycling magazine articles by releasing that content into your portal to help build circulation. Continue
Some publishers are focusing on new subscription website products while others are focusing on website quality
We’re seeing new subscription website products launch and new website launches coming to the industry.
Talking New Media is reporting on the new website launched by Surface magazine. “The new surfacemag.com reflects a completely different content strategy for the company, one Continue
How to make money with video on your own subscription website and beyond
Many multiplatform publishers have turned to e-learning platforms to make money with video and help subscribers either increase their skills or improve their lives. Publishers, along with many other organizations, such as universities and corporations, have found that text-heavy explanations of complex subject matter can Continue
Although a text ad could refer to any ad consisting of text, we’re currently referring to those that are part of your conversion architecture. These ads are placed in the dead center of all your articles and invite your website visitors to download a free product that will get them on your email list. Continue
Google isn’t shy about offering guidance on AMP or structured data for certain types of content and has recently invited course publishers to the party
Online courses are a big business model for many publishers, so it’s no stretch to say that the announcement last week from Google about course structured data is a pretty big Continue
How to sell sponsorship advertising across platforms
Multiplatform publishers can generate revenue from users, from sponsors, or both. Consumer-focused portals that are sponsorship-based ask users to pay – not with money, but with time and information. They spend time viewing web pages and signing up for email feeds, thus creating advertising inventory that can be used Continue
How to start a magazine and publish it profitably, without requiring a large team to start.
In her book How Not to Start a Magazine, B. Ann Bell says the number one way new magazines fail is through poor budget planning. Poor planning for printing, postage, and marketing are among the top expenses in her book, originally published Continue