5 Ways Web Magazines are Better than Print Magazines

The only way to improve circulation these days is to stop relying on print and start taking better care of your web editions

Don’t scoff—we truly believe that web magazines can be the ultimate platform for periodical content for most magazine publishing brands. The problem is that, as we’ve covered in prior weeks, most web magazines aren’t living up to their potential. We are very close to destroying magazines as a medium by the way our industry is transporting them to the web.

If you’re serious about revolutionizing the magazine industry and securing your company in the digital future, consider developing a web magazine and the reasons why they can be better than print magazines.


1. Print magazines aren’t timely, and can’t be easily edited.

While we think web magazines should stick to a standard periodical distribution schedule like print, it does offer the flexibility to add content and edit content as needed. In a print magazine, an article would need to be finished months in advance to be ready for print. In a web magazine, if a story evolves at the last minute, you are able to update and include the most recent additions before it publishes.

2. Web magazines are even more portable than print magazines.

Consider the extra room you need to stash that magazine when you get on a plane, meanwhile you are already carrying your tablet device. Not to mention, web magazines are formatted in HTML to be read on any size device in a way that is most readable to the person digesting it. Speaking of which, #3 is a major benefit.

3. Web magazines can be adjusted for larger-type fonts. 

There are dozens of magazines available for men and women over the age of 50, but there are no print editions that can help their readers boost up the font size to be more easily read. Web magazines can allow readers to increase the font size to what’s most comfortably read by an individual user, without changing any major formatting with the rest of the magazine. Infact, for those who are visually-impaired, web magazines can leverage a text to speech feature of their mobile device, or offer a recording of each article.

4. Web magazines may include interactive video.

Adding video to web magazines is more valuable than ever. As video budgets increase, we are seeing more publishers create series that readers love and look forward to. Food magazines can offer videos with their recipes, and craft magazines can offer tutorials for their premium subscribers, not available on their free Portal. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, which was just updated for June, 2017, mobile data traffic has grown 70% year over year, and 50% of mobile traffic is spent watching video. On tablets, that number is 60% and they predict that by 2022, that number will rise to 75%.

5. Web magazines provide live hyperlinks to ads, and additional content. 

Finally, your advertisers can benefit from web magazines now because you can offer hyperlinks from their ads. In print magazines, you could offer them vanity URLs with their graphic ads, but now readers can click on them and advertisers can track those links.

As a reminder, here are the fundamental attributes of a best-practice web magazine:

  1. Offer scrollable HTML articles (not a PDF, although the user may also download the PDF)
  2. Be issue-based (so you know if you’re in the November issue or the December issue)
  3. Have a table of contents, preferably staying with the reader on every page of the issue OR has some other way to make clear what issue they’re in and how to easily visit other articles from the same magazine.

Ideally the magazine is designed to be responsive, so it can be viewed on any device. It doesn’t look like your print magazine, and it doesn’t look like your tablet magazine, but it contains all the same content, and in order to remain linear and digested as an “issue,” it follows the three rules above.

Would you like to build a web magazine that follows our best practices and that can provide you with a new source of magazine income? Schedule a time with me to talk more about your publishing business.


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