Why Subscription Website Business Models Are Ideal for Every Publisher

A magazine or newsletter subscription site paired with a portal subscription website leads to publishing success

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’re quite familiar with the Mequoda Method for multiplatform publishing success. You may even understand the acronym that sums it up: ACEM, which stands for:

  • Attract new visitors to your site organically.
  • Convert those visitors into subscribers of your free email newsletter.
  • Engage those subscribers daily to keep them coming back regularly and remaining loyal followers of your content.
  • Monetize those subscribers by promoting and selling products to them via your email and your website.

If you sell any kind of content on a subscription basis, whether it’s a magazine or a newsletter, a portal subscription website business model is perfect — even mandatory — for you. And by “portal” we at Mequoda mean a free, wide open website paired along side your paid magazine or newsletter subscription website, which serves to build and connect your audience to all of your multiple publishing platforms and revenue streams.

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The portal, magazine and newsletter website business models are what we consider subscription websites, where the primary user intent is to have the publisher push content to the user on a regular schedule. This distinguishes subscription websites from membership websites, where users sign up to access content as needed and on demand, and transaction websites, where users go to execute a transaction, such as buying a product or ticket.

What subscription website business models can do for you

Portals can be profitable website business models on their own, but more to the point of a Mequoda system, 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, and also help publishers maximize advertising inventory. It’s a Mequoda best practice to build a portal for every paid subscription magazine website or subscription newsletter website we create.

That’s why, whatever you publish, we’re here to tell you to start with a portal. Your portal will do the SEO work for you, because almost everything you post there is optimized to make Google happy: Remember that “Attract” at the beginning of ACEM? Once you’ve attracted all those new visitors to your newsletter or magazine website via that portal, you’ll also be using the portal to promote the free reports that are at the heart of the Mequoda audience development method. You convert those visitors into subscribers to your free email newsletter, and continue to engage them with that newsletter, keeping them coming back for more and continuously demonstrating your expertise in your niche.

Finally, of course, you use the free newsletter to promote your premium products that may be available to subscribers at your newsletter or magazine subscription websites as well as in print and (we hope) digital formats. You may know that a newsletter subscription site in our world is set up solely to sell subscriptions.  These sites are fairly simple: Usually the home page consists of a free area, with content that focuses on the benefits of becoming a subscriber to the related publication – a sales letter – and conversion architecture where a visitor can subscribe. A magazine subscription website business model is very similar to the newsletter subscription website model, with the only substantial difference being that a newsletter is written by one or few authors, and a magazine by many.

If you haven’t embraced either of these subscription website business models, why not? And if you have, but you don’t have a portal to go with one of the two premium versions, what are you waiting for? We always welcome your comments, especially if you disagree with us. But at Mequoda, we firmly believe that subscription website business models are mandatory for every publisher of subscription-based products.

Thoughts? Leave a comment. Let’s discuss.


    Thanks for the excellent artcile.

    One question though: you mentioned that using a ‘bait’ report and then sending daily content emails to engage with these leads is the way to go.

    What if, however, your subscription product IS the daily newsletter (in my case daily news on a particular sports team)? How would you handle that?

    Send them a teaser every day and promote the ‘full experience’ newsletter?

    Send daily in


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