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Archive for Subscription Website Publishing

Subscription Website Publishing posts focus on what to consider when building and operating a subscription website.

In this section, you’ll learn the difference between membership and subscription sites, how to build a successful subscription website, increase sign-ups, align content, and the best practices for running successful subscription websites.

Free Download: Learn how to choose the best subscription pricing and single-copy pricing strategy for your subscription websites and subscription apps when you download a FREE copy of our How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue report today.

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Top Subscription Websites: Who’s Improving Fastest?

Last Thursday we took a look at subscription website publishing’s best and brightest – those with the 25 highest Online Media Index numbers. The winners weren’t much of a surprise, comprised mostly of the big names in publishing who have huge brand recognition and can drive traffic to vast websites.   Continue

Print and Digital Bundle Revenues Skyrocket 108%

The Newspaper Association of America reports that circulation revenues are up 3.7% to $10.87 billion, which might surprise you.

But these aren’t your father’s circulation revenues we’re talking about; rather, the figure is based on 2013 circulation as a whole. In other words, the revenue includes streams from print and from digital.   Continue

Forbes Media is Still Winning the Subscription Website Publishing Wars

With the recent release of AAM’s biannual circulation data, it’s time to take a look not at circulation, but at the overall health of U.S. magazines’ multiplatform publishing efforts. In Mequoda world, we have a little number we call the Online Media Index (OMI) that measures just that, and the results are   Continue

Vogue Expansion Includes Staff, Redesign

Women’s Wear Daily reports that Vogue.com is revamping its site for the first time since 2010. The new and improved Vogue.com will debut during New York Fashion Week in September.   Continue

The Rise of Magazine Memberships

Today, Digiday studied the premium subscription plans of heavyweight publishers upon the debut of Slate’s membership program.   Continue

Examining the Forbes Digital Makeover

How many 100-year-olds do you know who are adept at using the Internet? Forbes, a leading business publisher for nearly a century, is a shining case study in digital expansion, according to a recent report from 360 Public Relations. Forbes.com was relaunched in 2010, and the result has been a 104% increase in unique monthly visitors. The site currently boasts 24.6 million.   Continue

No Comment? Sites Work Toward More Positive Comment Sections

Digiday reports that fed-up publishers are being proactive in addressing what for many are the scourge of the Internet. Some, like Popular Science magazine, have ditched such features altogether, while others are attempting to reshape them. The Chicago Sun-Times, for instance, has shut down its comment section until it can devise a more, shall we say, pleasant system.   Continue

New Yorker Website Hitting Stride

It wasn’t long ago that The New Yorker’s website was an afterthought, lost in the long shadow of its weekly print issue.   Continue

Condé Nast, Hearst Undergo Beautification

Condé Nast launched Lipstick.com through its Glamour brand yesterday, while Hearst is rolling out Beauty Unbound across multiple properties this May, including Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, and Town & Country.   Continue

Comment Sections: The Next Frontier for Native Ads

Making the natural progression from the top of content pages to the bottom, publishers are scrolling down – way down – to find more spots for native advertising.

Digiday reports that The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, and Evolve Media are among those publishers pioneering the use of comment sections for the placement of native ads.   Continue

People.com Partners With WhoSay for the Perfect Publishing Partnership

Have you heard of WhoSay? It’s a social network that’s basically exclusive to celebrities. According to Folio, “Time Inc.’s People and WhoSay, a digital-only social magazine powered by the celebrities it features, have teamed to develop a new branding opportunity for stars and advertisers. Launched March 26, about 200 of WhoSay’s 1,500 celebrity members were invited to populate a new People.com vertical called “Celebrities Unfiltered” where the stars can directly publish photos they’ve taken via WhoSay to People’s website.”   Continue

It’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Niche Publisher

It’s been awhile in coming, but niche publishers are having things their way at last. Mequoda has been preaching this sermon for a while, but now, it seems, the rest of the world – including all-important investors – are catching on, too.

Those living in non-Mequoda world were advised of this phenomenon recently in a post at business-related news website qz.com, where well-known media reporter Adrienne LaFrance noted in a piece titled Why Venture Capitalists Are Suddenly Investing in News that new money is flowing – actually, flooding – into media organizations, citing, among others, $46 million in new funding for social news and entertainment site BuzzFeed; $4 million for tech news site Pando Daily; and $8 million for viral content curator Upworthy – called by Fast Company “the fastest growing media site of all time.”   Continue

Sauerberg Talks Subscription Pricing and Tech at Conde Nast

Crain’s New York recently had a chat with President of Condé Nast Bob Sauerberg to talk magazine subscription pricing.

The conversation is so Mequoda that you’d think they were discussing this all over a lunch at the Intensive. In regards to pricing, Sauerberg says: “We’re shifting from selling a print subscription for a low price to [selling] all access to our content for a higher price. And we’re in the early days of what that higher price is going to be.” As you know, we’re all about bundling all-access subscriptions, especially when intelligently priced.   Continue

The New TIME.com Design: Same As the Old TIME.com?

It’s all good until you see that money still lying on the table.

That’s how we think of TIME.com here at Mequoda. Last week it unveiled its new website design, to the general praise and adulation of the industry.   Continue

ALM Launches Contributor Network on Law.com

The more content the better. That’s what ALM had in mind when they launched Law.com which features its own contributor network. Adding the contributor network will help law thought leaders share their views and insights on various topics while still reporting on breaking law news.   Continue

How Portals Maximize User Satisfaction

One of the most successful subscription websites in the world is The Economist, where the venerable news publication posts dozens of news articles every day, unique visitors from the US alone average 3 million per month, and its Online Media Index (OMI) is a healthy 3.61, meaning it has more than three times as many website visitors as it has US circulation.   Continue

Introducing: The NEW Mequoda Pro

If you’ve ever contemplated attending one of our Subscription Website Publishing Intensives, but the time – and budget – just haven’t been right, I have a new way for you to learn the proven, profitable Mequoda Method right now.

Introducing, the new Mequoda Pro. If you’re a member, you can log in right now. If you’re not, keep reading.   Continue

Controlled-Circulation Publisher Finds Internet Success

One of Mequoda’s primary reasons for being is to help legacy publishers cross the digital divide.

And when it comes to Farm Progress, we’re talking serious legacy publishing – a company founded in 1819 which publishes, among many others, Prairie Farmer, the oldest known continuously published magazine, launched in 1841.   Continue

Subscription Website Portals are the Key to Success in Every Niche

When the Internet burst on the scene and magazine publishers decided to get on the bandwagon, a lot of people simply shoveled their content up to the Web and called it a day. After all, there wasn’t a lot of guidance available in this brave new world.   Continue

The Membership Subscription Website Business Model

TheLadders.com, Match.com and SSWUG.org utilize membership subscription websites to properly serve their audiences

The membership subscription website archetype is a very complicated model. It may be structured as a pure-play site, which does not depend on a primary relationship to, or experience with, an online or offline product. Or it may be structured as a companion website, which does relate to an online or offline product.   Continue

Cooking Site Masters Subscription Website Publishing to Compete with the Big Players

“Give consumers what they want.” That’s both the motto and the business model at Prime Publishing, where a whopping 17 craft websites and 13 food sites – including one recently-launched site in each category – have led the company’s success since its founding in 2009.

When President Stuart Hochwert, a Mequoda Master, launched these sites, he had exactly nothing to start with. No legacy publications, no content, nada. And while print magazines are in its future, Prime’s primary focus right now is still subscription website publishing, all of it advertiser-supported.   Continue

Why B2B Portals Matter: Legacy Publisher’s Subscription Website Supercharges Revenues

There’s no better example of how critical a subscription website can be to a legacy publisher than the story of Psychotherapy Networker.

This 30-year-old magazine was launched by a group of therapists who knew their colleagues had a need for in-the-trenches information, rather than lofty academic articles that didn’t help them in their day-to-day work.   Continue

Top 10 Subscription Website Publishing Posts of 2013

Subscription websites are at the core of modern online publishing and have even been considered the Holy Grail of the industry.

The popularity surrounding subscription websites stems from the fact that they are among the most profitable websites on the Internet.

Any publisher or content marketer that is looking to have the most profitable website should know exactly how to build a subscription website.   Continue

Regional Magazine Publisher Redefines the Concept of Local Publishing

From augmented reality to trends in nontraditional gift-giving, Bayou City magazine’s subscription website publishing adventures epitomize the 21st century.

Bayoucitynetwork.com launched in early November, exactly one year after it was born in the minds of Becky Davis and Mark Standridge, Houstonites who had until then been publishing a traditional, “hyper” local neighborhood magazine as part of a franchise.   Continue

Natural Health Advisory’s Subscription Website Sees 160% Growth

One of the most revolutionary things about the Internet for the publishing industry is that it has allowed people who might never have had access to an audience to become publishers and distribute content that they feel passionate about to a global audience.   Continue

Who’s Winning the Subscription Website Publishing Wars?

Subscription website publishing: It’s the core of every publishing business today. The website is where you drive traffic, post content to enthrall your audience and sell lots of products, including digital and print subscriptions.

The health of your subscription website publishing endeavors dictates everything else you do.   Continue

The Blog Subscription Website Business Model

A riddle: What’s quick and relatively easy to set up when you want to become a publisher, but can still be quite lucrative? The answer, of course, is a subscription website blog. This is one of the three affinity (free) subscription website models that Mequoda has documented. The free sites are often paired with one of the six premium (paid) models to drive traffic, convert visitors to subscribers and keep the audience engaged.   Continue

The Application Subscription Website Business Model

An application premium subscription website archetype allows access to specialized online software that allows users to input information, use calculators and/or search a proprietary database, and access results.

When we first started documenting our subscription website archetypes, there was no such thing as an iPad or iPhone, and therefore, no “apps” as we currently understand them. So to be perfectly clear now, think of “application website” in our context as an “interactive tool” website.
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The Magazine Subscription Website Business Model

The magazine website is one of nine subscription website models that Mequoda has identified and defined. We do this because designing a website is as much about establishing a business model as it is about “design,” and so many people simply don’t understand how the different models are used, leading to websites that don’t drive revenue the way the publisher expected.   Continue

Online Subscription Marketing: A Long Way from Direct Mail Packages

As you may have noticed, Mequoda is a firm believer in the power of email newsletters as a marketing channel – so much so that a Mequoda subscription website is built specifically to give away content and harvest email addresses, rather than sell magazine subscriptions.   Continue

American Ceramic Society Subscription Website = Mequoda Method 101

When it comes to showing off a perfectly executed subscription website, they don’t come any more perfect than CeramicArtsDaily.org. Along with all our other Mequoda top operators, they’re golden in our eyes because of eye-popping statistics like these.   Continue

The Periodical Subscription Website Business Model

The periodical website archetype is often associated with newspaper brands and other news periodicals that include trade papers like Computerworld and Variety.

Periodical subscription websites may also be called news sites, online newspapers, online magazines, online newsletters, or online journals.   Continue

TIME Doesn’t Know What to Do With All This Traffic

Back on April 1 Don wrote a post entitled Saving TIME Magazine: or, the Future of All of Us. Don’s vision of the future, even for faltering weekly news magazines, focuses on creating a niche product like any of our clients or followers who implement the Mequoda Method, even if the scale is a bit different.   Continue

The Economist’s Rich Subscription Website Teaches Us All a Lesson

For a publication with roots deep in the Victorian era, founded by a conservative Scottish hatmaker, The Economist is a surprising innovator in the modern publishing era.

Apparently, despite its stodgy beginnings and reputation as a snobbish, upper-crust British media voice – just look at all the photos of all the elderly white men running the show in the 2013 annual report – there are some very nimble commercial minds behind it these days.   Continue

The Newsletter Subscription Website Business Model

The newsletter subscription website model is simple, clean and editorially-focused

Newsletter publishers, particularly those on the B-to-B side but also those with consumer titles in the finance and health fields, were among the first to embrace subscription websites. Perhaps that’s because the newsletter subscription website archetype is the easiest type of subscription website to build. The file size of newsletters is generally manageable, whether the newsletter is 8, 12, 16, 32, or more pages, since it is mostly text and often limited to black-and-white or two-color.   Continue

Redefining the Club Subscription Website Model

How can a club help you make money?
Mequoda has called one of its paid websites a “membership” website for a decade. Unfortunately, not everyone does as we tell them to do (imagine!) and over the years some folks started getting confused, calling any subscription website a “membership” site.

By popular demand, today I’m going to officially   Continue

Prime Publishing Grows 46% by Mastering Cross-Pollination

A 2011-12 growth rate in website visitors of 46% … overall revenues up 50% every year (and solely dependent on advertising) … it’s a dream life for Prime Publishing and its 14 crafting and cooking sites.

It’s also well deserved, because operations there are so button-down with Best Practices that nothing is left to chance or guesswork.

Prime President Stuart Hochwert, a publishing veteran, created Prime from scratch starting in 2008. He’s also a Mequoda top operator, having won two Rocket Awards in 2012 for website visitor growth, including the top spot.   Continue

Essential Website Homepage Ideas for any Subscription Website Redesign

At Mequoda, we do a lot of work with clients who are starting from scratch with online publishing and subscription website marketing. They get the full benefit of the Mequoda Method because we build their website to take best advantage of SEO and optimize it for conversion of visitors to email subscribers and, ultimately, buyers.

We also have clients come to us who put up a website years ago when the Internet first blossomed, and without any research or data to guide them, those websites were built, well, badly. Those early websites were an exercise in slapping the magazine on the Web, and organizing the site exactly like the magazine.   Continue

Wouldn’t You Love to Grow Your Online Revenues 39X?

A 70X increase in online revenues over the past decade.

That’s the joyous news that Mother Earth News shared with me the other day. And I love to spread such news, especially in an industry that has its full share of pessimism about the digital age.

What’s more, last month those online revenues supplied 23% of their total revenue, and 15% for the year to date. That figure continues to increase, reports General Manager Bill Uhler. You won’t hear any gloom and doom about online publishing from the folks at Ogden Publications!
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Website News: Is a Hybrid Website Your Next Move?

A hybrid website can be many things to a large online audience

Publishers have good reason to create a hybrid website. On one had, the hybrid allows them to operate a subscription website that meets the expectations of their audience members. On the other hand, a hybrid website is a place where content can be optimized and products have be sold through e-commerce methods.

Any good hybrid website should have content and e-commerce, optimized landing pages, and subscription access, while being set up for data collection through analytics programs.   Continue

The Tablet: Key to Your Online Empire, Not Just Your Digital Magazine

With all the talk about tablets and digital magazines these days, it’s tempting to think of the desktop or laptop, and the website you worked so hard to establish back when those were your only options for publishing on the Internet, as buggy whips – soon to be obsolete.

After all, our 2013 Mequoda Tablet Study found that a full 55% of respondents own or have access to a tablet. Yes, that means you’d better be building a digital edition of your publication.
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Website News: Subscription Business Model Tips for Modern Content Publishers

Subscription content goes everywhere. It’s displayed on smart phones, tablets, desktops and laptops.

It involves words, images and sounds.

The digital subscription has become a model media companies cannot afford to ignore. If you create or publish content and don’t utilize the subscription business model, you may want to reconsider.   Continue

Is EatingWell’s Subscription Website Teaching Meredith a Lesson?

We talk a lot about the Online Magazine Index – OMI – that’s a fairly accurate measure of a publisher’s Internet savvy. In subscription website publishing, you should easily have more unique visitors to your website than you have print subscribers.

If you’re not driving more Internet traffic than you are selling paid subscriptions, something’s desperately wrong with your audience development program. And if you don’t have an audience on the Internet, you’re going to be invisible in the coming years as print fades away and subscription website publishing becomes the only game in town.   Continue

Your Subscription Website is Not a Magazine

As Don likes to say, your magazine is not a website. And your website is not your magazine.

In fact, your subscription website isn’t even a website. It’s actually three websites: A portal, a magazine and a store. And the Mequoda Method, which is utilized by successful niche publishers both large and small, calls for deploying a single piece of copy across all three to maximize your unique visitors, subscribers and buyers.   Continue

11 Landing Page Optimization Tests for Subscription Websites [+ Video]

When a visitor arrives at your website landing page, you have about five seconds to make a good impression and capture her attention. If you don’t succeed immediately, she is likely to click away and you’re apt to lose her forever.

Your landing page needs to be a fast, effective messenger.

With a quick glance, visitors to your site should know exactly what your landing page is about and how it benefits them. Determine what image and message you want the customer to “get” in those first few seconds, and design your landing page toward that objective. Anything that distracts from the central message or image you wish to project should be eliminated.   Continue

In Subscription Website Publishing, Queen Martha Rules … For Now

How big is the Martha Stewart brand? The formal name, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, pretty much says it all. And Googling the name for news of the company in the media world delivers stunning results.

Page 1 of Google results delivered nine listings from the website itself, and the usual listing from Wikipedia. One the second page, I found several news articles about its decision to fold two of its four magazines into the flagship product. More on that later … but more interestingly, I couldn’t find a single other search result that wasn’t from the website itself or from subscription retailers like Amazon … and I finally gave up on Page 9.

In short, Martha Stewart Living owns its own name in Google search, which is to say, on the Internet. I’ve never seen that kind of result when Googling any other publication. If there are any other references to the company on the Internet, they can’t compete with the company’s optimization of every single page for organic search and every magazine outlet that sells the magazine!   Continue

Subscription Website Publishing Proves Its Worth

The New Yorker shows that it’s not only the wave of the future, but can also remedy the sins of the past. Take a trip with me today to the Big Apple, home of The New Yorker magazine. This venerable publication, like everyone else in the industry, has struggled in the Internet era with declining ad sales and even more recently, with consumer disdain for print media.   Continue

Why Special-Interest Magazines Will Win the Online Advertising Wars

Be careful who you follow because special-interest publishers are converting print to web subscribers better than anyone
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Merging Usability Testing Methods from the Past and Present

Website usability tests are performed to determine if websites are functioning correctly. If they aren’t, users will have a hard time executing on their desired tasks, leading website publishers to fail in building rapport and generating revenue from these users.   Continue

Creative Landing Pages are About More than Fancy Design

Stay focused, be quick, and write well
The other day my husband had to fetch a magnifying glass to read what was printed on a box of gourmet chocolate milk mix.

It was in tiny, light brown type on a dark brown background.
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