Business Overview

Magazine publishers whose work is solely available online create and publish editorial content that might be supported by paid circulation or advertising revenue, or by a combination of both. Online magazines, also known as e-zines or digital magazines, feature articles, photography, typography and graphic layout design that can resemble print magazines. Some blogs are also published like e-zines, with guest post writers and advertising support.

Who is this business right for?

The successful online magazine publisher has a skill set that includes the talents of a writer, editor, web developer, webmaster, advertising salesperson and business person. Your goal is to develop a niche audience and content to regularly fit your theme.

You should be highly motivated and driven to continually provide fresh, rich content that will make readers come back for more and also recommend it to their friends.

What happens during a typical day at an online magazine?

Your online publishing business will involve the following responsibilities.

  • Write or commission content that fits the theme of your e-zine
  • Find or commission photography and artwork that complements the look of the magazine and the featured content
  • Edit submissions for punctuation, spelling, tone and clarity
  • Implement a social media strategy to tease reader interest in current or archived articles and pull them to your site
  • Strategize new ways of monetizing your publication, either through ad programs such as Google AdSense, paid circulation or your own space sales efforts

What is the target market?

You’ll know your customer profile as soon as you’ve identified your magazine editorial slant. Many publishers start with their own lifestyle interests, hobbies or career fields, because these are topics they know well.

Furthermore, your customers will likely be readers and very involved in the digital world. (Although magazines with a greater mix of visuals and video content can be geared toward non-readers.)

How does an online magazine make money?

Most e-zine income is from advertising. You can either chase down the ads yourself or rely on an advertising app like Google AdSense. Google will figure out the ads that fit the theme of your digital magazine and place them as viewer links. In this pay-per-click model, every time a reader follows the link to the advertiser’s content you’re paid a fixed amount. The larger your traffic volume, the more clicks you are likely to generate, thus increasing your ad revenue.

You can also contact advertisers yourself, but this approach would likely succeed only if you have a niche theme that can cater to companies selling related products. For example, a long-distance running e-zine based in Ohio could run ads for different running shoes stores in Cleveland and the surrounding area.

The more you narrowly you define your subject matter and audience, the easier it can be to appeal to advertisers.

What is the growth potential for an online magazine?

Your income rises with traffic to your site. As your e-zines grows in traffic, it becomes of greater interest to ad programs such as Google AdSense. And at some point you might consider putting a paywall in front of at least some of your content.