You can launch a new online magazine within weeks using today’s digital magazine software and digital design tools. You can launch a digital magazine for as low as $200, depending on your experience and skills. This guide will show you how to create and launch a digital magazine.
These are the seven steps to successfully launch and create a digital magazine.
1. Plan Your Digital Magazine Business
A business plan is the first step to creating a digital magazine. It is important to determine who the publication will reach, how much money you plan to make, and to establish a budget to cover magazine management and launch costs.
Choose a niche for your digital magazine
You’ll be surprised at the variety of magazines available if you go to a newsstand that sells traditional magazines. Digital magazines are able to be printed at a fraction of the cost as their physical counterparts. This means that there are more subcategories and categories for digital magazines. These subcategories are called niches. This is the group of people who share common interests and to whom your magazine will appeal.
It is important to research your niche before you choose it. You should look for magazines that are both digital and traditional, which will help you find the right audience. This will help you to develop your magazine.
You can find magazines that cover the niche you are interested in, but you may not be able to find them. If this happens, you should look for books, websites, and other resources that will appeal to your niche. You may be able to find evidence that other people are reaching your niche in different ways. Online content that is targeted at your niche may be sparse. This could indicate that there is not enough audience for your chosen niche. It’s best to change or increase the audience you are targeting if this happens.
A key factor in launching a digital magazine is choosing a niche that’s interesting to a small but relevant audience. Your magazine may not appeal to enough people if it has a too large audience. You’ll struggle to get enough readers to your magazine in order for it be profitable if your niche is too narrow.
Wander digital magazine published by Springfed Creative Inc. targets the travel niche
Decide how your digital publication will make money
There are many monetization options available to you if your goal is to make money from your magazine. Digital magazine publishers often use multiple sales channels in order to generate income for their magazines.
These are just a few ways that you can market your digital magazine.
- You can sell your digital magazine online using an ecommerce plugin like WooCommerce
- Mobile app stores such as Apple’s App store and Google Play can help you generate sales for your magazine.
- Make an online shop through Shopify to sell single copies of your magazine or subscriptions.
- Your digital magazine can be listed on magazines newsstands and apps like Zinnio, Magzter, and Issuu.
Selling advertisements in your digital magazine can make you money. Sponsored posts are another way to make money with your online magazine. This is where you get paid to write content about a product, brand or person.
More than 15,000 digital publications are downloaded daily on Issuu
Digital Magazine Costs
Either you can start a digital magazine with a small budget or invest hundreds of thousands to launch an online publication. You have the freedom to choose. You can create any type of magazine, but you need to be familiar with the activities involved in developing and marketing an online magazine.
To launch your digital magazine, you would need to hire full-time staff, including writers, proofreaders and photographers. This could easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many new magazine publishers are able to perform multiple roles so they don’t have to pay such high staffing costs.
There are many ways to reduce employee costs. There are guest writers and photographers that will provide content in return for publicity. Nearly all digital magazines use freelancers to develop their content. Sites like Fiverr or Upwork can help you find high-quality, low-cost freelancers to fulfill most of your magazine requirements.
Other costs related to the launch of a digital publication
|Computers, phones, software, and other technology||Employees can earn between $0 and $1500+|
|Graphic Design & Page Layout Tool||From $0 to $1000+|
|Image Editing Tools||From $0 to $800+|
|Web Development and Hosting||For Launch*, $0 to $3,000 More|
|Software for Digital Magazine Publishing||Monthly Rent: $0 to $999|
You can use the tools and computers you already have to create your first digital magazine if you don’t have much money. You can also use several online tools for free. Canva and PicMonkey both offer free image editing plans. Free photos can be obtained for magazines by either taking the photos yourself or downloading stock photos from sites such as Unsplash and Pixabay.
To promote their digital magazines, most magazine publishers have a website. A WordPress website can be launched with DreamHost at $2.59 per month.
You’ll save more if you outsource or do more of the tasks yourself. You can launch your first magazine issue for as low as $200 if you are diligent in securing low-cost and free resources.
“My best advice to anyone wanting to start a digital publication is to ensure that you have enough capital, including at least six months’ worth of expenses in the bank. It’s not a sprint. Also, it is difficult to monetize a magazine using [Google Ads] or sponsored posts. You can use the six-month runway to help you get your feet under you while you work out the kinks and grow your audience.
Few magazines succeed by being started and maintained by one person. You need a team to create engaging, visually appealing content. This team could include full-time staff, volunteers or freelancers, as discussed above.
These are some of the roles you might see in digital magazines.
The typical magazine staff and what they do
|Role||What they do|
|Editor-in Chief||Responsible for the direction and creation of the magazine|
|Managing Editor||Responsible for the execution and planning of editorial projects|
|Advertising Salesperson||Sponsored posts and advertisers are generated for the magazine|
|Marketing Director||Directs marketing activities, such as managing the website, PR and social media.|
|Circulation Director||Increases magazine subscriber base. Maintains positive relationships with subscribers.|
|Art Director||Responsible for overall magazine design and issue-byissue layout|
|Writers||Create magazine content|
|Photographers||Responsible for all magazine photography|
|Copy Editor||Assures that all content is written well and relevant to the audience.|
|Proofreader||Magazine content is guaranteed to be error-free|
Although new magazine owners are often expected to take on multiple roles at first, it is not wise to try and do everything. Magazine readers don’t expect to hear the same thing from every contributor as they do on a blog. It’s smart to have a variety of writers on your editorial staff, even if some or all of them are volunteers.
3. Choose Your Digital Magazine Software
A software platform will make it easier to create your digital magazine. It is worth taking your time when choosing the right software.
Software programs for digital magazines can perform many functions. They include helping you to set up your magazine, convert PDFs into magazine-style flipbooks, apps, or embed interactive features in your magazines.
Here is a list with associated costs of the top magazine software.
- Joomag : This digital publishing platform is all-in-one. It allows you to create interactive content and distribute it on multiple channels. You can also track magazine performance and help you monetize it through subscriptions. Monthly plans start at $79 and go up to $149. Enterprise plans can also be purchased and include custom pricing and features.
- HTML5 – Create multimedia-rich flipbook magazines using this simple-to-use tool. Plans start at $25 per month and go up to $25 for annual renewals. Enterprise plans can be purchased for $999.
Turn your PDFs into interactive magazine-style flipbooks with Pub HTML5
- Issuu: Create your digital magazine, and then start selling subscriptions or single issues using the Issuu digital publishing tools and Issue sales tools. Plans start at $35 per month and range from free to $35.
- MagLoft: This software creates mobile apps for digital magazine editors. MagLoft allows you to upload PDFs and ePUBs, then use the drag-and-drop editor of MagLoft to create interactive content. Your digital magazine is responsive. It adapts to the device being used by the reader, creating a great experience for readers. This means that there is no need to pinch or scroll left-to-right to read your magazine. Plans are available from free to $499 a month.
- Flipsnack: Flipsnack allows you to create, share and embed online magazines on your website and social media channels. Flipsnack’s professional plan allows you to directly sell your magazine on their platform. Plans start at $79 per month and range from free to $79
- PressPad/Magz – This software creates mobile magazines apps for iOS or Android using your PDFs. Plans start at $84.99 and go up to $299 per Month.
The Style to the Aisle digital magazine app was created using PressPad/Magz
All of the listed software platforms come with a free trial. You should take advantage of the free trial to see the different features in each digital magazine software before you make a purchase decision.
4. How to Sell Your Digital Magazine
Depending on the format of your magazine, you will be able to sell it anywhere. You can create digital magazines as PDFs or electronic publications (also called ePUBs) using software such as Pub HTML5.
Your digital magazine can be sold on your website, in a Shopify shop, through GumRoad or SendOwl.
You can also sell and host your magazine on digital magazines software platforms such as FlipSnack. Your magazine can be published on online newsstand websites, such as:
- This website offers more than 12,000 magazines online for buyers to buy.
- Zinio: With more than 6,000 digital magazines to choose from, your digital magazine will be among the best, alongside top magazines such as Time, Sports Illustrated and Better Fast Company.
- This site has a unique selling proposition. For $9 per month, subscribers get unlimited access more than 4,000 magazines from the website.
Selling your magazine directly through popular app stores is a great way to reach large audiences. However, app-developing magazine software is more expensive than epub software. MagLoft plans start at $299 per monthly for both a mobile and web app plan. The cost of professional custom app developers can reach the thousands.
Create a magazine app and sell your digital magazine on popular app sites, such as Apple’s App Store
5. Design Your Online Magazine
Digital magazines have many of the same features as traditional magazines. A masthead is required. It contains the title of your magazine and any additional information you wish to repeat on every issue. While the cover design of your magazine will vary from issue to issue for consistency, certain elements like typography, font size, borders, colors and so forth will not change.
A magazine’s page layout should be logical, yet creative. It can also be modified to show consistency across issues. The magazine’s photography must be compelling and powerful. Amazing photography is what distinguishes the best print magazines. Digital magazines are also renowned for their stunning photography.
These Time covers illustrate how a magazine can vary cover elements while still maintaining a recognizable look and feel from issue to issue
Digital Publication Layout and Graphic Design
You have many options to create stunning magazine layouts. Adobe InDesign is the most used layout software among graphic designers. Canva’s magazine cover templates are available with Canva’s paid plan. This costs $9.95 per year and is accessible by anyone who has Canva. Many of the software programs for magazines mentioned in step 3 provide design tools and layout tools that will make your magazine stand out.
Creative Market is another popular source for design assistance for magazine publishers who do not have the budget for professional designers. You can find many different magazines cover and layout templates there that you can use to make your own design.
Example of a wedding magazine template designed by Bellenity Design as advertised on Creative Market
Your magazine’s design is the most important area of your website. You don’t need to be a professional designer to design the magazine’s look and feel. You can buy a ready-made template for your digital magazine if you don’t have the budget to hire a designer. Poorly designed magazines are rarely a big financial success.
Digital Magazine Photography
You can find amazing photography from many sources to create your digital magazine. Make sure to understand the rights of images you are using, whether you’re paying for them or not. Double-check that you can place the photos that you select on a magazine.
You can avoid costly legal headaches by ensuring that you verify that the images that you are using have been licensed to you from a source with the right rights. Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels offer thousands of free images that could be used in your magazine. In some cases, photos posted on free sites have been done so without permission. You could be held responsible as a publisher of a magazine for publishing any photo that you don’t have the rights to.
LegalZoom offers intellectual property services to assist you with legal issues related to publishing digital magazines. LegalZoom can assist you with trademark registrations and copyright registrations. LegalZoom offers prepaid legal plans that allow you to speak with an attorney whenever you need.
National Geographic magazine is known for its stunning photography
Consider purchasing royalty-free images from stock agencies such as BigStock and 123rf. These sites have much more photo options and higher-quality images than those on free sites. These sites also have third-party records that prove you paid for the rights to publish images purchased.
If you have the opportunity to work with a professional photographer, or if your own, original photos can make your digital magazine stand out from other magazines. You can also find freelance photographers through sites such as Upwork or Fiverr. Scoopshot is another online resource that helps you find a photographer. It matches clients with photographers.
Example of a typical magazine page layout and common page elements from OutSource2India
Typography of digital publications
Choose carefully when selecting typography for your magazine. Your digital magazine’s vibe will be influenced by the choice of typography. Do some research if you aren’t sure which font to choose. You can review all magazines to see the various fonts used, as well as how they are used in headers, subtitles, call-out quotations, and other areas. It is important to choose the right font combinations for your magazine. Typography has a greater impact on overall magazine design than most people realize.
Example of creative use of typography in Solitaire magazine designed by Natalie Shau
Your magazine’s content is what keeps readers coming back issue by issue. It’s crucial to plan strategically for your magazine’s content.
Magazines often include both recurring and in-depth content. These can include letters to the editor and messages from the editor. For recurring content, magazines use a semi-standard page layout to help readers become familiar with the regular columns. Although advertisements are more common in the featured articles, they are still spread throughout the magazine.
It is important to plan what content you will add to your magazine and where they will go. The “front of book” is usually filled with short-form content. While the “feature well” is the place where the featured content for an issue is located, the middle of the magazine (or “the feature”) is generally full of longer-form content. Although it is considered to be the top content, the “back of the books” contains any information that a magazine publisher needs. These ads are usually cheaper, so you will often see small ads at the back of the magazine.
Find exceptional writers for your online magazine
You may be able to find great writers for your niche if you are thinking about launching a magazine. There are many ways to increase your network of magazine editors.
Follow blogs and forums that address the same issues as your magazine. Reach out to people who share the same sentiments and perspectives as you and invite them to contribute to your magazine.
Freelance sites such as Upwork, Freelancer.com and Fiverr can help you find great writers and editors. You can give freelancers instructions on topics and tone. The best part is that you don’t need to sign long-term contracts when working with freelancers. You can evaluate the skills of freelancers and decide if it is worth continuing to work with them in future issues.
Fiverr gives you access to hundreds of freelance writers, editors, proofreaders, and more
Get Interviews for Your Digital Magazine
Most magazines have famous faces on the covers. Magazines are sold by big names. Although you may not be able get interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk when your career is just beginning, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to secure an interview with someone who is well-known for your audience.
Interviews are open to anyone who is interested in promoting a book or business venture. Offer a variety of interview formats to people when approaching them for interviews. You could conduct a live interview over Zoom or by phone, or you could even do an email interview in which you ask the interviewee several questions at a time. It’s easier for people to say yes than it is for you.
Interviews with people who are famous to your niche can have a significant advantage. People you interview often have a large following. If someone has a large following mentions that they interviewed you, it’s free publicity.
Interviews are a great way to get more interviews. Interviews are a great way to build credibility and increase interest in your digital magazine.
This issue of The City Magazine features an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio to gain interest for its magazine
7. 7.Market Your Digital Magazine
Your magazine’s success is your responsibility as the publisher. Do not assume that “if you build it they will come.” Your responsibility for attracting readers is proactive and relentless.
Building an Audience
This article is for you because you want to learn how to make a digital magazine. Although this post covered the basics of creating a magazine in detail, the seventh step, which is marketing your digital magazine to the world, is the most important. Your publication won’t succeed if nobody is reading it.
These are the top five ways magazines can build and maintain a following.
- Give away free samples: Create the premiere issue of your magazine and make it available on all channels, including social media, ads and on your website. To receive the free issue, you will need an email address to follow up with your readers and invite them into becoming regular subscribers.
- Make a website. The most successful digital magazines have a website that allows people to explore the magazine and also subscribe. If you do great SEO on your website, people will find your publication via Google. For only $2.59 per monthly, you can launch a magazine website using WordPress with DreamHost.
- Conduct a social media blitz – Be consistent in your commitment to creating compelling social media content to promote your magazine and introduce people to new content in each issue.
- Guest blogging: As a magazine editor, you have unique perspectives to share with the rest of the world. You can offer to guest post on popular blogs and appear on podcasts with large audiences. This will allow you to spread the word about your magazine.
- Press releases – New magazine launches are news. Use press releases to announce your magazine’s launch. To get your news out to as many outlets and media outlets as possible, use a service such as Newswire.
- Advertising – Create targeted ads for your magazine using Google Ads or other social media platforms.
- Share-worthy content is the best way to spread the word about your magazine. Create shareable content with the potential to go viral. You should remember that visual and interactive content is the most shared. Make sure you create infographics, illustrations and quizzes that are share-worthy.
- Invite readers to engage . Getting people to read a portion of your magazine is just half the battle. They want to return again and again. Even better, they want to tell their friends about your magazine. Engaging them in interactive chats or participation pieces within your magazine is the best way to achieve this.
You can get more people to interact on different channels with you, which will increase their commitment to your magazine. While building an audience takes time and effort, your magazine will thrive if you give it enough attention.
“Build a genuine relationship with your readers. You can reply to emails and ask for their suggestions. To become your ambassadors, your first readers must feel part of the family.
–Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Founder, Maker Mag
FAQs about How to Make a Digital Magazine
You may still have questions about creating a digital magazine. Take a look at the questions below to see which top questions are answered.
How do digital magazines make money?
Subscription sales, advertising and sponsored posts are the three most popular ways digital magazines make money. Most digital magazines can make more money if they have a larger subscriber base.
How do I make a magazine at my home?
You can make a digital magazine at home with any of the software tools described in step 3. FlipSnack, Issuu and Pub HTML5 are the most affordable. You will usually start with a PDF and then upload it to the platform of your choosing to add interactivity.
What number of pages should a digital publication contain?
Digital magazines are more flexible than print magazines in terms of length, as they do not have any print dimensions or print cost restrictions. The majority of magazines have between 30 and 120 pages. You can make your digital magazine as long as you need it to reach your goals.
What do I need to trademark my digital magazine
When naming or designing your magazine, it is important to ensure that you are not violating any other trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office trademark database is free to search. A trademark is an excellent way to help your magazine monetize. LegalZoom makes trademarking your magazine easy.
It takes just seven steps to create a digital magazine that costs less than $200. A clear business plan is essential, as well as a team of talented people. Next, you will choose your magazine software and publishing format. Next, create your sales, design and content strategies. You will then build a loyal following through smart marketing strategies.