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How to Create a Stunning Web Magazine — WordPress Publishing Technology Review

web magazines

Before you think how to tweak web magazine to create the stunning reading experience imagine this… Digital Publishing has been changing since original iPad announcement.

What is digital publishing today, what’s the role of WordPress publishing and web magazines, and how to grasp it for your own convenience? In this article, I will provide the recipe from the publishing technology point of view.

Today’s magazine publishers are much more aware of digital marketing and marketing concepts of AARRR sales funnel, engagement and conversions. These concepts pave the way under the usage of digital publishing tools in the modern publishing enterprise. A multi-platform digital network including web magazine, social networks, and mobile apps is not a surprise anymore.

Let’s see why.

How publishers perceive digital publishing concept

While just a few years ago people perceived mobile apps as the gate to instant wealth, today magazine apps play the main role in specifically defined levels of the sales funnel. And this is not always about pure monetization through the in-app sales. Sometimes mobile apps monetize the indirect way in a longer time horizon.

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For example, publishers with magazines in print circulation can offer a digital version as an addition to their print subscription. The magazine app provides 1 to 1 digital replica and it is a great way to create a stunning magazine subscription offer.

In this example, print magazine subscribers get digital access as an option. Reading anywhere, anytime on digital devices creates the subliminal perception of a bulk bargain in subscriber’s minds. And we all like bulk bargains don’t we?

— Who can walk away without paying attention to the “buy 1 get one free” label?

In fact, online customers are more demanding than real-world shoppers, and it is challenging to keep them engaged. The sales window becomes very short. That’s why adding more value to the subscription offer is so important these days.

Web magazine website for modern publishers

Apps and subscription offers don’t hang in vacuum. Modern publishers including magazines such as New Yorker use full ecosystem of the content carriers to distribute its content. This multiplatform approach to publishing utilizes various distribution channels such us:

According to Mequoda It pays out because that’s how brands build awareness among their target users using recycled (or repurposed) content that vibes exactly at the chosen distribution channel.

“When you recycle a magazine into apps, blog posts, videos, emails and events it makes sounds too: the sounds of web traffic rushing at you. The sound of social chatter and ultimately, ad or product revenue.” — Don Nicholas, Mequoda.

However the magazine’s website plays the very important role of this ecosystem. It lies in the epicenter of the whole enterprise. Publisher possess the full control of the brand over their website, unlike the brand page on Facebook.

Well designed website builds credibility, it allows to catch leads and direct people to the deeper parts of the sales funnel. Finally, it drives traffic to the subscription offer and other products. In the nutshell, the online success of the publishing enterprise starts right there on the website.

WordPress for web magazine publishers

WordPress is among the most popular content management systems (CMS) on the world. They claim to power 27% of the entire Internet. User-friendliness and ease of use makes WordPress a very popular web publishing platform among not only bloggers but modern publishers too. Good examples of magazine publishers who chose to use WordPress as their web publishing engine are, WIRED, The New Yorker or niche Mens Fashion Magazine.

What’s great about WordPress CMS it’s open source software and that means it’s free. You can download the latest version on the page.

What will you need to install WordPress? A web server (a virtual private server is enough) from reliable web hosting provider, and basic knowledge of the PHP scripting language.

When it comes to choosing web hosting, there is one more tempting option and it’s called a managed WordPress hosting.

What does managed WordPress hosting mean?

Dealing with traditional hosting providers can be tricky. Even technical savvy people sometimes get a hard time during configuration of their server. Managed WordPress hosting is different. They optimize servers for WordPress, and preinstall the software themselves. In the nutshell, it means that all technical things related to server management are on the hosting provider. These includes:

In this case publisher has to set up basic configuration and that’s it. That’s why managed WordPress hosting is very popular among designers. No distraction from the technical side of “The Force” means they can focus on content.

Plugins and themes for publishers

WordPress is the whole universe of plugins, design themes, and add-ons that enable full customization of the web magazine. How the final website will look and feel is up to the publisher. Most of the WordPress plugins are one-click to install and very easy to manage. The same goes for design themes.

There are thousands of great-looking themes and useful plugins. Publisher is capable to have their WordPress installation customized thanks to proper composition of the premium theme or hundreds of free themes with relevant plugins that add more functions (i.e. social sharing buttons, speed optimization, image compression etc.) to the standard WordPress installation.

Plugins and design resources every publisher should know about

Are you ready to use WordPress for your publication, or perhaps you’re going to redesign your existing WordPress theme? Despite your motivation for sure, you’ll find below resources useful.

Everyone has their own preferred WordPress plugins. I chose these plugins because they improve speed and optimize site content towards the search engine.

Comet Cache

Enable caching to speed up your WordPress website

If you’re not familiar with website catching or HTTP caching do not worry. This plugin implements the temporary storage (caching) of web content, such as HTML pages and images, to reduce server load, and perceived lag. This is a step towards returning visitors who will instantly get your page loaded.

Install this Comet Cache plugin to speed up your site with an intelligent cache system.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Improve Search Engine Optimization of your WordPress site

Managing technical SEO has never been easier. With this plugin, you’ll be able to take care of many SEO aspects.

These are keywords matching, titles management, breadcrumbs, and sitemaps. If these concepts sound a bit weird, you shall no worries. Yoast plugin has been created by the world-class SEO experts and one of the best SEO educators.

They made sure to secure a high-quality knowledge base. Everything is well explained and documented.

What’s more this SEO plugin really works; it improves not only your search result page ranking but also the quality of your content.

Install this WordPress SEO plugin to improve your position on Google.


Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages on your WordPress site

Have you ever heard about AMP? If not it’s about time to build knowledge in this field. AMP technology doesn’t duplicate content but makes its loading on mobile devices insanely fast. On Reddit AMP pages load between 7 and 30 times faster. With this AMP plugin active, all posts on your site will have dynamically generated AMP-compatible versions, accessible by appending /amp/ to the end your post URLs. Here is a live example of AMP page of this article.

Install this AMP WordPress plugin to enable Accelerated Mobile Pages at your site.

Design Mockups

10 free PSD mockups and scene creators for designers

These PSD bundles from Flywheel provides a large group of movable, single objects for designers. It makes arranging pre set scenes and mockups fast and easy to do. That’s definitely a timesaver for your fellow designer.

Explore PSD mockups for your web design inspiration.

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1000+ Beautiful and Free Photos from Unsplash

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash. Sounds great?

Explore collections of the beautiful free photos ready for commercial use.

Photographers provide amazing curated photos through Unsplash. There are thousands of photos covering many various walks of life including photos for parent bloggers and photos for lifestyle bloggers.

News Apps for WordPress

Mobile app vs Users Retention

When was the last time you thought how to make people come back to your website? Well, there is a good moment to think about that.

Statistics say that over 50% of website visitors never come back. It’s challenging to win their attention in the era of Facebook and Snapchat.

Fortunately, there are techniques that help sort out this situation. According to research by Localytics “Push Notifications lift retention rates”. That’s not a surprise because your readers sometimes don’t even realize they are missing you.

Our own study shows that push notifications has a potential to increase in-app transactions even for 300%.

For sure push notifications increase engagement.

— How?

Sent from the app’s dashboard they pop up a message at the reader’s mobile device. This action is usually accompanied by a sound or vibration. How not to check what’s this message is all about, and tap on it?

Since you may be asking yourself:

— is it for me?
— is it worth my time?

Let me provide a few hints about PressPad News, the mobile news app designed for WordPress publishers. Here is what you can achieve with PressPad News:

Mobile app vs Responsive Web Design

If you’re thinking whether “News” app is better than responsive design please don’t get confused. I’ll put it straightforwardly: these are two different, complementary technologies.

According to eMarketer “Most smartphones users in the US shell out money for an app because it has content they want“. While responsive design let new visitors experience your brand in a proper manner on the go, the branded “News” app attracts the returning one.

WordPress is a great platform for publishers because it comes with so many extensions. Plugins, easy to install responsive themes and mobile apps significantly increasing its value.

The branded mobile app for WordPress has the ability to stimulate loyalty-building and pulling its users deeper into the sales funnel. Many popular brands don’t make a choice between responsive web design and branded mobile apps. They just use both technologies to improve mobile users’ retention and brand awareness.

For example, brands like Amazon, YouTube, and Buzzfeed have both: a Mobile App and a Responsive web because they play different roles in their marketing strategy.

How to apply this to your publishing enterprise

Executing ideas is one of the most important things both in life and in business. If you are new to WordPress I would say that it’s essential to find a reliable web hosting provider.

The other step would be customizing your WordPress installation. This is definitely a step by step process. From adding a new design Theme to installing all the must-have plugins.

Connecting WordPress to your own news app would be probably the last but not least step on your list. It has the potential to greatly improve the engagement rate of your content and retention to your website.

I hope that this post puts more light on the multi-platform publishing and WordPress role in this concept. Please direct your questions and opinions in the comments below.

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