We recently served on a niche magazine judging panel and were surprised by some of the entries. Why? Because the entrants submitted their digital version for an award. Yet their desktop, tablet and mobile versions (if they had one) were woefully behind the times. Designs were flat, navigation was confusing and slow at best, the reader experience was a yawner. Um, they didn’t win.
If your niche magazine is not serving your readers on multi-platforms you are losing new and existing readership and leaving money on the table.
Usually the first questions that pop up in the minds of publishers are: How much has to change? What vendor should I use? How much will it cost? (Can we spend half that?) What’s the timeline?
Besides the above, it’s important to first develop the goals of your digital redesign. Consider these questions (and your answers) to the following:
How will the redesign enable your organization to increase revenue, or subscriptions, or…? What are the traffic, engagement, conversion goals?
1. How effective are your banner ads and should you eliminate them? A redesign is a great opportunity to mix things up and implement a new, integrated system.
2. How much redesigning do you need to do to achieve what you want? Here’s Hubspot’s 10 Step Checklist for your next website re-design if you are not sure where to start.
3. How do your readers want to experience your magazine on the all-important mobile? Mobile-first website design: Expert advice from Roberta Muller
4. Do your platforms integrate well? There are 2 schools of thought on this: Either you provide a seamless reader experience across platforms or you make each platform, (print, tablet, mobile, etc.) a unique “brand” experience. This is a little trickier to achieve, but it can be done.
5. Do you get your whole team involved?
6. How much and what reader feedback should you consider?
Even if you have redesigned your magazine(s), you now know that digital updating needs to be an ongoing process. Here’s some timeless advice from Editor, Co-Publisher and unapologetic futurist Bill Thompson III: Bird Watcher’s Digest’s journey to multi-platform design
P.S. Don’t leave your print product in the dark during your illuminating digital design process! All products need to offer a connected, niched, brand experience.
P.P.S. While you ponder your digital design options, here’s something you can do right now to help your ad sales team increase your bottom line: 5 tips for selling ads even when your website sucks
About this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.
Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau–Niche Media’s Grand Poobah–also created a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events: blog.NicheEventNation.com Check it out!
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