Magazine Publishing Digital Strategy Consulting

Magazine Consulting Services

In order to effect an immediate increase in magazine revenue results, we must first determine the most important actions to be taken based on the specific magazine publishing model of our client. Addressing problems and opportunities to increase online revenue will insure the magazine can fund digital and website process improvements, re-designs, and upgrades. Magazine publishing consulting packages are tailored to startups, small, and mid-size publishing groups. We recommend all new magazine startups begin with the full magazine strategy program.

Web Design for Publishers


Yes, I’m a Publisher ready to discuss my needs/ interests and want the consultant recommendations

The recommendation is the first step toward any design or digital solution services and provides publishers an evaluation and perspective of their needs as they seek vendor partners or internal solutions.  We understand time is valuable and we can complete this initial recommendation in one week so you can start making action decisions.


Quick Start Action Plan*

*NEW UPDATE: Publishing Strategy Recommendation

Magazine Publishing Consulting: Next Steps Action Plan

This magazine consulting plan provides an overview of the innovative tools and opportunities that should be present in any modern publishing business model.  We look at your specific magazine publication niche and identify the strategic marketing and growth issues that require immediate attention.  The magazine website and web channel revenue elements are the focus of this immediate results and actions set of strategic recommendations.  While more detailed analysis is available in our digital media publishing strategy plans, a quick list of high priority opportunities for new revenue will help publishers to make the most of their existing publishing and sales staff.

Magazine Publishing Consultants

Expansion of a print based publication into the wide array of innovative concepts and magazine publishing technology leaves no room for mistakes. It’s important to determine required results and a strategic direction based on the publication niche. Understanding the core niche strategy provides a foundation for all other ongoing publisher decisions and brand development. Publishers are making decisions everyday that have long term implications for the magazine print, digital, and social media strategy.

Digital Media Magazine Strategy

Magazine Publisher Digital Media Consulting: Magazine Strategic Plan

This magazine consulting package provides for a consulting group collaborative strategy and recommendations. The publisher strategic plan covers strategic business elements that utilize innovative magazine publishing methodologies actively being utilized by other innovative publishers.  Traditional print magazine business model foundations are covered within our planning for digital media revenue and growth.

– Review the magazine readership niche
– Review print and eMedia / digital brand position
– Review audience development & social media potential
– Review magazine competitive market space
– Review of online web analytics and search position for site traffic
– Review magazine circulation and fulfillment strategy
– Review magazine overall and per issue marketing plan
– Review publisher staff and resource capabilities based on budget

Optional Additional Publishing Consultants – Select Additional Strategy Consultant Participants
– Print Magazine Business Strategy
– Editorial, Advertising, Readership, Niche, Concept Feasibility
– Advertising Sales
– Editorial Planning
– Publishing Business Legal Expert
– Circulation, Fulfillment, & Newsstand Sales


The Magazine Directory

The magazine directory is an excellent way for you to provide resource to your audience while enabling your advertiser community to demonstrate where their products and services fit within your industry niche.  As publishers look for new ways to increase revenue, look at how many aspects of the online supplier guide can help your readership community stay in touch with innovative ideas and products from suppliers.  Beyond the basic supplier profile, many suppliers have new ideas, events, portfolios, and case studies that can also become a dimension of this publisher website channel.

There’s certainly a huge revenue potential for the magazine’s online resource directory. The classified or marketplace section of the print magazine has always provided consistent revenue.  Tie these packages together.  Be sure to allow the small and innovative marketplace entrants a place at this table.  Many innovative startups might just be your key full brand advertisers in 1-3 years and they may have the most interesting industry innovation stories to share today.

I’ve recently updated and shared our own listing in key publications where our target publisher audience will find us too!



By David Blankenship


Magazine Website Redesign and Website Content Management System Upgrades

An annual magazine website redesign allows publishers to make the necessary structural and user experience changes to the publication website expected by readers and advertisers. The magazine web redesign does not mean that the magazine website content management system (CMS) must be replaced but it’s a good time to confirm basic updates have been performed or consider a magazine CMS upgrade.

For the web redesign, this process includes adoption of the latest design trends (yes, it’s time to change that glassy web 2.0 feel) and even re-position social media connectors or access to the digital brand elements of the magazine. For most publishers the top relevant social platforms now are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest, with the addition of LinkedIn buttons for all b2b publications. These social platforms are so prevalent that the generic share or add buttons linking to dozens of other social platforms are often additional clutter. The exception is when the publisher utilizes the ‘sharethis’ or ‘addthis’ for additional simple email or read-later function.

Advertising adjustments are always in order and with the new IAB ad units you probably want to add or update your banner advertising dimensions. See new ad units here: The 970×90 Pushdown is very popular and sits below your main website navigation.

Taxonomy and navigation structures are also often updated during the redesign and emphasize the importance to develop the new design with a methodical process. Are you positioning your website navigation based upon functional channels like news, video, blog, or are you taking a topic based navigation for editorial or search optimization. We enjoy this part of our service and our design presentation mocks flow from a collaborative wireframe strategy which is unique for every magazine brand.

The magazine CMS should be easy to use for publishing daily content to your audience. Some publishers may still be working with a static HTML page update process or legacy publisher CMS. Older magazine web content management software may be a candidate for a simple upgrade to a modern publishing platform. Both web/cloud based magazine CMS and open source magazine CMS software can often be populated based on a database import from older software. Taxonomy and image asset handling are the more challenging issues for migration, but are often worth doing right to preserve content value.

Here’s some screenshots of the Drupal publishing CMS. Both Joomla, WordPress, and modern cloud based magazine cms platforms have similar foundational publisher website management features allowing simple article and news publishing.

CMS Modules Drive Features and Functions of Website


Publisher CMS Content Types Allow Specific Fields and Functions By Content Type (News, Events, Videos)


Publishing CMS Article Entry is a Web Based WYSIWYG Editor for Text and Image Entry


The magazine redesign should produce results in the following 3 categories:

1) Audience Usability and Style Presentation Improvement
2) Magazine Advertiser Value / Digital Inventory Improvement
3) Publisher Website Management Workflows / Ease of Updates and Social Content Facilitation


Consumer Magazine Publisher Web Design

Consumer Magazine Publisher Web Design for Drupal CMS Publishing Software

The GHM publisher magazine web design was created based on a UX and magazine revenue strategy with the capabilities of the Drupal 7 CMS as the publishing software system. In addition to the key magazine content optimization which we feature in each magazine website design for topical taxonomy leverage and readership usability, we also focused on the impressing image and photography from this publishing design project.

Magazine Web Design Strategy

Website design strategy focused on the publisher interest of featuring both audience photos as well as key magazine niche artist works. A dual website design and social optimization process was created for these two separate content types. In additional to publisher article content web design, these design galleries also play a significant part in terms of the advertising revenue capabilities of the site beyond traditional display advertising and magazine publisher resource directory revenue.

Drupal Magazine Theme and CMS Software

The magazine CMS utilized was Drupal 7 and the Drupal magazine theme design (see magazine publisher CMS software comparison) has been customized to allow for several main website navigation channel views to provide a unique experience to magazine subscribers and digital audience. Drupal Magazine CMS is a leading open source software platform utilized today for magazine publisher web CMS solutions because of this ability to create custom content types and design a specific interface workflow for the publishing group and staff to easily add unlimited website pages and content with this publishing software system.


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View Live Site: Consumer Magazine Website


Tablet Magazine Digital Publishing Software

Digital magazine publishing is a top priority for publishers and the Adobe team is working hard to provide the tools to publication design teams to help optimize their publication on mobile and tablet platforms.

The Adobe Digital Publishing team has also teamed up with the The Association of Magazine Media MPA (formerly the Magazine Publishers of America) for an event.

In this Adobe Meets MPA session, learn about new functionality in tablet apps that allows you to merchandise content to your customers. Through a custom, in-app storefront, you have flexibility and control over how content, products, and services are displayed for purchase, and can design the shopping experience to reflect your meticulously crafted brand. MPA

Adobe®’s Digital Publishing Suite Software

The digital tablet magazine publishing software makes it possible for publishers to choose an edition that fits their needs for a cross media and app software solution. The professional software edition (starts at $495/mo.) steps a user up from a single Apple app store application to sell Apple and Kindle Fire Digital App Newsstand single and subscription issues.

Sell multi-.folio applications through the Apple App Store and Amazon Kindle Fire Newsstand payment system — single-issue or subscription purchase

Digital Publishing Suite Buying Guide – Detail


Digital Magazine Newsstands

Just as tablets have changed the way books will be purchased and read, the future of magazine publishing is also digital. The concept of digital magazines and paginated periodic content is actually more conducive to electronic delivery than a book. However, books were a simple start for digital distribution ~and magazines just didn’t WOW on a 16 shades of grey e-reader tablet device.  Digitally delivered magazine issues also build the value and revenue capabilities of the magazine publisher website.  Digital newsstands will connect publishers to new magazine audiences just as traditional print magazine newsstands feature top magazines today.  The magazine website will always be just one click away and will be a critical magazine brand and user experience element for even the new era of tablet only based magazines.

Apple Digital Magazine Newsstand
The digital magazine newsstand from Apple(TM) in iOS 5 provides the proper app based usability to iPod, iPhone, and iPad mobile and tablet devices. The newsstand app brings publication subscription functions to a managed newspaper and magazine applications shelf allowing for convenient access & visibility to the most recent publication issues.

app magazine newsstand

Open Digital Publication Newsstands
Digital magazine distribution will grow quickly during the next 4 years and by 2015 all modern magazines will need to have a position in the digital magazine newsstands applicable for the major mobile and tablet reader devices. We expect to see continued value from cross platform magazine app development tools and magazine design solutions. And just as digital magazine software providers begin to promote digital newsstand issue updates as value added services, we will see traditional magazine fulfillment vendors recognize this digital newsstand as a market space where they are well suited to augment their print services.

Digital newsstands will provide opportunities for accelerated fulfillment and new value to readers and advertisers.   Publishers can track magazine ad performance and readership interaction with the latest news, content, or community at the magazine publication website.

And now, even traditional magazine newsstand locations have begun to focus on promoting their tablet magazine edition newsstands.
tablet magazine newsstands

We hope to see open digital magazine newsstands flourish where shelf space is not limited to the largest magazine titles.


Magazine Website Design for the Digital Publishing Future

As publishers begin to select their mobile magazine workflow platforms, we can see that the future tablet magazine and smartphone mobile editions will be an integral component of the modern magazine brand. While the tablet and digital publishing workflows will provide dynamic methods of presenting the digital magazine design, the magazine web design will be important as the core magazine website is the brand destination for access and selection of these innovative magazine editions.

magazine website design

Magazine Website Design Considerations

For publishers evaluating mobile and digital magazine publishing options it’s also important to consider how the multiple magazine formats will be presented from the magazine’s brand hub -the magazine website. Magazine publishers can begin their magazine website redesign projects with consideration for how additional emedia and brand extension elements will dramatically evolve over the next few years.

For most magazine web designs, we seek to utilize the 960px grid system width to optimize the magazine website presentation for iPad and other mobile and tablet devices. This general portrait magazine website design also allows for a controlled and highly optimized homepage presentation to support brand aspects of the print magazine design.

The overall publishing business model will drive how publishers position and promote their mobile and digital brand extension elements from the magazine website. Premium and paid content elements (or apps) drive direct incremental publishing revenue but circulation and audience development digital strategies appear to build longer term integrated media advertising revenue capabilities.

We view the website as the magazine brand core for most consumer and B2B titles, even if the majority of revenue is still derived from print magazine revenue today. Increasingly the magazine audience and other visitor profile groups seek value and entertainment from their visit to the magazine publication website. Delivering a website user experience that provides a unique brand style impression and delivers value should be paramount to the revenue projection of a micro conversion (or paid content) strategy. There’s value in website visitors even if they aren’t print magazine subscribers yet.

Organizing relevant brand extension communication channels to the core magazine niche audience from the website will give your visitor the option to connect on their terms. Allowing these readers to choose how they interact with the magazine, via enewsletter, social media, website, digital edition, magazine apps, and yes, even the print magazine edition will enable the publisher to develop the magazine digital audience on engagement terms appropriate to the specific user choice and their personal technology adoption phase.

Modern Magazine Digital Publishing Tools
Here are some examples of digital magazine design tools and the modern magazine editions that are now changing they way readers receive their magazine issue.

WoodWing Tablet Publishing for iPad and Android

Adobe Digital Publishing Magazine Workflow

As we watch these and other innovative digital magazine design tools develop for the magazine publishing industry, we encourage publishers to also consider the magazine website design strategy that will be the online foundation for presenting these digital editions. We design the magazine publication website to be memorable & valuable, and position the new brand extension revenue generating elements as the next step for the visitors that have achieved this trust and value from the magazine website visit experience.


Newspaper Tablet Concept News+

The tablet publication can preserve a digital paginated layout. Interaction design and multiple channels for access and interaction will change publishing forever in 2011. How are you preparing for the clear future of published content? Remember, the print magazine still has solid brand value in this new digital world.

Here’s the News+ newspaper tablet concept by Bonnier.

The new tablet editions are built upon the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. More


Tablet Magazine Editions

Magazine iPad editions have been reserved for those publishers with iPad sponsors and strong digital media teams. Even with the best and brightest digital magazine design teams, the unique (non print magazine replica) iPad magazine edition apps have often been assisted by Adobe creative professionals that also want to see magazine publishers succeed in making new and creative tablet magazines.

Adobe’s new digital magazine workflow is destined to change the way we design magazines forever. With rich multimedia, and pages based magazine interactivity, the new digital magazine design process will set the bar for all publishers that wish to cross the digital chasm and play in the new world of tablet magazine editions.

Magazine publishers will begin to see dozens and then hundreds of other iPad or tablet magazines and realize that they too must invest in the people, software, and workflows to grow their digital magazine brand. The growth will mimick the rise of digital magazine editions which is now a brand extension (perhaps on multiple platfoms) for most publishers. The rapid digital magazine growth accelerated just 3 years ago with publishers using one of a dozen core digital platform service providers and also a few in-house digital magazine builds.

These digital magazine providers might just rise again to provide better design widgets and cloud based tablet magazine edition production tools. If it’s just as easy to add multimedia and interactivity to an existing print layout magazine once produced for core digital edition (print clone) distribution, publishers might just skip the software based multimedia workflows.

Either way, the rise of the tablet magazine as a required element of any magazine brand is rapidly approaching. The advantage of being first is publicity. The advantage of waiting until your publication’s competitors have produced their tablet editions is cost and strategy. Think first of creating value for your niche and let that guide your move into the tablet edition magazine brand space.

Updated: How MSL Leverages their print magazine in the tablet magazine edition



Joomla CMS for Magazine Website Content Management

Joomla can function as an excellent magazine CMS – content management system. As a leading open source magazine website publishing software tool, it’s often one of the first magazine CMS tools used when starting a new publication website.   Joomla is also a top pick for magazine publishers with smaller digital media staff capabilities that do not have an automated or integrated publishing workflow.

Magazine Web Content Administration
A key advantage of the CMS is the ability to easily train the magazine publisher’s staff.  All content is entered via an administrative portal with separate website theme.

The magazine publisher or web content manager oversees several key publishing aspects from the website administration login:

Content – Content is organized by parent “Sections” and child “Categories” for all key elements of the magazine publisher’s web based taxonomy.

Menus – Menus control the magazine’s main navigation and sub navigation.   The subscriber or reader guest will access all content based on the layout and organization of the menu structure to categories, pages, or website functionality components.

Components – Beyond the core Joomla CMS software are the “Extensions” that have been developed by the open source community. Extensions are add-ons that typically perform feature extension to the core CMS publishing platform.   A shopping cart or calendar system would be examples of the types of software tools that can easily be added to the core CMS.

Modules – Modules are regions which can be set to appear across all types of similar pages based on where a visitor has navigated in the website.   Modules can hold zones for magazine advertising, and many other features or feeds that augment the core content view.

Magazine Website Design
Magazine web design for open source software CMS based products typically involves a templating structure.  The advantage for magazine publishers is that their publication website can grow quickly since new articles and content are dynamically assigned website theme or style elements automatically.

Magazine Website Features
While magazine web features can be added (typically as component add-ons) to a Joomla based publication website, the flexibility and uniformity of these items is a weakness for Joomla.

Upgrades and Maintenance
Inline updates occur on an ongoing basis. Joomla is now in a 1.5 series, making major advancements from prior 1.0 version architecture.   Any software solutions vendor will advise the importance of making sure that the proper updates and security issues are properly managed.

Upgrade Path for Magazines
As with any CMS for a magazine, there are upgrade options to more powerful publishing platforms.  The very fact that the publisher has already created a database drive website means that data may be migrated to another CMS. Magazine publishers that have greater needs for custom website functionality and features will often look at Drupal CMS as an upgrade path from Joomla.

Project Site:
Written in PHP with MySQL Database
Deployment for Magazine Web Design: Under 30 days
Deployment for Magazine Configuration: Under 30 days
Release: Joomla 1.5.19 Wojmamni ama batani – security release

We have several active clients that have utilized Joomla for over 3 years for their magazine websites.  Magazine publishers should expect to have a magazine website re-design performed annually based on competitive titles.  Magazine social media elements have also been motivating factors for new magazine designs performed in the past year.  Light website configuration is required during the ongoing publication web re-designs.