How to Start an E-Magazine Business

Start an E-Magazine Business
Start an E-Magazine Business (Image: Photo by Christina Hamlett)

With so many people today getting the latest news from the Internet, some entrepreneurs have launched their own "ezines" with very little startup capital. Whether it's to share your knowledge, help people connect with one another, or just provide an ongoing forum for fashion, food and fun, an e-magazine is one option for anyone who has always wanted to be at the helm of a new publishing enterprise.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Website
  • Digital camera
  • Photo-editing software
  • Business license
  • Business plan

Identify what you're really passionate about. This will constitute the primary focus of your magazine's content and can be anything from the political scene to raising ferrets.

Identify your target readership. If the topic you identified in Step 1 is too broad (i.e. "Life!"), you may be biting off more than you can chew and have a difficult time offering something for everyone. If your focus is too narrow, (i.e., "Penguins"), there may not be enough people who are interested in it, and you could have a problem attracting advertisers.

Research your competition. If, for example, you are going to launch a new ezine about writing, a Google search would reveal that there are already several hundred writing-related ezines. Familiarize yourself with what your competitors are doing--as well as who is advertising on their sites--so that you can give your new venture a fresh and interesting slant.

Determine how often you will publish your ezine and whether it will be emailed automatically to your subscribers each time a new issue comes out or will be available 24/7 to anyone who discovers it through a search engine. Depending on the amount of content, once a month might be a reasonable starting point.

Draft a business plan. Decide what it is you want your ezine to accomplish and how you plan to measure its growth.

Decide whether you are going to be writing all of the ezine content yourself or soliciting material from others. If you're going to solicit material, you'll need to decide whether you can afford to pay people for their contributions or work out an equitable exchange for free advertising of their own products or services in the ezine.

Acquire a business license and officially register of your ezine's name. The website of the Small Business Administration walks you through the steps for establishing your new venture and also includes articles and tips for building a business from the ground up.

Design a template for your ezine. This is going to include a distinctive masthead, a consistent color scheme and definitive sections of content so that your readers will always know where things are located. Make your magazine easy to navigate. It's also critical to use a font that is easy to read and to use that font throughout the publication.

Sign up for an ezine service provider such as Zinester and EZezine to help get the word out and attract subscribers.

Use photographs to give your ezine lots of visual variety. Unlike a print magazine, where an abundance of color is going to drive up the cost, an ezine offers much more freedom of expression. If you have a digital camera and photo-editing software, you can easily crop images, create special effects and montages, and manipulate the color. The photos can then be inserted in text boxes throughout the content.

Do link and banner exchanges with other websites. Volunteer to contribute content to their sites if they'll write content for yours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sign up for services such as Google AdWords ( which is a low-cost way to reach more subscribers to your ezine. Use free traffic generators to help people discover your ezine's website. Always use your ezine's website address as part of your signature block in all outgoing email. If your ezine serves the needs of a unique organization, you might be eligible for a grant. You may want to ask the IRS whether your new venture meets the requirements of a nonprofit corporation. Keep excellent records of your income and expenses. Talk with your accountant about which business expenses are tax-deductible.
  • Given the number of free ezines, it's going to be hard to get anyone to pay for a subscription to yours unless it offers content they can't find anywhere else or can attract prestigious talents. Whatever publishing schedule you set up, stick with it. Readers will get frustrated if your ezine comes out sporadically. Also, a "stale" website that hasn't been updated in several months isn't going to encourage people to keep checking it. If you use resources such as the United Kingdom's Free Article Directory to supplement your ezine content, be aware that others are doing the same thing.

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