How To Make Your Blog a Magazine and Reach a Wider Audience

BunchCast Team

Oct 17th, 2013

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Magazine on Tablet
 
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Mia, 3 years old, is using her dad's iPad as if she was playing with any of her toys. Every gesture seems natural. Same thing for Andrew, 75 years old; he doesn't need any help using the iPad his daughter bought him for Christmas. Touch interface on Smartphones and tablet devices have made content available to a wider audience in a larger variety of places. 
When distributing content, you have to make sure you are compatible with these devices so that your audience can consume your content wherever and whenever they choose to. Responsiveness is the first concrete solution proposed by web designers. Some blogs and websites have made the choice to go further than responsive design, and have evolved to behave as online magazines.
In this post, we will see why being responsive is essential when distributing content, what made magazine theme blogs a new trend, why it is better for your brand and how to make the transition. Then, we will finish with a few examples of these online magazines.

Responsive and Multi Device Support

When I first started web development, websites were built and optimized for a certain type of screen. Now technology has evolved and responsive design is possible and necessary. Responsive design is a way to build websites that display correctly on every screen, whatever their resolution. This is particularly useful when you want your reader to see your content in any place on any device.
There are too many websites that don't care about the quality of display of their mobile version. Some propose to the user to download the native application they built. I don't know about you, but I never accept these calls to action to download an app.
Being responsive appears pretty obvious to maintain a qualitative reading experience and ensure you will reach your audience effectively.

Why a Magazine Layout is Better?

Magazine layouts have been here for a long time. They are more visual and more innovative than classic style blogs. A lot of websites are now built using Wordpress and have a content-driven architecture. Blogs or websites now share a lot of common issues to resolve. 
When content discovery app Flipboard was released in 2010, it was like a revelation to a lot of UX designers for iPad Apps. The Flipboard team created a magazine application to discover and read content. Many bloggers and media websites were interested in this approach and became convinced they needed to make a transition to that kind of layout.
The profusion of visuals and the possibility to feature the most interesting articles, instead of only the most recent ones, is a good way to bring more value to your reader and to modernize your design.

Magazine Themes on Wordpress

NB: We will focus on Wordpress as it now powers 20% of the websites in the world. If you don't use Wordpress for your website or your blog you should definitely think about it as it is the easiest and cheapest way to power a website right now. 
Let's go back to our subject of magazine-styled websites. Here is a list of nice themes available on Wordpress to quickly help you to switch your website to a magazine-styled one. When you choose a Wordpress theme for your business, be sure to go for a premium one which integrates SEO. 
Studiopress provides a lot of quality themes for Wordpress. Here is a magazine-styled example: 

http://my.studiopress.com/themes/magazine/

The Blog MagazineHive features some magazine themes from their store:

http://www.magazinehive.com/2013/07/magazine-wordpress-themes/

Here is an article with 95 more themes from multiple premium theme stores from the blog Designrazzi : 

http://www.designrazzi.com/2013/wordpress-magazine-news-themes/

Before selecting your theme, be sure you use a modern one with a responsive behavior. It will provide better availability of your content on every screen resolution.

OnSwipe Plugin For Wordpress

Have you heard about OnSwipe? It is a pretty cool piece of software that helps you make your content available on every mobile device from tablets to smartphones. It works with Wordpress and is even proposed by Automattic as a feature of Wordpress.com.
OnSwipe will transform the layout of your blog into a magazine-styled blog, but only when displaying on tablets and phones. It is already used by 120 million users and promises to boost your page views by 340%.
You can try it out, it is free to use : 

http://onswipe.com

Examples of great Magazines Online

Here are a few examples of various magazine-styled websites doing a good job at showcasing their content. All of these examples are, of course, fully responsive.
First, one of the most famous content marketing case studies is the OPEN forum by American Express. They do a good job displaying their articles like pins on Pinterest :

https://www.openforum.com/explore/


Content Strategist is also a good example. This is the content marketing blog of a startup helping brands to meet professional writers : 

http://contently.com/strategist/


TheNextWeb is a popular tech blog which was redesigned one year ago to optimize content for mobile devices : 

http://thenextweb.com/


Let's finish with one of the best examples of online magazines. 99U is published by the group of designers who created Behance. Typography on this one is really great :

http://99u.com


Thanks for reading, we would now like you provide some feedback, and share your favorite links for themes, tutorials or great implementations of online magazines in the comments below.