Content is king, but in the world of online publishing, website design is pretty important, too.
Sure, you might be publishing hard-hitting articles. You might even be winning awards for the journalism on your website, but until you implement a professional web magazine design, it’s going to be hard for people to take your publication seriously.
What makes for good web magazine design?
It’s no secret that some websites look more professional than others. Online publishers who are just starting out will often use generic themes and stock images on their websites. The problem with generic themes is that they look unprofessional, and when an online magazine’s website looks unprofessional, people are less likely to take the content on that website seriously.
If you are an online publisher looking to build your magazine into a business, you need to invest in good web magazine design.
In addition to using a magazine-style theme, we recommend that publishers include big, bold images on their websites. One of the latest trends in web magazine design is to combine large, high-resolution images with designer fonts. Ideally, we like to see publishers making big statements with eye-catching visuals. Large header designs stand out, and they stop readers in their tracks as they scroll through websites on their smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.
To help you create a professional-quality website, we have put together a list of the latest trends in web magazine design. Take a look, and let these tips inspire your next website design project.
Best Practices for Web Magazine Design
1. Use a theme designed for online magazines.
If you are using a theme for your website, make sure the theme you pick is designed specifically for online magazines. Using a theme designed for a specific purpose is one of the easiest ways for digital publishers to help their websites look more professional.
2. Put key webpage elements above the fold.
The term “above the fold” comes from the world of print newspapers, where publishers would print the most important stories on the upper half of the front page. Today, it’s a term that’s also applied to web magazine design. Specifically, publishers are finding that they can increase pages per visit by putting elements like story navigation bars above the fold on their homepages.
3. Use large images.
When it comes to selecting images in web magazine design, bigger is better. Publishers are finding that by including large, clear images above the fold on their homepages, they can decrease bounce rates and increase engagement.
4. Choose a web-friendly font.
With more people consuming media on their smartphones than ever before, it’s important that the fonts you choose for your web magazine design look the same on a range of screen sizes.
5. Don’t be afraid to use multiple fonts on a page.
Just because you’re using web-friendly fonts doesn’t mean your website has to be boring. Using multiple fonts on a single webpage—for example, one font for headlines, another for paragraphs, and other at the footer—can modernize a website design. Make sure the fonts you’re using are complimentary and make sure the colors stay consistent throughout your website.
6. Incorporate a grid system.
In the world of web magazine design, the term “grid system” is used to describe a webpage structure that uses horizontal and vertical lines to display content. Because the grid system has been used in traditional print publications for decades, it’s a visually appealing design standard that readers are used to seeing.
7. Get rid of clutter.
Visual clutter is never in style. One of the web magazine design trends that publishers are embracing is adding more white space to their sites. Websites shouldn’t be filled to the brim with display ads, images, video, and written content. Adding some white space gives readers room to breathe and it allows readers to focus their attention on the content that really matters.
8. Invest in professional photography.
While it’s not uncommon for publishers to use stock photos on their websites, top online magazines are investing more in professional photography to give their websites a custom feel. If you are planning to use stock photos on your website, then take advantage of this next tip, below.
9. Stick with high-quality stock photo websites.
Quality stock photo websites, like Shutterstock and Depositphotos, give magazine publishers access to well-produced images at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional photographer. Using a commercial platform also gives professional publishers a sense of assurance that the content they are posting is licensed and that they are not inadvertently breaking any copyright laws.
10. Add a subscribe button above the fold.
We’ve already discussed what “above the fold” means in web magazine design. One of the features that should always be placed above the fold on a homepage is a subscribe button. Publishers who rely on subscription revenue should make it as easy for readers to subscribe as possible, and that means not requiring people to hunt around for a place to sign-up.
Examples of Great Web Magazine Design
Looking for more inspiration as you develop a plan for better web magazine design? Check out these examples of great online design.
At Web Publisher PRO, we guide online magazine publishers through the process of building their websites and developing sustainable business models. Learn more about how Web Publisher PRO can help grow your publishing business by scheduling a consultation today.