Whether you publish a magazine, newspaper, catalog, journal or newsletter, you may be asking the same question most publishers have: how do I decide which digital publishing platform is right for my publication? With so many options, from custom designers to self-serve platforms, choosing the right one can seem like a minefield.
As a business owner, or owner of your own content, you know the value in being able making a conscious, informed decision about your digital version rather than one based on emotional persuasion. That said, read on to gain a deeper understanding of the basic groups that all epublishing companies fall under, and the main question to then ask to figure out which one can help you create the best ROI for your publication.
Many self-serve platforms offer quality technology at a great price. The downside is that you often receive less customer service and very few bells and whistles. However, some offer incredibly clear how-to videos that walk you through each step of the process, and allow you to get your publication online in either HTML5 or as an IOS app. If you find one that has a comprehensive FAQ, clear training videos and a short-term agreement (ideally month-to-month) this is a great option to test the waters for a new publication with very basic online needs. Plus, it requires very little maintenance from you or your staff to manage.
There are very high-end, quality companies that offer you the tools to design and build your digital publication. However, this particular commitment involves plug-ins and knowledge of design or the time to learn how to use their design tools. It is a great option if you have the time and resources to spend on it. Otherwise, it is better to go with a company that designs or partially creates your digital version for you.
There are plenty of full-service companies that offer you full and partial tech support for the design and build of your publication. They will create a portal within their platform for you to track the activity for your publication, but their tech team takes care of all the logistics of the build. This option is ideal if you have a bit more to invest than with the self-serve option in the name of quality and measuring the growth of your publication online. You want to be sure you choose a quality company that is sensitive to your needs and can collaborate with you on the best approach.
A custom company will build your publication’s app for you from scratch. The approach is similar to having a web builder build your site using custom code, versus using a template like WordPress, and the investment can be as large. The upside is that you will be able to have all the custom features you desire, within the scope of your project. However, this approach is truly not needed for most publications that can achieve a similar amount of features by using one of the above options. Custom design is great to add to your publication in the form of small features once you have it built on a platform.
Overall, the most important question to ask yourself when choosing how to publish online is what does my ideal reader want to experience and how can I best achieve that at the lowest possible cost to my publication without sacrificing value. This formula will help you invest in the smartest way, without questioning whether one type of platform is better than another. That, combined with a smart social media plan can help you achieve the maximum ROI for your content.
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