An indie magazine publication by Subsail

Today there are hundreds of tools available to help you make any sort of project. After a number of years watching, researching and working with magazine publishers, I've seen a range of different technology "stacks" being used. Along with this, my background in web development and having spent time with a large range of products, it's clear that some services are more suited to magazine makers than others.

There are myriad ways to mix and match these services, but to be as helpful—and concise—as possible, here's an example tech stack template of online services you can use to make, sell and promote a magazine.


Creating the magazine

You need somewhere to plan, host and collaborate on your written content and manage assets. Luckily, there are many document-led products on the market today, perhaps the most established being Google Docs. Creating, editing and organising content is easy and its powerful collaboration tools (multiple users, real-time editing, history and comments) make it useful for working with your colleagues and writers. Google Drive can be used in tandem to organise and store your images and other content.

Other options: Dropbox Paper, Notion, Blinkplan


Domain

An important piece of branding for any project or business is a web domain. Use iwantmyname to search through a ton of different TLD options and then register and manage your domains (if you only need a single domain, you can use in-built domain tools that some of the website platforms mentioned below offer).

Other options: GoDaddy, Namecheap


Email

Email is essential and I recommend setting up email hosted on your own domain (so you get an address like info@yourmag.com rather than yourmag@emailprovider.com). Let's use Google Suite, which allows you to create accounts on your domain but running on the (perhaps best-in-class) Gmail platform. As an added extra G Suite also provides the full suite of Google services (Docs, Drive etc) all on your own domain.

Other options: Gmail, Zoho Mail


Website and e-commerce

Most importantly, you need a website to be the one place online that people can come to to find out about and buy your magazine. Squarespace is a brilliant all-round platform for creating websites and powering your e-commerce. They have a range of beautiful templates and their page builder is very flexible.

Other options: Shopify, Wordpress and Woocommerce, Weebly


Subscriptions

Magazines should sell subscriptions, to create both a community of regular readers and to generate dependable recurring revenue. Subsail is a platform built specifically for magazine subscriptions and so has all the tools needed by you as a publisher.

Other options: Subscription Genius, Squarespace Subscriptions, Recharge for Shopify


Shipping

Sending out your magazines at scale can be difficult from your mum's living room. Services like ShipStation exist to help manage your shipments and create shipping labels in bulk. This kind of platform can get you much better rates than you can get from the Post Office and also consolidate orders you make on multiple channels in a single place.

Other options: Shippo, Shopify Shipping


Fulfilment

If you want another party to handle warehousing and shipping, you can choose to with a fulfilment partner like Printful. Send them your magazines and orders and they handle everything on your behalf. Typically, fulfilment services can be connected to your e-commerce store so you can easily build a fully automated shipping system.

Other options: Shipwire (worldwide locations), Newsstand (UK location), OML (Germany location)