Looking for design inspiration for your digital magazine?

A Little Bit More

While there are a lot of really good ‘out-of-the-box’ options for digital magazines these days, sometimes your content deserves something extra.

Customizing existing tools can give your publication the showcase it deserves and your readers the experience they crave. (And, put together, they will boost your subscriptions)

Catch Magazine is a fantastic example of using customized ZEEN101 tools to make the most of image-heavy content.

Caught In A Tangle

Catch Magazine: The Official Journal of Fly Fishing Photography & Film has a ten-year history of visually stunning digital editions. The magazine’s contributors are avid fly fishers but they are, first and foremost, gifted photographers.

The magazine reflects these gifts. Each issue is loaded with full-size images of rare fish, artisan tools, and breath-taking locations around the world. (Each issue also features a beautiful short film contributed by the editor.)

The only problem with the magazine’s original incarnation was that readers had difficulty fully exploring all the wonders Catch had to offer. It was difficult to navigate, it wasn’t mobile-responsive, and it wasn’t search-friendly.

And that’s where IssueM and Leaky Paywall, as well as our custom-building services, came in.

Balanced Content

Catch Magazine is a good example of how IssueM works with WordPress’ new Block Editor. IssueM allows magazines to publish their content clustered as an issue, like any print edition. We used Block Editor to customize the layout for Catch, to show-off the text as well as the images.

To preserve the balance between text and images, we added hovering captions to each image. This also allows the reader to control their viewing/reading experience. 

The whole site is now mobile-responsive as well, giving readers more versatility in how they read, without sacrificing the beauty of the publication or its new ease of navigation.

User-Friendly Navigation

Streamlining the navigation is a huge step forward in user experience. The old Catch Magazine was laid out with no cross-referencing by topic and readers couldn’t move between issues or articles without a lot of scrolling.

Now each page has archived articles and a small table of contents at the bottom for readers who do make it all the way to the end.

But they have more navigation options as well.

Each article has a last article-next article arrow navigation at the bottom, with a hovering preview to show them where they’re going. (And if the left-to-right style of the navigation is reminiscent the page-flipping action of a paper magazine, consider it an homage to the old Flash format as well as traditional publishing).

If the readers are looking for something specific, there is a search bar. And if they’re merely searching for inspiration, the full site menu, tucked discretely off to the side until it’s needed, provides plenty. They can search by category, by location, or by fish.

This new, flexible navigation makes it incredibly easy to search through Catch’s rich back issue archive, which is slowly filling in its decade of publications.

Simpler Subscriptions

Everything about the site makes subscriptions easier, too.

With Leaky Paywall, the Catch content is protected behind a metered paywall, but can still be viewed by search engines and shared on social media.

We also tweaked the subscription page to be a simple one-stop shop for new subscribers, readers with a coupon, or people wanting to purchase a gift subscription for someone else. Providing only one option boosts subscriptions.

On the back end, Leaky Paywall also eases the burden of Catch’s subscriber management. The integrated Stripe payment platform makes accepting payments simple. Google Tag Manager tracks reader data, giving Catch more insight into conversions and site analytics.

A Winning Combination

And that’s the process of reader attraction: beautiful content to lure them in, an easy experience to pull them along, a quick hook to reel them in, and then a chance to study and understand them even better for next time.

Come to think of it, those are the steps to fly-fishing, too.

Ready to hook the big fish? Let’s talk about how your site could be customized to show-off your content

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