How to Create a Magazine App (Magazine App Builder)

Looking for a great magazine app builder? good decision. If you have a digital magazine, turning it into a mobile app is a smart idea.

In this article we’re going to go over why that is, and how to do it. We’ll look at the two main types of magazine app, the pros and cons of each – and the features that your app should have to succeed.

We’re also going to show you how you can use our platform, MobiLoud News, as a magazine app builder. News is a mobile app platform for digital publishers, and is used by international media brands like Foreign Policy, Business Insider, and Simple Flying.

Why Build a Magazine App?

Mobile apps can be a great asset for publishers and media companies. Building them, well, allows you to:

  • Deepen loyalty and engagement
  • Monetize more effectively
  • Connect with your audience more efficiently
  • Build a stronger brand
  • Provide a better mobile UX

We’ve seen publishers get excellent results from building magazine apps time and time again. Read on to find out which kind of magazine app you should build and how to get the job done.

Two kinds of magazine app

There are two kinds of magazine apps that are common on Google Play and the App Store today.

  1. Digital edition apps
  2. Infinite scroll apps

Both have pros and cons, and are right for different kinds of publishers. We will argue that infinite scroll is generally superior, but we’re going to show you how to build both. First let’s define them.

Digital edition

Digital edition apps essentially take the magazine format that has been around for hundreds of years, and put it inside mobile apps.

Publishers started to pivot hard to digital in the early years of the last decade. One of the first things many did was to digitize their existing print editions so that readers could access them on their phones, tablets and computers.

Daily, weekly, or monthly digital magazine issues are often replicas of print editions, created with software like Adobe Indesign and served in PDF format. Many go far beyond a replica of print though, enhancing the edition with HTML5 and creating more interactive and distinct digital editions. A magazine app can then be built for audience members to access, open and read them easily.

Digital edition apps are great for tablets, and for audiences that have a strong preference for consuming content in the edition format.

A digital edition magazine app is right for you if you currently publish this way. If you are a classic magazine that releases weekly or monthly editions, then you should build a digital edition app. We’ll cover how to build them shortly, and recommend the best tools for the job.

Digital editions aren’t the only game in town though. Many product managers in the media business see the edition as something of a legacy from the print era – bolted on to the world of smartphones.

Infinite scroll

Many media brands call themselves “magazines” but are really popular blogs and news sites. Articles are not published in distinct “editions”, but rather continuously as the news happens on a daily or hourly basis.

If you take a look at “magazine” WordPress themes, you’ll see this format frequently.

These online magazines do not publish print or digital editions, and have no need for the kind of magazine app geared toward PDF replica editions.

If this describes your brand, what you need is an “infinite scroll” magazine app – that takes the content from your site and puts it in the ideal format for mobile devices.

These apps will display the core content experience of your site, presenting your categories and articles in a list style that let’s readers easily dive into what interests them most.

Magazine app examples

Let’s take a look at a few examples of each. Check out the apps and you’ll soon get a good idea which format is right for you.

Foreign Policy (infinite scroll – built with MobiLoud News)

Foreign Policy Magazine is an internationally known media brand focusing on political news and current affairs. Although they started as an edition-based magazine, now the website is the most important channel.

Foreign Policy apps, built with MobiLoud News

As you can see the apps display content in article format with categories like Latest, News and Analysis. The content is not presented in the “edition” format, but presented in an article list that the reader can scroll through with no limits.

Foreign Policy built their magazine apps with MobiLoud, and you can read the story here.

Simple Flying (infinite scroll built with MobiLoud News)

Simple Flying is the best source online for aviation news. They started off as a news site, with no legacy edition channel from earlier days.

Building infinite scroll apps was the natural choice for them. Digital editions were not even a consideration, as they are a new generation media company with a workflow based around continuous publishing.  

The apps have turned into a key channel for the brand. Read more about the story of Simple Flying here, and how they built iOS and Android apps with MobiLoud News here.

Entrepreneurial Chef (digital edition – built with MagLoft)

Entrepreneurial Chef is a publication for entrepreneurs in the food industry. Although they have a blog, the main content offering is a digital magazine. They build digital edition apps with MagLoft – a magazine app builder that specifically caters to edition publishing.

As Entrepreneurial Chef was already based around creating and publishing monthly digital editions, it made sense to build digital edition apps to give readers better access on mobile.

Kroma (digital edition – built with MagLoft)

Kroma is a digital magazine focused on art and culture. Check out their digital edition mobile apps.

For Kroma, the magazine apps are the primary channel through which readers access their editions – which are released quarterly. The apps have no functionality to display content from the Kroma blog, they are pure digital edition apps that give readers access to their issues.  

Digital edition or infinite scroll – which is right for you?

It’s fairly simple to see which kind of magazine app is right for you.

A digital edition app is for you if your key channel is a weekly, monthly, or quarterly digital magazine edition. If your blog or site content is just secondary and less important, then this is the way to go.

An infinite scroll app is for you if your magazine is based on blog or site content. Many modern publishers do not create editions at all, and are rather based on high-traffic content sites. In this case then digital edition apps are not helpful, but infinite scroll apps can transform your business for the better.

How to create a magazine app

Creating any kind of app from scratch is technically challenging, and a job for professionals. To create a custom app is also enormously expensive and takes months of effort. We’re going to show you a better option though, using specialist magazine app builders to get the job done fast for an affordable price.

Here are some requirements for a good magazine app builder platform:

  • Gives you unlimited push notifications for iOS and Android so that you can connect with your readers and notify them of new content, stories they might be interested in, or breaking news (especially important for infinite scroll apps)
  • Options to add paywalls, logins, and subscription features
  • Provides a strong user experience on iOS and Android, for all smartphone models and tablets
  • Helps you with submission and publishing on the App Store and Google Play
  • Supports ongoing updates and maintenance as part of the service (this would cost thousands per year if you did it yourself)
  • Has a history of building quality apps for professional publishing brands
  • Offers fast, personalized, and competent support via email or video calls
  • Integrates with advertising platforms if necessary so that you can monetise through the apps
  • Integrates with analytics tools so that you can understand your audience better within the apps

Only a few magazine app builder platforms offer all this and more.

How to build a digital edition magazine app

If you are focused on publishing through editions, and want to build a digital edition magazine app, we recommend MagLoft. They are very targeted at the PDF and HTML5 edition model, offer great support, and have the features and integrations necessary to build solid apps.

We compared our platform with MagLoft to clarify the differences, check it out for more information.

How to build an infinite scroll magazine app

If you want to build an infinite scroll app, then our platform MobiLoud News is among the best options. We do not build edition-based magazine apps, but rather turn high-traffic news sites into native infinite scroll apps for iOS and Android.  

News has been used by hundreds of publishers, including international brands like Foreign Policy and Business Insider – to build apps enjoyed by millions of readers.

News is for WordPress-based content sites. The platform builds iOS and Android apps, then a WordPress plugin pulls the content from your site and displays it in the app as a list of categories and articles.

The apps have the features and user experience that you would expect from a top media brand, and they’ll update automatically with any new content or changes on your site so there’s nothing to add to your workflow.

MobiLoud News isn’t just a tool, it’s a service. We support you throughout the app building process, handle submitting and publishing your apps to the App Store and Google Play, and take care of all ongoing updates and maintenance.

Check out some of the brands that built great magazine apps with News:

  • Simple Flying get more than 1.6 million screenviews, boosted revenue, and built a hyper-engaged app user base
  • Foreign Policy got over 1000 downloads in the first month, and noticeably improved retention on iOS
  • Deeper Blue built a deeper connection with their audience, more convenience for their team, and got a steady stream of downloads and engagement
  • eParisExtra added thousands of app users, boosted ad revenue, and closed sponsorship deals more easily
  • Greek City Times got more traction on mobile, boosted revenue, and broke their dependence on Facebook traffic
  • Hill Reporter doubled user engagement and CTR by over 200%
  • Sports Mockery boosted mobile revenue, improved their brand image, and reached a wider audience
  • LIGABlatt boosted overall traffic by 30%, and got rave reviews from readers

Interested in learning more about how News works? Get in touch with one of our team for a demo.

How much does it cost to build a magazine app?

Generally, building custom apps from scratch costs businesses $50,000 plus. By using a magazine app builder though you can get just as good a result for a fraction of this cost.

If you are a digital edition based publisher, MagLoft’s pricing ranges from $299 monthly for apps on both major platforms. You can read more about their pricing here.

For building apps from your existing site with MobiLoud News, you may be able to get apps for no upfront cost through our Publisher Program. We manage the in-app advertising and take a piece of the revenue generated through the apps. We build you apps as good as The New York Times, and we pay you for it!  

News magazine apps

Although many of our customers opt for the publisher program, there’s still an option to pay for the apps instead. To learn more, speak to one of our team.

Build a magazine app with MobiLoud

MobiLoud News is ideal for converting a WordPress site into magazine apps. If you use another CMS though don’t worry, we can still help you to build great apps.

You could go live on the App Store and Google Play in under a month, give your audience the best experience yet, and take your engagement and revenue to the next level.

Read more about News, check out how we’re different, and take a look at some of our customer stories.

Better yet – learn about the process in depth, see more magazine app examples, and start building your apps today by booking a demo!

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