MAGLR BLOG / 01 January 2018

What is an online publication?

Online first - what is an online publication?


It has become increasingly difficult for companies to reach their audience online. After all, they determine for themselves when, where and how they want to consume content. Whether that is via a smartphone or a laptop. They pick the moments that suits them best. As a company, you have a myriad of digital channels to stand out with your content marketing efforts.

But sometimes good content deserves its very own stage. Even more, when you want to inform, involve or convince the audience from start to finish. You can seduce them with visually appealing and relevant content. Offering a mesmerizing content experience ensures that you get and retain the attention of the audience. Enter online publications. But what exactly is an online publication? And what can it be used for?

What is an online publication?

It is the digital or online publishing of editorial web content that serves a specific (business) purpose. An online publication is browser-based and must offer an optimal content experience for the public. A digital publication, an online magazine for example, is often used in business for marketing & sales purposes.

What is an online publication?
Online magazines are an example of an online publication

How can you recognize a digital publication?

Now that we know the meaning, digital publications also have unique characteristics that allow us, for example, to distinguish a website with an online publication. Because isn't that the same? No. Here is the list with all of her characteristics:

Clear navigation structure

An online publication has a beginning and an end. Thanks to a clear navigation structure you are guided as a reader, by clicking or scrolling. This way, the focus is entirely on the content. Without the noise of a busy website.

Responsive design

An important characteristic of a digital publication is that it has a responsive design. The goal of responsive design is to create publications that detect the visitor's screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.  For example, the content of an online publication is easy to view and readable on both a mobile and a desktop screen. Without having to zoom or pinch. This way, photos, videos and animations can support a positive full-screen content experience.

Visual & interactive format

Nowadays you really stand out with content that contains eye-catchers such as videos, animations or scroll effects. Thanks to handy tools and software, it has become increasingly easier to create an online publication. Without the intervention of developers. 

A digital publication is no longer a static medium but contains a mix of text, beautiful visuals, audio and other media. Delivered in a beautiful design. Also, online publications often contain interactive elements, where you can persuade users to take action. Think of social share buttons, entry forms or buttons with a call-to-action.

Separate URL

An online publication often stands on her own and can be visited via a separate URL. In this way, it is not part of a corporate website. The content is the main act of its own show. This makes an online publication often a push medium that is distributed via content marketing to the right audience. An additional advantage of digital publishing is that publications are being indexed by search engines.

What types of online publications are there?

In our view, an online publication should make a positive contribution to the ease of use for the audience. Especially when you want to distinguish yourself in a noisy digital landscape. But what type of online publications are there? Below is a list of types of publications that you may encounter online:


Publication Types


  • Staff magazine

  • Annual report

  • Infographic

  • eBook

  • Client magazine

  • Event magazine

  • Product brochure

  • E-learning

  • Manual

  • Onboarding document

  • Corporate Identity Handbook

  • Catalogue

  • Corporate brochure

  • White paper

  • Product presentation

  • Corporate presentation

  • Report

  • Bundle of stories

  • Lookbook

  • Sales brochure

  • Training guide

The benefits of an online publication
The audience is in full control where, when and how they consume content.

The benefits of an online publication

Now I hear you thinking; now I know the difference between an online publication and a website. But what are the benefits? Why can't I just send my presentation or white paper as a PowerPoint or PDF file? Like we said before; an online publication must make a positive contribution to the user's ease of use. If you still have doubts about getting started with an online publication, we have put all the benefits together especially for you.

Easy to share

You never have to share huge PDF or PowerPoint files again via upload websites such as WeTransfer! You can now easily share an online publication via a separate URL. In its entirety or per page/article. Via social media, email or on the website. This also greatly increases the virality and shareability for your potential audience.

Measurable results

A big advantage of an online publication is that user behaviour can be measured. Because a publication is browser-based. And therefore, often linked to dashboards such as Google Analytics where you can measure how successful the content is. You will have insights into metrics like unique visitors, the duration of visits per page, scroll depth, bounce rate and sessions per page. These are all useful statistics to find out which content scores best with your audience. Perfect for optimizing your future content.

Always up-to-date

A digital publication can be adjusted at any time. This way, the content always remains relevant and up-to-date. You can make a small adjustment and publish the publication without any effort. Therefore, an outdated version that is lying around is now a thing of the past! Online publications are always reusable for marketing & sales purposes.

Personalized content

Online publications are perfectly suitable for targeted communication and personalization. This means that you can create and distribute content to specific audiences, tailored to their needs. This is a perfect way to strengthen the bond with your audience and even personalize it with their name or visual content that fits their interests.

Visually attractive

The presentation of content has become just as important as its quality. 90% of the information sent to our brain is visual. Visual images attract attention more quickly. In an online publication, you can play with visuals and moving images such as video, animation and scroll effects. An ideal way to make a lasting impression on your audience.

Increase engagement

Another great advantage is that you can add interactive elements to online publications. Think of buttons, polls or forms visitors can leave their information. With this you stimulate visitors more to sign up for a newsletter or event, to give feedback or even to fill in an extensive survey. This way you not only turn a passive reader into an active participant, but you also receive valuable user data at the same time.

A lower barrier to call-to-actions

When content is presented in a responsive design, a user-friendly publication lowers the barrier for audiences to perform any type of action. Online publications are an effective way to increase the probability of a download, order, information request or registration. Action and share buttons, hyperlinks and input forms ensure that visitors will perform the desired action faster.

Public or protected content

Does the content contain (business) sensitive information? And do you want your information not to be accessible to everyone online? An online digital publication can be protected with a password or secured login. It also allows you to choose not to have the publication indexed by Google.


Cost-saving can be a perfectly good reason to digitize content for companies. Creating and publishing a digital magazine does, of course, have production costs. But compared to print, distribution costs are usually lower, because you no longer have printing and shipping costs. And the content always remains up-to-date and reusable, which in turn reduces production costs.

Good for the environment

Unfortunately, print publications often end up in the bin unread. And once printed, these publications can no longer be edited. For many organizations, switching to digital publications therefore also falls under their new corporate social responsibility policy. Paperless is, of course, better for the environment.

Convinced in the power of an online publication? Maybe you want to get started right away! With the content creation platform of Maglr, you create interactive online publications that grab attention and increase engagement with your online audience. Login or request for a free 14-day demo trial.


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