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Running an Online Magazine as a Student

As someone who’s still in full-time education, I find it quite hard to balance my time between school work and business. One project which I embarked on just over a year ago, wpContent, is a site which publishes WordPress-related content, including tutorials and theme/plugin reviews. I’ve found that starting this blog, or online magazine, has been a really great way for me to learn many new skills (and some extra income), and in this post, I’ll be talking about how¬†you can start your own online magazine as a student.

Finding the Niche

Looking back, starting yet another WordPress-related blog probably wasn’t the best business decision ever, however, the site wasn’t intended to make money – in fact, I created it so I could simply share my thoughts and experiences through the form of posts on the site. When deciding on the site’s niche, it made perfect sense to go with WordPress as the topic – after all, at that time I was working 90% of the time with WordPress and it was an easy topic to get into with thousands of potential post ideas.

So, think about what you enjoy working on, what you can write interesting posts about, and what may make you some extra cash (perhaps choosing a topic which hasn’t been covered so much). Are you working on a specific topic at your school/university? Write about it, and it may just help you with your school work too! See if there are any projects you can write about too.

Writing the Posts

Your writing needs to be interesting and make people want to read it. I’m always learning new writing skills and techniques, and reading some of the first posts I published, I’m a little embarrassed to say the least. Try and write one post per week, and slowly increase that to two or three – post a variety of content, not just tutorials, for example.

As a student, you may be learning a language. I’m still in high school, and so am still learning English Literature and English Language – the skills I’ve learnt from these lessons have really helped me with my writing and with wpContent, so listen up when the teacher is talking! Joking aside, school and other online tutorials about writing are well worth taking advice from – you can learn a great deal from others.

Hiring Other Writers

After the first few months, wpContent began growing quite quickly and I realised I needed to find some other authors and contributors to help with the site. In a talk I recently gave at WordCamp Manchester 2014 – “Managing a Multi-Author Blog” – I discussed how to find writers who are not only good writers, but who are experts in your particular field.

Don’t panic if you don’t have the money – many people will be willing to contribute to your site for free in return for a couple of links or perhaps promotion in return. Reach out to people, maybe even a professor of your course if you’re writing about your university course, and see if they’ll write a post or two for you. You never know!

Watch It Grow!

Give your site a few months to find its feet, and check out your analytics – I recommend Google Analytics, though there are many other tools available to help you out. Take a look at which posts are most popular overall, which are most shared, which have the most comments… Then, do more like those! Consider revisiting old posts which don’t have so many views anymore, but the main thing to do is watch the site as it grows and make amendments over time.

As you move through your student life, your interests may shift and if so, maybe your blog/magazine’s topic should too. Make sure your blog is interesting for you and your readers, and see where it takes you.

Summary

That’s it! If you’d like to learn more about the story behind¬†wpContent, and about how to manage your multi-author blog, make sure to check out my WordCamp slides.

I hope you’ve found this post interesting and useful – please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or on Twitter (@sam_berson). I’ll be happy to help.

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