An ezine is an online magazine featuring content written by you in order to attract a regular readership. If you are able to build up an audience then you can sell advertising space within the ezine. The choice of content is up to you, but do make sure that the subject you choose has the potential to be profitable. Many ezines make use of Web 2.0 technology in order to make them fully navigable in the style of a traditional magazine. Subscribers generally receive a link to the newest issue via e-mail.
Skills needed: You must have excellent writing skills and a passion for the subject you choose (or else it will quickly get boring!). A familiarity with HTML and web publishing programs is necessary – however this is easily learned with the aid of a ‘Dummies’ guidebook or similar.
Business environment and set-up cost: There is some international potential for you due to the amount of people worldwide who can speak English. You could reach even more people if your ezine gets big enough to warrant translation into other languages. Other than consuming a large amount of your time, this does not have to be an expensive business to start if you own the basic equipment (computer, printer, scanner and digital camera). Your ezine will likely start off looking relatively basic but if it is successful then you can invest further in getting it professionally designed and paying for contributions from guest writers. The overall start-up cost will range from less than £1,500 to £10,000 (2,000 – 13,000 EUR, 3,000-20,000 AUD/USD).
Make sure your website is easy to find by using search engine optimisation (SEO)
Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
Pay for strategic banner advertising on websites related to your topic of choice
Become active on newsgroups and discussion forums related to your topic, remembering to include a signature linking to your website
Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online
Complimentary business ideas: You are free to sell re-publishing rights to other ezines or traditional magazines. Your writing may also get you freelance work with other publications. It is possible to generate extra income by becoming an affiliate of a big store such as Amazon.
Notes: Encourage feedback so that you can better understand what your readers like or dislike about the ezine.
Online examples & resources:
Money Saving Expert – A small ezine which has grown into a huge community
Zinester – An ezine directory
Best Ezine – A web award given to the best ezine
For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here