As more household names from print make the migration to the Web, it will be more critical than ever for them to focus on certain principles that lay the foundation for a successful site. From my point of view, there are three basic things they need to get right: the content itself, the design, and the content management tools.You've probably heard the recent news about both PC Magazine and the Christian Science Monitor ending their print runs, but they're far from the only print publications teetering on the brink. Even the venerable New York Times appears to be facing some financial challenges and may need to accelerate the shift of its focus from print to online.
PC Magazine already has a solid, successful online presence, with pcmag.com as the centerpiece of its network of sites. PC Magazine itself will continue as PC Magazine Digital, which is in a format similar to the print magazine and it also employs a subscription model. One would assume, however, that most of the content will end up on pcmag.com as well.
The Christian Science Monitor has engaged Duo Consulting to help with the design and implementation of the site, which will be based on the eZ Publish content management system. More than just a Web site redesign, it appears that Duo is helping them shape an entire online strategy.
A world where we can't flip through our favorite magazines and newspapers is hard to imagine, and while the evolution from print to online won't be easy, a lot of newspapers and magazines are getting things right. The best examples here put most of their focus on good design matched with compelling content. The content management tools are secondary, quietly doing the heavy lifting in the background.
Let's hope that as more publications make the Web their only home, they're learning from these best practices.