The Baffler: Successfully Making the Leap from Print to the Web

 

The Baffler online magazine (first printed issue was published in 1988) is a highly-visible and beautifully-illustrated magazine with a large readership. The magazine offers subscriptions in print, online, or both.

To make all this happen, The Baffler uses two of zeen101’s industry-shaping WordPress plugins: IssueM (free) and Leaky Paywall (paid). When used together, these two plugins organize the magazine’s content into an archive of issues and gives new visitors to the site (non-subscribers) a chance to read a number of articles before being asked to subscribe for full access.

By using WordPress—the internet’s most-powerful and most-popular web publishing platform—The Baffler was able to expand its reach from its print subscribers in the USA to a global audience who enjoy the magazine’s critical thinking. zeen101’s IssueM plugin has organized the magazine’s web content to mirror its print content; and our Leaky Paywall plugin has enabled The Baffler to monetize their digital issues.  It is now easy for the consumer to make a buying decision and easy for the publisher to profit online from their hard work in print.

A Closer Look

The Baffler using zeen101's IssueM and Leaky Paywall Plugins
A stylish and gentle reminder from The Baffler that not all web content is free.

The Baffler has taken our Leaky Paywall plugin and created a stylish reminder for the reader (see the bottom-left side of the screenshot) as to how many more free articles they can read. The reminder is subtle yet large enough not to be overlooked. And while it’s subtle – it’s immensely important for the publisher (to create income) and for the reader (to make sure they’re not skipping around reading just a little of each article). The Baffler makes it no secret that visitors cannot read every article for free online.

Each article is intelligently laid out to include links to the magazine’s current issue, links to related articles, and links to suggested articles. The beautiful design also uses the sidebar to entice readers to purchase other products.

The Baffler has also used our innovative IssueM subscriber login feature—a secure, password-less, two-step authentication system.

“Simply enter your email address below. You’ll receive a message from us with a link; click, and, bingo, you’re in—no accounts to maintain or passwords to remember. You can always plug in here with only your email address.”

Styling and Easy Navigation

The current issue of The Baffler is organized with a list of articles enhanced with teaser text on one page, with just a few article categories (Table of Contents, Poems, Stories, etc.). This makes it easy for readers to navigate to any article. The Baffler uses the IssueM’s optional Current Issue Widget on the sidebar for quick navigation back to the main issue’s Table of Contents page.

The Baffler’s Past Issue page displays a gorgeous showcase of cover images from past issue—with overlaying text when the user’s mouse hovers over a cover. When clicked, each past issue has it own Table of Contents page with article teasers. Despite the large amount of content The Baffler has, it is all kept well-organized and easy to navigate.

The Money

Our Leaky Paywall plugin guides The Baffler’s web readers toward a purchase—whether it’s for just one issue or a full recurring subscription; whether it’s for a print copy or a digital download. All purchasers are given two options for secure checkout: through PayPal (with or without an account), or simply with a credit/debit card using Leaky Paywall’s native integration with the popular Stripe payment processing system.

To make this beautiful site possible, The Baffler, of course, does use other WordPress plugins that have been seamlessly integrated into the design–but, we’re proud to say that the fundamental issue-based structure and revenue model for the digital version of the magazine depend on zeen101’s own IssueM and Leeky Paywall plugins.

The Baffler Gallery

We encourage you all to go check out The Baffler’s clean integration of zeen101’s plugins for publishers—and while you’re there take the time to read your allotment of free content. It’ll be well worth it.