"Have fun, write well, be smart, sound like a human being,
entertain yourself as you would have others entertain you, play
fair, offer information (as opposed to the ho-hum rant), ease
up on the graphics and try, try, try to write without sarcasm.
The reasons and routes to a zine are hairpin and oblique. Once
you've got a reader or browser, offer them reasons to stay. Frames
are not reasons to stay, long download times aren't reasons to
stay and brassy opinionating doesn't mean a thing (lots of people
have balls. So?). If you can explain your zine in a sentence
you have a fighting chance."
George Myers Jr., LitKit
"Everyone I know who has done a Webzine has wildly underestimated
the time and the hassle involved. Those who promise a daily edition
are lucky to last a week or two before slacking off; those who
promise weekly updates drift onto a two-week, or month-, or two-month
plan and begin to resent the 'duties' involved in what started
as a labor of love. Decide at the beginning if you even want
to do an e-zine. You might do better to think of what you're
putting together as a plain old Web site one that you
can update whenever you damn well feel like it."
David Futrelle, dimFLASH
"Have a few prolific contributors. Give them a schedule
for their columns and have them supply the first two or three.
As you publish, always stay one column ahead. That way, when
the day comes when someone flakes (and someone will), you'll
have enough ammo to get you through."
Benjamin Serrato, 15
"Commit yourself to slow but steady improvement. Analyze
what makes other Webzines work and learn from them. But don't
clone them. Also, don't put your zine up and abandon it. Show
visitors that you're checking in and adding material on occasion.
My visitor count was flat during periods when I let cobwebs grow
on my site. When I add to it at least once a week, I see that
at least some visitors return for the possibility of new content."
Jim Romenesko, Obscure
"Don't post everything from your paper version online
or you're not giving anyone an incentive to seek it out. Leave
something for those who enjoy reading on the toilet. If you can
get interactive, do it. Whether this be a poll with a simple
e-mail response form or a quiz, it makes the site a lot more
fun than just pages of text."
Rod Lott, Hitch
"With my first Webzine, Traffic, I followed the model
of a print magazine: a "cover" that led to a few articles
or a table of contents, six departments, and a navigation scheme
that broke articles into pages rather than letting them scroll.
Unfortunately, having all those departments made it hard to get
a sense of momentum in any one of them. I thought I would update
quarterly, but it was stupid to do it that way on the Web. Having
all those departments also made it hard to get a sense of momentum.
So I created a weekly with no graphics, no animations, no sound,
no video, no cover page, no departments, just one article that
anyone who comes to the site sees immediately."
G. Beato, Soundbitten
"Don't be intimidated. Whenever you get freaked out and
start to think that little untechnical you will never be able
handle frames, animated GIFs, or Java scripts, take a deep breath
and relax your shoulders. Remember that geegaws and slick graphics
are no substitute for soul. The Coke page may load fast. The
BMW page may have whirling photos. The Zima site may have a refrigerator
interface. But underneath the gimmicks, these sites are full
of boring drivel. As long as you have something important
something urgent to say, it doesn't matter if you publish
in black text on a gray background.
"Even the guys who produce
the big corporate sites know this. They know that youwith
the hilariously funny story of your divorce or the wrenching
account of your sex change might be able to get more hits
on your site than they can. That's why so many advertisers' sites
try to copy the look and feel of zines; that's why the makers
of Buff Puff had to create a teen magazine about facial cleaning
products. On the Web, content is king. And you've got the content,
baby. You've got it."
Pagan Kennedy, Pagan's
"Simplicity can be beautiful."
Darby Romeo, Ben
"A lot of folks who start e-zines think that just because
it's up there on the Web, people will just start flocking to
it by some strange force of nature. A Web zine is no different
than a paper zine: You have to do a ton of self-promotion to
attract visitors, and that means more than just submitting it
to Yahoo and Lycos. It means exchanging links, exchanging banners,
and plain old networking (the people kind, not the computer kind).
Like a paper zine, you have to get your e-zine reviewed. You
must send your zine (in this case a URL, not a collection of
pages) to other e-zines and paper zines.
"It's obvious to me which
Webzines had a lot of work put into them. In the paper zine world,
that 'messy' concept is acceptable. On the Web, unorganized,
messy zines are completely half-assed. Planning and design play
Dave Palmer, DIY Search
"Learn as much as you can about the technology, or work
with someone who knows it. Think about things you can do in a
Webzine that you can't do in a print zine, and figure out the
best way to make that happen. For instance, a music zine might
included digitized music samples, or a place for users to add
their own reviews. It's important to think 'out of the box';
don't just think about what you've already seen in other e-zines,
but about what you'd like to see in yours. Surf the Net and look
for tools there's a lot of free cool stuff available."
Celina Hex, Bust