Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why Don't Magazine Sites Make It Easier To Subscribe?

This is a little pet peeve of mine, and perhaps some of you have also encountered it as well.

Have you ever tried to order a magazine subscription from that publication's site and been unable to find a link to do so.

You know, if I didn't know better, you would think that they didn't want someone to have an easy way to order their wares without sending in flimsy postcard with your credit card info on it.

I thought that a magazine website was meant to entice you to buy the printed product... a weird concept, isn't it? And if that is the case, then why do they make it so difficult to find a link to do just that. It seems rather counterproductive to me to force people who want to order your product to have to scroll down to the very bottom of your homepage and find subscribe on a list in tiny print.

It isn't as if you really have to worry about column space on a website front page, so it is assinine that these sites essentially bury the very thing that supports it.

I visited a lot of magazine sites the past couple of days, and the one that stood out the most for me in terms of doing things right in terms of promoting the actual sale of subscriptions was Sports Illustrated.

And that is something I think more of these sites should be pushing towards: easier access to subscription services... especially on the ones that don't carry a lot of content from the magazine and whose whole existence is to try to sell magazines. Not all magazines make it that hard to find that information (some like The New Yorker have a lot of different places on their front page to subscribe), but enough do that it is a problem worth noting.

Because in the end, it shouldn't be that hard to order a magazine. I mean, I thought they did focus groups and such to determine the usability of these sites, and to me, not being about to find a way to order a subscription within a few seconds of the site loading is a usability problem in the extreme.

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