Traffic Report: The Top 10 Growing Magazines Online


Image from: iPad / Shutterstock
Here at Compete, we have compiled a Magazine category which encompasses both digital magazines and the digital forms of print magazines. While the category experienced a slight (and expected) seasonal dip of 3% in unique visitors, it is up 13% year over year, a much larger growth than the 4% growth from September 2009 to September 2010. As digital becomes more relevant and more crucial to a magazine’s success, we wanted to know which magazines in print are leading successful online efforts. We decided to take a look at the category’s top 100 magazine websites this past September and see which print magazines had the largest growth in unique visitors from the month prior. Check out the results below to see who you should keep your eye on as leaders in the print to digital movement.


1. Photo District News

September Rank: 94, up from 106 in August

Growth: +389% in unique visitors in September, +83% in unique visitors over the year

Photo Disctrict News is a monthly magazine for professional photographers. Its site features news, gear, contests, blogs, and classifieds. A digital copy of the current subscription is available for download right from the website. Right now the majority of PDN’s traffic is coming from Google and Yahoo search engines. Look to PDN as they grow for SEO insights.


2. Details

September Rank: 50, up from 77 in August

Growth: +104% in unique visitors in September, +85% in unique visitors over the year

Details is a monthly men’s magazine. Established in 1982, Details has complemented it’s print in digital form for over two years. Details saw immense growth in September from Television websites such as Yahoo! TV and BuddyTV. The category brought in 17% of Details’ September UVs! Music and Video sites also greatly increased their referrals to Details, making up 7% of total traffic to


3. InStyle

September Rank: 17, up from 24 in August

Growth: +104% in unique visitors in September, +18% in unique visitors over the year

Referrals from search made up 30% of traffic to We took a look at search referrals to the site and found that a virtual makeover game is what reels a lot of Internet users into the magazine’s online platform:


4. Parade

September Rank: 22, up from 29 in August

Growth: +46% in unique visitors in September, +31% in unique visitors over the year

Parade has one of the largest readerships in the U.S. with over 70 million readers nationwide. It’s online site features sections on health, celebrities, food, blogs, video, and materials from the print publications.

The site’s largest number of referrals came from search engines, a category that increased by 41% in referrals since the month prior. When we examined the top search terms sending traffic to, we found that Parade’s greatest success online came from making an online version of their famous brainteaser “Numbrix”.


5. Allure

September Rank: 23, up from 30 in August

Growth: +36% in unique visitors in September, +86% in unique visitors over the year

We were shocked to find that made up 14% of all traffic to in September! Come to find out, Allure and Yahoo! Shopping have a partnership where people from Allure write articles on Yahoo! Shopping such as the one below:


6. Esquire

September Rank: 19, up from 23 in August

Growth: +31% in unique visitors in September, +4% in unique visitors over the year

Similarly to Allure’s partnership with Yahoo! Shopping,’s blog is featured on Yahoo! Shine, an online magazine for women. Yahoo! Shine increased its referrals to Esquire by 111%, making up over 6% of all traffic to


7. National Enquirer

September Rank: 46, up from 52 in August

Growth: +23% in unique visitors in September, +2% in unique visitors over the year

Growth to National Enquirer showed itself in various categories. While a clear trend didn’t appear across our categorical data, the following Top Growing Incoming Sites are very intriguing. Noticing Yahoo Mail at #10 could make us curious as to what types of email campaigns National Enquirer is conducting.


8. Elle

September Rank: 16, up from 20 in August

Growth: +22% in unique visitors in September, -45% in unique visitors over the year


If you’ll notice, Elle Magazine and New York Magazine both have experienced an overall decrease in unique visitors over the year, despite the September rise. When we examined Elle’s income traffic, we noticed there was a 6% increase in traffic from search engines, the largest category of referrals to Examining search referrals closely, we discovered that paid referrals had increased 89% from the month prior:

Top paid searches are shown below:

9. New York Magazine

September Rank: 5, up from 7 in August

Growth: +17% in unique visitors in September, -11% in unique visitors over the year

____________________________________________________________________ showed us a different story. According to New York Magazine’s traffic dashboard, the site is seeing large increases in referrals from News Aggregators, mainly Reddit and Newser, accounting for 1.5% total traffic to in September and totaling an increase of 87% in referrals compared with the month prior.

10. VIBE

September Rank: 28, up from 31 in August

Growth: +16% in unique visitors in September, +101% in unique visitors over the year


Vibe Magazine shows us it’s good to partner with a website that has already attracted the same audience that you are looking to reach. The #4 referrer to (after Google, Yahoo, and Ask search engines) is Upon further research found a campaign conducted by the two organizations in which they produced a list of the top mixtapes of 2010 and which links directly to

About Jen Duguay:
Jen Duguay joins Compete to take on all things social media. She comes from a social issue background, most recently having worked for the Social Innovation Forum, the venture philanthropy arm of Root Cause, a nonprofit research and consulting firm. Jen's interests include singing, marketing, running, art, making guacemole, and using social entrepreneurship to tackle world issues. She has spent time in Belize and the Dominican Republic working on microfinance initiatives and recently traveled to Kenya where she studied the public healthcare system. Follow Jen @jenduguay on Twitter.