1. Have a vision.
Check. I had that one a year ago (a regional arts magazine with topics both about art and by artists)

2. Funding.
The amount of $ you have to spend will affect everything else

3. Hosting? Find a place to host it.
I used some extra webspace I have.

4. A software list of features that you need (and a list of those you would like to have) in order to identify the best product for you.

Here are my 2 basic lists: required are those items which are deal-breakers (or almost deal-breakers); wishlist are functionalities that I’d like to have but am willing to do without.

REQUIRED:

  • Ease of installation: I know a smattering of php, configure/write new templates, setup most opensource stuff, CHMOD, run scripts, etc. However, less time spent installing = more time for other things. ;-D
  • Database driven
  • Magazine/newspaper like feel:
    • Categories/Sections
    • Articles (with unique ids, so can be hotlinked)
    • Articles in a web friendly format (not pdf, flash, etc.)
    • Support for basic html in articles (links, images, etc.)
    • Issues with numbering
    • Upload images, media, video, mp3s which can be embedded in articles
  • CSS or other templating
  • Clear navigation throughout site
  • RSS feeds by category/section
  • Archives
  • Flexibility: Ability to move articles as needed, edit, etc.
  • At least a little bit of security. No grievous security holes.
  • Spam control
  • Support for external scripting (del.icio.us, flickr, etc.)

WISH LIST:

  • Contributors can easily upload own submissions
  • Review, Hold & Draft process (just check off)/Batch processing
  • Pre-populate issues which publish on date without manual intervention
  • Podcasting/videocasting
  • Friendly urls
  • Users can post comments/feedback for specific articles
  • “Email this article” feature
  • Magazine templates available (prepackaged)
  • User support via an active forum, help, kb, etc.
  • Hierarchical support (categories in sections)
  • Statistics built in (at least: came from, page views, referrers)
  • Scalability
  • Tagging/tagclouds
  • Regular backup feature
  • Metadata

5. Software. If you go to any of the forums (opencms, drupal, joomla, wordpress, etc.) and read reviews, you’ll see that there are alot of options. Even more so, there are alot of opinions from very passionate users about why one is better than the other. I went through many lists and explored those that sounded like they might fit my needs. These are just my thoughts.
In my next post, I’ll explore my options in a little more depth.