Tips for Creating Content That Will Get Shared

Smarter Tips for Creating Content That Will Get Shared – The Magic Formula for Content That Goes Spreads Like Mad

Creating lots of great content is not enough. If you want your content to spread like wild fire and to get likes and shares that will give it a life of its own, then it needs to be great and tick a specific number of boxes that will give it that viral ‘edge’ that results in massive sharing.

As a blogger or writer then, the key is not just to work hard but to work smart so that each and every one of your articles hits the ball out the park and goes mad on social media. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to make your content go mad…

Make it Different and Unique

The first and single most important thing you need to do in order to ensure your content gets shared and liked – and to make sure it gets read in the first place even – is to make it unique, interesting and different.

This is the single most important factor for getting content to spread but it’s something that a huge number of bloggers miss out on. So many blogs are filled with generic, derivative content that’s been seen a thousand times before and that really doesn’t give anyone much reason to read.

The perfect example of this can be found if you check out any smaller bodybuilding/weightlifting blog. Go to one of these and you’ll see articles like:

‘How to Build Big Biceps With 5 Exercises’

‘Best Home Pecs Workout’

Can you imagine yourself wanting to read any of those? The sad fact of the matter is that they’re boring and they offer nothing new.

If you really want to create content that people want to read, then you need to find a unique angle that hasn’t been done a thousand times before and that is genuinely interest. That’s why all these ‘biohacking’ health articles are doing so well right now; ‘How to Raise Your Nitric Oxide Levels for Super-Powered Workouts With One Fruit’ sounds a heck of a lot more interesting than the examples above!

Use Great Titles

‘Clickbait titles’ are getting a lot of flack at the moment but the fact remains that they work.

Clickbait titles are titles that make you really want to read and usually they’ll accomplish this by leveraging a sense of curiosity. A good example would be a title like ‘My Jaw Hit the Floor When I Saw What Happened to This Shark!’. People want to click those articles because they want to find out what happens next.

The problem is that these titles seldom deliver on their promise and that’s why clickbait has gotten such a bad reputation.

But imagine if your clickbait titles actually reflected genuine value in your articles. That is your goal. Write articles that will automatically have titles that people can’t help but click. Don’t ‘tease’ your audience but straight up tell them why your content is so valuable and what they can gain from reading it. That’s how you write titles that get clicked!

Use Great Pictures

Content doesn’t just mean writing – it means the whole package. By having great looking images alongside your content, you will not only make your posts and articles look much more engaging, interesting and professional but you will also make your posts look far more ‘clickable’ when you share them on social media.

Remember, many people will actually like your content before they even read it! What do they base this decision on? The image and the title of course!

Have an Audience in Mind

When you create your content, make sure you have an audience in mind rather than writing it and ‘hoping for the best’. This way, you will know exactly where to share it as soon as you’ve written it and you should have a ‘route to market’ in mind from the start (such as a specific sub Reddit or a Google+ Community). Having an audience in mind also means that there will be specific people that your readers will want to share the content with.

Finally, when you know who you are writing for, this can influence the way that you write. Thereby, you can write articles in the right tone and ‘voice’ for the person who is reading it. Often it helps to actually imagine that you are speaking specifically to that person as you write.

Provoke Discussion

Sharing content is a form of communication and you should take this into account when you write it. Specifically, this means writing content that will be conducive to debate, that will back up someone’s point or that will provide information on a subject. If your content can become a ‘part’ of a discussion, then it will be shared much more often. To succeed on social media, your content should have a ‘social element’.

Is it Time to Start Paying More Attention to Bing?

SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ but for the most part, that’s not really what it means. ‘Search Engine Optimization’ makes it sound as though you’re trying to rank better on all search engines equally; which isn’t actually true for the most part.

What it should be called is ‘Google Optimization’, as that’s really what most marketers are actually doing.

But could it be time to change this approach? Is Bing gradually gaining on Google? Might we see a future where search is no longer completely monopolized?

Signs Bing is Going Places

Microsoft itself has actually stated that they don’t intend to compete with Google or to ‘beat’ them any time soon. They claim that they’re more interested in machine learning and that Bing is actually more intended as a means to an end – with Cortana being that end.

That’s what they say but a few things seem to suggest it’s not how they really feel. It wasn’t that long ago for instance that they launched their ‘Bing it on’ campaign where they let you compare search results to demonstrate that Bing’s results are just as accurate.

Moreover, Bing and Cortana are becoming increasingly ingrained with Microsoft’s other services – which still have a lot of clout. Windows 8 for instance has integrated search, while Windows 10 has Cortana right on the desktop. This means you can ‘ask’ your computer to give you the definition of a word and it will bring up a list of results in Bing. Even their new fitness watch – The Microsoft Band – features Cortana if you own a Windows Phone. Xbox One also uses Bing for its search.

Bing also has that very nice image on the front page (often animated) and is built into Xbox and Windows Phone. Windows Phone might well get a boost from the upcoming upgrade to Windows 10 (and rumored merger with Windows RT) while the acquisition of Nokia also suggests that big things are in store. And for those who weren’t aware, Yahoo! is even powered by Bing and has been now since 2009.

Microsoft has actually made a fair few positive steps over the last year generally too, with their ‘HoloLens’ presentation going down particularly well and positioning the company as forward thinking and daring once again. This could very easily result in spillover to their other products, if people are excited about Microsoft’s augmented reality and if they love Windows 10, they may be more willing to give Bing a chance.

Is the Googlepocalypse Nigh?

All the while, Google has been making a few mis-steps. Their integration of Google Plus did not go over entirely well with everyone for instance – with some claiming that the changes were more interested in promoting the social network than providing relevant results. Some big algorithm changes (Penguin, Panda, and Pidgeon) were implemented with the intention of improving results but mishandling resulted in many businesses going bankrupt as a result.

Google has actually upset a lot of webmasters and web marketers and while it’s good that Google are more interested in their visitors and users – it is important that Google get support from all those content creators.

More troubling is the pressure that Google has been under in Europe. EU regulators have discussed formally charging Google for manipulating their results for users which may result in a fine of $6 billion. Meanwhile, they’re also under fire for refusing to remove some entries from the search results and their recent practice of publishing snippets of content right on their SERPs might well result in some copyright issues. Scanning the content of Gmail messages is also something they’ve been known to do lately and which Microsoft pointedly don’t do with their Outlook product.

Overall, the general consensus seems to be that Google is getting a little ‘big for its boots’ and this is something that could potentially result in an eventual backlash.

All of this resulted in Microsoft finishing last year with 20% of the search market. This isn’t exactly a huge number still but it’s more than ever before. And if you look at Yahoo as well (which remember is powered by Bing), then that goes up over 10%.

Is it Time to Start Paying Attention to Bing?

In other words, over 30% of search is now powered by Bing and that appears to be increasing. 30% is actually a fair amount of traffic and theoretically, placing more emphasis on Bing could net you possibly 30% more traffic. Or assuming you’re already performing relatively well on Bing – at least an additional 10%.

So what do you need to do to start ranking in Bing? For the most part it seems that the process is very similar to trying to rank on Google but there do seem to be some discrepancies. Bing still likes articles directories for instance and is a big fan of titles containing keywords. They like internal links and they also take social media into account in a big way (Twitter and Facebook especially).

What is the Perfect Length for a Blog Post?

If you want to gain more traffic, increase your visibility in Google and ultimately increase the profitability of your website (who doesn’t) then you need to think carefully about length. Specifically, you need to think about the length of your blog posts and you need to work hard to make sure that they’re not too long, or too short but just right.

So what is just right? And why does it even matter? Read on and we’ll look at what the perfect length for a blog post is and why you need to take notice.

It’s Official: Bigger is Better

Its official: bigger is better! To have content that will rank better and that will help you to build back links and more, longer content is the way to go.

This is based on solid research which has time and again demonstrated that longer articles and posts tend to sit higher up on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). You can actually see a graph plotting this correlation exactly at this link.

Why is this? Well the same article suggests that deeper, meatier articles (called ‘long form content’) tend to get more back links. An article that is 1,000 words long gets more backlinks than one that is 500 words, but one that is 3,000 words gets even more. And actually, there doesn’t seem to be an upper limit! Longer content tends to be more comprehensive and to thus provide an ‘overview’ or detailed introduction to a subject. This then makes it a great place for people to link to if they want to teach someone about that topic.

At the same time, Google has been discussing the value of long-form content for a while now. For starters, they’re actually featuring ‘in-depth posts’ right on their SERPs which should be a fairly obvious demonstration of the fact that they encourage this kind of content.

What’s more, long, meaty posts will be more likely to have more ‘long-tail keywords’. These are the kinds of keywords that you end up ranking for accidentally – things like ‘how do I flatten my hair first thing in the morning’. That’s a really long phrase and it’s likely that everyone will search for the same thing using slightly different wording. This makes it easy to rank as number one for that content but it also means that you won’t get much traffic from it. So it’s not worth getting on purpose but if you keep writing lots of long-form content you’ll acquire more and more of these long-tail keywords without even trying. You’ll end up with people coming to your site for all kinds of different phrases.

More to Consider

Google wants people to write detailed, lengthy content that can act as a valuable resource. Remember: Google wants to deliver value to its customers just like any business. And longer content is almost inherently going to provide more value.

But simply writing long posts isn’t enough. Of course it’s just as important that your content also be accurate so that it’s actually a useful resource. This is why Google is now checking your facts. That’s right; it uses something called the ‘knowledge vault’ and compares what you’re saying to the reality. If you have a couple of mistakes in your long post then this might not be the end of the world but if the entirety of your content is just plain ‘wrong’ then you’ll be in trouble. You can read more about this here.

Google also now likes content that links out to other sites. In other words, if you refer to a study or to an authority, then Google will see this as a positive thing because it means you’re again provide extra information and extra value to your readers.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that different articles call for different lengths. While you might like the idea of writing nothing but huge articles knowing now that they tend to rank better, this would be a mistake.

One of the reasons that 500 word articles no longer cut it is that they’re overdone. There was a time when every article was 500 words (because that was the limit on eZine articles) and as such, every site had this length content every time. It got to the point where 500 words for every post just shouted ‘internet marketer’ and was serving the webmasters more than the users.

Don’t make the same mistake with lengthy content. Write long posts when you can so that you are delivering the maximum possible value to your readers. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to write a shorter post from time to time when the situation demands. BuzzFeed has proven that short content can still work and is often well-suited to social sharing.

So, know that long content is a good thing but make sure you are always serving the post and the audience first when deciding how long any article is going to be.

Custom WordPress Theme Development Benefits

If you’re looking for a new design for your current website or are launching a new site from scratch, then custom WordPress theme development is likely to be a great option for you with a number of benefits. Read on and we’ll look at what it is that makes a custom WordPress theme such a good gambit and at why more companies should choose this route.

Custom WordPress Theme Development

WordPress is a CMS, which means ‘Content Management System‘. In other words, this is a tool that you install on your server and which you can then use in order to upload and manage new content, as well as to edit your design and generally make sure everything looks the way it should and functions properly.

The first job during WordPress web development is simply to install WordPress on the server. At this point you’ll then have a default template for a website right away and can start posting content through a control panel. This is about the quickest and easiest way to get started with a website and what’s great is that it is mobile friendly and optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). Big companies like the BBC use WordPress so you know that it’s possible to be highly successful and to handle a large amount of traffic etc. if necessary. WordPress also allows you to easily add new features via ‘plugins’ and there’s a huge, thriving community of people who develop these plugins for public use.

You won’t want to stick with the default template layout though and so that’s when you start looking for a new design which is just as easy to plug in and install. Here though you have two options. One is to use select from a number of pre-made themes, some of which are free and some of which cost a little money. You’ll be able to change things like the background and your logo but the position of your menu items and the general layout of the site is going to be the same as many other sites on the net and outside of your control.

The other option though is to pay a WordPress website development company to build you a theme from scratch that is perfectly tailored to your needs.

Why Choose Custom WordPress Theme Development

In case you hadn’t already guessed, getting a custom theme designed from scratch is by far the preference when you’re choosing between these two options.

For starters, creating a custom theme will allow you to create any design you want meaning that it can better suit your needs. If you’re selling a product from your WordPress site, then simply having the ‘buy’ button in a slightly different position can actually drastically impact on your ability to make conversions and gain customers.

If you have chosen a ‘ready made’ WordPress theme, then you won’t have any control over where your buy button goes and your potential sales will be limited.

If you choose to use a WordPress CMS website development company though, you can decide on the exact location. Likewise, you can choose the exact font, the exact color of your URLs and the number of pages you have in your menu.

In other words, custom WordPress themes give you precise control over your site and that in turn means you have precise control over the way you interact with your customers.

Put it this way: if you were to buy a high street store for your business, you wouldn’t just move in and leave the décor how the last store owner had it, would you?

The other reason that a custom WordPress theme is so important is that it means your site will be absolutely unique and unlike any other site on the net. This means in turn that no one is going to be browsing online only to come across a website that looks almost identical to yours.

That’s kind of important because it can seriously undermine your professionalism if someone should discover an identical site.

That’s because, finding a site just like yours tells your customers that you have simply taken a ‘cut and paste’ approach to your web design.

And if you take a cut-and-paste approach then that in turn suggests that either you don’t know what you’re doing, or that you don’t have the money to invest into a WordPress web development company.

To attract customers and clients you want to communicate that you run a highly professional and capable business with lots of resources to help with their needs. Having a custom site communicates this. You can’t imagine Apple using a default template, can you?

Signing Off Custom WordPress Theme Development

So there you go, these days custom WordPress web development is really the only way to go for the maximum control, flexibility and professionalism. WordPress is a tried and tested CMS that countless businesses have used to thrive – but without a custom theme it just won’t look professional or unique.

How to Create and Sell an eBook

Creating and selling an ebook is one of the best ways to monetize a website, to generate truly passive income and to promote your business. There are plenty of examples of people actually becoming incredibly wealthy simply by selling eBooks and none of them had to invest a single dime into the process or even pay any overheads.

To find out more about creating and selling eBooks and to start earning pure profit without a catch, read on…

What is an eBook and How do You Make One?

An eBook is basically a PDF file or ePub file and is normally around 10,000-20,000 words long (though there is a lot of variation). PDF files can be read on the computer while ePub files can be read on Kindles and other eBook readers. In either case, they will contain a mix of words and text, a cover page, a table of contents, page numbers and variation other features that you would expect from a hardcopy book.

The only difference then is that eBooks are digital, which means you don’t have to pay any printing costs or any delivery costs. This makes eBooks incredibly easy to create and distribute and it means that you can create them very fast simply by using Microsoft Word.

To make an eBook in Microsoft Word, all you need to do is to write a long document as you normally would and then click Save As > PDF Format. Before doing this you can also use a few of Word’s features to add some fancy formatting – use Heading 1 for your chapter titles for instance and Heading 2 for your subheaders and you will be able to automatically create a table of contents via the ‘References’ tab. Meanwhile you can use Insert > Footer in order to add page numbers along the bottom.

It is pertinent to pay a professional designer to create your cover (especially as you’ll be using this in your marketing materials) and if you aren’t great at writing then you can pay a writer to create the content as well. Otherwise, if you handle the writing yourself, you’ll find you can create a professional-looking eBook for very little in terms of initial investment.

What to do With Your eBook

So now you have your eBook, what do you do with it?

There are numerous different options. The most obvious is simply to sell your eBook which you can do directly from your site with a PayPal button as an easy method of monetization.

Easy though this is, it’s nevertheless also a highly effective form of monetization. With good content marketing skills you can position yourself as an authority on the subject that your site covers and encourage visitors to be interested in hearing more from you via an eBook. If you sell that eBook for $40 a pop – that’s going to be $40 profit each time someone is impressed enough with your content.

You can also sell eBooks through other means. One option is to upload your eBook to the Kindle store, which is completely free and which will give you access to Amazon’s huge market of Kindle users. If you use a smart title for your eBook you can rank at the top of Amazon’s search utility and find a massive audience as a result.

Another way to sell your eBook is to put it on a site like JVZoo or ClickBank. This is a smart move because it will allow you to set up an affiliate program – meaning that digital marketers can try and sell your book for you for a cut of the profit. It’s normal to offer anything between 30-60% of your profits here but in doing so you will attract an army of marketers all pushing your book for you. This can hugely expand your sales meaning that those marketers more than pay for themselves in the end.

But if you run an online business and you’re not interested in an additional product/revenue stream, then an eBook can also be a fantastic marketing tool. For instance, many companies will use instructional eBooks as incentives to encourage their visitors to sign up to a mailing list – and that’s an excellent way to build a greater list of leads.

Another way to use an eBook for marketing purposes is to give it away free on your site and on the Kindle Store and to encourage your readers to share it as well. Then, if you market your products or services within the book, you can gain a ton of free exposure and build trust and authority in your niche or industry.

Conclusion

An eBook is a perfect tool because it is a product that costs you nothing to produce. This means you can either sell it and make pure profit or use it in a number of marketing strategies without losing anything in the process. If you haven’t already spent some time developing an eBook for your website, this is definitely something for your to-do list!

How to Design and Create the Perfect Logo for Your Business

Logo design is a crucial part of any business strategy and is one of the first things you should consider when laying out your plan for web domination. A good logo can help a company to truly thrive and there are countless examples of businesses and brands that have succeeded at least partly thanks to a great logo. FedEx, Coca-cola, Nike, Adidas, McDonalds, Apple, Virgin, BP and Windows to name a few.

In this post we will be looking at everything you need to know to start creating your own stunning business logo designs. This will cover every stage from the initial planning and design to the process of creating high quality images that you can publish and share across your marketing efforts.

What’s the Difference Between a Brand and a Logo?

Before you get started, it’s important to understand the difference between a logo design and a brand. Put simply, your brand is the overall image you are creating for your business with the logo simply being a part of that.

Other important aspects of a brand include your ‘mission statement’, your color scheme, any design language you might use throughout your products, services and marketing – maybe even a jingle you could use in your advertising.

The purpose of a brand is to give you more ways to market yourself as well as to help consist a consistent thread throughout your products. This way, customers know what to expect when they deal with you and will be more likely to seek you out in future. Your logo meanwhile acts almost like a ‘calling card’ for your brand so that you need only that single image to represent your business and all the ways that you are unique.

How to Come Up With Ideas for Your Logo Design

The first stage in creating a logo is always the initial idea generation. The objective here is to come up with ideas that will be representative of your company while at the same time being simple and easy to recreate. Simple business logos work best as they are the most versatile and can thus be used in the widest variety of marketing materials, products and packaging. At the same time, simpler logos will usually be more iconic and recognizable.

A good place to start with your business logo design is with a ‘moodboard’. A moodboard is essentially a collage of images that you collect as inspiration for a project. In the case of a logo, this moodboard might consist of logos that you like from other brands, images of your own products and images of things that relate to the name of your brand. In our case – a ‘whistle’ makes a lot of sense because the name is ‘ColorWhistle’.

Once you have a selection of images that inspire you for your design, you should then find your moodboard is able to give you an idea for the general ‘direction’, ‘theme’ or color scheme of your logo. You can then try combining your company name (written with unique fonts) along with different images to come up with some potential business logo designs.

Note while doing this you should try to avoid ‘clichéd’ ideas when choosing your design. That means avoiding things that are used too frequently in other logos and thus won’t be unique or appear creative and thoughtful. Globes, ticks and speech bubbles are all over done and should thus be avoided.

How to Create Your Business Logo

Once you have an idea for a logo design, the next thing to do is to actually start creating it. Of course this requires a more measured approach than other aspects of design. Remember: this is going to be used on your websites, packaging, advertising and more and will become an ambassador for your business. In other words, the quality needs to reflect the quality of your business and thus should be flawless.

As such, logos should be created with vector software. This works differently than paint software as it doesn’t simply save the pixels but rather the angles, the lengths, the curves and the coordinates of each line and color. In other words, vector software provides the mathematical algorithm necessary to reproduce your image perfectly. In turn, this means that it can be blown up to any size or edited in any way with no loss of quality. This is crucial in case you someday need to blow your logo up to fit on a billboard or in case you want to reproduce it in blue or in another language.

The best known vector software is Adobe Illustrator and this is pretty much the industry standard when it comes to logo design. At ColorWhistle, we are also have expertise in CorelDraw. This is another popular vector program that is perfect for making beautiful logos and other designs.

Working with a Logo Designer

If you don’t feel 100% confident in creating your own logo design, then you will likely need to outsource the process to a professional service that can handle it for you. Understanding the process of business logo design, this means you need to make sure they fully understand your company including your mission statement and the look and feel of your products and packaging. This is what will allow them to properly handle the moodboard/idea generation process. Pointing them in the direction of logos and fonts you like can be a great help.

Ultimately, you should then receive not only an AI (Adobe Illustrator) file but also PNGs and JPEGs if you requested them. They may also provide you with multiple versions of your logo so that you can do some market research to help choose the best one.

At ColorWhistle we do all this and more. If you’re looking for a beautiful business logo that will represent the very best of your business then Get in touch today!

Everything You Need to Know About Google’s New Mobile Friendliness Update

Google is constantly updating its algorithms to try and improve its efficiency in locating relevant, accurate and entertaining information.

The role of any search engine is of course to help people discover the content they’re looking for and that will be high quality.

In order to continue to thrive as the top search engine then, Google needs to keep updating to ensure that this is the kind of content it finds.

These days, finding the right results for users is not just a matter of finding the right content but also the right site design that’s easy to navigate and that won’t frustrate users.

With an increasing number of us surfing the web on mobile for instance, it is now more important than ever that Google be able to find mobile compatible content.

Users need to find content on their mobile phones that will open up quickly and that will be easy to navigate without a keyboard and mouse – and as such, this is the focus of Google’s new update.

As a webmaster, business owner or blogger then, how will this affect you?

The Details

The latest update is being referred to as a ‘mobile-friendly compliance’ update and doesn’t yet have an animal/bird name beginning with ‘P’.

It will be going live on April 21st 2015, as Google anticipates this year will be the biggest yet for mobile searching.

In general, it will mean that sites less well-suited to being viewed on mobile will be penalized in the search results with those better suited benefiting.

The change will only affect results that are shown on mobile but as mobile traffic accounts for such a large proportion of total web traffic (about 30% of searches are through mobile), this is still important news.

This is particularly important for local businesses as local search is estimated to be about 80% mobile.

Specifically, Google has stated that the following traits will help a site to classify as ‘mobile friendly’:

  • Content must not be wider than the screen – users shouldn’t have to scroll left or right
  • Links must not be overly close together (so that they’re easy to click)
  • Text must be large for reading on smaller devices
  • Sites should not use Flash or other software that’s incompatible with mobile browsers

We can also assume that Google will be looking at other ‘obvious’ points that have always been recommended for mobile compatibility. For instance:

  • Sites should not use drop-down menus as the primary means of navigation
  • Sites should load quickly
  • Sites should avoid small text links

You may also want to consider avoiding pop-up windows that obscure the page on mobile devices and are difficult to close.

What You Should be Doing

So what does all this mean for you? How do you know if you need to make any changes?

The good news is that Google has removed the guesswork from this process by supplying a ‘test’ tool that can be used to ensure sites are mobile friendly. Click here to find out if your site needs to make changes. If you fail the test, it will give you advice and suggestion to help you fix the problem.

But what if you don’t have time to make these changes or you don’t know how? How badly can you expect the changes to impact your site?

Specifically, Google says that the changes are likely to impact only a relatively small portion of search results. Google can’t read all the factors impacting on mobile-friendliness so some ‘awkward’ sites will still slip through the net. What’s more, it’s important to remember that CTR is lower for mobile. In other words, traffic that comes from mobile is generally less valuable to businesses and so these changes probably won’t be crippling any businesses.

Nevertheless though, this is still something you need to take seriously. Consider this update as a sign of things to come – more and more web users are going to be using mobile in the years to come and all the big search engines are investing a lot of resources into this sector. Even if you survive this next change without making changes to your site, it’s only a matter of time until incompatible sites start to struggle so it’s important to stay one step ahead. That and of course mobile compatibility website is something that users also benefit from.

How to Make Your Site Compatible

If your site isn’t compatible, what can you do?

You have two options: build a separate mobile-friendly site, or redesign your current website with our responsive website development. Responsive website development means that your site will change appearance depending on the type of device and browser viewing it. Google has stated its preference for this option and it has a lot of advantages when it comes to usability.

If you need help with the best responsive web design on the net, Get in touch and ColorWhistle can help you get started with a free price quote!

Your Guide to Building Big Mailing List (And Why You Need to Do It)

If you run an online business, have a website or blog, or are an internet marketing then you need to be investing at least some time and energy into building a mailing list.

If you aren’t, then you’re missing out on a huge business opportunity and potentially thousands of leads and even more profit.

Before we go onto how you should approach your list building efforts, here are some statistics that should just emphasise the importance of investing your time into this aspect of your business:

  • Email marketing has a measurable ROI of 4,300%. If that sounds impossible, then consider just how affordable it is to start building a list and sending e-mails.
  • 91% of consumers will check their e-mail every day.
  • When surveyed, companies rate e-mail marketing as more profitable than affiliate marketing, banner advertising, direct marketing, PPC or SEO
  • 66% of US consumers above 15 years have at some point purchased something through an e-mail campaign
  • The right subject heading can result in 1/3rd of your e-mails being opened

How to Go About Email Marketing

So with that in mind, how do you go about email marketing?

The secret to success is to focus on this one single and highly important tenant.

That is: to ensure that you are building a highly targeted audience and finding e-mails from people who actually want to hear from you.

And that means building trust and loyalty through your blog and social media first and then collecting e-mails.

Don’t collect ‘cold e-mails’ because you will only be met with resentment from people who never gave you permission to contact them and who likely don’t fit into your target demographic.

If you’re going to collect cold e-mails then you’re better off just using a ‘solo ad’ which is a paid ‘e-mail burst’ sent out to a mailing list that another company has collected.

E-Mail Marketing Techniques

Another alternative strategy like this is called an ‘ad swap’ where you send an advert out to another blogger’s mailing list in exchange for doing something for them.

Both these options will result in far fewer conversions than collecting a mailing list of your own though. So how do you do that?

Building Your Mailing List

To build a mailing list, you will first need an autoresponder.

An autoresponder is a piece of software that sends out an automated response when someone signs up to your mailing list.

From there, it then makes it easy to send out your emails to everyone on the list, it manages people unsubscribing etc.

There are three big autoresponders which are AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse.

Unfortunately, none of them are free and the best deal will depend on the size of your business.

Here is a breakdown of the fees to help you choose the best one for you:

MailChimp:

Subscribers Monthly Fee
500 $10
1,000 $15
10,000 $75
20,000 $150
30,000 $215
40,000 $240
50,000 $240

AWeber:

Subscription Plan Fee
Monthly $19
Quarterly $49
Yearly $194

This is then on top of the following monthly fee:

Subscribers Additional Monthly Fee
< 500 N/A
501-2,500 $10
2,501-5,000 $30
5,001-10,000 $50
10,001-25,000 $130
25,001+ Not Listed

GetResponse:

Subscribers Monthly Fee
1,000 $15
2,500 $25
5,000 $45
10,000 $65
25,000 $145
50,000 $250
100,000 $450

From here, you will then be able to create an opt-in form and collect the code to paste onto your site.

You can then use this code at the bottom of your pages, in the sidebar as a widget, or on a ‘squeeze page’ (a landing page with the sole purpose of gaining subscriptions.

The most effective strategy though according to many marketing ‘gurus’ is to use a ‘pop-over’ or ‘lightbox’.

These are windows that open over the top of your content and interrupt the reader.

They’re frustrating yes but the stats seem to indicate that the benefits in terms of increased subscriptions will drastically outweigh the negatives.

Important Tips

Simply having an opt-in form isn’t enough though: you need to be smart about how you’re going to incentivize people to sign up.

One way to do this is by offering some kind of ‘freebie’ in exchange for signups.

For instance, you could offer to give away a free e-zine or an e-book to those who sign up. You could even run a contest; people love freebies.

Also important though is to talk about your mailing list regularly within your posts.

Don’t just ‘leave’ the box there and hope people will fill it in – tell them about why they should, about the extra content they’ll get and about how they’ll become ‘VIPs’.

If you are effective in building trust and authority in your niche and continually mention how your readers can get more content and notifications by signing up, then they’ll start to flock to your mailing list in droves.

Top Examples of WordPress Sites for Your Inspiration

WordPress is an incredibly powerful tool for publishing content online and can be highly effective in helping you to generate content. What really makes WordPress such a powerful and effective tool, is the fact that it lets you build sites so easily in a way that has been proven to work. In other words, Google knows how to index the sites making SEO simpler, users have grown accustomed to typical WordPress layouts and countless other sites have become very large and very profitable using WordPress.

In other words: we know that a site made with WordPress can be highly successful. And we know that it’s relatively simple and easy to build WordPress sites. So that way, you take the guess work out of site creation and instead can focus on just creating the best content you can and doing promotion. You know that if your site isn’t a big hit – it wasn’t the CMS that let you down.

This also means that there are tons of examples of highly successful, beautifully designed WordPress sites out there – all of which are within your reaches to emulate. This is a fantastic way to get inspiration and motivation, so read on and we’ll take a look at some of the best examples of well-designed and highly successful WordPress sites out there…

Consider this a tour-de-force of WordPress web development

The Four Hour Blog

https://tim.blog

The Four Hour Blog is the blog of Tim Ferriss, who in turn is the author of the acclaimed ‘Four Hour Workweek’. His blog is nothing special to look at but is nevertheless nice and simple while the green text mirrors the design of his books creating a nicely consistent brand.

But what makes the Four Hour Blog a good pick for this list, is the fact that it’s run by a single entrepreneur who does everything himself and is highly successful. If you’re a solo blogger/entrepreneur looking for inspiration, then this shows just how successful you can be on your own.

Smart Passive Income

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/

Smart Passive Income is another blog from a solo entrepreneur. It’s a ‘small blog’ that focusses on making money online and that shares all the secrets. The creator, Pat Flynn, had even less of a headstart as compared with Ferriss seeing as Ferriss launched his blog from the success of his book. Pat started from scratch and nevertheless grew his online empire to be incredibly profitable. Check out the site because he shares all his tips and secrets there.

TechCrunch

http://www.techcrunch.com/

TechCrunch is a technology site that discusses news, reviews and opinion revolving around the world of technology. The site is very well designed and manages to pack a ton of information into a relatively small place. It also looks very ‘glossy’ and professional like a real online magazine, which is a demonstration of just how pristine WordPress sites can potentially look.

BBC America

http://www.bbcamerica.com/

As organizations go, the BBC is one of the better known and respected in the world. For their US site, they rely on the WordPress CMS which shows us just how capable the platform is when it comes to looking professional and functionally reliably.

The take-home point here is that if WordPress is good enough for the BBC, it’s almost certainly good enough for everyone else!

Forbes

http://blogs.forbes.com/

And just to re-emphasize that point, another example of a highly well-known and respect website that has done incredibly

Savage Chickens

http://www.savagechickens.com/

Savage Chickens is a highly popular webcomic that is built using WordPress. The site posts a new webcomic everyday featuring chickens (normally) and drawn onto post-it notes. The blog has a large following and is one of the bigger webcomics on the net. Seeing as the site is based around images rather than text, the designers will have had some unique challenges which they’ve risen to admirably.

What’s cool about Savage Chickens is that it shows the versatility of WordPress. Don’t have much skill when it comes to writing? No problem: with WordPress web development there are plenty more opportunities to be successful. How are your sketching skills? Or photography for that matter?

PaymentSense

http://www.paymentsense.co.uk/

On the subject of versatility and variety, PaymentSense is a great example of a B2B service using WordPress to create a more ‘static’ website. The site utilizes a linear scrolling design that is increasingly popular with businesses and which looks very modern and crisp. If your business sells a single product or service and you don’t have an ongoing blog that you want to put front and center, then this is a good route to go down. PaymentSense is a company that sells card readers for businesses and is pretty big and successful.

ColorWhistle

https://colorwhistle.com

Like the looks of this site? It could be yours! ColorWhistle.com is actually built with WordPress and WordPress web development is just one of our specialties.

We’re very proud of this site and it’s already off to a great start despite being relatively young. If you agree that it’s a modern and intuitive UI, why not let us handle your site creation too?