Improving Conversion Rates — Are You Doing it Right or Wrong?

Note from Caleb: Most people waste their time on “testing conversions” because they test things that are too small. In this post from Peter Sandeen, learn how to test your conversions the right way: by making big changes.

Conversion optimization and A/B testing are becoming common among even the smallest businesses. And for good reason.

If done right, they can create huge increases in profits. But there’s a common misbelief about testing, which is reinforced even by many experts.

They say, “Test one thing at a time so you know how each change affects your conversion rates.”

But if business results are more important than statistical analysis, you shouldn’t just test one thing at a time.

It might sound good, but it’s slow and ineffective, and the benefits are marginal.

Instead, take the results-focused approach. Continue reading Improving Conversion Rates — Are You Doing it Right or Wrong?

5 Ways Copying Politicians Can Grow Your Blog

This post is by John Corcoran. We love this post from John because after working in the White House and going on to practice law he now takes what he’s learned from those experiences and applies them to blogging. In this post he’ll show you how thinking like a politician can help you grow your blog. Take it away John.

Before I fell in love with blogging, my one true love was politics.

While all my friends from college were going to work for dot-coms, I dove head first into government and political jobs.

I was the kind of dork that would get up early on Sunday mornings to watch Meet the Press.

I was hooked on The West Wing. (Now it’s Veep and House of Cards.)

Like so many others, I eventually got sick of being low man on the totem pole in various political jobs and figured law school would give me the boost I needed. As if career advancement was as simple as adding letters after your name and taking on six figures of debt.

Then I discovered blogging. And I was smitten. Continue reading 5 Ways Copying Politicians Can Grow Your Blog

The Biggest Oversight In Online Video Today

This post is by Richard Boehmcke, the winner of our mentorship contest earlier this year.

There’s a great line from an episode of Seinfeld when George and Jerry are pitching their “show about nothing” to NBC’s top executive Russell. After a bit of back and forth Russell tries desperately to understand what the show is about.

The exchange goes like this:

Russell: Well, why am I watching it?

George: Because it’s on TV!

Russell: (threateningly) Not yet.

As a profession, I produce videos for brands. That means I find myself watching tons of videos. All different kinds.

I’ll search for keywords and find myself in a vortex of videos, some interesting, some extremely obscure.

And no matter how many videos I watch or what kind they are, I find myself asking the same question over and over again:

Why am I watching this? Continue reading The Biggest Oversight In Online Video Today

7000 Newsletter Subscribers from 1 YouTube Video (Traffic Strategies with Incredible ROI)

Article by Gregory Ciotti.

Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.”

Ron Swanson

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the importance of Being Everywhere and I’m not knocking that advice, but I will warn you that spreading yourself too thin (especially during your blog’s early stages) is your one-way ticket to failure.

Take Twitter for example. I use the service and it sends me some decent traffic, but I could really give a damn about my Twitter account. I have no desire to share 20 things a day like most people recommend, because I’ve seen the numbers: it’s not worth my time.

In fact, in all of my time doing content strategy (for startups, for personal projects, even for local clients), I’ve yet to come across any ‘tactic’ that actually works that doesn’t somehow involve creating epic shit or doing some sort of promotion on another big blog/website.

In short, to maximize the ROI of your blogging efforts, spending most of your time researching how to create outstanding, unique content will give you far better results than learning that “one simple YouTube trick” that will end up doing jack squat for your bottom line.

As for that title up there? I’m going to show you how it went down, along with 2 other traffic tactics that are actually worth your time. Continue reading 7000 Newsletter Subscribers from 1 YouTube Video (Traffic Strategies with Incredible ROI)

How I Doubled My Traffic by Finding My Audience

This is a post by Robert Farrington of Beat the Nine to Five.

Believe it or not, I’ve been blogging since 2009 – almost 4 years.  However, last year I hit a plateau.  My traffic growth stagnated – I was hovering around 16,000 visitors per month, and my audience wasn’t growing.  I needed a change – I needed new readers and a compelling reason for them to stay.  So, I embarked a personal journey to find my audience, which resulted in me increasing my year over year audience by 2.5 times.

Traffic Graph

I primarily blog in personal finance and investing, but these rules and tactics apply to every niche.  I simply asked myself the following questions:

  • Where else are readers in my niche?
  • How can I get them to find my site?
  • If I get them to my site, will they stick around or convert?  

Working backwards, I knew I needed something different on my site to get readers to stick around.  Of course, the first thought that came to mind was Write Epic Shit.  Pretty simple, but it was actually harder to do than I thought.

I typically wrote 500-600 word blog posts that in hindsight, were pretty superficial.  I didn’t dive deep.  I just wrote to post an article Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I made a point to change that.  I set a minimum word count at 700 (I’ve since bumped it up to 1,000), and asked myself how or why at every header.  If I could answer that question, I included more in the blog post.

I also made more shareable content by linking more to other blogs and resources, and collaborating more with my peers in the personal finance and investing space.  I also invested time in reading Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow to write better titles and outline better articles.

With a few months of better content on my site, I set out on finding my audience. Continue reading How I Doubled My Traffic by Finding My Audience

Is Turning an Ebook into a Print Book Worth It?

In May 2011, I was contacted by Penguin Books, who asked if I was interested in turning my e-book, How to Travel the World on $50 USD Per Day, into a printed publication that would be available in bookstores nationwide.

At first, I thought someone was pranking me, but after I found out it was a genuine offer, I thought about it for about 5 seconds before I decided to say yes.

Note: this post is by Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt. We love the way he lays clear the details of this launch. If you have any kind of launch coming up, you’ll definitely want to pay attention — Matt has some key insights here. You can find out more about him at the end of his article.

As a travel writer, there is a certain amount of street creed that comes with having a printed guidebook. It gives you an aura of legitimacy that a self-published e-book does not. Plus, I’d receive a lot of media attention I might not have gained otherwise and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Yet having a publisher doesn’t mean I can just sit back and relax. In this day and age, you are responsible for all your own book promotion. Sure, Penguin helps put my book in front of traditional media, but if I want this book to succeed, the launch is up to me. I think most book publishers expect that from their authors these days; when they contact online personalities, they are really buying that person’s audience, as having an established online fan base means some guaranteed sales. Continue reading Is Turning an Ebook into a Print Book Worth It?