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how to become a successful vlogger

If I told you that you could become a successful YouTuber/vlogger, would you believe me?

YouTube is certainly saturated; 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are dozens of million-dollar YouTubers and bloggers creating thousands of hours of video a year.

How could you possibly break through the noise?

Well, I’m here to tell you that video blogging still has huge potential.

The Potential of Vlogging and Why You Should Do It

Just look at the growth of video ad investment among brands and agencies and where it’s predicted to go:

average video spend and its impact on successful vloggers

It might not be as easy as it was several years ago to break onto the vlogging scene, but video is more important than ever to build a successful online marketing strategy.

Why?

First, video remains one of the best and most effective ways for people to get to know you.

When leads see you, their brain develops an impression of you that helps to build trust. You’re not just an anonymous content creator trying to drive your business. You’re a real person.

Second, video is a preferred method people have for gaining information. The stats don’t lie. People spend 2.6 times longer on pages with video than those without.

Third, the cost of good equipment keeps on falling, and the cameras in our phones keep getting better.

Fourth, video has a strong impact on the user experience, and therefore SEO. A video on your site can increase organic traffic by 157%. Check out this infographic:

why to invest in video how to become a successful vlogger

Finally, video blogging can be lucrative in itself. The top YouTubers and vloggers make between $14 and $22 million dollars a year.

The power of video is undeniable.

All of this brings up the question: how can you become a successful YouTuber?

Below are the steps you need to take to become a successful YouTuber, from starting a vlog and coming up with concepts for a video series to making a quality video and making sure people find your videos.

How to Come up With a Concept for a Series of Videos

Many people start by coming up with one idea for one video. That would be like starting a blog with an idea for only one article. As you probably know, that wouldn’t get you very far.

I explain how long content marketing takes in this video:

Video, like any other form of content marketing, needs a long-term strategy defined by a subject, tone of voice, and approach.

Here’s a question to ask yourself:

“What am I trying to convey to my audience?”

Once you know what you’re trying to do, you can define your vlogging content concept:

  • What should the format be? Should I do screen capture demos of step-by-step instructions? Should I be out and about talking to people? Should I talk into the camera?
  • What can I do with video that I can’t do in other formats like the written word?
  • How often am I going to make videos? How much time can I dedicate to them?

You have to document your plan to determine if it’s going to be feasible for long enough to achieve your goals.

The reality is people need to see consistency in order to understand why they should subscribe to your channel.

If you are making random, sporadic videos, it’s going to be harder to convince people to follow you.

The content of your video will be what determines your success.

That is, of course, only if you make quality videos.

How to Create Quality Video Content for Your Vlog

Video making is a complicated profession. When you see all of the elements that go into shooting a television broadcast or feature film, you will worry you’ll never be able to create anything like that.

how to become a successful vlogger.

The truth is, you probably can’t- and that’s okay.

People who are going to watch your video on your blog are not expecting a Steven Spielberg production.

People understand what vlogging is.

But that doesn’t mean that you should not care about quality. Quality is still super important.

Luckily, the cost of creating quality videos has been steadily dropping and continues to drop. There are more and more types of equipment available that can make your video go from amateur to professional-looking.

Step 1. Get a Camera and Tripod

You might be tempted to use your iPhone.

And honestly, cameras on smartphones have gotten amazing over the years. You have probably taken some great photos and videos on your phone already.

But smartphone cameras are difficult for serious video blogging for the following reasons:

  • they are hard to mount properly
  • they have very limited field of depth
  • they have very limited exposure options
  • the sound sucks

Selfie videos are best used for things like Instagram Stories.

They can be a part of your video strategy but shouldn’t be the foundation of it.

Cameras range in quality a lot, from basic models that run in the low hundreds to professional gear that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Most DSLR cameras also have video modes, though the options can be just as limited as on smartphones.

If you don’t know, DSLR cameras look like this:

build a successful vlog with camera equipement

The good news is that if you’re not chasing snow leopards in the wild, you won’t need all of those fancy settings.

What you need is a camera with a good lens that’s can take high-quality video. Not 4K necessarily, but enough quality to be able to work with if you want to add any extras.

You can find refurbished HD digital video cameras like this one for under $200.

build a successful vlog with a better video camera

Then, mount that camera onto a tripod. Nothing is worse than shaky video.

You could always place your camera on a table or shelf, but tripods are very affordable and give you 100% control of your filming.

Full-size tripods can go for less than $20, so there’s really no excuse not to have one.

successful vlog get a microphone

Step 2. Get a Microphone

You can either get a camera with a mic-in jack to plug in an external microphone (something you can also do when filming with your smartphone), or you can buy a USB microphone and record the sound directly to your computer.

pasted image 0 713

It depends on the type of conditions you’re filming in, but you usually don’t want to capture sound directly from the camera.

Separating the recording between two devices adds the challenge of having to sync up sound and image later.

You can overcome this by creating a clap sound that spikes up your audio visualizer for each syncing, then you line that up with the audio from the video.

video editing software for a successful vlog

I can’t stress the importance of having great sound in your videos. Sound is one of our fundamental senses and it should be a part of your marketing strategy.

Here are a few ways to leverage the power of sound:

Simply put, poorly recorded audio can turn people off and get in the way of you getting your message across.

Step 3. Create Your Lighting Setup

Lighting videos is an art all unto itself. But it’s surprisingly easy to get a great effect since there are normally only three primary lights in a video setup.

successful vlog with lighting diagram

The important thing is to separate yourself or your subject from the background. You can do this with the focus and depth of field, of course. But it really looks professional when there is a difference in lighting as well.

You don’t even need a professional lighting setup.

You can create a fairly decent lighting setup from lamps that you might have around the house.

You can also buy LED board lights that diffuse really well without getting hot — one of the drawbacks of using incandescent bulbs. You can buy versions that you can mount on your camera if you aren’t shooting in a controlled environment.

successful vlog how to light your videos

As a general rule, it’s better to be brighter. The image is clearer since the camera captures more light and therefore more detail.

Step 4. Get a Teleprompter

It’s great to be able to speak off the cuff effortlessly. There are some YouTubers with a natural style that works really well. Take the beauty YouTuber Freddy My Love. Her effortless and natural style has been honed from years of practice.

successful vlog example

Chances are, you will need help to deliver content in a clear and structured way.

You could memorize talking points and do a couple of takes. Then you can splice together the best parts.

That’s a longer process, though, than using a teleprompter.

A teleprompter makes it easier to hit all of the important points without memorizing or awkwardly transitioning between them. You could even write a script to follow verbatim.

But it’s more than a time saver. It drastically improves the way that you interact with your viewers.

Having notes or something written off screen causes you to break eye contact when you’re addressing your audience directly.

According to a study by Cornell University, humans will naturally increase eye contact with people that we admire or like.

Conversely, we tend to break eye contact when talking about embarrassing or uncomfortable subjects.

Viewers will subscribe to YouTubers and vloggers they respect. You can look directly into the eyes of your viewers while still reading your script or bullet points.

A teleprompter might seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple.

Teleprompting uses a slanted piece of glass to reflect the words so you can read them.

As long as there is darkness between the glass and the camera lens, the camera won’t pick up the light reflecting from the text on the glass. The camera will only see you.

You, however, will be able to clearly read the text as it scrolls. It looks like this:

how to use a teleprompter to vlog

You can buy a teleprompting setup and use your iPad or tablet with a teleprompting app.

There are also more advanced models that hook up to pedals for your feet that control how quickly the text scrolls.

If all that sounds like way too much, you can always try to build one yourself with a CD case and your smartphone to see if you like it.

Step 5. Do Your Makeup

This might sound a bit controversial – and I’m OK with that because I want you to have all of the options available to becoming successful – but people like watching videos with people who are put together.

(This explains why so many movie stars can be bad at acting.)

You don’t need to be Brad Pitt, and you definitely shouldn’t go overboard, but make an effort.

You’ve got an HD camera and a lighting setup. People have never seen you as clearly as right now.

For example, when you light yourself there will almost certainly be shiny parts of your skin. That’s your natural skin oil.

The most common makeup is a powder that absorbs oil so that your skin appears smooth without reflecting too much light.

how to vlog: tips on editing

Try testing your lighting setup and seeing where your skin is a bit too shiny.

Just to be clear, this goes for men as much as women.

Then, apply a powder if needed. Your video (and you) will look a whole lot more professional.

Step 6. Edit — A Lot

Making videos is like any other skill. You will get better at it the more you do it.

Video editing makes your life a lot easier by making it easier to cut between the best takes to more rapidly built your content.

Video editing software is easy to find — and use. iMovie comes on all macs and is available as an app on iOS.

The drag-and-drop interface makes it a snap to use.

how to successfully vlog editing tips imovie screenshot

If you are ever wondering how to do something, like shorten a transition or overlay an image, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube.

The bottom line is that you should be creating a lot of content. The majority of it you might not even use. But you get better and better each time you try something new.

And you should be careful to avoid oversharing. Instead, you should focus on a more qualitative approach.

Even if you think you did something great the first time through, force yourself to try it again.

You never know when you’re going to stumble onto something great.

OK, you’ve got the keys to actually making your videos to execute your strategy, now comes the hard part.

How to Get People to See Your Vlogs

When you make a video, you are in control of everything.

You decide how much you can invest time and money into creating your video. You decide who you work with and what you want the outcome to be.

Then, you decide when you put it online.

You don’t decide when other people watch it.

You can only try to grab their attention.

Getting people to watch your video can be difficult, but there are many steps that you can take to maximize your potential audience and get more people to click play.

Step 1. Create an Awesome Thumbnail

The first thing that many people will see is the thumbnail on the player before they start the video.

In fact, this is the piece of communication that reaches all the people that come across your video but don’t play it.

That digital real estate is your little promo box and can drive engagement. Take the time to make it great.

Here are two examples from Gary Vaynerchuk. He varies the style of the thumbnail from a photo collage with the title in a fun YouTube-style:

1 gary vee YouTube 1 how to vlog successfully

To a more elegant and serious tone when his subject matter is more inspirational:

1 gary vee YouTube 2 vlog successfully

There’s one thing you will always see in the thumbnail though: the title.

It’s crucial real estate that you can entirely personalize to get people to click.

You will have to abide by the brand values and guidelines, but you should create something custom to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

To add a thumbnail to your video, click on the video in your video manager.

Then, in the middle of the screen next to the player, you will see a few images that come from your video that you can select as your thumbnail.

how to vlog successfully on Youtube

Click on upload image to add your own custom image. The best size is 1280 x 720 pixels. A 16:9 ratio works best since that’s the format of the layout.

Remember, though, that you have to keep your thumbnail under 2 MB.

Step 2. Optimize Your Video for Search

I’m not just talking about Google search here.

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine by itself. All of those searches are powering an insane amount of views.

To optimize for search, you need to work on your descriptions. YouTube can’t crawl through your videos like Googlebot crawls through your website.

You need to lend a helping hand to get YouTube SEO right. Here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Write a description of at least 250 words that outlines the subjects of the video.
  • Get your keywords in the description in the first few sentences, and use it at least 3 or 4 times in the body of the description.
  • Start the title of your video with your keywords.
  • Add tags. Tags help you show up in the related videos column when people are watching other videos.
vlogging - adding a description and basic info for your video
vlogging - adding tags to your videos

There are also a few of the advanced settings that are helpful to turn on. These features are mostly located under the “Tags” box as seen in the image above.

If your video is focused on a local area, you should add a localization to the video.

Then, you want to drive as many views as possible so you should make sure that the two options are enabled: allow embedding and notify subscribers.

This way people can share your video on their websites, and you can benefit from their traffic to drive views.

And wouldn’t it be silly if your subscribers didn’t know you had a new video? It’s checked on by default but just double-check.

Step 3. Use End Screens to Promote Other Videos

Anyone who has watched your video to its completion is probably very interested in what you have to say. That is the best time of all to catch them.

YouTube developed end screens to keep people’s attention at the end of your video.

20 seconds before the end of your video, and/or for a bit afterward, you can present related or featured videos to your viewers.

To do that, go to your YouTube Studio account and click on Content (the red box with a “play” icon on the left-hand side). This will open your videos. Select the video you want to add an end screen to. The video will open along with data boxes. On the right-hand side, there is an “end screen” box.

The end screen adds extra time to the end of your video where you can do two key things: promote your other videos and get people to subscribe to your channel.

Click on the Add element button.

vlogging - finding and using the end screen

You’ll see a dropdown menu with a few different options. All of them are great for driving traffic.

YouTube provides three options for promoting your other videos and playlists that are pretty great.

how to promote your vlogging content

You can choose to feature your most recently uploaded videos, or you can choose a specific video that you want to promote.

Or you can let YouTube do the work and automatically recommend videos from your channel that would be the most relevant for each viewer.

You could even link out to other people’s videos if you want.

When you add a video, it will display the thumbnail plus the title and the duration of the video:

1 YouTube 7

You can reposition and resize the video.

You can add up to four elements to expose people to as many of your videos as possible.

Step 4. Get People to Subscribe to Your YouTube Channel

If you want to create a successful vlog, you need to increase your subscribers.

Views come and go.

Subscribers are more than people that happened to see your video.

They are people who were so happy with that video that they want to see more. They are anticipating that you will give them something great again.

What’s more, media outlets and brands looking to partner with YouTubers will use subscribers as their key metric when evaluating opportunities.

The most important is adding the subscribe action. When you do you will see your channel’s avatar in a round circle.

You can position this button wherever you want on the screen.

You can also use the end screen we discussed above to increase subscribers.

Don’t forget to add a link to subscribe to your website, email signature, and Instagram bio. It’s not just enough to add the YouTube link. You should tell people something clear like “Subscribe to see more videos.”

Step 6. Go Live

Live video is the new wild west in digital marketing. It represents a lot of opportunities. It’s much easier to be featured on the Live home page than the regular YouTube homepage.

I’ve written all about how you go live on YouTube and why it’s important.

Live also gives you the opportunity to interact directly with people while they watch you.

You can instantaneously respond to people’s questions that come up in the chat. This creates a real-time relationship.

How to Vlog Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a vlog?

Start by choosing a platform. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and many other platforms host videos. Then you’ll want to decide on the content you want to share and start researching your audience.

How much money can I make vlogging?

It varies by industry and how successful you are at reaching your audience. Most channels only pay a few cents per thousand views. However, you can use your vlog to promote other products or services.

Do I need expensive equipement to start a vlog?

No. You can start a vlog with a webcam or even a smartphone. There are also free and affordable editing tools.

How can I use a vlog to market my business?

Vlogging can be part of your overall content marketing strategy or you can use video content to push subscribers to paid products or services. People watch videos to learn and be entertained, so make sure to offer value if you want to use a vlog to market your business.

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How to Vlog Successfully Conclusion

Video blogging is becoming more and more important for content marketing.

And there’s no time like right now to get started in video marketing.

Organize your thoughts, sit down, and create a concept for a video series.

Like all content marketing, your video needs to give the viewer something of value, whether that be informative or educational or entertainment.

Then, make that video with the highest quality that your time and budget allows.

If it’s helpful, read some books about cinematography. I recommend Gustavo Mercado’s The Filmmaker’s Eye. You can skim through to get the basics about things like shot composition.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t forget to get your video in front of people.

You could make the best video the world has ever seen, but that won’t make you a successful YouTuber.

What are your experiences with YouTube and vlogging?



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Users love to receive recognition for their visits.

Think of it: doesn't it make a big difference when you enter a place where nobody even acknowledges your presence compared to a place where the host will greet you personally, even though they don't know yet?

I'm sure it does.

And you will agree that it makes an even bigger difference when it's your visitors whom you are trying to convert into subscribers or customers and not just one-time visitors.

The five scripts in this post were written to add interactivity that will help with website conversions and please users, making them feel acknowledged and not invisible.

Notes about the scripts

  • All scripts are meant to work in a WordPress-based environment, however they are flexible enough to be implemented on other types of websites (with exception of #3, that is strictly WordPress).
  • With the exception of script #3, I wrote and tested all scripts myself and my fiancé Simone Cianfriglia kindly reviewed them. They should be error free, but let me know in the comments if you run into issues or have questions.

1. Localized Greetings With Offer

Say you run specific offers for different countries. You will want a user from a specific country to view offers related to their location and language and not general offers.

The following script will greet users from countries you made special offers for while everyone else will be offered your default offer instead:

<?php

$country_code = trim(file_get_contents("http://ipinfo.io/${_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']}/country"));
 $links = require('links.php');

function getLink($country, $links) {
 if ($links[$country])
 return $links[$country];
 else
 return $links['default'];
 }

?>

<p>Hello! I see you are located in <?php echo $country_code; ?>!</p>
<p>We have discounts specific to your market!
<a href="<?php echo getLink($country_code, $links); ?>">Want to take a peek in?</a>
</p>

With links.php being a file that contains this code:

// links.php

<?php

return array(
 'default' => 'URL0',
 'IT' => 'URL1',
 'UK' => 'URL2',
 'US' => 'URL3'
 );

?>

This code returns a message like this

Hello user from RU!

We have discounts specific to your market! Want to take a peek in?

With “Want to take a peek in?” linking to the localized offer.

The code detects if the user connected to the page from a Russian IP in this example, and it links the user's geographic location to the country-specific offer page.

A demo screenshot:

demo screenshot

How the code works

  • The $country_code line retrieves the visitor's country from a public database hosted at ipinfo.io
  • $links retrieves the array contained in the links.php file, that associates each country to its offer page URL
  • The function getLink checks if an association exists between a visitor country and its offer link and, if it does, it returns it (you will “echo” (display) it inside the HTML code of the visitor message); if there is no offer for the visitor country, the function returns the default offer.

How to use this script

Create two .php files:

  • localized-greetings.php
  • links.php

containing the code (customized to suit your needs) introduced above.

Upload to the root folder or a subfolder of your website, then add this simple line of code to your sidebar or website page where you want the offer displayed:

<?php include("/path/to/localized-greetings.php"); ?>

Of course, /path/to/ will be the absolute path of your website folder (ask your host for guidance if you can't figure out).

Why it improves conversions

It's easier to make the right CTA convert when the user doesn't have to click around to find them. This script displays the right link (or banner) as soon as the user visits the page. The offer link is there in front of the user's eyes, ready to click and convert.

2. Time-Aware Contact Page

When a visitor hits your Contact page and wants to get in touch, they might know what timezone you are in but they may not be sure what exact time it is in your place nor if you are available to be contacted.

The following script helps because it changes your availability message according to the time a visitor hits your page:

<?php

date_default_timezone_set("Europe/Rome");

$time = time();
$localtime = strftime("%A %d-%b-%Y %T %Z", $time);
$hour = strftime("%H", $time);
 
echo "<p>It's $localtime in my country (Italy). ";
 
if (17 <= $hour && $hour < 19)
 echo "I'm in the office. How can I help you?";
else
 echo "Office closed, sorry! I'm available 17:00-19:00 (5-7 PM) Mon-Fri.";
 
echo "</p>";
?>

The code will output this message if the user visits your page at a time in your country (Italy in this example) when you are not available:

It's 11:48 PM in my country (Italy). Office closed, sorry! I'm available 17:00-19:00 (5-7 PM) Mon-Fri.

Or this message if they visit your page while you are available:

It's 5:48 PM in my country (Italy). I'm in the office. How can I help you?

A demo screenshot:

demo screenshot

How the code works

  • date_default_timezone_set(“Europe/Rome”) tells the server that your default timezone is a specific one and not the server default. This is important because the location of your server may not be the same as your business. When the code retrieves your local time the moment a visitor hits your page, it will use the timezone you specified and not the server default. In this example, I used “Europe/Rome” as a timezone because it's my location (Italy).
  • I have set three variables:
    • $time for the time() function
    • $localtime for the time calculated according to date_default_timezone_set; $localtime uses the strftime function to format the time string. You can choose the formatting; I chose “%A %d-%b-%Y %T %Z”, that means:
      %A – Sunday through Saturday
      %d – 01 to 31
      %b – Jan through Dec
      %Y – Four digit representation of the year
      %T – Time in hour/minutes/seconds
      %Z – The time zone abbreviation
    • $hour to calculate the current hour in my country and check if the current hour belongs to the interval of office availability (5-7 PM in this example)
  • The if/else construct is the logic core of the script: if the time belongs to your business hours range, the code will display “I'm in the office. How can I help you?”; if not, it will print “Office closed, sorry! I'm available 17:00-19:00 (5-7 PM) Mon-Fri.”

How to use this script

Create time-aware-page.php file containing the code above (with your custom edits).

As with the “How to use this script” tutorial for script #1, use the following line of code to call the .php in your page code:

<?php include("/path/to/time-aware-page.php"); ?>

Why it improves conversions

The script will essentially make it easier for yourself to get contact messages or requests only when you are available and not outside of your business hours.

It also makes it easier for users to know if you are available or not, so they know whether they're going to receive a prompt reply to their message or if they have to wait for the next business day.

Overall, a simple script like this can help to keep communications focused during business hours and avoid wait for both you and your users.

3. An Helpful Marketing Addon for WordPress

Wouldn't it be nice if your WordPress search form looked like this?

What are you looking for?

Be specific! (e.g. “content marketing tools”)

With “Be specific! (e.g. “content marketing tools”)” as the text inside the search field.

There is no PHP code you need to write here, as this is a simple HTML hack of your default WordPress search form — changing the display text for the search field and the button.

You can do this by opening the searchform.php file in your WP installation and looking for the following tag:

<input type="search" class="search-field"
placeholder="<?php echo esc_attr_x( 'Search …', 'placeholder', 'rootstrap' ); ?>"
value="<?php echo esc_attr( get_search_query() ); ?>" name="s">

“Search …” is what you should edit to customize the words inside the search form. In the example used at the beginning of this explanation, the words to replace “Search …” with are “Be specific! (e.g. “content marketing tools”)”.

This small hack will improve user experience and help your users write and send more relevant queries to retrieve the best results in your WordPress database.

However, you can customize your Search form and results page by installing one of the 15 WordPress Search plugins Hongkiat reviewed in 2015.

Why it improves conversions

Not every user knows how to search for what they are looking for. The more guidance they can get during and after the process, the better.

Sometimes a user will run a simple query in the hope to find what they are looking for among the results. This kind of query is unlikely to bring users the results they need, though, so to give users a hint on how to perform a better site search will lead them to get to the content they are looking for sooner and improve their overall experience (a satisfied user is a user who will come back).

4. Unique Blog Post Freebies

Post-specific CTAs are known to work much better than generic CTAs. You can work with content upgrades or you can automate some of your non-list conversion efforts with this simple PHP script for WordPress

to show a unique offer at the end of each post:

<?php
// FREEBIES BY POST

$postOffers = array(
 '1' => 'This post freebie is at URL1',
 '2' => 'This second post freebie is at URL2',
);

function postFreebie($postId,$postOffers) {
 return $postOffers[$postId];
}

$postId = get_the_ID();
$freebie = postFreebie($postId,$postOffers);

echo $freebie;
?>

A demo screenshot:

example post freebie script

I edited ‘This post freebie is at URL1' in the array as

'<p style="border:1px solid #535353;padding:10px;color:#161616;">This post freebie is at
<a href="URL1">URL1</a></p>'

for this demo.

Note that ‘This post freebie is at URL1' will only appears for this ‘Hello World' post and NOT other posts — this is the scope of the script. To make that same freebie offer available for more posts, you have to specify the post ID in the array; for example, if I want ‘This post freebie is at URL1' to also appear for post ID 354, I will add it as below:

$postOffers = array(
 '1' => 'This post freebie is at URL1',
 '354' => 'This post freebie is at URL1',
);

How the code works

  • The variable $postOffers is an array that links each post ID specified in the array (you can view your post IDs by hovering the mouse on the Edit link under each post in http://example.com/wp-admin/edit.php)
  • The function postFreebie() associates the post ID to its related offer and returns it in the code. Note that $postID uses a WordPress function that calls the current post ID
  • $freebie takes $postID and $postOffers and returns the right offer for each post, which you will ‘echo' (display) with “echo $freebie”

How to use this script

Create a postoffers.php file and upload it to the root of your domain, a subfolder or within your theme folders. Then call the script inside your theme's single.php template after the post content (<?php the_content() ;>) with this line of code:

<?php include("/path/to/postoffers.php"); ?>

Alternatively, you can simply copy and past the entire code into your single.php template (same position).

Why it improves conversions

Like with content upgrades for your subscriber list, downloadable freebies work better if they are unique to a specific post, so that readers of that post will have a chance to dive deeper in their favorite topic, while they might not be interested in another topic you wrote, say, a free e-book for.

A good format for this kind of conversion ad is the leaderboard format, set at a slightly smaller width than your post content.

If your blog runs on WordPress, you can use Electric Studio Download Counter to count download conversions for each freebie. Also, make sure to set Conversion Goals in Google Analytics, Piwik or other analytics software you use to keep track of conversions.

5. Day-Specific Offers

If you run offers specific to certain days of the week (e.g. 20% off your ebook sales on Tuesday and free counseling on Fridays), you will find this script handy:

<?php

date_default_timezone_set("Europe/Rome");

$time = time();
$hour = strftime("%H", $time);

if (strftime("%w", $time) == 0)
     { echo "<p>Special Sunday Offer!</p>"; }

else if (strftime("%w", $time) == 3)
     { echo "<p>Special Wednesday Offer!</p>"; }

else
     {echo "No special offers today"; }

?>

A demo screenshot:

demo screenshot

How the code works

  • For timezone and time, I used the same code from script #2.
  • %w is a strftime() parameter that means “Numeric representation of the day of the week” and it counts Sunday (0) as the starting day of the week (ending with Saturday (6). So “if (strftime(“%w”, $time) == 0)” means “if current day of the week is a Sunday”, then display “Special Sunday Offer!”.
  • The rest of the code is an if/else construct to display different offers for different days of the week. In this case, only two days of the week have special offers (Sunday and Wednesday), while the other days have no special offers attached, so the code will display a “No special offers today” in this example.

How to use this script

See include instructions for the previous scripts.

Why it improves conversions

It's a waste of time for the user (and very frustrating, too) to fall for an interesting offer only to find out it's not available on any given day.

This simple script will rotate your offer ads on a day basis to only show offers that are available on a specific day and feed the user default options on the other days. If the user is interested in today's offer, today is the day that will bring in conversions and no frustrated users (who may not come back to check on the right day).

More Conversion Scripts?

Brian Dean of Backlinko explains how he increased conversions by 785% with simple PHP scripts, plugins and widgets without A/B testing.

Jose Pérez at ConversionXL also shows how personalized marketing can help increase website-led conversions and sales.

Read more:

The post 5 Simple PHP Scripts To Help Increase Website-led Conversions appeared first on WHSR.



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Email List Management

When it comes to email list management, organization is the most important part. 

Whether you’re building your list from scratch or giving your lists a much needed overhaul, this guide should help you find an email list management strategy that works for you. 

But what is email list management? 

Email list management is the process of organizing your lists in such a way that ensure you’re sending targeted and personalized emails to the right people.

There are two ways you can organize your email lists:

  • The single list model
  • The multiple list model

Whether you prefer to keep your contacts organized on one list or multiple, there are pros and cons to either management system. We’ll walk through those points (and cover some of our best tips for each) below.

The single list model

Keeping your subscribers organized on a single list has its pros and cons. 

Pros

  • Only need to manage one email list.
  • Send highly personalized emails with segmentation
  • Reduce costs
  • Apply automation

Cons

  • Must be diligent with list hygiene
  • Keep an organized tagging system

When using a single list to organize and manage your email contacts, segmentation is going to be a huge part of your strategy.

But first, what is segmentation? 

Segmentation is the process of grouping your subscribers based on certain criteria. You can segment your email list based on demographics, location, level of email engagement, previous purchases, and more.  Segmenting your list to send personalized content can increase your conversion rate by 760%.

Segmentation should be a critical part of your email marketing strategy if you choose to use a single list to organize your contacts. 

Why? Because one size does not fit all

Every subscriber is unique and needs to be treated that way. Nobody likes getting generic “email blasts” with content that doesn’t satisfy their needs. Studies have shown that over 71% of people get annoyed if an email is not relevant to them.

Segmenting your list will:

  • Increase open and click rates
  • Boost conversions
  • Keep people happy and build loyalty

Practically speaking, think of how you respond to irrelevant emails. Chances are you’ll either dismiss them or look for ways to unsubscribe. Use segmentation to send the right message to the right people at the right time.

How can you use segmentation?

You can use segments to send personalized broadcasts and set up campaign automations. 

There are many ways to use segmentation but here are a few use cases:

  • Send different email content to groups of people based on their interests
  • Location specific content based on where a person lives
  • Send emails based on how long they’ve been a subscriber
  • Send specific content based on products someone buys

You can create segments by using tags in many email service providers. 

Tags are customizable labels you can add to subscribers based on what you know about them or how they interact with your content. 

You can use tags to efficiently organize—aka segment—your subscribers using just one list

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Add a tag to your subscribers (There are tons of ways to add a tag in AWeber)
  2. Go to Subscribers. Search for “Tag” “is” then your tag name
  3. Click “Search” then save your search as a “Segment”

You can slice and dice your list any way you want using your custom tags and segments. You’ll be able to use these powerful tools to send hyper relevant content to your audience. 

This will build trust, increase conversions, and reduce your unsubscribes which will ultimately help your business grow. 

The multiple list model

Organizing your subscribers on multiple lists is also an option if your email service provider supports it. 

Pros

  • Keep customers and prospects organized on separate lists
  • Run multiple businesses from one email marketing account 

Cons

  • Manually move contacts that convert from one list to another
  • Additional cost to create multiple lists

Multiple lists are especially helpful if you run an agency. This is also true if you’re a virtual assistant or marketing consultant working with multiple clients. It’s a great way to save time and money, as you don’t need to manage multiple accounts for your clients — simply shuffle between lists from one account. 

Additionally, if you run multiple businesses — or think you may want to pursue multiple endeavours in the future — it’s helpful to have a separate list for each project. 

This will help you easily keep track of where people signed up for a particular project’s or business’s list. It’s much less likely to mistakenly email subscribers for different businesses or projects when your subscribers are separated on to different lists. This will help you ensure compliance with GDPR and give you peace of mind.

If you’re worried about getting your wires crossed, then the multiple list model may be right for you. 

Let’s look at an example — say you run a nutrition coaching business. You have one list with everyone who has signed up for your ebook “The 10 Secrets to Eating More Fruits and Vegetables.” You frequently email your list with nutrition tips and the occasional promotion of your 1x1 nutrition coaching services.

But, you’re also thinking of beginning to sell health supplements. You may want to keep a separate list to ensure those people who want nutrition tips don’t suddenly get frustrated that you’re sending them information about supplements — because that’s not what they signed up for. 

Keeping separate lists in this scenario will help you maintain your email deliverability (by reducing the number of spam complaints and unsubscribes) and compliance with GDPR as well. 

The bottom line: best practices for email list management

However you choose to manage your email list, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

How do you like to manage your email lists? Tell us how in the comments! 

Content written by James Chun

The post Set Yourself Up For Success: How to Organize & Manage Your Email Lists appeared first on AWeber.



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What Are Content Delivery Networks & How Can They Impact Your Site?

Discover how CDNs can improve your page load speed, reduce bandwidth use, and impact your SEO rankings.


SEMrush
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Performing regular log file analysis is useful for SEO professionals to better understand how their website is crawled. Learn the basics here.

The post What is SEO Log File Analysis? A Beginner’s Guide appeared first on Search Engine Journal.



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Sarah Resnick fell in love with all things fiber when she was given a pair of knitting needles at the age of seven. As she progressed through life, she made her own clothes, learned how to spin wool and weave textiles. In 2017, Sarah took the plunge and threaded her experiences together to launch Gist Yarn. For this episode of Shopify Masters, Sarah shares how preorders and systems thinking helped her to scale a hobby into a profitable business.

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