Welcome to another edition of Sites Weekly, where we delight in delivering insightful links about content, design, technology, and strategy.
I learned something specific and actionable from each link below. I hope you will as well.
And I also want to tease a little bit of news this week …
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been working on a new podcast. It’s called Sites, and it will be launching next week.
The plan is to have four episodes ready for you at launch, and then get into a regular rhythm of posting new episodes each week.
It will be companion content to this newsletter, because the podcast will also cover the topics of content, design, technology, and strategy as they relate to building powerful, successful websites.
I’m still putting the finishing touches on the first set of episodes, so I can’t give you a sneak listen … but I can give you a sneak peek at the show art, because Rafal already sent it to me.
Here it is:
Next week in this space, I should have links to the first four episodes and instructions for how to subscribe. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, here are four useful links …
Content: Do more with your opt-in incentives
Do you have one general opt-in incentive that you offer visitors in exchange for their email addresses? Or, instead, are you creating specific offers for individual pieces of content?
I admit: I’ve typically done the former … with an ebook, a free course, a newsletter, etc.
But after reading this blog post, my mind is racing with ideas for using hyper-specific opt-in incentives on individual pieces of content that are geared toward helping readers take a logical next step.
Design: How a simple text editor can improve your design (seriously)
If I tell you this next link is about telling stories and using text editors, you’re probably not going to immediately assume it’s about design.
Which is exactly why I picked it. 😉
Your copy is how you tell your website or brand story in words, but your design completes the picture. (Some might argue the design comes first, and the words complete the picture.)
So, your design needs to answer this question as much as your copy does: “How would I explain to a friend, in a conversation or in an email, this thing/topic/product/story I am trying to communicate?”
This blog post provides a useful overview of a strategy that will help you do exactly this.
Technology: What should you look for in an email service provider?
I am in the process of getting a small, new side project off the ground. After a few years of running all of my sites on Rainmaker (and really, really liking it), it’s been fun to dive back into a more traditional and open WordPress environment using StudioPress Sites.
After I started my Sites account, picked my theme, installed Google Analytics, and outlined my beginning content strategy, I had to figure out what decision to make next. It didn’t take me long to realize what it needed to be:
Which email marketing provider am I going to use?
I’ve spent a couple of weeks looking into it off and on — comparing and contrasting the different options, starting some free trials, and reading various recommendations from different sources.
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this blog post from FreshBooks that I identified the provider I’m going to go with — at least to start. I’ll tell you more about that decision, and how it turns out, in upcoming newsletters and episodes of the Sites podcast.
For now, read this post if you’re in the process of choosing or switching email service providers and want six smart questions you should ask yourself.
Strategy: Try this if you want to improve conversions
Brian Clark recommended this link to me last week, and now I’m recommending it to you.
At first glance, the methodology described in this post seemed a little arbitrary and even hokey (plus-10 Psych points! minus-5 Psych points!).
But when I went through the examples and saw how it works in practice from a qualitative standpoint, I realized how valuable this kind of thought process can be in designing an effective website.
See what you think …
Which of the ideas in these posts will you take and put to good use immediately?
I’ll be back with a new edition next week.