Why You Shouldn’t Create a Newsletter (and What to Do Instead)

Why You Shouldn’t Create a Newsletter (and What to Do Instead)

Can I be blunt with you for a moment?

Not just direct, but say some things that’ll make some people mad?

Because you see, the world has changed.

Once upon a time, the online newsletter was the goose that laid golden eggs. Instead of hammering poor, unsuspecting website visitors into buying a product or service on their first visit, businesses got smart and asked them to subscribe to their newsletter, gaining permission to follow up again and again, sneaking in little sales pitches with every newsletter, and creating a nice flow of sales every time they published a new issue.

It was a game changer. Businesses went from converting 1-2% of visitors to an astonishing 5-20%, not because of a better pitch or product, but simply because they could stay in touch, educate the prospect, and occasionally nudge them to see if they were ready to buy.

And the best part?

It cost almost nothing. You could shoot out a new edition of your newsletter to thousands or even tens of thousands of people whenever you wanted, as often as you wanted, for a couple hundred bucks (or less) per month.

The result: enormous profits. Not just for big corporations, either, but for Main Street businesses, stay-at-home moms, and savvy writers around the world who wanted to make a living from their words. It was (and is) one of the biggest and most important changes in business in the last decade. More

An Open Letter to All the Bloggers Cluttering the Web with Forgettable Content

An Open Letter to All the Bloggers Cluttering the Web with Forgettable Content

Have you ever gotten an email from a reader who said your writing changed their life?

How about other bloggers? Are they still talking about a particular post years after you published it?

Or is it the opposite?

Visitors just seem to come and go, never commenting, never linking, never sharing, just quickly scanning your posts and then moving on, forgetting about you forever.

If that’s the boat you’re in, I certainly sympathize, but brace yourself, because what I’m about to say will be painful:

You’re not trying hard enough.

Yes, I know those are impossibly high standards. Yes, I know it takes everyone time to learn their craft. Yes, I know there are only a few dozen bloggers in the world who can answer yes to both of those questions.

But if you’ve been blogging for a year or two, and you still can’t answer yes to either of them, then Houston, we have a problem.

Fortunately, it’s a problem we can fix. Let’s start by going back to where it all started. More

6 SEO Mistakes That’ll Make Google Hate You Forever

6 SEO Mistakes That’ll Make Google Hate You Forever

Did you know Google can make your blog disappear from its search results?

One day, you’re getting a nice little trickle of traffic to a few of your posts. No, it’s nothing major, but it grows with every new post you publish, and you can see Google becoming a major source of traffic for you in the future.

But then it stops.

Poof, every single post and page of your blog disappears from Google. No warning, no alarm bells, nothing. You’re just gone, like you never even existed.

And the worst part?

You don’t even know why. It just feels like the biggest, baddest bully on the Internet decided to knock the crap out of you, leaving you whimpering and bleeding, wondering what on earth you did wrong.

It happens all the time. I know, because it happened to me. More

5 Lessons Cats Teach Us about Creating Blissfully Mindless Content

5 Lessons Cats Teach Us about Creating Blissfully Mindless Content

Wouldn’t it be great if all you had to do to get people to pay attention to your blog was to climb into a cardboard box and play with some string?

It works for cats. Collectively, the cat videos on YouTube are more popular than… well… everything.

And it’s totally not fair, right?

Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours writing a thoughtful post, only to get ignored because everyone is too busy watching a cat play the keyboard. And yet, it happens all the time.

Is it wrong to want to actually teach people something? Is all that hard work creating educational content just a waste of time?

Well, I don’t think so. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

At the same time though, I believe all the cat videos are trying to teach us a very important lesson: More

The Forrest Gump Guide to Writing That Bites Readers in the Buttocks

Forrest-Gump

Southern Gentleman (John Worsham): “It was a bullet, wasn’t it?”
Forrest: “A bullet?”
Southern Gentleman: “That jumped up and bit you.”
Forrest: “Oh. Yes, sir. Bit me directly in the but-tocks.”

BANG.

One moment, you’re checking your email or surfing the web or browsing through the aisles of Barnes & Noble, minding your own business, doing nobody any harm, and that’s when it happens…

You read something that jumps up and bites you in the buttocks.

It’s so beautifully written, so painfully true, you can’t help feeling like you just got shot. No, it’s not a physical wound, but you can feel the ideas kicking around inside you, and you know somehow that they’ll stay with you for a very long time.

Maybe you even wonder how you can write like that yourself. So few can.

With blogging in particular, most writing is pitiful, full of shallow ideas and poorly told stories. The posts are hardly memorable, much less capable of making readers feel like they just took a physical blow.

The good news is Forrest Gump is here to help. Here are some of the best lines from the movie, along with advice on exactly how you can up your game: More