1000 True Fans – Domain Upgrade?

 

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April’s focus in the 1000 “True” Fan blog series is SMALL CHANGES.

This Weeks Mission: Is having your own website domain worth it?

Since I began blogging over a year ago, I’ve stuck to the free web hosting at wordpress.com. My site address has been: http://www.joynellschultz.wordpress.com

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m super cheap. I couldn’t see spending the money on my own domain.

Now, I’m facing two main issues that had me debating if upgrading my web address to http://www.joynellschultz.com (dropping the wordpress.com) would solve.

  1. I’m only having a 35% newsletter open rate. I’ve spent all this time and energy building my mailing list, and I’m having many people I know say my newsletters are going into their junk folder. Is it because I’m sending these from my free gmail account?
  2. Does having a wordpress site look unprofessional? I have two books out now and have a few more on the horizon.

So, I looked at the cost of having my own domain…only $35.88 per year through WordPress. No problem. I thought that was worth it…

BUT, what I didn’t know is that you don’t get your own email address with that. You need to pay another $50/year.

Okay. It’s an experiment. I’ve been told having my own domain and email will solve my newsletter open rate…So I got out the credit card and paid the extra $50.

How did spending $85.88 help me?

  1. My newsletter open rate: Guess what? With the new domain email address, the open rate was EXACTLY THE SAME! Though, different people saw this email versus the last one. I was disappointed, but have a few ideas to fix it up… I can resend the important newsletters from the second email address to hopefully reach the non-openers. Also, having my own domain allows me to use a cheaper mailing list service when it’s time I need to pay for it.
  2. Professionalism: Without a doubt, having your own site looks more professional.

Other things…I’m excited to have more tools available through WordPress by having my own domain. I cannot comment on them yet, but hopefully I can speak intelligently as to the benefits as the year goes on.

 


So…a summary of how last week went, for those of you who are following this journey on a week-to-week basis.

Review of Past Week (Mission 15: Novel Back Matter): Success!

I finished up a prequel to Love, Lies & Clones and added a link to it at the end of that novel. You can read about how this went HERE. Next up: In May, I’m trying a “FREE” day on Amazon to get some downloads…and hopefully people will read the novel and sign up for the newsletter when they finish. Fingers crossed.

So…how’s my progress going on my way to 1000 true fans?

Drum Roll…Ready?

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 1767 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 132 people since last week.)

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Next Week: As you can see, I’ve met my goal of 1000 newsletter subscribers. As we move forward through this year, we’re going to start focusing on converting these subscribers to actual “true” fans. My subscriber numbers may actually go down in the next months.

If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you have your own domain? What benefits does it bring you?

1000 True Fans – Novel Back Matter

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April’s focus in the 1000 “True” Fan blog series is SMALL CHANGES.

This Weeks Mission: Newsletter signup in book back matter

I know how important it is to have a newsletter sign-up link in the front and back of your published novel with a goal of capturing readers to join your mailing list. With my new novel, Blood & Holy Water, I’ve tried something new.

Right after “The End” it says this:

If you enjoyed this novel, a prequel to the next story in this journey can be found in the short story collection, Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales. (The prequel is titled, Bitten.)

You can download this collection free by signing up for Joynell Schultz’s newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/ccWKDn

I took a chance, as I have never seen this before…

Well… Since implementing it, I’ve had 26 sign-ups from the link in the two weeks since publishing this novel. That’s 26 people who read my novel and wanted more. Now, we’re getting closer to “true” fans.

So, this week, I’m working on a prequel to Love, Lies & Clones as well…and adding a similar offer in the back of that novel. It will now be my norm going forward: A little bonus to readers who want more when finishing a story. Also, I’m going to try a “free” day for Love, Lies & Clones, so I was hoping, at the very least, to at least gain subscribers by giving the novel away free.

 


So…a summary of how last week went, for those of you who are following this journey on a week-to-week basis.

Review of Past Week (Mission 14: Website Popups): Epic FAIL!

I added a pop-up to my website, to capture mailing list subscribers. I had one sign-up within an hour of turning it on, but after some help from blog followers, I turned it off before 24 hours had passed. The annoyance to my readers and the potential penalty google search engines give pop-ups, I decided it wasn’t worth it.

So…how’s my progress going on my way to 1000 true fans?

Drum Roll…Ready?

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 1635 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 152 people since last week.)

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Next Week: Is it worth paying for your own domain name/email address?

If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

1000 True Fans – Website Pop-up

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April’s focus in the 1000 “True” Fan blog series is SMALL CHANGES.

This Weeks Mission: Adding a Newsletter Subscribe Pop-up to your Blog/Webpage

Some time ago, I read that a pop-up subscription box could drive sign ups to your newsletter/mailing list. I remember reading one site that said, “If you don’t believe they’ll work, I challenge you to try them for a week.”

I still avoided adding one back then, as I didn’t want to be annoying. What I’m realizing now is that almost all the sites I visit have them. They are the norm. I automatically just click the “x” or “close” in the corner and proceed to the site…but once in a great while, I do sign up.

So, I’m taking that advice I read so long ago. I’m adding a pop-up to my site. I’m committing to leaving it for a month to see if it does any magic. If you’re reading this in the WordPress Reader and would like to see my pop-up, click HERE.

To add this, I simply built the pop-up in MailChimp and added a widget to my page design. It only took a few minutes (less time than writing this blog.)

*** Update (4/13/17): One day after putting this pop-on, I’m turning it off. I did get one subscriber, but feel the issues are not worth it. For one, Google is now penalizing all mobile sites that use pop-ups and downgrading their ranking in search results. Also, the Mail Chimp pop-up was not as user friendly as I would have liked.

I’ll try this again in the future when I upgrade from a wordpress.com site to a wordpress.org website and have more customization options. User friendly and mobile free are a necessity.


So…a summary of how last week went, for those of you who are following this journey on a week-to-week basis.

Review of Past Week (Mission 13: Static Front Page): I think it looks more professional. I’m still unsure if it’s affecting my site’s traffic at all.

Also, this past week, I sent out a newsletter to 1502 people. You can read about all my unsubscribes in this Blog Rant of mine. I ended up with 62 newsletter unsubscribes (and 2 abuse reports.) This is to be expected, as most my subscribers came from Instafreebies giveaways, but it sparked me to change my focus in May to increasing subscriber engagement rather than growing my list. (Remember, my goal this year was only 1000 newsletter subscribers.)

Drum Roll…Ready?

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 1483 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 17 people since last week — considering the 62 unsubscribes, I’m happy with this.)

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Next Week: We’ll continue to focus on our website/blog.

If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you use a pop-up? Does it work? As a web surfer, do you hate them?

1000 True Fans – Static Front Page?

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April’s focus in the 1000 “True” Fan blog series is SMALL CHANGES.

This Weeks Mission: STATIC FRONT PAGE FOR BLOG?

I’ve been debating for quite some time what would be better for my website/blog. I’ve gone back and forth between a static first page vs. my blog feed.

When I search most full-time writer’s websites, I find a static home page. Also, I think a consistent message, ease of use, and prevention of information overload is a better experience for visitors. (This is different for each individual. For book bloggers, a blog roll is probably the better choice. Again, it comes down to knowing your audience.) So, if a static home page is the norm, what’s holding me back?

I’ve read that search engines are less likely to find you with a static home page. That’s minor though, what’s really held me back is I didn’t know what to put on a static home page.

Well, I bit the bullet and threw something together today. You can check it out HERE.


So…a summary of how last week went, for those of you who are following this journey on a week-to-week basis.

Review of Past Week (Mission 12: Readability): Great! I’m keeping these blog posts short because of it.

This past week, I’ve been busy planning my book launch and am not participating in any mailing list growth promotions…but, how’d I do?

Drum Roll…Ready?

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 1466 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 66 people since last week.)

Again, I’m over my goal of 1000 subscribers, but they’re not all fans. I’m continuing my journey this year, trying to find 1000 readers that truly support me. At some point, we’ll discuss finding the subscribers that are engaged. Here’s the data so far:

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Next Week: We’ll continue to focus on our website/blog.

If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What type of first page do you use on your website/blog?