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Archive for Subscription Website Publishing

Subscription Website Publishing posts focus on what to consider when building and operating a subscription website.

In this section, you’ll learn the difference between membership and subscription sites, how to build a successful subscription website, increase sign-ups, align content, and the best practices for running successful subscription websites.

Free Download: Learn how to choose the best subscription pricing and single-copy pricing strategy for your subscription websites and subscription apps when you download a FREE copy of our How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue report today.

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How to Generate Additional Publishing Revenue Through Your Website Portal

As a publisher, you should make your website’s top goal to maximize your TOPX (Total Orders Per Ten Thousand) page views by making sure that every page on your website is ready to convert visitors into buyers and subscribers at any moment and increase publishing revenue.

Your Portal is the main page where you give away free articles and content. For many magazines, this is on their main domain, like TIME.com or People.com. If you’ve been following along with Mequoda you know that we advocate for every page on your Portal to have a set of best practice conversion architecture we call 3C Zone Architecture.   Continue

Why the Website Architecture of a Landing Page Matters

When you set a goal, you probably have an idea in your head of how you’re going to accomplish it.

For example, if you have the goal of running a marathon in a year, and you’re not a runner, you might start trying the Couch-to-5K ® program. Every couple of days, you’re instructed to run a certain distance, and in the following days you’re instructed to run a little further. After a couple months, you can run the length of a 5K. Then, maybe, you run a few official 5K races. Then you run a half-marathon. Eventually, you train enough to run in the Boston Marathon.   Continue

How 3 B2C Newsletter Publishers are Seeing Growth with Haven CXMS

If your goal is to generate paid subscriptions and revenue for a premium B2C newsletter or advisory service with a robust subscription website, the Mequoda Haven CXMS can do it, and has done it for many other publishers like you.

In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda explains how other publishers like Cabot Wealth   Continue

Don’t Waste Your Pageviews

Page views are a precious thing, and you should try not to waste them.

In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda explains the goals of a “smart website” and why having one built by publishing veterans can help you avoid waste and chaos.   Continue

How Premium Magazines Thrive With Haven CXMS

If your goal is generate paid subscriptions and revenue for a premium magazine business with a robust subscription website, keep following along.

In today’s Strategy Spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda explains how other publishers have used Haven CXMS to do just that.   Continue

Encourage Sampling to Improve Subscriptions

The most effective blow-in cards of the 21st century aren’t made of cardstock, they’re digital. And since offering a sample of your magazine is less effort for the user when it’s done online, you have more opportunities.

In this week’s Freebie Friday spotlight, Don Nicholas, Chairman & CEO of Mequoda, explains why using monthly pricing to accommodate a user’s desire to sample, is just one key to selling more subscriptions. From there you can download How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue to learn more about pricing your print and digital magazine subscriptions.   Continue

The Advancement of Website Redesigns Includes New Strategies & Tools

Website redesigns come from Salon and ProPublica; Harvard Business Review utilizes new website tool
Content publishers who make website redesigns and try new tools as part of an evolving digital strategy show their prowess in advancing their brand online.

Today we’re looking at three publishers who have recently gone this route, and the reasons for doing so.

Learn how to create sales letter landing pages that sell when you download our FREE Landing Page Handbook.

Our   Continue

The Most Profitable Websites Have Mastered this Simple Advertising Strategy

Forbes contributor Benjy Boxer recently warned, “The combination of free publishing, social distribution, and the commoditization of advertising will eventually wipe out almost all of the advantages of a large media company.”

Further, he advised that “scarcity” is the only advantage left to media companies, and they’ll have to create that with their unique content or unique services to advertisers. Luckily for the niche subscription website publishers we advise, scarcity comes right along with being “niche,” unlike larger publishers competing with Yahoo and CNN for cost-per-click (CPC) dollars.   Continue

Free Isn’t a Dirty Word in Offer Testing

In digital marketing, you might have been told “free” is a dirty word. In subject lines, it could get you blacklisted (it won’t) or in social media, it’s over-used (free is still better than paid). However, giving away something for free is one of the best ways to start a relationship, and when it comes to selling products, this strategy has proven to be a huge asset to the marketing mix especially when the free product is assigned a value.   Continue

The Mequoda Newsletter Content Business Model

The newsletter subscription website model is simple, clean and editorially-focused

Newsletter publishers, particularly those on the B-to-B side but also those with consumer titles in the finance and health fields, were among the first to embrace subscription websites. Perhaps that’s because the newsletter subscription website archetype is the easiest type of subscription website to build. The file size of newsletters is generally manageable, whether the newsletter is 8, 12, 16, 32, or more pages, since it is mostly text and often limited to black-and-white or two-color.   Continue

Gain SEO Control Back with 7 Sitemap Tools to Use Before a Magazine Website Redesign

There are ways to control how Google reads your website with sitemap tools. While we assume most of our publishing friends are creating kosher content and abiding by the rules, if Google has considered you a black sheep in the past, you can reinvent yourself by cleaning up your sitemap. If you’ve been good, you can always improve how well your website is indexed, and often the updates are pretty easy!   Continue

How To Find the Best CMS for a Magazine

The best CMS for a magazine should be built for publishers, not everyone else
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all content management system. The best CMS for a magazine should be built with a publisher in mind. After all, you have a different business model than a software company, e-tailer, or a small business using   Continue

Six Sigma Subscription Marketing: 12 Offers That Boost Response Rates

12 subscription marketing offers you can test with your existing email subscriber list
Think selling magazines is hard? Look at Netflix. Their offer is that you can try out their video streaming service for 30 days, then pay $8 a month. Not $10 or $12 a year like a magazine, but $8 every single month. And is   Continue

The Best Online Directory Software for Publishers

What to look for in online directory software, from Haven, to WordPress, Joomla, and third-party products

The directory website business model still has a lot of upside for multiplatform publishers. When executed correctly, directories can be a win-win for any ambitious publisher. The publisher produces a framework and reference content, and the advertiser pays to post   Continue

How to Use Six Sigma for Subscription Offer Testing

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving,” said David Ogilvy, known as “The Father of Advertising” the “Original Mad Man”.

Even our best performing clients—who publish on multiple platforms, run several subscription websites, and have helped define our pricing best practices—will see a drop in subscription sales when they stop testing. I told this to a client recently who went from having some of the highest conversion rates of our clients to having our worst performing rates, and we believe the culprit is a lack of subscription offer testing with new offers, like a 30-day free trial.   Continue

Simple Types of Usability Tests for Creating Happier Users and Better Websites

Even though you might associate usability with website design, it’s been an important factor in our everyday life for at least a century. Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management, published in 1911, is the first instance where the world started paying attention to how people use things, and how we can help them be more efficient. In 1936, Frigidaire cited “usability” as a key feature of their new refrigerator. In 1943, Alphonse Chapanis made the case for redesigning airplane cockpits in order to reduce errors.

But it wasn’t until 1985 that Computer Usability Testing & Evaluation was published by Richard Spencer. Of course, by this point, usability wasn’t anything new, so designing computers that were most usable was a given. In fact, the war of operating systems, mainly between Microsoft and Apple, has been centered on usability since the beginning.

When home-accessible Internet arrived and websites became the next usability feat, Steve Krug published Don’t Make Me Think in 2000. I think we can all agree that web designers everywhere desperately needed this book back in 2000 and the web has become better for it.   Continue

Your Guide to Building a Profitable Subscription Website

Like any other business, subscription website publishing relies on getting your website taxonomy exactly right. Information architecture isn’t easy to understand – people earn special college degrees in order to grasp it! But subscription websites are different from ecommerce, event, retail, or a dozen other kinds of websites. And you simply can’t learn about subscription website taxonomy from those.   Continue

How to Get More Comments On Your Articles

Over the last five to seven years, a big gripe of many publishers is that they want to get more comments on their digital articles, but they’re getting fewer than ever before. Getting more comments might seem like a vanity metric, but we see comments as important indicators in search engine optimization. The more comments a post has, the higher it tends to rank. Because of this, we take the number of comments on a post to heart. And that big fat 0 staring at us never feels good.   Continue

Create Better Vanity URLs: 8 Dos and 8 Don’ts

Follow these landing page guidelines for your vanity URLs so that people can both remember you and find you organically

You know the importance of landing pages, but it’s completely possible that you don’t know how important your vanity URLs are. Vanity URLs that are too long, don’t make sense, or are hard to read can actually turn someone away, rather than attracting them to your site.

The most popular places to use a vanity URL are:
  Continue

Sortable Doubles Ad Revenue For This Publisher

If we knew of a tool that doubled ad revenue for a client, you’d want to know about it right?
If you read Mequoda Daily often, you may know about our Dr. Aliza Lifshitz and Carl Kravetz who run Vida y Salud, a Spanish-language health site. They’ve been the recipient of several of our Rocket Awards for   Continue

The Mysterious UTM Code Explained

An Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) code is the way that businesses track sales from their origination point (like a tweet, email or a brochure) down the funnel to their conversion page. Every audience development campaign is packed with UTM codes to see which campaigns perform best. In Google Analytics, these codes can be tracked under the general “Traffic Sources” area just like any other source.   Continue

Conversion Optimization Tip: How to Improve Your Email Capture Rate Immediately

A quick conversion optimization hack that will eliminate abandons in your email capture flow
It’s not often we can tell you about a conversion optimization tip that will offer you an immediate improvement in your email capture rates, but there is one we are currently adopting with all of our new clients, and we just can’t   Continue

Follow Google’s Landing Page Guidelines to Improve Rank

As it’s always been, Google’s main focus publicly is the ads you buy via Adwords. And, as always, Mequoda knows that the exact same concepts apply to free organic search campaigns.

If you read our white papers and posts, or you’ve attended a Mequoda Intensive, you already know how much value we place on organic search. It’s the core of the Mequoda Method, and while anyone can buy ads, that kind of marketing just isn’t as high on our priority list as organic search is.   Continue

Best Practice Updates in Website Conversion Architecture for Mobile & Desktop

Over the last 3-6 months desktop and mobile conversion best practices have changed in response to Google, who continues to challenge us in an effort to make the web a more pleasant place to search and learn.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity is the father. And Google has given us some adverse conditions to work with as they try to accommodate the rise in mobile devices, and the rise in mobile traffic.   Continue

Using “Self-Liquidating Premiums” to Help Close the Sale

An effective technique in information marketing is “self-liquidating premiums”—having the value of the premiums exceed the entire purchase price.

For example, let’s assume you have a product, perhaps a downloadable ebook, with a list price of $49.95. You’re selling it online at a discounted purchase price of $29.95.   Continue

Usability Testing: 5 Heat Map Tracking Tools to Watch What Your Visitors Do

If you want to know why your website is, or is not performing, start conducting usability studies. A/B tests are great for content, but when it comes to seeing how users engage with your website, online heatmap tracking tools can make all the difference.   Continue

How to Stop Spam Registrations and Comments on Your Portal

If there’s one annoyance you’ve probably heard from your website operators, it might be managing spam comments. They log in to begin content development, and before they can create a new post, they have a list of new “comments” to filter through in the dashboard, and many of them are spam. Others are, thankfully, real people.   Continue

Hiring, Firing & Building a Better Subscription Website

To build a better subscription website, we’ve created a collection of our best resources on everything you need to know when it comes to how to leverage outside partners
Most publishers seeking to improve the performance of their subscription website and online marketing efforts use a patchwork of systems.

Marketing offers and performance for subscriptions, books, webinars,   Continue

The Most Profitable Subscription Website Business Models

Coming up with the right subscription website business model(s) is usually the biggest stumbling block for those wanting to get into this business.

Choosing your content focus is a business-critical decision, as the focus you choose pretty much dictates your chances of success with a subscription website. However, more serious than the focus on content for   Continue

Mequoda Announces 6 Subscription Website Systems for 2017

A Mequoda Audience Development System is a physical, turn-key content management system that is customized to help publisher’s attract new visitors, convert them into email subscribers, engage them, and finally, monetize by converting those visitors into paying customers and subscribers.

To build every Mequoda Audience Development System (Mequoda System for short), we use the Mequoda Method — a collection of best practices that have been formed by watching the world’s most successful online publishers. We also document the results of every a/b and split test that our portfolio of clients are testing every day, and when we see consistent results over time with one methodology, we share it as a best practice with our clients.   Continue

Association Magazine Best Practices: Don’t Bury Your Content

We’re not sure why most association magazine websites bury free and magazine content, but we’ll try to help them see the light.
If you’re an association website, do you spin off your magazine on its own, or do you keep your organization and the content you publish under the same roof? In other words, do you   Continue

5 Subscription Management Software Requirements

For every publisher who dreams of creating a subscription website, choosing the right subscription management software can be a daunting task

When we set out to launch the I Like Crochet digital magazine website (the first of its kind) and tablet edition, we knew we wanted to build a state-of-the-art publication management system. We needed subscription   Continue

What All Subscription Website Publishing Experts Should Know

Before hiring subscription website publishing experts, take this advice straight to the bank.

If you’re looking to grow the most beautiful rose garden on the block, would you prefer to go to your local gardening center and rifle through the rose section to see what’s brightest, or would you head straight to specialty rose nursery, with employed experts in growing roses?

So then why is it that so often we hear of publishers who hire web development companies that have no experience developing subscription websites for publishers? A magazine or newsletter website requires an expertise in search engine optimization, conversion architecture, subscription management, and content management, in addition to an array of other specialties.   Continue

How to Choose the Best Subscription Pricing & Single-Copy Pricing Strategy for Your Subscription Websites & Subscription Apps

While the challenge of choosing the right subscription and single copy pricing strategy is not new to magazine publishers, it’s virgin territory for most subscription website publishers and many publishers exploring the digital newsstand landscape.

Even magazine publishers are faced with new economic realities.

The marginal cost of delivering a digital subscription to your own website is near zero. The cost of delivering digital issues via the Apple, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble digital newsstands is based on remit and the cost of delivering a digital issue paid to your digital publishing software provider (Mag+, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, etc.).   Continue

Subscription Website Copywriting Tips: How to Use Better Words to Sell More Subscriptions

Most website copywriting tips will fall short of their potential if word choice isn’t a top priority for your copy.

Words are more than just symbols on a page that provide information. They communicate thoughts and ideas. They speak to the human psyche. They evoke emotions. But they don’t do any of these things very well   Continue

18 Website Development Tools to Try

There’s a never-ending stream of new tools that pop up every day to help us become better web developers. We have a dashboard of tools we look to for ideas, assistance and even implementation, and it’s safe to assume that you probably do too.

Last year we discovered and shared a lot of web design tools that we use and want to pass on. In case you’re new here or missed a few, here are our favorites.   Continue

Magazine Subscription Websites: 4 Huge Mistakes You Might Be Making

“Do your job.”

Those are the famous words of New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, and the mantra of the whole team, who I imagine you already know just won their fifth Super Bowl in the greatest game of all time (no New England bias here, nope!)
If you have a magazine, you have a magazine subscription website. Most publishers don’t use the same definition as we do, because I don’t think most magazine subscription websites do their job. They exist, and they process payments, but they do very little to attract (provocative pricing), entice (great copy and packages), and keep subscribers happy (digital archives and access).   Continue

Subscription Website A/B Testing Tools & Tips For Improving Conversions

How to use A/B testing tools for creating subscription landing pages that turn more visitors into subscribers

How many times have you been in a meeting where you and your colleagues “think” or “feel” like a direction on a project is the way to go? Maybe it’s pricing for your subscription website, or maybe it’s the   Continue

How to Write Copy for a Subscription Website That Sells

We all have a need to feel taken care of. How many things do you buy to fill that need?

Don’t we go to a restaurant not just for the food but to be treated like royalty? What really matters is what they do to help us feel nurtured.

Every purchase is a symbol for emotional satisfaction. Buying decisions are emotional commitments to gratifying perceived needs and desires that we are often unaware of having.   Continue

What is a Subscription Marketing System?

A subscription marketing system is the only good way to guide visitors through your product catalog

Did you know that a sunflower is not just one flower, but more than a thousand small flowers, all stuck together on one head and a single stalk? Even what seems like the petals of a sunflower are considered individual   Continue

A Great Example of a Premium Content Subscription

A couple of years ago, Don outlined the attributes of a premium content subscription: not a website itself, but the thing that customers buy – the content subscription.

In updating this post (as we often do with our website content – a Mequoda best practice), we decided to give you an actual example of the perfect premium content subscription, and we settled on CooksIllustrated.com, the companion website to Cook’s Illustrated magazine from America’s Test Kitchen.

Deconstructing the phrase “premium content subscription” is a helpful exercise for getting this discussion onto the right track. Let’s take a look at each of the three words individually.   Continue

The Portal Content Business Model Turns Strangers Into Subscribers

Portals are seen most often because not only are they a profitable model on their own, they’re also intended to build and feed an audience for affiliated premium subscription websites. They are specifically designed for SEO, email marketing, list building, lead generation and building engagement and loyalty. It’s a Mequoda best practice to build a portal for every subscription website we create.   Continue

How to Hire a Membership Website Development Firm That’s a Good Fit For Your Business

Your membership website development firm should be more than just a technological jester, they should be your sherpa.
If you’re a publisher, or are selling a subscription-based information product, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be looking for a new membership website development firm. We know this because most of our clients have come to   Continue

The Mequoda Magazine Content Business Model

Some of the most successful publishers let their users generate more than 99 percent of their content. The publishers that can do this become masters at building communities that draw users to both read and post.

Out of the nine subscription website business models, the community subscription website archetype is the only one where the publisher relies on its community to create the content. There are six premium (paid) archetypes, and three affinity (free) archetypes. This is one of the three free ones.   Continue

How to Reduce Magazine Overhead with a Subscription Website

The one-time cost of building a magazine subscription website could reduce overhead indefinitely
For $3 per month or $36 per year, there is subscription service called The Sink that will automatically deliver you everyday toiletry products every month. (Sorry CVS and Rite Aid, you’re being replaced.)

For $10 per month or $120 per year, you can get   Continue

A 2017 Resolution for Subscription Website Publishers

Resolve to investigate the possibility of added revenue with a club-style business model in 2017

Every publisher and subscription marketer should recommit in 2017 to customer relationship building and asset leveraging—after all, these are two things that you already have, customers and content! And one of the hottest new trends for capitalizing on your content and   Continue

3 Niche Membership Website Ideas You Can Profit From

Whatever your specialty, there are membership website ideas you can profit from

Membership websites are defined by the fact that users access the content on-demand, when they have a question they need answered or a learning tool they need to access. A membership subscription website archetype provides paid members with a library of information on a specific topic of   Continue

Reduce Subscriber Churn: How to Keep Subscribers Entertained & Engaged

How to reduce subscriber churn by providing new opportunities to engage with your content on a regular basis

People love subscriptions these days. Beyond magazine subscriptions, there are now box-of-the-month subscriptions. You can subscribe to a monthly box of beauty products like BirchBox, dog toys and treats like BarkBox, nuts and healthy snacks like NatureBox, or   Continue

5 Ways Top Subscription Websites Optimize for Search

Magazine publishers have been giving away their content for decades in an effort to attract new subscribers. In online publishing, ad-driven subscription websites have an additional incentive: Increasing the eyeballs that see their sponsors’ ads.

Publications like Mother Earth News put all their magazine content on their subscription website. They believe it hasn’t hurt their circulation, and at the same time, says General Manager Bill Uhler, it helps them cast a wider SEO net.   Continue

Mequoda’s Top Subscription Website Publishing Posts of 2016

Our most-read subscription website publishing posts of last year show an interest in building profitable subscription websites and improving the usability and site speed of existing websites.
In 2016, toward the end of the year it was made abundantly clear to publishers they would need to focus on more simple site design with faster loading times.   Continue