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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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What Does Your Website Homepage Say About You?

Does your website homepage design tell the user what you want them to do?

We all want our websites to look cool and sexy. When someone see’s our website, we want them to say “WOW!” Unfortunately many people will see your website and say “WOW” followed up by, “I have no idea what’s going on here”.

On content-heavy websites, finding space to provide important marketing links is a challenge. Actual eye-tracking tests have revealed that people use a “Z” shaped scanning pattern when scouring web pages for information.   Continue

How to Make a Membership Website Work

Three quick tips on how to make a membership website work by letting your users define the content

The main revenue source for a membership website comes from its users, which means that 9 times out of 10, membership websites accept no advertising. What this means is that any membership website that’s going to be successful will need to focus solely on the user-experience.

So how can you get better at convincing people to join your paid community?   Continue

4 Tricks for Saving Landing Page Visitors for Later

How to design your websites and landing page templates to keep visitors coming back

The “bounce” rate of a website is an annoying metric. When someone comes to your websites and “bounces” back to the search engine to find another listing, you’re left with the following questions:

Why did they leave?
Did they find what they were looking for?
Did we offend them?
How can I get them to come back?

Once you’ve captured your prospect’s interest by getting them to your website, it’s important to keep your name, product, and/or service in front of them by using the following checklist.   Continue

Is Burying Your Frequency a Big Website Design Mistake?

Three publishers who pay attention to content freshness in their website homepage designs

When searching for something in a search engine, we’re typically searching for the most up-to-date information, or the most relevant information. Especially in circles like finance and business, we are looking for breaking-news type items.

Looking at stock predictions from three years ago won’t help us invest for the future, just like reading about how to set up a Facebook page from three years ago will be confusing and inaccurate today.   Continue

The Social Network Subscription Website Business Model

Discover three popular types of social network subscription website models

A social network subscription website is a powerful networking tool that relies primarily on user-generated content.

Social network subscription websites are used to create a setting where people with similar interests can use the virtual world to make real connections—whether purely social relationships or specifically BtoB networks. It’s the online version of meet and greet.   Continue

Update on Apple’s 30%; Outrage and Strategies

Apple’s 30% Take Triggers Outrage and Strategies

Let’s update where we are on the Apple “30%” issue. As you probably know by now, Apple announced a week ago that they will keep 30% of the revenue from new subscriptions and media purchases made in an iPhone or iPad application through its App store.

Wrote Rob Pegoraro in his Washington Post Fast Forward column on Sunday: “Because Apple doesn’t just want to offer the store’s one-click buying as an option to companies that sell subscriptions or extra content inside programs. It will require that they add App Store transactions—and demand that they offer users the same price in the App Store and at their own Web site… Essentially, Apple proposes to annex a developer’s subscription business—then charge that firm 30 percent for the privilege.” (his italics)   Continue

Increase Digital Revenue with These Strategies

Discover ways to make your digital endeavors more profitable

Publishers are always looking for new ways to generate revenue online.

Since the Internet is consistently evolving, new opportunities arise for publishers.   Continue

10 WordPress Membership Plugins That Work

Two handfuls of WordPress membership plugins that you can use to turn your free website into a paid membership product

If you’re running a website on WordPress, you probably know that it’s not meant to be run as a membership website. However, being as flexible as WordPress is, you’ll find many publishers who have turned it into a full-fledged membership or subscription site.

WordPress membership plugins are essential in saving both money in time when building a memberhip website. Here are some of the top ten that get a lot of buzz and compliments.   Continue

A 4-Part Checklist for Webifying Landing Pages

Landing page templates that use technology should enhance the sales message, not replace it

Ten years ago, Internet users were completely comfortable and happy to use the web as a reading medium. Websites that were purely text and simple images were enough to get their engines running.

These days, even six year-olds would scoff at the simplistic web pages we used to consider acceptable. Websites with no graphic design or style sheets aren’t taken seriously, and in most cases, probably still bear an old copyright of 1999 if you look close enough.   Continue

Surprise Surprise – Pop-Ups Work!

For the good of list-building: It’s finally acceptable to add a little “POP” to your website homepage design

We don’t like to call them popups; we like to call them “floaters”. Sounds better right? Although a Floater Order Form looks like a separate document floating on top of a website page, it is really just a layer in the HTML code.

To the user, it looks a lot like a magazine blow-in card. While printing blow-in cards and inserting them into print products is cheap, Floaters, like their Pop-Up predecessors, are virtually cost-less. Like blow-ins and Pop-Ups, Floaters can irritate users if over used or used to promote offers that seem out of context to website users.   Continue

The Non-Scientific Approach to “Giving Away” Paid Content

The conundrum continues: How much should you give away on your membership websites?

There’s no scientific methodology behind subscription websites. Publishers with excellent conversion architecture can get away with giving away a lot of free content and still converting a large percentage of those free users into paid users.

Others still, have such a good reputation and and worth-while free trial that it doesn’t require giving anything away (other than the free trial) in order to get people in the door.   Continue

Free Report Friday – Building Subscription Websites

Learn about the nine most profitable subscription website business models

Download your free digital copy of Building Subscription Websites: The 9 Most Profitable Subscription Website Business Models now

Subscription websites have become a digital land of opportunity for online publishers. Discover the nine most profitable subscription website models and online publishing utilizing each model in our Building Subscription Websites free report.   Continue

Apple’s Plan for Selling Subscriptions Through Apps

Specifics for online publishers selling subscriptions via apps

No need to speculate on Apple’s approach to handling subscriptions anymore. A representative from Apple recently told app developer Texterity that publishers could now sell digital subscriptions via apps.

The stipulation is that Apple has to be allowed an equal opportunity to do so.   Continue

Don’t Write Another Landing Page Without This 4-Step Checklist

An outline for going from story, to product to sale

Even the most inventive and unique products can’t sell themselves. If someone packaged up the cure for world hunger into an eBook and sold it for a penny, it wouldn’t even make a dime’s worth of revenue without a well-written and convincing landing page.

This is why the copy on your landing page is so important.

Is Your Site Built to Attract Organic Search Traffic?

Search engines should be the primary source for driving blog and website traffic

In the Mequoda Daily yesterday, we discussed how to use Article Templates to increase website traffic coming from Google. The overall value of an Article Template is that it optimizes blog content for search engines and allows content to be more easily found.

Making content more easily found should be a primary goal for online editors. Their reward? A website attracting at least two-thirds of its traffic from search engines and other organic sources.   Continue

How to Use an Article Template to Increase Website Traffic

5 components of a search engine optimized article template that will lead to more website traffic

Whatever topics your content covers, following an article template will help you increase website traffic.

Following an article template for each post you create will allow your content the best chance of getting found and ranked by search engines.   Continue

The “Walled-Garden” Approach: How The Boston Globe Will Keep Free Subscribers Happy

The new split business model for subscription websites

So you’re a newspaper or magazine who’s watching the other publishers scramble around to create a solid online business model that will hold strong. Some of them make everything free, while many of the larger publishers are back in the mode of throwing up walls around their paid content.

This doesn’t have to be bad. You pay premium prices for the articles written for print, while oftentimes, you pay much less for quick articles that are posted on your website in a flash.   Continue

Write Better Landing Page Headlines With These 4 Tricks

Convince your would-be customers with facts, not hype

A salesletter is defined by the headline it reads. The headline is often written in the largest font, with the boldest colors, and tells the reader why it would be beneficial for them to keep reading.

How many times have you visited a new website and been confused by what is being offered?

It may seem hard to believe, but far too many landing pages fail almost immediately by offering up lackluster headlines and subheads. The visitor who’s reading your landing page wants nothing more than the answer to this question: “What’s in this for me?”   Continue

4 Website Homepage Design Tips for Everyone

Building a website homepage that completes your goals

We have built an entire website design scorecard to guide you in the direction of building an action-worthy, profitable and endearing homepage.

The goals of you homepage should first tell someone what you do, then it should give them the information they’re looking for. Finally, your homepage should get their attention so that they want to keep a relationship with you by buying a product or signing up for your email newsletter.   Continue

New 2011 Federal Laws for Selling Subscription Websites

President Obama signed the “Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act”, so here are the rules that apply to us.

A Subscription Website is an online information product. It is a gated, content-based site that requires registration and payment in order to view the content (or most of the content) that has been placed behind a firewall.

Similar to subscriber-supported print magazines or newsletters, subscription sites are considered user-supported—although some carry advertising. Subscription Websites compare to a book, an encyclopedia, or a library, but one that is online, frequently updated, and available 24/7.

In the past few days, President Obama signed the new “Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act”, which is meant to, as you might have guessed, restore confidence in online shoppers. Most relevant to subscription websites, this act is important because it has some new rules that we need to double-check in our own practices to make sure we’re abiding by them.   Continue

Website Architecture Guidelines for Grabbing More Emails

Tips for building your email list with a more effective website

Website success depends on providing incentives to encourage visitor email registration. Email registration permits the website to follow-up with visitors at a later date, using alerts or newsletters. If a website does not attempt to capture the visitor’s email address, visitors may never revisit.

Some websites are more oriented toward relationship building than others. For example, a simple brand-building website, where the purpose of the site is to deliver a message about the company or product, could have some level of success without doing a great job at relationship building.

On the other hand, blog or editorial website that doesn’t do a good job of relationship building would be considered an utter failure. While every website should have an email capture method, for an editorial website, capturing opt-in email newsletter subscribers must be Job One.   Continue

The Rapid Conversion Landing Page, Step-By-Step

SEO Campaign Management 2011 will contain all you need to know about the RCLP

In the Mequoda Daily yesterday, we discussed three components of a successful Rapid Conversion Landing Page (RCLP).

They included the keyword density to strive for, the amount of words to use in your RCLP and the number of email asks that should be included in every rapid conversion landing page.   Continue

Writing and Designing the Rapid Conversion Landing Page for SEO Campaign Management

Website components for more conversions

Online publishers have a challenging job nowadays.

Many Internet users have a belief that the web is synonymous with free content. This is an initial thought at least, as many who experience free content are often persuaded to pay for additional, aligned content.   Continue

65% of Web Users Have Paid for Content

New evidence that subscription website models are valuable

We’ve discussed it before. Online consumers are willing to pay for content online, especially if it’s premium content.

The days of assuming everything online should be free may not be fully over, but the mindset has changed a bit as 65% of US Internet users have paid for some form of online content.   Continue

Do You Have Enough Content for a Membership Website?

Lots of content doesn’t always equal valuable, useful content

Every story that a publisher has ever published in its magazine or newsletter or book series is an asset. And the question that every publisher must ask is, “How can we best monetize that asset?” If the publisher monetized the asset in the past by selling advertising, it’s highly likely that the economics favor an ad-driven online publishing strategy.

Therefore, think about the economic history of the existing print publishing business. Regardless of the amount of available content, the way the organization is set up to make money and the economics that have worked in the past are what matter.   Continue

Easy Landing Page Templates You Can Buy

Landing page templates for a tight budget and overworked staff

Landing pages can be the bane of some people’s existence. If you don’t have a template built into your content management system, it can be even worse. If you need different landing page templates for different products, your to-do list gets longer and longer.

If you don’t want to design your own landing page templates, are low on resources, or are simply looking for design ideas, here are a few places online where you can window shop.   Continue

How Important is Website Speed?

Identifying whether or not load time is a factor in your website homepage bounce rate

Your website should load in under three seconds. People expect information these days to load instantaneously and require no-effort to consume. Two phenomena contribute to the users expectation of download time:

1. Broadband has dramatically shortened download time and
2. People are no longer going to the web just to be entertained, they are looking for information.

If they can’t get a lead on what they are looking for they will Google their way right off your site and onto another.

The Pingdom Tool will test your full website page by loading the complete HTML page, including objects such as images, CSS, JavaScripts, RSS, Flash and frames/iframes. The tool then acts as a web browser would and loads the page.   Continue

Follow Google’s Landing Page Guidelines to Improve Rank – Part 2

How transparency can improve your overall landing page quality score.

According to Google, there are three main components that determine your overall landing page Quality Score. Today we’ll discuss the second component: maximizing your site’s transparency.

Why is transparency important? Transparency enables you to build trust with users. To maximize you site’s transparency, here are three areas you should pay attention to:   Continue

Subscription Website Archetype: The Application Website

What is an application website and what makes it a subscription website archetype?

While there is no single model for a Subscription Website, an application website is typically software based and allows users to download the software they desire internally. The Minimum Information Unit is a software application that often requires access to information in a proprietary database.

For most application websites, the majority of their revenue comes from user fees, and they usually accept little or no advertising. To keep fees rolling in, the application website publishers have to continue to provide customers with the information they want in an easily accessible manner.   Continue

Are You Overlooking Your Analytics?

2 components of your analytics package that should be observed

Anyone who has ever taken a look into their company’s analytics package knows that there is a lot of data involved.

This is what makes analytics great. However, for those who are unknowledgeable about their analytics, these numbers are likely nothing more than confusion.   Continue

3 “Impulse Buy” Tactics for Membership Websites to Use in the Holiday Season

Sell more “gift” membership subscriptions by offering a physical reciept, pricing for the gift-giver, and making your website look valuable

It’s the holiday season, and consumers are frantically looking for things to give the people they love. They’re also looking for gifts to give people they don’t love but need to buy gifts for anyway. The good news here is that when you run a membership website, you have the opportunity to capture last-minute buyers with an item that doesn’t need to be shipped.

However, there are plenty of places where membership websites can fail with this method.

Give the customer something to print out, email, or otherwise disribute.

Even more importantly, let them know that they’ll recieve something that they can “give” as the physical gift. This tiny detail can make or break a digita sale.


Last Chance to Learn Analytics from a Knowledgeable Director of Marketing

Discover what all of those numbers really mean

Register now for our 90-minute Actionable Analytics webinar, which takes place on Tuesday, December 16

The ability to track and analyze statistical data has transformed the way Internet marketing is done.

There is no longer the need to guess at the success of campaigns; online analytics programs help prove the success with an array of numerical statistics and visual graphs.   Continue

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Landing Page Templates

Landing page optimization tips for the holiday season

If you ever wondered whether or not you could build your email list by giving away free “holiday” themed products, the answer is yes. In fact, it’s recommended if you have the time to put into it and resources that you are willing to use within it.

For example, Knitting Daily offers several holiday-themed knitting items. Items like a poinsettia ornament and cabled globe ornament can be found on their site. These items are already free and downloadable.

If Knitting Daily wanted to come out with a holiday-themed eBook, they would need to take the following steps:


Is Your Website “Webified” Enough?

Do you follow these website design guidelines for content webification?

By “webification” we mean the most efficient use of all the multi-media and interactive technology available. This does not, however, mean using technology just because it’s there.

The Internet is not a book, magazine or newspaper. Nor is it TV, a live event or a brick-and-mortar store. The web is a unique medium. A well-executed website offers the opportunity to do things that other media and physical venues cannot do, the execution of which is particular to the Web.   Continue

How to Handle Bouncing Terms

What to do if you are concerned with your website’s bounce rate

In yesterday’s Mequoda Daily article we discussed bounce rates. These percentages have brought a perplexed look to the faces of online publishers since they began seeing the analytics behind them.

The questions have been posed, “Why is my bounce rate at 50%? Is this a bad bounce rate? What can I do to lower my bounce rate in the future?   Continue

Tips for Creating Successful Mobile Apps

Identify the uniqueness of mobile apps

Mobile apps can greatly impact the way people interact digitally while on the go.

Due to the popularity of digital devices, mobile apps are a game-changing component for online publishers and content marketers.   Continue

Bounce Rate: A Mind-Boggling Metric

Become a bit more knowledgeable about your bounce rate

How familiar are you with bounce rates?

If you spend time poking around your analytics package, you probably have seen the numbers associated with your website’s bounce rate.   Continue

Analytics and Referring Traffic: Truth in Numbers

Discovering traffic sources and new relationships with your analytics package

In yesterday’s Mequoda Daily article we discussed three tips for what to do your referring traffic.

The tips were specifically designed to help you realize what external sites are referring traffic to your site and how you can improve upon those relationships.   Continue

Landing Page Optimization: Ordering with Ease

Offer multiple and convenient ordering options

Posting a landing page with a confusing or inadequate order mechanism will almost certainly fail. Your customers should be able to fill in the fields of an online screen and check boxes to select their preferences. Simple and brief; ask only for the information you need to process the order.

Landing Page Optimization Tip #1 – In general, it is unwise to offer more than two options or two price packages. You can test this, but too many choices tend to overwhelm users and diminish response. A good online order page should include such alternate order options such as a toll-free number for phone orders.   Continue

Why Consumer Reports Rocks at Getting Subscribers

With 11 calls-to-action on the homepage alone, it’s no wonder why Consumer Reports has no trouble getting subscribers

With thousands of probable Turkey fryer accidents happening yesterday, I thought it would be an appropriate day to talk about We’ve mentioned Consumer Reports before in our FREE Subscription Website Design White Paper, but as the web changes, so do the websites we report on.

Today I wanted to talk about a few other layout and design elements that the Consumer Reports homepage is doing right. The site strategy is clear to a visitor: Consumer Reports is a reputable non-profit offering a lot of valuable content. The business makes money through direct sales and subscriptions alone, and there are several content products offered. Their main product is their subscription website.   Continue

Analytics Will Always Be There for You

Specific Goals Needed to Make Analytics Pay Off

“You don’t control how people are coming to your site; you only control what they do once they get there.”

Greg Krehbiel, director of marketing at Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc., subtitles his always well-received presentation of Actionable Analytics, “What to do with all those numbers.”   Continue

Website Button Best Practices + Free PSD Button Templates

Website design guidelines: Start with some website button best practices and finish by downloading some for yourself

When designing a website, one of the most important aspects we look at is usability. And when we launch websites, we always conduct usability testing, asking testers to perform a set of tasks to see how easily they can get through them.

Buttons on websites can be interpreted in so many different ways and can often be the most confusing element on a web page.   Continue

Audio Podcast on Landing Page Templates Released

Discover seven landing page templates and landing page lingo in this new audio podcast

Download a free digital copy of our Landing Page Templates: Seven Landing Page Templates and the Language Used on Them audio podcast now.

Landing pages are a favorite topic of ours. We have researched different types and discovered how to create the most beneficial landing pages for online publishers.   Continue

How to Create Your Own Apps

No need to hire a developer with this new service

If you’ve held off on creating an app for your online publishing company because of the associated cost, you may be in luck.

MobiFlex recently launched a web application that allows companies to create their own apps for the iPhone or Android.

It can be done with minimal technical knowledge and requires no coding knowledge.   Continue

Landing Page Guidelines: Design That Adds Credibility

Design aesthetically pleasing landing pages

Visitors instantly judge your credibility by the way your site looks. They decide to stay or leave within 10 seconds of visiting your website.

The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, a think tank, and Makovsky & Company, a New York-based public relations agency, surveyed more than 1,600 people from the U.S. and Europe about website credibility. Here are some of the highlights:   Continue

The Landing Page Optimization Process

Discover your keyword universe and build landing pages around those niche keywords

The landing page optimization process we use has gotten us to page #1 with Google on multiple keywords. It is a process we teach all of our clients and Mequoda Summit attendees.

When creating a rapid conversion landing page, or any other landing page for that matter, we begin with research. Choosing relevant keywords for your landing pages will help you reach page one on Google. Where do you start?   Continue

Dedicated Landing Page Templates: The Upsell Landing Page

More than a simple “thank you” page

Upsell Landing Pages are specialized landing pages that offer the user an additional product or service as part of the post transaction process. These landing pages allow your company to educate, upsell and interact with your customer.

They are highly effective when properly executed delivering conversion rates as high as 30 percent, depending on the offer. You will sell more products, at higher prices and greater profit margins with dedicated upsell landing pages.

The upsell landing page message is two-fold. When a user requests a free report, first, it thanks the user for requesting the free report and confirms that they will receive an email with further download directions in “five to 10 minutes.” The email confirmation and download instructions will probably arrive much sooner, but we don’t want them to click away to their email client just yet.   Continue

Website Homepage Design for Facebook Integration

Three tips for designing a more LIKE-able website homepage

If one of your goals for this year or next is to build your online Facebook community, then you’ve already put some forethought into how you want to integrate Facebook into your homepage.

Ideally, your existing user-base is what you’d want to use to launch your new Facebook page because it gives your community a foundation of active users that will encourage new users to “like” it. However, I’ve seen plenty of companies that start their Facebook page as a stand-alone community used to “test the waters” and have practically forgotten to invite their entire email subscriber list and web audience to the part.   Continue

Don’t Start A Membership Website Until You Count the Cost

Five things you must do before launching a membership website

It would be foolish on the part of anyone to jump into a project without contemplating all aspects to be certain that they could accomplish their goal. Before launching a membership website, be sure you have what it takes to be successful.

Here are solutions to five common mistakes we’ve seen online publishers make when launching a membership website.   Continue

6 Tips To Get More From Affiliate Sales Programs For Subscription Websites

Better guidelines for setting up and running an affiliate sales program

The key to a successful affiliate program is to give your affiliates as much incentive as possible to sell your product. The more free marketing materials you hand out, the less effort your affiliates will need to put in and the more likely they’ll be to promote you.

Here are six tips for making the publisher to affiliate relationship even better:

Communicate regularly. Affiliates are more likely to stay active in your program if they hear from you often. Send out a monthly email with news about your latest products or other offerings.   Continue