This Blogging Progress Report Jan 28 2019 is a little early. I’ve had a few set-backs this month that have made me rethink my 2019 goals. Actually, that’s not such a bad thing. I’m glad this education occurred so early in the year.
Blogging Progress Report Jan 28 2019: My Blog Subscribers Aren’t Real Subscribers
Here’s what I’ve learned: WordPress is sneaky in the way it interchanges the words “registered users” (also referred to as team members in WordPress lingo) and “subscribers” (also referred to as followers in WordPress lingo) on its administrative platforms. But it’s important that you never mix up these terms as per CAN-SPAM and CASL laws in North America. Carol Manser wrote a great article about this titled “Registered Users, Subscribers & Logins: What’s the Difference?” Here’s what she has to say about the difference between the two:
If someone Registers on a website, they become Registered Users. Unless the site tells you that you will get some extra privilege for Registering, you will get no extra benefit from Registering.
A common reason why you might want to Register on a website, is Registering on a Forum. You usually have to Register on a Forum before you are allowed to Post questions on the Forum.
If someone Subscribes to a website, they consent to be put onto an Email List in exchange for whatever the website has offered to give them in exchange for their Name and Email Address details. Because of this Consent/Confirmation to receive Emails, Subscribing to a Website is not the same as Registering with a site.
Blogging Progress Report Jan 28 2019: My “Subscribers” Are Only “Registered Users”
It is important to understand that when someone “registers” to your WordPress site, all they’re agreeing to is the right to post comments to your blog as shown in this illustration:
Unfortunately, WordPress lists these registered users as “subscribers” on your blog’s admin area dashboard. Two days ago, I took the below screen shot and felt proud. Why? Because I thought I had 12,272 actual subscribers to my blog:
But this wording is inaccurate. Of these 12,272 people (plus me, I’m the Administrator) who are registered to be able to comment on my posts, only nine of them are actual subscribers/followers. Only nine people have specifically signed up to receive updates each time I publish a new post:
The other 12,263 registered users won’t receive an email update when I post something new. So, they’re not all that useful to me when it comes to my 2019 goals. Why? Because they may never visit my blog again. What I need are actual subscribers—email subscribers—who have signed up specifically to receive email updates from me.
Blogging Progress Report Jan 28 2019: How to Get Real Blog Subscribers
There are a couple of ways to achieve this. First, upon learning this, I immediately replaced the above-shown “META widget” with the following “SUBSCRIBER widget” in my design template:
Now, anyone who signs up through this form is showing real interest in my blog content and books. Each time I post something new, he or she will be made aware of it with a personal email. This will dramatically improve my reader engagement (and, hopefully, my book sales) going forward.
Blogging Progress Report Jan 28 2019: Autoresponders Are Even Better
But there is a second, possibly even better, way to collect a growing number of email subscribers who will repeatedly visit both your blog and your books. You will want to use a program called an autoresponder to manage all your email subscribers. MailChimp for WordPress is free for lists up to 2,000 subscribers. After that, depending on the service you use, autoresponders generally cost from $50 per month and up to maintain. It all depends on how many email addresses you are working with.
Through these third parties, such as MailChimp, you can offer additional special discounts or gifts to subscribers on top of the free content already contained on your blog. For example, you can send private newsletters en masse to only these privileged fans regarding online courses or podcasts that constitute some type of added value to them alone. Perhaps, these subscribers will be the only ones to receive discounts on tickets (or back stage passes) to the next book fair you’re speaking at. I think you get the idea. For this to work well, there must be an enticing reason for them to sign up—whatever that reason may be. You choose.
Blogging Progress Report Jan 28 2019: My Revised Goals
Obviously, my goal of reaching 25,000 actual subscribers this year is now a little far-fetched. I’m not starting at 11,1147 followers like I thought I was last month. I’m starting at only nine followers. Ouch! But I plan to reach 5,000 actual subscribers by the end of 2019. I’ll do this by continually driving more traffic to this blog through SEO and my books, as I’ve been doing. My other goals remain the same.
I also plan to increase my free book downloads by 25% this year. By contrast, last year, between the above three ecommerce sites, I saw 4,828 free downloads of my books. In 2019, I want to see an additional 1,207 free books downloaded for a total of 6,035.
Most noteworthy, I plan to increase my paid book downloads by 500% over last year. I saw paid downloads (both ebooks and paperbacks) totalling 83 books from the above three ecommerce sites last year. In 2019, I’m shooting for an additional 417 paid book downloads for a total of 500 this year.
Other Changes I Made This Month
I didn’t write as many blog entries as I had planned to this past month because I was busy revamping my old GoDaddy website. I changed it to a WordPress format that matches better with the PPG Publisher’s Blog. Everything is now in place, and it is set up perfectly to help me achieve my goals. I’ll let you know my progress again in the end of February.
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