15 Quick Fixes To Increase Your Blog Opt-in Rates Today

In blogging and Internet marketing in general, conversions are everything. Really.

Just think about it – getting 1,000 visitors a day is great. But if none of those visitors subscribe to your blog, i.e. converts, what’s the point? You might be getting hoards of traffic, but if none of those visitors actually hop onto your mailing list, chances are that you won’t be making any money.

E-mail marketing and focusing on getting people to opt in to your lists is something that will not only boost your credibility and popularity across the blogosphere, but will also bring you revenue. In fact, many Internet marketers (Michael Dunlop, for example) will tell you that 80% of their online income (or more) comes solely from their list.

Clearly, list-building and getting those opt-ins is very important. That said, here are 15 nifty tips to increase your blog opt-in rates from the pros.

1. You Are Giving Something Away, Right?

People are always looking out for themselves. Believe it or not, 99% of your visitors won’t subscribe to your mailing list just because you regularly post high quality content to your blog (even though high quality content is a must). Readers look out for benefits, and what they stand to gain from subscribing to your list.

They need an incentive. An eBook, access to an exclusive interview, or even a subscriber-only membership with subscriber-only content, like what CopyBlogger does.

Make sure that whatever you offer up as an incentive is actually of some sort of value. Don’t just rebrand and give away cheap PLR, or rehash/spin your blog posts and call the conglomeration an “eBook”. Take the time to craft a value-filled eBook or video that your subscribers will love and thank you for. 

Additionally, make sure it’s relevant to your niche. If you blog about weight loss, your readers probably don’t want a video tutorial on how to grow petunias.

2. Look Pretty Ugly

I bet you’ve always wanted those “cool” squeeze pages – the ones that look sleek, modern, and very high-tech. I sure know I did in my initial blogging days.

But the truth is, the plain ugly Janes actually convert much higher. “Sleek Sally” squeeze pages don’t even begin to compare to a plain, ugly headline and a plain, ugly background with a plain, ugly opt-in box.

The reason why they work much better is because, ugly as they are, they grab your attention and hold it. Those modern squeeze pages, on the other hand, usually have too much confusion going on and simply don’t engage viewers.

3. Don’t Ask For Information You Don’t Need

People are always hesitant to giving out their information, especially online. For all they know, you’re just another insurance salesman (and they certainly don’t want to give insurance salesmen their home address or cell phone number). And let’s face it – you don’t need either of those details to send someone an eBook. All you need is a verified e-mail address.

If you can go without their first name (and you usually can), then don’t ask for it. Keep in mind that all you need for a sales-generating autoresponder sequence is an e-mail address. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. Add In A Testimonial Or Two … Or Three

If you haven’t noticed, great sales letters often include a bunch of customer testimonials to add as proof the product is legitimate.

If it works for sales copy, then why shouldn’t it work for your squeeze page?

After having secured a few opt-ins, send out an e-mail broadcast as king subscribers to reply to your e-mail address and say whether or not they found the book helpful. Better yet, randomly pick a few e-mails off your list and send them a personal message. If you can get something along the lines of “I can’t believe Mr. X is giving this info away for free!!”, it will sure be a lot easier to get those opt-ins rolling in.

What’s even better is if you can get a testimonial from a widely respected and popular man in your industry (like Darren Rowse in blogging).

5. Channel Your Traffic Into Your Squeeze Page

As soon as any visitor hops onto your blog, you should have one purpose for them – to subscribe to your mailing list. Once they’re on your list, then you can worry about things like getting them to interact with your blog posts and share/link to your articles and perhaps even purchase your (affiliate) product.

With that goal in mind, set up your blog so that it’s just one big funnel channeling all traffic into your squeeze page.

6. Use A Pop-Up/Lightbox Plugin

There’s quite a bit of controversy and debate over whether or not you should add a pop-up/lightbox on your blog. You’ll find die-hard lightbox fans, and you’ll find webmasters out there who are on a quest to eliminate all pop-ups from the universe.

But seriously, there’s simply no denying the fact that pop-ups increase conversion rates. Leslie Samuels reported a 548% overnight increase in subscriptions after installing and activating a pop-up plugin. Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, increased their subscription rate more than six times over by using their premium plugin “OptinMonster”. Pop-ups are quite possibly the best way to ensure that all your viewers know that you’re giving away something of value in exchange for their e-mail address.

If you’re willing to suffer a bit in the bounce rate department while gaining an increased opt-in rate, then go for a pop-up.

7. Target Your Traffic

Even though most of us probably already realize that all traffic was not created equal, some need it to be reiterated one more time.

Different kinds of traffic from different sources of traffic will get you different conversion rates. If you don’t drive targeted traffic to your blog (in other words, visitors who are actually interested in what you blog about), then you won’t get conversions. It’s that simple.

On the other hand, if you zero in and narrow your focus market down so that every visitor who arrives at your blog is hungry for what you offer in your blog posts, you’ll boost your conversions by a whole lot overnight. Plus, your bounce rate is likely to plummet and your average visit duration and pageviews per visitor metrics are likely to skyrocket.

8. Insert Your Opt-in Form At The End Of Every Post

Right after someone gets through reading one of your awesome posts, they’re looking for what they should do next. Comment? Take a look at a related post? Hit the “exit tab” button?

Why not make them subscribe?

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income increased his opt-in rate by 25% when he added an opt-in box at the end of every post as a fresh addition to his new blog design.

9. Be Upfront & Honest

If you’re going to send subscribers daily tips on how to grow their biceps, fine. Tell them that in the squeeze page.

If you’re going to send them affiliate promotions every-so-often for whey protein supplements they’re sure to love, fine. Tell them that in your squeeze page.

Always be upfront and honest in your squeeze page. While telling them they’ll get a few product promotions might not directly increase your conversion rate, it will pre-qualify your traffic. You’ll end up building a much more responsive list that will actually buy products (since they already know that they will get those affiliate promotions) and not just hunt around for freebies.

10. Their Private Details Are Safe With You

Don’t worry. Your details are 100% safe with me.

Going back to the “people don’t wanna give out their private details” theme, make sure that you’re telling your leads that your details are absolutely 100% safe with you. Locked in a vault with the key thrown away.

Also re-assure them by telling them that they won’t see a promotion in their inbox every 3 hours, unlike what they might be getting from most of the mailing lists to which they are subscribed.

11. Add Some Authority Into The Mix

The more weight your name carries, the better.

If you’ve seen The Hobbit (great film, by the way – definitely mark a date on your calendar to watch it soon), then you would have Authoritynoticed that whenever the name “Thorin Oakenshield” is mentioned, a certain awe and deep respect is evident in the faces of those in the vicinity. His name is great, his name carries weight, and his name has a stamp of authority across it.

The more authority you wield and the more respect you command in your niche, the more likely people are to subscribe to your blog.

12. Brag A Lot

Have you been featured in a national magazine related to your niche? Tell your visitors. That’s right, stick up a huge header telling everybody where your blog has been featured – the New York Times, MSN, ProBlogger (if you’re in the blogging niche), and in any other written publication that carries a lot of authority.

You’re building credibility for yourself and letting all your visitors know that you’re an expert.

13. Show People Your Face

How Faces Impact Conversions
Photo courtesy Epsos via Flickr.

Fact is, people are much more likely to subscribe to your list and buy from you when they see your face and realize that you are not just a faceless mask behind a computer screen. We all like to be reminded that those we buy from are humans, and not robots.

Keep your profile image professional and neat (NOT your Facebook cover depicting your family’s most recent snowboarding trip). Smile – look friendly and approachable.

In other words, ensure you’re not building a distance between you and your potential subscribers. Instead, you are making a connection with them.

14. Use The Right Color Combination

Color Conversions
Courtesy Doug88 via Flickr.

A recent infographic from KISSMetrics showed the effect color has on call-to-action, links, and “buy now” buttons. Different colors schemes fire different brain synapses and convey different feelings and emotions to viewers.

There’s no one-fits-all color for your links and buttons, but HubSpot showed that a red “subscribe” button increased page conversions by nearly 21% when compared to a green button. Think of it! 21%! If you average a fair 20 subscribers a day, that’s an extra 7000 subscribers per year – just by changing the button color!

15. Test, Test, And Re-test

If your squeeze page isn’t converting well, change it around and test the results of the new page versus the results of the old one. Pick the winner.

Then test again. And again…until you’ve got your squeeze page converting at a healthy 30+% percent at least.

Good old-fashioned split-testing can get you miles closer to where you want your blog to be.

Summing Up

Just to recap:

  • offer a free incentive, and make sure it’s displayed everywhere (especially at the ends of posts)
  • choose “plain Janes” over “Sleek Sallys”
  • don’t ask for information you don’t need, and keep their details private
  • use a pop-up if you’re willing to risk the bounce rate and overall user engagement
  • add in a testimonial … or two … or three
  • target your traffic
  • be upfront and honest
  • be authoritative
  • be human
  • think color psychology
  • and above all, split-test till the cows come come

With these fifteen tips, you’re well on your way to a high-converting blog that brings you subscribers, sales, and ultimately, revenue.

Psst! While you’re at it, why not take a look at our squeeze page and take a few leaves out of our book?

*Featured image courtesy Beantin via Flickr.

Why and How to Make Your WordPress Blog Mobile Friendly

There was a time when mobile phones were devices used for the sole purpose of making phone calls; that was all it was capable of. But that was then. Fast forward to today, every big website has a mobile version. If your website lacks a mobile friendly design, you are losing the ever growing community of mobile web users. It is estimated that the number of mobile internet users will overtake that of desktop users some time very soon. So, it’s high time you took care of your mobile visitors by providing a mobile friendly interface of your website for them. Ignoring mobile users is the worst thing you can do now as this is no more a matter of choice. The internet today is mobile friendly. Which is why it is essential to learn how to make your WordPress blog mobile friendly.

Why go mobile?

Almost everyone has a smartphone these days and more than for calling, they use it to access internet. If you don’t optimize your site for mobile devices, it will look cluttered and unreadable on a mobile phone’s screen which is much smaller than a desktop or a laptop. Having a mobile friendly design makes your site legible and clean to a mobile visitor. Another benefit is that people appreciate the fact that you cared enough to create a mobile optimized site for them and that adds to your authenticity. If your site is not mobile friendly, visitors that land on your site from mobile devices are more than likely to leave it right away seeing the cluttered interface. Having a mobile version simply makes those otherwise leaving visitors stick around just like the visitors from larger screens.

Even if some of your mobile visitors manage to read the content on your not-so-mobile-friendly site, they are more likely to miss your call to action. Every good website has a call to action, be it subscribe to the email newsletter, complete a form, buy a product or anything for that matter. By having a design that is optimized for mobile devices, you can ensure that your call to action gets seen by the mobile visitors too.

Having a mobile friendly version of your site has some SEO benefits too. The fact is Google wants every site to have a mobile friendly design in order to help Google serve it to searches made from smartphones. Google has already made mobile search a top priority as the number of searches made from smartphones is on the rise.

Different ways to make your blog design mobile friendly

There are several ways to make your website design suitable for viewing on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. However, we’ll look into the 3 most commonly followed methods here.

1. Use a responsive theme

responsive-themeUsing a responsive wordpress theme is the easiest way to optimize your site for mobile visitors. A responsive theme adjusts itself according to the device being used by the incoming visitor. So a visitor from desktop or laptop will see a wide interface whereas mobile visitor will get the interface that fits on his screen without any cluttering. Most of the times, all you need to make your site mobile friendly is just a responsive theme and it is the most popular method for making your site mobile friendly.But it has its drawbacks too, the responsive themes do not reduce the size of images being used and you would have to do this manually for your site to load faster on slow connections of mobile devices. However, having a mobile friendly layout itself is half the work done.

2. Use a plugin

We use wordpress plugins to solve most of our site related issues and there are plugins that can make your blog mobile friendly too. The perk of using a plugin is that you can install and start using it within a matter of minutes. It does not require you to have any knowledge on optimizing sites for mobile. Here are some popular plugins you can use for this:

WPtouch: WPtouch mobile plugin instantly makes your site a mobile optimized, touch friendly website that can be viewed perfectly on all mobile devices. It detects the device of your incoming visitor and provides them the suitable version of your site. You have more options to customize the design according to your taste. The premium version of WPtouch mobile offers even more exciting features like automatic video and photo scaling, support for retina and HD displays, etc.

WP Mobile Detector: WP Mobile Detector plugin can identify if the visitor is using an ordinary mobile phone or a smartphone and it displays a suitable version of your site layout differently for each of them. It can detect and support over 5000 different mobile devices. WP Mobile Detector also provides mobile statistics and comes with 7 built-in mobile friendly themes. The premium version lets you create custom themes and display ads for mobile devices.

Jetpack’s Mobile Theme: This plugin suite brings some features of wordpress.com to your self-hosted WordPress site. It comes with a mobile theme which is snappy and fast loading on mobile devices. The mobile theme will use the design elements from your desktop WordPress theme by default but you can customize it with some simple modifications on CSS.

3. Design a separate mobile version of your site

If you create separate mobile version of your website, you will have two separate websites, a desktop site and a mobile site. The mobile site is usually given an alias like m.yoursite.com and it helps people recognize that they are on the mobile version. When someone visits your site on a mobile device, they get redirected to the mobile site automatically. Having a separate site for mobile users can help you provide different content for mobile and desktop users. You can always control what the mobile visitor sees, and the content on desktop version of your site will not affect this. The only drawback is that you have to make the changes on desktop and mobile sites separately and this will consume more time. Designing a separate mobile version of your website used to require technical skills before, but now there are many services that would help you easily create and host one for free.

How to build the mobile version of your site

You can either hire a developer to get this done for you or follow this simple guide to build one with a free service called dudamobile.

1. Head over to http://my.dudamobile.com and sign up for a free account.

2. Once you create your free account you will be redirected to the dashboard. Click on “Create mobile site’ button over there.

3. In the new popup box, select ‘Use an existing website URL’ and enter your website URL, site nickname and choose the category your site belongs to.

4. Click on ‘Convert’ and you will be presented with the editor page where you can customize the looks of your mobile version. There is a preview panel to the right of the editor. Once you are done with customizations, click on ‘Next’.

5. You will be taken to the page editor where you can add different objects like social sharing buttons and other widgets. Once you have added required elements and everything looks fine, click on ‘Next’.

6. In the next page, you will be asked to select a plan for the service; premium plan has features like ad free site, custom subdomain like m.yoursite.com support and many more. We shall go with the free plan in this tutorial. Select free plan and click on “go live’.

7. As a final step, click on ‘Setup my mobile redirection’ and you will be provided with a JavaScript code which you will have to add on your site. Alternatively, you can search for ‘Mobile Website Builder for WordPress by DudaMobile’ in the WordPress Plugins repository and install the plugin. And voila! You have a separate mobile version of your site now.

To get your m.yoursite.com alias, you will have to upgrade to dudamobile premium.

Things to keep in mind

Using a responsive theme is the best option among all these as you will have less work to take care of. It has to be noted that using free plan of services like dudamobile can have a negative impact as the URL of your mobile site begins with their domain. If you have a blog, it is better to go with the responsive theme or wordpress plugin method rather than creating a separate mobile site. Creating a separate site with m.yoursite.com alias is better if you have a static website where new content is not added very frequently.

Please let us know in the comments below… Do you read a lot of websites on your mobile phone?