Issue #368

Sent to members on December 6, 2021

The invisible blog (and why it might work)

In the past, I’ve talked about building up a premium subscription email newsletter. Essentially, email blogging… but done better.

But, we all know that building an email list is a pretty big deal. Thing is…

A lot of bloggers end up creating some of their best stuff and it sits there on the blog. Out in the open. Anybody can find it.

Not only that, but you’re going to have a LOT of people who will come to your site, check out the blog, browse around a bit and then…. leave.

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So, here’s an idea that I recently came across somebody else doing. It sorta goes along with the idea of creating an awesome email subscriber community. And it is this…

Do not actually show the blog on your blog.

Hehe… I bet that deserves an explanation. So, here it is…

You can have a blog, but don’t actually show it to people who casually arrive on your site. In other words, no blog posts on your homepage. No “blog” in your nav menu. Instead, those posts would only be viewable via a direct link.

So, if your content is hidden like that, what is your site?

Well, the focus of your site would be the email optin. Essentially, you’re selling them on the benefits of being an email subscriber. Your homepage is an email optin page. Essentially, you’ve got the 4-page site that I mentioned in the last issue.

When you publish new content, you publish it to your blog. However, there are only two ways people would see it:

  • Being an email subscriber.
  • Being a member of your community on social media.
  • When you publish a post, you email it and share it. That’s it. But, your site has no public index page, no category structure, etc. Your blog posts are just… pages.

Every blog post ends with a solid call to action to opt in to stay connected.

If people share your content on social media, then great.

But, the focus on the main site will be to subscribe.

Now, if you want to give your email subscribers a reason to be subscribed and not just follow you on social media, then just give them a reason. It could be:

  • Exclusive bonuses to email subscribers.
  • Access to content upgrades to your content that social followers won’t get
  • They’ll get access to it earlier than the social media community
  • So, you’re building a nice email list. You’re giving people a real reason to be a follower. It is a sort of low friction gateway to your content without them just being able to freely surf your stuff on your blog.

Always remember… a blog doesn’t always have to look like a blog.

It is OK to shake things up.

Tech Talk

Forbes has an interesting piece on some WordPress stats. Like, for instance, WordPress now powers 42% of the internet. And there are over 59,000 free plugins in the main directory… and close to 9.000 free themes.

Oh, and… pirated plugins and themes are the top source of malware infections. No surprise there. I know people like to get things for nothing… but truth is, the top quality plugins are paid for a reason. And they’re worth paying for, generally. And if it is free, make sure it is maintained often.

Need to move a site to another host? A lot of times, there are migrator plugins that turn this into a child’s play. For instance, I often use the Cloudways Migration plugin to move clients to Cloudways. Siteground also has a nice plugin for this. Except…

I recently moved a client out of Godaddy and they chose Siteground. And the usual migration plugin from Siteground just kept failing.

Another option (which worked) is a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus. You really should be using a backup plugin of some kind and not relying on your host to do it all. In this case, the client had been using UpdraftPlus and storing backups on a Google Drive account. So, I was able to download the backups from there and restore them on the empty WordPress site on Siteground using UpdraftPlus. Worked beautifully.

On a different note…

Awhile back, I talked about why you may want to reduce your reliance on “big tech”. And personally, I have uncoupled from Google quite a bit. I still have accounts, but I barely use them. And for search, I use DuckDuckGo by default. But…

I recently came across Neeva. It is a private, ad-free search engine created by some ex-Google people. And, it is a pretty good search engine. Much more like Google itself, but without the creepy. You can also customize it quite a bit. The interesting thing is…

You can try it for several months. But, ultimately… this is a search engine you pay for. Which means, you’re a customer, not a data point to sell to others. Personally, I like the nature of that relationship way better. Question is…. do YOU find search without all the creepy Google stuff valuable enough to pay a few bucks for?

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