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Four Power Tips for List Building


“Email is the most effective form of subscriber attention today.”

One of the sessions I had the pleasure of attending at BlogWorld New York 2011 Phil Hollows’ talk on list building. Phil is the CEO and founder of FeedBlitz, an alternative to FeedBurner, so I was really excited to hear his opinions on list building and email marking. He started by talking about how this is still one of the best ways to reach your audience, something that was echoed by other speakers, like Nath Lussier and Erica Douglass. During his session, Phil gave us a number of what he called “power tips” for building your list so you can start sending emails that really convert, whatever your goals may be. Here are four of them:

  • Make your subscription form visible.

Is your subscription form on every single page? Do you have to click around to find it? Do you have to scroll? There are some things that you should ask yourself. Phil also made a really good point – you know how a lot of sites have little icons for RSS, email, Twitter, and Facebook, all in a row? Why do we so often put RSS first? Even though we’re a really tech-friendly crowd, chances are that many of your readers don’t use RSS readers or even know what the RSS symbol means. Instead, put the email icon first – give them something friendly and familiar to click.

  • Enable social media cross promotion.

You want your list-building efforts to be retweetable and otherwise sharable. Ask for subscriptions on your Facebook page and make your emails easy to email to your friends.

  • Add incentives.

This is of course a tried and true method of getting people to sign up for your list, but it is one that deserves repeating. What do your readers get for signing up? Common giveaways include an email course, a weekly newsletter, or a short ebook, but you can get creative. The more incentives you can give your readers, the more likely they are to sign up. Make sure you publicize the incentives so people are enticed to sign up.

  • Make the most of offline events.

Conferences like BlogWorld are great places to get people to sign up for your mailing list, believe it or not. If you’re speaking, bring up a sign-up sheet. Create business cards that mention your mailing list and direct people to the right page. QR codes are also all the rage – Phil actually mentioned that he walks around with one on his t-shirt and people can scan him!

While I was able to stick around for a few more tips from Phil, all of which were as good as the ones listed above, I ultimately had to skip out a bit early to help the BlogWorld team with another task…so like you, I’m really looking forward to making use of my virtual ticket in a few weeks to learn the rest of Phil’s tips for building a list. Stay tuned for information on picking up your virtual ticket to listen to the recorded sessions!

Thanks, Phil, for a great session. Readers, make sure you read more about Phil and his company, FeedBlitz, on his website and follow him on Twitter @phollows.

Email Marketing: The KISS Rule Applies


As Nathalie Lussier taught us at her BlogWorld New York 2011 session, the downside to new tech like Twitter and Foursquare and whatnot is that you lose sight of what works. Just because a technology is 50+ years old doesn’t mean you should abandon it if your readers respond well to it.

So what is this ancient technology that you can use to tap into your readers’ wallets? Email! Yes, email really is over 50 years old, and with the right emails, you can brand yourself and make money at the same time.

Nathalie covered a lot of points in her presentation, but what I wanted to focus on today were her tips for writing a great email. It’s all about the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid). I’m going to go over them one by one and give you my own thoughts on these topics.

  • Make emails digestible.

Everyone out there likely gets several emails every day (or maybe even every hour if you’re like me). If you write long, text-heavy emails, they simply won’t get read by most of your subscribers, and some might even unsubscribe. Format your emails and keep them short and simple, reflecting what your readers want of course (some groups like longer emails than others). I personally like to write blog posts that I can link in my emails if I have a lot to say on a topic but don’t want to overwhelm readers.

  • Write for one person.

Obviously, you’re not actually going to write for one person (unless you’re brand new and the only person on your list is your mom). However, you have to make the email as personable as possible, reaching out to your dream reader with your email. This may mean that some readers don’t connect with your emails, but the ones that do will really connect. This actually seems to be a point that many readers drove home this year – be yourself and get 20% of your readers raving about you rather than being generic and having 100% of the people being “meh, he/she is okay” about you.

  • Stick to about 80% content and 20% pitch.

If you pitch too much, your readers will unsubscribe. Unless your readers specifically sign up for a pitch-based email (and really, very few people to that), Nathalie recommends you have 80% of your emails be valuable, free content. This could mean sending eight content-based emails for every two pitch emails or it could mean writing about 20% pitch within every email. I would actually go a step farther and say that you need to do what works for your readers. Some readers don’t like pitches that often. Do what works for you.

  • Make it doable for yourself.

This last tip is a big one, and I completely agree with Nathalie. You have to make your email commitment doable for your own schedule. If you don’t, you’ll struggle to send out the volume of email that you promise, and your readers won’t be as connected with you – they may even unsubscribe, since you aren’t delivering as promised. Make sure you don’t over-commit.

Thanks for speaking at BlogWorld New York 2011, Nathalie. Reaers, you can follow her on Twitter at @NathLussier and check out her various projects at her website.

How Saying “No” Can Save Your Blog — Making Money Blogging


Speakers: Jennifer James, Heather Solos, Janice Croze, Wendy Piersall
Session: How to Make Real Money From Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 9:00AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14

… by Janice Croze (@5minutesformom)

How Saying “No” Can Save Your Blog

I have a problem saying, “No.”

Whether it is letting my kids stay up too late or agreeing to write a post when my schedule is packed, my people-pleasing/non-confrontational issues sometimes win over my better judgement. I avoid the conflict, say “yes,” and feel my blood pressure rise.

But, when it comes to my blog and my relationship with my readers, my integrity is everything. So, I routinely make myself type, “No, thank you,” and “I am sorry, but we will have to pass this time,” in response to PR pitches, interview opportunities, press junkets, advertising opportunities, etc.

The key to maintaining your integrity while making money blogging and creating a blog that is worthy of your readers’ time is learning when to say, “Yes,” and when to say, “No, thank you.”

So how do we know when we should accept and when we should decline opportunities, pitches and jobs?

  1. Keep to your mission
    Whether you have created a formal mission statement, or whether the goals for your blog are fluid and evolving, most of us have an understanding of what we have set out to do with our sites and what we want to stand for. (If you don’t have some sort of mission or goals, now would be a great time to decide what you want to accomplish with your site.)
    Ensure that everything you agree to falls in line with those principles. Some offers can be so tempting, but approach decisions like a discerning CEO and do what is best for your blog in the long run.
  2. Provide value
    Five years ago, companies had begun sending products for review to “mommy bloggers.” Since our site was about promoting the online mom community and bringing the best of the internet to our readers, reviews fell within our mission.
    But, after publishing a few, we decided we wanted to “reward” our readers for the time they had taken to read our posts. So we requested that companies send two items, one for review and one to giveaway.
    This new concept took off and giveaways soon became the norm in the mom blog community.
    But we have always worked hard to continue to push ourselves to provide as much value to our readers as possible in our posts, whether they are giveaway posts or personal stories, link ups, interviews, how-tos, etc.
    The site who is offering their readers the most value wins.
  3. Be honest and transparent
    The FTC brought disclosures into the foreground of blogging. It is no longer an option – one must disclose all forms of compensation, including review products.
    But many of us bloggers were frustrated with the attention the new rules brought. We had already been taking great care to be open with our readers. We valued those relationships and wouldn’t have risked damaging them. We didn’t need the FTC to tell us how to blog!
    But whether one was disclosing in the past or not, now there is no question – we must disclose. Yes, the FTC may be watching. But more importantly, so are our readers.
  4. Sprinkle don’t slather
    It happens. The pitches come in, washing over our inbox and, if we aren’t careful, taking our blog away with them.
    Unless your site is purely a review or giveaway site, you do not want to be inundating your readers with too many reviews or giveaways.
    And with sponsored campaigns and promotions, a blogger must choose wisely. When I go to hire a blogger for an outreach program I am planning, I avoid blogs that have the majority of their posts promotional.
    Some weeks and months you may have more promotional content than others – there are no hard and fast rules here. But strive for sprinkling rather than slathering.
  5. Support the community
    We started 5 Minutes for Mom because we wanted to help moms find and support one another online! We figured, if a mom is going to buy something, why not buy it from another mom?
    When I am going to buy something online, whether it is software or a handmade item, I would rather a fellow online mom or site that I appreciate earn from that purchase.
    So, when I see affiliate links or ads, I don’t begrudge that blogger for monetizing their site – I applaud and click!
    There was a time when monetizing was like wearing a scarlet letter in your sidebar. But, fortunately, the community and readers are evolving and embracing the fact that bloggers deserve to earn a living from their work just as much as anyone else does.
    So, support your fellow bloggers. Click those ads, leave supportive comments and tweets about their sponsors, and share their posts and campaigns.
    Nowhere is it more true than the blogosphere that, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

I am thrilled every time I hear of a blogger making their living online and I love to share what we have learned about making money with your blog.

If you want to learn more about how top mom influencers are profiting in the blogosphere, make sure you check out our session, How to Make Real Money From Your Blog. Because it happens — real blogs, real bloggers, real money.

Janice Croze and her identical twin, Susan Carraretto, are the bloggers behind 5 Minutes for Mom. Janice and Susan began working online in 2003, developing two successful ecommerce stores and starting 5 Minutes for Mom in the beginning of 2006. 5 Minutes for Mom has been ranked as the Top Family Blog (Technorati) and 2nd Top Parenting Blog (Technorati and Wall Street Journal), along with being recognized on numerous lists of top blogs such as Cision’s Top Ten Most Influential Bloggers and Babble.com’s Top 50 Facebook Fan Pages for Parents.

16 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Affiliate Programs


Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge link of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are great for making a little extra money with your blog, and for some people, they’re major money makers. I’ve personally used Amazon’s program with some success, and you can also consider working with individuals to promote their products (for example, I have an affiliate program for my Freelance Writing ebook). Affiliate programs are often most closely associated with Internet marketers, but they can work for all bloggers, whether you blog about making money online or parenting or gardening or sports or anything in between. Today, I’ve got some great advice for you on this topic from some truly brilliant bloggers!

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

20 Tips I Used To Make $90,336.65 With Amazon by Chris Guthrie

Who doesn’t want to make nearly six figures as an Amazon affiliate? I met Chris randomly for a few minutes at BlogWorld 2010 while making a video about the event, and afterward, I looked up his site – and was so glad I did! To call Chris brilliant is an understatement. This post about his success on Amazon is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to explore – there’s a lot of gold on his blog. After checking out the site, make sure you follow him on Twitter @ChrisGuthrie.

Are You Practicing “Spray And Pray” Affiliate Marketing? by David Risley

Many bloggers don’t find success as affiliates because they just send out a message (spray) and hope that some people bite (pray). In this post, David talks about the problem with this approach and better ways to make money with affiliate programs than just crossing your fingers that someone will click your link and make a purchase. After you check out the post, don’t forget to follow David on Twitter @davidrisley.

8 Principles for Effective Affiliate Marketing on a Blog by Pat Flynn

I love this post from Pat Flynn because it isn’t the typical “here’s how to rank high on Google for a search term and add affiliate links” post. While that can be a great approach, it’s not going to work for every blogger. Pat’s post instead gives advice on how to be successful as an affiliate with a site full of awesome content. Check it out and then follow Pat on Twitter @patflynn.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about affiliate programs? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: Working with a Virtual Assistant

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Blogger Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

The Secret Formula to a Successful Blog


Blogging is so ridiculously easy! Let’s lay it out for anyone who is on the fence and never had a blog, but has been thinking about it. First, setup a web hosting account with a reliable company like HostGator, where it’s only a few dollars a month to host your site. Also purchase a domain name if you don’t already have one. Lastly, login to your new web hosting account and use the one click install for WordPress. Really, that’s as much of an investment and time it takes to get started with your own blog!

C’mon… if it was really that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Well, it is that easy to create a new blog, and there are millions of new blogs going live every week. The difference is that the majority of these blogs are never seen and will never make money. How can you improve your chances from fading into the millions of blogs out there that are just dying and begging for attention? Here’s three quick tips.

1.) It’s All About the Content

In the end, it really does come down to the content of your site. Make sure it’s great, articles are long enough so the search engines will love them, but already relates to the reader and makes them want to keep coming back for more.

Creating controversial and amazing content posts is one of the best ways to get people to come back to your web site, or even leave a comment. One of the best compliments a blogger can get for their post, is a retweet or facebook “like”.

2.) Backlinks are Your Best Friend

Sure, you have a blog with great content, but no one is reading? Head over to Google and see if you can find your blog anywhere, you probably won’t. This is because you need more web sites linking to your blog as this is how Google and other major search engines rely on ranking sites in their directories.

Stay away from services that offer search engine submissions, bulk link listings to hundreds of directories for a few dollars, and any other methods that seem to good to be true. Instead, focus your efforts on article marketing and guest posting on other relevant blogs in your niche. These are two of the best and most cost effective ways to grow your blog quickly. If you have the time, you can also read up on some SEO tips to help your content and listings as you continue to build content.

3.) Branding and Monetizing… Profit!

The end goal… once your blog has become a content powerhouse and has incoming backlinks daily, you can finally focus on how to make money from your blog. You can do banner advertising, paid reviews, affiliate marketing or even create your own product or membership site.

If you become an authority blog in your niche, you may even be able to become a brand of your own, which opens a whole new set of doors. Becoming an established figure in your blogging niche, you can form new partnerships, consult, sell your own products and have loyal customers and readers for years to come.

Blogging… Just Do It!

That was a quick summary of what it takes to make a successful blog. I made it sound easy, but it’s more about kicking you in the butt and making you take action. Every day that you don’t make a change, you lessen the chances that you ever will.

Blogging is no joke and can make some serious money if you put in the time and effort. The best way to learn how to blog, is to start your own today.

Monetization through Teaching: Ainslie Hunter on Online Course Creation


Today, I have a little treat for you all. Ainslie Hunter, the mastermind behind Courses That Matter, has agreed to talk with us here at BlogWorld about a topic that might interest you if you’re looking for ways to monetize your blog – online course creation. In my opinion, she’s the undisputed queen of online courses, so I’m really excited to share her tips with you guys and gals! Ainslie and I met on Twitter through our love of Glee and some mutual friends (Jade Craven was likely involved, but let’s be honest – when it comes to networking, when isn’t Jade involved?), and have been friends ever since.

Check out the interview below, and make sure to check out her site, sign up for her free Teachers Lounge newsletter, and follow Ainslie on Twitter @ainsliehunter.

Allison: Thanks for speaking with us, Ainslie! How did you first get started as a blogger and online course creator?

Ainslie: I started blogging in 2009 on a site about Study Skills . It wasn’t a very popular topic but it gave me an opportunity to practice the craft of blogging. From there I became a staff blogger for parent and education sites. Last year I started my second blog with my dad. We write about the sport of cutting horses (http://cuttinghorselink.com)and teach others in the horse industry how to use blogging and social media to promote themselves and their business. And finally early this year I started Courses That Matter – a culmination of my teaching and online education experience.

I created my first online course in 2006 whilst completing a Masters of Online Education. The first online courses I designed were for students, parents and other teachers. I used closed intranet sites, or platforms such as Moodle or Blackboard to create the courses. For the past 6 months I have been creating online courses using email, membership sites and Learnable. I also help other bloggers create their own online courses.

Is it harder to teach online courses than typical in-person courses?

It is definitely harder to teach online. When you teach online you don’t get immediate feedback from your students to know whether your content, instruction or activities are helpful or confusing. As a teacher in front of a class I know straight away whether my explanation or activity is working for my students. You don’t get as an online teacher.

I love your “teach people, not topics” motto! Can you elaborate on that a little?

The motto is everything I stand for as a teacher and a reminder to all that want my help that I will demand the same from then. Teaching is not pontificating about your area of expertise. Teaching is communicating and connecting with your students, at their level.

What are some of the biggest problems you see with current online courses available?

The biggest problem I see with current online courses is a lack of teaching. By that I mean explicit instructions or activities that get their students to use the knowledge or content for their own benefit.

Let’s say I was teaching a course about writing a blog post. Many courses provide great content about headlines, blog post types and even SEO.

But not many courses break the content down into tasks and give explicit instruction on how to achieve all the tasks. “First write 5 headlines…Then write a plan….Then write a post….Now edit it using this checklist….Now check SEO….And now let me offer you some feedback”

I personally find that offering feedback is one of the hardest parts of teaching in any setting. I know it never helps the student to sugar-coat things, but I always worry about coming off as mean even when I’m trying to be constructive. Can you give us some pointers for how to best offer feedback to students of an online course?

Feedback shouldn’t be scary; it is the way we learn. As a child we learnt to walk because of the feedback from the floor. Then as a student we learnt spelling, writing and reading from feedback our teacher’s gave us. Children aren’t afraid of feedback, but adults are. Adults do everything not to get feedback.

So firstly, don’t think that feedback is negative. If you think it is negative, your students will think the same way. Then all you have to do is offer feedback that is constructive. Feedback is not “that is wrong, do it again”. Feedback is stating what went wrong, and offering a suggestion on how to improve the lack of understanding. For example “you have a habit of repeating yourself in your writing. An example is in paragraph 2. To stop yourself doing that I would read your work aloud and circle any passages that sound the same?”

Is teaching an online course right for everyone and every topic?

Let’s start with the second part of the question. I think that if you can write a book about a topic you can write a course about the same topic.

But can anyone be a teacher? The answer is no. Not everyone wants to spend the time connecting with students and doing everything they can to make sure their students understand what they are teaching. Not everyone wants to create activities or offer feedback.

What’s your single best tip for someone developing an online course?

Make sure your course involves lots of doing. Create lots of activities and tasks that your students will need to complete. And make the activities meaningful to your students and their problem. An online course without activities isn’t a course but a text book.

In closing, can you give BlogWorld readers some examples of great courses out there that they should consider?

Ohh, that is simple. Try and spend some time in a classroom. Take an art class or join a gym. Or better yet, head to Blogworld Expo. Watch how teachers explain their passion, connect with students and break down concepts into manageable tasks that everyone can attempt and achieve successfully. Those same principles can be used online; you just need to become more aware of them in real life.

I swear we didn’t pay her for the BlogWorld plug! Thanks again for the awesome info, Ainslie. Readers, remember to check out Courses that Matter to sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Twitter @ainsliehunter.

23 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Product Launching


Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge link of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Product Launching

Talk about a topic. Product launching is one of the most popular monetization topics out there. Heck, there are entire blogs devoted just to the topic of product launching. Some of the advice I’ve been seeing contradicts other advice – but that’s part of what I love about blogging. This industry is so new, that different people are doing things in different ways and all getting good results. Whether you’re planning a launch for a pdf guide, membership site, or something else – even print book – these brilliant bloggers can help you learn about some of the techniques you can use to make your launch a massive success. I’m sure I’ve missed some awesome posts out there, so please, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post or a post by someone you love as long as it relates to the topic of product launching. Oh, and since it’s coming up soon, definitely check out the monetization track at BlogWorld East – there will surely be lots of talk about product launches during some of those sessions!

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

The Launch Coach with Dave Navarro

Ok, I’m cheating slightly because this isn’t actually a post, but rather an entire blog. When it comes to launch advice, Dave is the reigning king, and it was impossible for me to pick out a single post to highlight. So, check out the whole website, including a few of my favorites: Case Study: Alexis Neely’s Highly Effective Pre-Launch Strategy, 3 Pricing Mistakes that Cripple Your Sales, 5 Ways to Make People Share Your Pre-Launch Content

UPDATE: Since writing this post, there have been reports of people being unhappy with Dave’s business and personal choices, so do your research before hiring or working with him. I have personally never worked with Dave, nor do I know him personally, so I cannot speak about these matters.

The “Marketing Funnel” Business Model Sucks by Elizabeth Potts Weistein

Who doesn’t love EPW? When someone says the phrase “brilliant blogger,” this is one of the people who tops my list. In this post/video, she talks about something that I feel very strongly about – the fact that there isn’t just one right way to do things. It’s an older video, but still extremely relevant. Her business model isn’t the traditional funnel – but she still has a way to launch products and make money. The key here is to do what is right for your goals and your audience. After checking out the post, you can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @elizabethpw.

10 Online Strategies for Your Next Product Launch by Beverly Cornell

This post for Mashable is super comprehensive, giving you tons of great ideas you can use when launching your next product. It’s a great post for beginners, but if you’re an experienced launcher, you might get a few new ideas too. Beverly works as the marketing and social media director at Mango Languages, so check out more from her there!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about product launching? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: Foursquare

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Blogger Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Bringing Advertising to a Neighbor Near You


Would you cover the outside of your house with advertising in order to have your mortgage paid? Obviously some people are willing, as Adzookie put up a form and thousands have reportedly filled it out.

Here’s what they propose:

We’re looking for houses to paint. In fact, paint is an understatement. We’re looking for homes to turn into billboards. In exchange, we’ll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted

Here are a few things we’re looking for. You must own your home. It cannot be rented or leased. We’ll paint the entire outside of the house, minus the roof, the windows and any awnings. Painting will take approximately 3 – 5 days. Your house must remain painted for at least three months and may be extended up to a year. If, for any reason, you decide to cancel after three months or if we cancel the agreement with you, we’ll repaint your house back to the original colors.

I have the same problem with this idea that I have with Twitter users who sell their profile background and bloggers who cover 75% of their blog with Google adsense and advertising spots … it’s hard to take them seriously and not feel like they sold out. And, in all honesty, it’s hard to take the advertiser seriously. While some companies may feel they are thinking “outside the box” or they are getting shock value – I have to wonder if there’s a more positive and tactful way to go about it.

I’ll be curious to see if they follow through on this project, who advertises, and where the houses are located.

Would you do it?

Get Backing & Launch Creative Projects Through Kickstarter


Do you have an idea for a new mobile app, website, or anything else technology driven? You may be able to gather funds at Kickstarter! Kickstarter is a website focused on bringing together creative projects and sponsors. While it seems to be heavy on the art side (artists, filmmakers, musicians, and authors all have posted ideas on the site) – there is also a section slated for technology.

The premise of Kickstarter is that it’s a new way to fund creative projects using a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands – allowing for less risk for everyone involved. Projects must also provide rewards for purchase levels. This can involve being mentioned in the project acknowledgements, receiving a sample of the completed item, and more!

Examples of recent funded projects include:

A History of the Future in 100 Objects:
Pitch: I want to write a weblog that will explore all of these ideas, with 100 posts for 100 objects. Along the way I’ll produce a newspaper and a podcast, and when it’s finished, I’ll publish it as a book. And while it’ll be fun and accessible, you can be sure it’ll all be rooted in science fact.
Pledges: Allowed supporters to be in the acknowledgments and receive free access to the podcast, ebook, and book.

Pitch: Newsgrape is a milestone in blogging and online-journalism and sets new standards in reach, revenue-possibilities, reading-experience, multilingualism, news-distribution and quality-assurance. Unlike link-directories, aggregators and feed-readers, Newsgrape operates on a user-friendly, clear and easy to use interface that combines all available features with new innovations and creates a superior news community.
Pledges: Allowed supporters to demo the product on completion, receive guest invites, and even get cool clothing 🙂

iPhone Walking Tour App for NYC’s Upper West Side:
Pitch: LANDMARK WEST! wants to take the amazing history surrounding us and put it all together into the first ever iPhone app tour of the Upper West Side. It’s an exciting new way to experience architecture and history! And with your help, we can do it!
Pledges: Allowed supporters to have their name on the donor list or even on the app itself.

New Media Elective Class:
Pitch: NEXMAP and June Jordan School for Equity have teamed up to offer a dynamic 14-week course as a 70-minute elective block during regular school hours.
Pledges: Allowed supporters to have their name on the donor list or join them for the final presentation.

Do you have a great idea, or do you want to support other creative types with great ideas? Hop on over to Kickstarter and browse through the projects or submit your own.

The Great Pop-Up Debate


A Pop. Held up. Pop-up. Get it?

One of the things I took away from BlogWorld Expo 2010 was that I need to give some more thought to pop-ups. People mentioned them in some capacity at about 75% of the sessions I attended. The problem is that I got conflicting opinions from every direction. The two main schools of thought are:

  • Don’t use pop-ups, ever. They’re extremely annoying and will only drive your readers away.
  • You’re an idiot if you’re not using pop-ups. They convert better than any other type of sign-up box or advertisement.

To be clear, no one was really talking about those traditional pop-ups with flashing smilie advertisements or adult friend finder promotions. That’s all a little 1995. What we’re talking about here is those float-over ads that suddenly appear over the text you’re reading as the rest of the screen dissolves to black. People hesitate to call them pop-ups, but come on. That’s basically what they are.

The “Don’t Use Pop-Ups” Argument

My knee-jerk reaction is to agree with people who preach that pop-ups are bad. I don’t like having to click the “close” button when I’m in the middle of reading something, so why should I put my readers through that? Not only are they annoying, but they’re also irrelevant to me over half of the time. I appreciate that someone has a free report available or even has an ebook for sale, but until I read your site and you earn my trust, I don’t want it.

The “You’re an Idiot if You Don’t Use Pop-Ups” Argument

The business person in me wants to agree with the people who promote using pop-ups. It’s hard to argue with the numbers, and time after time again, bloggers who use pop-ups talk about their high conversion numbers. Sometimes, I think we’re a little too immersed in the blogging industry to understand how other people read blogs. We spend a lot of time thinking about things like whether or not to use pop-ups, for example, but the general person doesn’t. They just see it and either sign up or don’t. And according to reports from other bloggers, more often than not, they sign up.

So Where Do I Stand?

I don’t know. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m not shy with my opinions. At all. But when it comes to the great pop-up debate, I simply don’t know where I stand. I can tell people that they should do what is right for their audience, but I don’t even know how to determine what is right for their audience or for my own audience for that matter. Here at BlogWorld, that’s something that I personally don’t have to worry about – other people make the decision about whether or not to use pop-ups…but on After Graduation, it’s my choice whether or not I want to use pop-ups. And I don’t know. I’m not using them right now, but only because I don’t know whether or not I should, so I’m erring on the side of caution. I can see both sides of the argument, so I don’t know which side is right. Perhaps they both are.

Do you use pop-ups on your site? Why or why not?

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