As a coder by nature, I don’t often get enjoyment out of marketing. To me, it can feel like begging, and a lot of the time it’s very draining. Why should I spend so much time plugging my work when I could be spending that time creating? That said, I figured it was time to try improving my marketing efforts.
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New Year, New Marketing Efforts
One of the things I really want to focus on with The Renegade Coder this year is growth. Sure, I’ve been very happy with the natural growth over the past two years, but now I want to take matters into my own hands.
For awhile, I was cranking out content like crazy, and that’s been fun. But, if you read my 2018 reflection, you’ll notice that almost all of my traffic comes from organic searches, and that’s a little scary.
For one, if for some reason Google’s algorithm decides to penalize me, I’m dead in the water. All that growth over the past two years is gone because I’m not retaining viewership. Meanwhile, if someone happens to come along and write content that displaces some of my more popular articles, I’ll also be screwed.
To add insult to injury, my blog content is hidden behind a membership site. Despite a lot of it being free, it’s still hidden from view, so I don’t get all the wonderful SEO benefits. For instance, my 4000-word reflection on teaching will never be found through a Google search. Instead, I rely on organic traffic to my code and updates content to convert users to members, so they can see my wonderful blog content.
In the future, I’m hoping to build up enough of a community that all of you will promote my membership content for me. For the time being, however, I have to rely on my own poor marketing skills and a lot of luck.
One of the things I hesitated doing for awhile was overcomplicating my subscription process. I figured if I tied MailChimp into my registration process, I’d happily gain email subscribers as collateral.
The reality is I can’t get email subscribers if I can’t get people to commit to a membership, so I’ve decided to add another option. Now, when you come to my site, you’ll be greeted with an email subscription popup which will allow you to hop on the email list without committing to a full membership.
My hope is that this popup encourages casual readers to subscribe for more content. So far, however, I haven’t had any success. Of the nearly 1500 viewers I’ve had since launching the popup, exactly 0 have subscribed. Hopefully, I’ll have more positive results before this article publishes.
At any rate, I hope that this new popup isn’t too annoying. There were several options, and I’m still in the process of testing them. For a bit, I went will the lower bar popup, but it wasn’t visually appealing. Since then, I’ve moved to the slider which allows me to at least add an image.
If you have any tips to encourage subscriptions, let me know in the comments.
To further boost engagement, I’ve launched a little giveaway thanks to a generous 3D printing donation from my friend, Robert. If you haven’t heard yet, I have about 100 3D printed keychains that I’m planning to giveaway.
To maximize engagement, I’ve decided to space out the giveaway to a handful every month. That way, I can keep engagement up without spending boat loads of money on shipping.
If you want in on the action, all you have to do is become a member of the community. Optionally, you can also just subscribe to the newsletter, but you’ll need to eventually create an account on this site to share your shipping information if you win.
If you forget to sign up, don’t worry. That fancy little popup I mentioned previously will remind you (if it hasn’t already).
On top of everything else, I’ve also added a little tidbit to the sidebar: a membership indicator. If you haven’t noticed yet, check it out. You should see a section labeled “Login.” If you’re already logged in as a member, you’ll see your username and the option to logout. Otherwise, you’ll see the login and join buttons.
It seems like a small change, but it’s honestly been driving a lot of traffic to my membership page. I haven’t had any conversions yet, but the increased page views should at least help my SEO.
Also, when I went to update my footer for 2019, I found out I could embed widgets in it. Now, if you scroll to the bottom of this page, you’ll see a collection of links including categories, latest series, recent posts, and top posts. I hope this change drives a few more page clicks on average.
At any rate, all of these changes really just reflect how clueless I am about blogging even after two years. If you’re up to it, let me know how you like these changes. I love the feedback.
Sustained Growth in 2019
As much as I love Google for bringing me traffic, I need to find a way to sustain my site if anything goes bad. As a part of those efforts, I’ve launched a newsletter subscription popup in tandem with a keychain giveaway. Hopefully, that helps me out over the next couple months.
If not, no sweat! I’m perfectly content with grinding away at articles. It’s what got me here today, and I won’t forget that.
At any rate, thanks again for stopping by. I appreciate your continued support.
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Every year, I like to reevaluate where the site is at, if for no other reason than to track my progress.