Content Saturation

Great Twitter thread by Moz founder Rand Fishkin:

Yes, there’s more content on the web than ever before. The barrier to entry is virtually nonexistent these days, which has naturally led to increased competition.

But the reality is that the vast majority of content is mediocre at best.

“Content saturation” is not inherently a bad thing for marketers. It actually presents a massive opportunity for those willing to put forth the effort to create deep, uniquely valuable content that exceeds expectations.

Making Website Intros Great Again

Long-time web users will likely remember the Flash website intro craze of the early 2000s. That era came to an end for a variety of reasons, including security risks, browser compatibility, and the sheer impracticality of a long intro sequence in a world of growing impatience. These days I would never advise the use of Flash in any capacity—much less as the backbone of a website.

However, I actually went with a similar concept in my design choice for the Merrill X website. The intro/teaser is built on HTML5 rather than Flash, but it’s certainly reminiscent of that old technology.

I mainly just wanted to get something up and running quickly, and for the few people who visit the site directly, I think it provides a solid rundown of what we do and how to get in touch.

Chat Bot Hype

Great post on TechCrunch about when messaging makes sense as a UI choice.

Lots of companies are jumping onto the chat bot bandwagon when it really doesn’t make sense to do so.

There are definitely times when messaging can make for a sensible user experience, but in most cases you’re better off with a traditional app and GUI.

The main litmus test in that post is: “Does the user actually want to talk to someone to complete the transaction?”

If the answer is no, such as when ordering a pizza or ordering flowers, it’s much more efficient and intuitive to use an app.

But if I want legal advice, messaging could be great because I want to talk to someone. (Here’s an example of that.)

Don’t be so blinded by the allure of this shiny new thing that you start making choices that aren’t in your users’ best interest.

My Tweetstorm On The Future Of Media

Today I shared some thoughts on Twitter about the state of media and advertising in the digital age:

How Much Should Bloggers Charge For Advertising?

Someone on Quora asked, I have 350K unique monthly visitors, how much should I charge for an advertorial post? This is my answer:

This depends on a variety of factors.

Too often, people think of selling advertising just as a way to monetize their blogs. What you’re really doing is helping a company reach its marketing goals, and it’s helpful to look at it through that lens.

If the advertiser’s primary goal is sales, you should consider how much revenue you can reasonably expect a post on your site to generate for them, and then determine how much they would be willing to pay to generate that revenue. The same applies if they’re going for brand awareness: how much awareness can your site generate, and what is that worth to them? Whatever the metric, your advertiser must see a positive ROI.

It’s not about traffic; it’s about results.

A Unique Way To Pre-Launch A Blog

Someone on Quora asked, Should I promote my blog already? This is my answer:

Since you mentioned Facebook ads, I’ll assume you have a bit of money to work with. Here’s a contrarian idea that I highly recommend: don’t launch your blog until you hit a target number of email subscribers.

I know what you’re thinking. How do I get email subscribers before I launch my blog?!

It’s doable, and it could save you the trouble of spending months or years writing a blog that no one is reading.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Determine the number of subscribers you’d like to have by launch day. It could be 100, 500, 1,000, whatever—it’s up to you.
  2. Create some kind of extremely valuable “lead magnet.” It could be a short ebook, a case study, a list of tools, a video course, etc. Put this free resource behind a landing page where people have to enter their email address to see it. Remember: this will be everyone’s first impression of you, so make sure it’s good.*
  3. Promote that landing page to your target audience using Facebook ads. Test and tweak your ads to maximize your conversion rate. Test your landing page too.
  4. Once you hit your subscriber target, launch the site. Send an email to your list and let everyone know it’s up.

Boom: You’ve just launched a blog, and you have readers who care what you have to say from day one.

*It’s important to note that this strategy only works if the content of your free resource is excellent. If you make people sign up for garbage, they will expect nothing but garbage from you in the future—and your blog will not go far. But if you offer people massive value for free, they will trust you and look forward to what else you have to offer.