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Thinking About Creating Your First Online Course? Take This Test First.

Starting an Online Course?

Online courses are all the rage.

Especially (as I write this) in a time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for online learning is huge.

And it’s getting bigger. The global market for e-learning is expected to reach $241 billion by 2022 – largely driven by the growth of Internet infrastructure, global connectivity and a growing acceptance of online learning.

If you’re already in the business of coaching, training, keynotes, the transition to online learning is a pretty obvious next step. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to get paid while you sit at home in your jammies watching Office reruns on Netflix?

I went down that road.

My first attempt at distant learning was a box-set of audio lessons for time management. It was a painful, time consuming and expensive exercise that after one year barely returned my investment.

Fast forward 5 years and I sold my first online course teaching how to build a public speaking business. For over 20 years I’d been earning a nice paycheck delivering corporate training and keynote speeches, so it was a natural next step to teach others my approach.

[For over 20 years I’d been earning a nice paycheck delivering corporate training and keynote speeches, so it was a natural next step to teach others my approach.]

That course was a home run and earned over $250,000.

Nice, right?

So, if an online course can be so profitable, why am I saying don’t do it?

Before I get to that, let’s look at what is an online course.

What is an online course?

Online courses come in many forms. The most popular is an automated, self-directed series of videos and handouts (possible quizzes as well) hosted on an LMS (Learning Management System) like Kajabi, Thinkific, or Teachable.

Your course will take loads of time to create, but the LMS takes care of registration, sign-in, delivery of each module, managing the student’s progress, and payments.

Modern LMS platforms, like Thinkific, make it easy to organize your course content into a professional-looking package

You can also create a video course hosted on LinkedIn Learning (was Lynda.com before being purchased by LinkedIn in 2015) or Udemy. Both of these platforms give you access to millions of viewers and offer profit sharing on revenues.

What topics are best for online learning?

The scope of online learning topics is growing daily. The old standards of learning Excel and Word have been joined by every possible type of technical lesson (Adobe, Java, UX), self-development, crafts, photography, self-employment, and hundreds of other topics.

If you already teach something, you are probably a good fit for the online learning world. The entrepreneurs I see moving successfully into this space teach on topics including online marketing, goal setting/achievement, video/YouTube, finances and self-development.

If you have expertise (even in tiny niche topics) there is a space for you with online learning

There are also outliers, like a course on the history of pro wrestling from MIT, the art of clowning (for fun and profit), and my all-time favourite: what to text a girl you like.

Why everybody wants an online course

If you’ve slaved away in the public speaking arena or as a consultant or corporate trainer, online courses can look like manna from heaven. You already know the content and with a bit of effort you could have that wonderful PASSIVE INCOME that you’ve always wanted.

While it is true that many seasoned experts have successfully transitioned to online learning (like I did). The mistake most entrepreneurs make is they grossly underestimate not only what’s involved to build and perfect their first online course, they rarely consider what’s needed to attract the students.

[The mistake most entrepreneurs make is they grossly underestimate not only what’s involved to build and perfect their first online course, they rarely consider what’s needed to attract the students.]

What you need to make it work

Fair enough, if you plan on loading a course on Udemy or LinkedIn Learning, your work is pretty simple. Create an amazing course on a super popular topic and help drive traffic to that course.

That’s a great place to start.

By the way, those sites are great for doing research on the most popular topics. Search by keyword for your topics and then look at the student registration numbers. In a few minutes, you can discover what topics are trending.

Platforms like Udemy are great for doing quick research on best-selling topics

If you are going on your own you’re into a whole different ball game.

To start, you need to design and create the course – that’s true no matter what route you take. That process alone would take me a month of planning, writing, creating my slide decks, time in a studio and then hours of editing the finished course lessons.

Once your course is loaded onto your LMS, you need to build your sales funnel. Nobody will find your course unless you drive traffic to it.

For that you’ll need an email list, opt in sequence to collect emails, landing page to sell the course, email sequence to nurture your leads and some kind of attention-grabbing events like webinars to convert leads.

And then you need marketing to drive traffic to that event. You can go down the affiliate road of cross-promotion (I’ll promote your course if you promote mine) or paid advertising.

Or, maybe you should just walk away now.

Sorry, to be a black cloud over your passive income dreams, but here’s the reality.

The complexity of transitioning your existing content to an online platform and then marketing that course is not for the faint-hearted. And it’s unlikely you can do it all yourself.

I have always had an assistant to help with the non-creative details like messing with software set up, void credit cards and student’s questions. Every successful online course creator I know has a team.

But, there’s a more important consideration – is this right for you?

After, fielding dozens of calls and emails from want-to-be course creators I’ve come up with a quick test. This might just save you from months of frustration and from heading down a dark road of exhausting effort.

A quick test for you!

I was speaking with a friend this week who’s a coach. It seems every time we speak the subject of online courses comes up. “Maybe I should build an online course – what do you think?”

First, I know in all the years she has been asking me this same question she’s probably invested, oh I don’t know, 5 minutes of research into how courses work. My sage advice is unlikely to change anything.

In frustration, I offered a new response: “Here’s a test: if you don’t like technology you won’t like online courses.” For example, you:

  • Have never looked at the analytics for your website (and have no idea if it’s even installed),
  • Think keyboard shortcut keys are for geeks,
  • Rarely go to Google or YouTube to solve problems.
  • Have sticky-notes with login passwords stuck to your screen.

The reality is creating and driving traffic to an online course is technical. I’m not even talking about the complications of the LMS you use – which have plenty of complexity – even understanding how your online course fits into a sales funnel is enough to make most entrepreneurs throw up their hands and quit.

Thinking About Starting an Online Course?
Building a successful sales funnel that actually attracts students is a critical (and complicated) piece of the online course puzzle.]

The good news is there are other (much less technical) ways to serve more people and make more money.

Here’s what you can do instead

When entrepreneurs come to me for advice about diving into the online course world I try to explain what the deep end could look like and to remind them of the alternatives.

Sure, lots of people are making good money with their courses. And they help students solve problems or start a new hobby.

But, there’s more than one road to Rome.

These 4 alternatives will let you serve more people, hopefully increase your income. And you can always add an online course to your product mix later.

  1. Sell a premium product. A percent of your clients will always pay for a premium service. If you are a consultant who normally charges $2,000 for client work, create a $10,000 more in-depth offering. Solve a bigger problem and you can attract a bigger fee.
  2. Bundle your services. When you offer more value you can charge more. If you’re a coach, maybe include pre-recorded video lessons of you teaching your favourite models. If you’re a consultant, add coaching, follow-up, or employee assessments.
  3. Group delivery. If you want to reach more people or offer a lower priced offering, create a group delivery option. If you’re a coach, invite clients to a for-fee webinar or host a coaching session on zoom using break-out rooms. The goal is to serve more people and increase your revenues.
  4. Affiliate sales. Promote someone else’s course and earn a commission. If you have a list, most course promoters will love to hear from you. I’ve done this successfully for courses and as an affiliate for software that I recommend.

Believe it or not, I am a big fan of online courses.

I use them for my own learning and have been successful at creating them.

But, as lucrative as an online course might be it can also be a huge distraction from doing the hard work of building your business.

So, before you hide away in your basement toiling away on your first course, please heed my advice and look at the alternatives first.

You’re welcome.

Enjoyed this article about growing your business? Here are 3 more all about business success:

Blogging vs Social Media, what gets you the best ROI?
How to hire an awesome writer for your blog
How to write an amazing roundup post

How to increase your blog conversions with a test drive

The blog is not dead.

Sure, your blog might not be as sexy as Instagram stories or slapping a cool video on YouTube, but…

your blog has something that no social media has.

Your blog makes people stop, look around and test the waters.

We call it the Test Drive Effect.

In this post, I am going to be talking about what is conversion on your blog and how to get more of it!

Before I get to that, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time…

No…not THAT story. I want to tell you the story of my first speaking experience.

Long before I was invited to stand on the main stage and deliver a keynote speech, I delivered workshops, mostly in meeting rooms at my client’s building. 

A pretty safe gamble.

I would be given a room full of employees who HAD TO BE THERE. At the time, it was perfect for a not-so-good amateur like me.

Then I was invited to the big game – my first speaking engagement at a conference. I was to deliver one of 5 concurrent workshops in the 10:30 slot leading up to lunch. 

Now, the stakes were higher…people had a choice—5 “break-out” sessions all happening at once.

Here’s what happened. 

I noticed that when people arrive BY CHOICE (just like when they choose to read your blog) the energy is different. They were more interested in learning and applying what they were learning.

And they stayed longer, asked questions and wanted more information.

And when I offered my book, more people bought my book.

I call it the Test-Drive Effect.

The Test-Drive Effect

Here’s how it works.

When people come to your website, on average they only stay for about one minute (that’s pretty typical of all our clients’ sites). But when they go to your blog posts they stay for 4, 6, even over 10 minutes! 

“When people stop to read your blog they are staying for 4-10 minutes – that’s a big opportunity.”

Just like the break-out session at the conference, they are test driving your solutions. They don’t get the full solution they might if they hired you, but they begin to understand how you think, how you solve problems, your style and most importantly, how you can help them.

When people read your blog they are test driving your solutions and your business. Click To Tweet

You are giving them a test drive.

To increase blog conversions, you need to first appreciate what is conversion and then there’s one more thing you need to do…

What is conversion?

Now imagine people come to the break out session and there’s no offer? No call-to-action? 

Sure, they might have learned something, but they weren’t invited to take the next step. It’s no different from your blog—if you don’t ask you won’t get. People might stop and give you 6 minutes of their time, but if there is no reason to take another action, they’re off checking Facebook.

You have to ask for the next step.

In Robert Cialdini’s brilliant book Influence, he describes the principle of consistency “People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.” When you ask for a small action – like joining your mailing list – you are one step closer to a big action – like a purchase decision.

Why? Because when people take that first step with a small “yes” they are that much closer to saying “YES” with a big purchase. 

When people take that first step with a small “yes” they are that much closer to saying “YES” with a big purchase. Click To Tweet

Just like test driving a car. When you take the car off the lot for a spin around the block the salesperson knows that if you come back saying all sorts of wonderful things about the experience you are much closer to saying “YES” to the car purchase. You are motivated to be consistent with your behavior.

That leads to increased blog conversions.

What small ‘Yes’ can you can ask for? It could be as simple as:

  • Invite them to read a second, related blog post
  • Ask them to join your list and receive future blog posts directly to their InBox.
  • Direct them to see your services or products.
  • Suggest they download a special report or one-page cheat sheet you created.
  • Send them to a self-assessment test.
  • Invite them to book a consultation or coaching call.
  • Give them 2 chapters of your new book.

Now it’s your job

Now it’s your job to put your blog to work. Sure you can fiddle away trying to get more Instagram followers or likes on Twitter – all good stuff – or you can convert blog readers to sales. It’s your choice.

When we work with small business owners we always start with the end goal. Just like a break-out session at a conference or test-driving a new car, there is always an end goal.

From there we design blog posts that get readers to stop and make a decision. There has to be a next step (I’ve given you 7 above).

Once your reader takes the first step (the test drive) it’s always easier to help them take the next, bigger step. And that leads to your ultimate goal: increased blog conversions.

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more articles all about putting your blog to work:

10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

A proven 3 step method to finally overcome procrastination and get it all done.

procrastination

You had the best of intentions.

Heck, you even coloured it with a highlighter, put a star beside it and blocked time on your calendar.

Then you procrastinated.

Or, at least you thought you did…

The reality is you didn’t procrastinate and – better still – with a 2 minute secret action you can overcome pretty well any resistance you have to any action.

Let me show you how.

You are NOT a Procrastinator

“Everybody procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator” – Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D

This might surprise you, but you are not a procrastinator. Nobody is (even though 20% of people think they are.)

Let me explain.

You respond differently to different situations. You don’t procrastinate about buying groceries or thanking a friend for listening to you or flossing your teeth (more on flossing below.) You’ve got those actions nailed.

If you were a “procrastinator” you would be completely unreliable – that’s not you.

You are a responsible person…you just put somethings off until later.

Get it?

This is an important point. If you think you are a procrastinator then please stop reading right now, because I can’t help you (of course I can help you, it just will take longer 🙂

STEP 1: Before you move to the reason behind your resistance, catch yourself thinking you’re a procrastinator and to stop and to remind yourself you are NOT a procrastinator – you are simply resisting this action.

Now, let’s look at what’s really happening.

Why you DON’T take Action

It’s all about value.

You do something because the value of that action is better than the alternative. You thank your friend for listening because you know that 5 minutes from now you’ll regret it if you didn’t.

You floss you teeth because the alternative is an expensive trip the dentist.

And everything you procrastinate about happens because, in the moment, it gives you more value than the alternative. This applies to refilling the chip bowl instead of stopping at one serving, allowing Netflix to load the next episode of Game of Thrones, instead of turning the TV off or checking email instead of calling the client you’ve been avoiding.

So, it comes down to what you value. Yes, you can build habits, but habits are built on values, so you have to start there.

STEP 2: Stop and think about the value you attach to the alternatives. That sounds more complicated than it is.

In other words, before you take action decide what will give you the biggest reward, long-term.

>> I know that if I go for my 15 minute morning walk I have more energy later in the morning (the walk gives me more reward than not walking.)

>> I know that if I work in blocks of no email, no social media I can plough through my work uninterrupted (focussed work gives me more reward than distractions.)

>> I know that if I take a few minutes before I finish my work day and plan my next day I am far more focussed and productive in the morning (making a list gives me more reward than just ending my work day with no list.)

Now, that you understand what action will give you the biggest long-term reward, let’s take action.

The 2 minute rule will help.

The 2 Minute RULE and how it Works

“Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think. Our research shows us that getting started changes our perception of a task. It can also change our perception of ourselves in important ways.” – Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D

One of the simplest ways to overcome procrastination is also one of the fastest. It’s the 2 minute rule (Stanford Professor B.J. Fogg popularized this idea by demonstrating how to start the habit of daily flossing by starting with just one tooth.)

One of the simplest remedies to procrastination is also one of the fastest. It’s the 2 minute rule. @bjfogg Click To Tweet

Here’s how it works.

When you realize you are about to put something off, take a 2 minute action.

For example, you are trying to get traction on a big project, like redesigning you web site, or cold calling prospects, or doing your taxes.

Start with just 2 minutes of action.

But, that’s not all…

Yes, you will start up the mountain with 2 minutes of walking, but you must also finish by planning your next step – what will you do and when will you do it.

It works like this.

Let’s say you want to redesign your web site (we can show you how to save thousands$’s from bad advice) – that’s a humungous job! Of course, you’re going to put it off—you have all sorts of other priorities that can be finished faster.

But, it has to get done. You know this is overdue and, if you get it done, it will help your business long-term (more value than putting it off.)

Step 3: Enter the 2 minute rule: what can you get done in just 2 minutes that will be a step in the right direction up the mountain?

>> You could bookmark competitor’s web sites in your browser for future reference.

>> You could make a list of changes you want to make to the existing site.

>> You could email 3 designers you know and ask about their availability (no point getting quotes if they can’t start for 2 months).

You get the idea.

You can make progress, break the ice and get a tiny dopamine reward by working uninterrupted for just 2 minutes. And then plan your next step.

We can all make progress, break the ice and get a tiny dopamine reward by working uninterrupted for just 2 minutes. Click To Tweet

Block time in your calendar for the next step (read this article about blocking time), to list what you like about your competitor’s sites, or prioritize the changes you want to make, or reply to the designers and ask to see their latest work.

Time investment: 2 minutes.

Reward to you: feeling great about making progress!

What You Must DO the Next Time

“So let’s get started. I’m ready to be heard. Before the dear departed. Can have the final word.” Get Started, Paul McCartney

It’s normal to put things off until later. We all do it. We’ll always do it.

Sometimes it’s a smart strategic move, like waiting until the morning to make a tough phone call, or ignoring your email in order to finish a proposal uninterrupted.

And then there are the non-strategic, wimpy moments when you caved. We all do that as well.

Here’s the thing. Those moments of uncertainty or hesitation don’t define you—those were just human moments.

Let it go and go back to your 3 steps:

Step 1. Don’t define yourself as a procrastinator. You aren’t.

Step 2. Consider the long-term rewards: what is most important for you right now?

Step 3. Take 2 minutes, take some forward action and then plan your next step.

It may not look heroic working on a project for only 2 minutes. But, it could be the most heroic thing you did all day. And you might just impress yourself with the ice-breaking momentum you just started.

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more all about procrastination and getting more of what you want:

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9 expert bloggers reveal their best strategies

3 Amazing WordPress Blog Plugins to Power up your Site

WordPress blog plugins to power up your site

This might be the most important article you read this year.

Okay, a bit of hyperbole, but if you’re trying to get bigger results from your blog, this will be damn good.

In this article we are looking at the 3 WordPress blog plugins we use the most often on this site.

Think of a plugin like an app on your phone. They can be a waste of time and actually slow down your site…or they can be amazing and make life oh-so-much-better. Add to that, most plugins are free, or at the very least have a free version.

Here they are:

1. Better Click to Tweet
2. Insert Post Ads
3. Editorial Calendar

I’m going to spell out the steps for each of these WordPress blog plugins below. You can also grab some popcorn and watch this 12 minute video.

Video roll:

01:00 Better Click to Tweet
4:38 Insert Post Ads
10:26 Editorial Calendar

1. Better Click to Tweet

This might be the simplest improvement you make to your blogs results—make it easy for readers to Tweet about your blog. In our goldfish-like attention world, nothing is better than saving your customers’ time.

In our goldfish-like attention world, nothing is better than saving your customers’ time. Click To Tweet

Better Click to Tweet is a simple, free plugin that makes it super easy to let your readers, with just 2 clicks, share your post to all of their followers on Twitter. And that one tweet can put you in front of thousands of followers loyal to that reader.

There are similar tools, like Click to Tweet and plugins like sumome and social warfare offer a click to tweet option.

This video explains how to install the plugin.

Once you have the plugin installed adding a click to tweet is easy:

Copy a quote from your blog you want readers to share. Click on the location in your post you want to insert the click to tweet. Click on the blue bird in your menu bar, paste the quote and you’re done!

more blog traffic

2. Insert Post Ads

This WordPress blog plugin is amazing! I first came across it on Mike Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner’s blog (which has become like a Wiki for how-to social media). I noticed there were ads for his conference on every blog post. And I knew he had thousands of posts – clearly it wasn’t possible to have inserted the ad manually. That’s when I had a peak at his source code and viola!..Insert Post Ads (Thank You Mike.)

On any WordPress site, you can insert a banner for a webinar, live event (like Stelzner did for his conference), book sales, optin, content upgrade, a sale event or your daughter’s lemonade stand.

Within a few minutes your advertisement/offer/announcement is on every blog post on your site. And just as quickly you can remove it.

more blog traffic

Here’s how this clever little plugin works…

Once you have the plugin installed (did I mention it’s free?).

1. Drop the banner image you want displayed into a draft page on your WordPress site. You won’t be publishing this page – it’s just there so you can quickly get the html code from the image.

2. Click on the image, go to edit, and select “Link to Custom URL” and paste the link to the event or sales page you want to promote. Click “Update” to save the banner. Now that you have a linked banner, you need to load that into the Insert Post Ads plugin.

3. Click on “Text” to display the HTML code for that page (if you’re getting confused, watch the video on this page.) Copy the code for that banner into your clipboard. Click “Save Draft” to save your page in WordPress.

4. Go to your Insert Post Ads plugin “Post Adverts > Add New Posts.” Enter the name of the new insert where it says “Advert Title.” Paste the HTML code into “Advert code:” Choose “Display the advert After Paragraph Number” and choose a number. Click “Publish”

That’s it. It’s going to seem like Greek (no offense to all the Greeks who read my blog), but once you’ve done it, oh let’s say 114 times, it gets easier!

I encourage you to write out the steps so next month when you go to replace the banner it’s much quicker.

3. Editorial Calendar Plugin

I think I saved my favourite of the WordPress blog plugins for last.

Imagine having all your blog posts – past and future – nicely organized and displayed on a calendar. Automatically! That’s what the Editorial Calendar plugin (yup, free as well) will do.

Imagine having all your blog posts - past and future - nicely organized and displayed on a calendar. Automatically! Click To Tweet

All you have to do is install the plugin and presto! it populates with all your posted blogs and – this is my favourite part – it lists all your draft posts in a tidy list in a right-hand side bar.

But, wait, there’s more! (thank you Steve Jobs for that one.)

more blog traffic

You can do a quick edit of a draft right from the calendar. You can also move your draft posts on the calendar and it will automagically update the posting date on the draft.

If you aren’t using a more robust tool, like coschedule or post planner, Editorial Calendar is a slick, nibble alternative. And if you collaborate with an editor or assistant, this tool will save you tons of emails back and forth about dates.

You’re welcome.

Ready to learn more? Here are 3 of our most popular articles on this topic:

7 Types of Call To Action to Move your Blog Readers to Action
Your end of year blog tune up
51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year

7 Types of Call To Action to Move your Blog Readers to Action

A blog call to action can boost your business

It’s hard to imagine a sales person not asking for the sale or Amazon not having an “Add to cart” button. So why do so many blogs not have a call-to-action?

Does yours?

Before I get to my 7 favourite options for your blog call to action (CTA) let’s take a step back and talk about what your blog is for.

Your blog is there to help people. Even blogs that share travel stories or pontificate about the pro’s and con’s of nose piercing are there to help.

And if you want to help people, you need to offer more than your written advice. It could be coaching, an online course, live events, consulting, or your book. That’s where you CTA comes in – helping people.

Alrighty, with that out of the way, let’s look at my favourite CTA’s.

1. Internal link call to action

By far the simplest and most essential blog call to action is to link to another page on your site. The reader can go deeper with related content and you get them on your site longer. Longer on site means more time to visit your products and services pages.

Of course, you can also link directly from your blog to pages that lead your reader closer to a sale. When I’m writing my draft blog post I will underline a word if it relates to another post I’ve already published. That way I don’t interrupt my writing (like that) to go search for the actual link. I’ll go back and add the actual link before I publish.

One last point…a quick fix strategy is to go back to your top half-dozen posts and add internal links to other posts and to your products and services pages. Don’t over do it, but 4-6 links in a 400-1,000 word post is not going to seem overkill.

internal link call to action for your blog

2. Bottom of blog call to action

Did you know that 30% of people buying a book on Amazon will buy a second book from the list “Customers who bought this item also bought”. Why not use the same strategy in your blog?

At the bottom of each post simply list 3 more posts they might enjoy. After all, if your reader gets to the bottom of the post they probably want more on that topic. It’s a great blog call to action that can keep your readers on your site.

We started offering a list of 3 additional posts at the bottom of every new post on our blog. It such a simple task, you’d be crazy to not do it. Again, just like the suggestion above for retrofitting older popular posts with internal links, you can easily add suggested posts at the end of those same posts,

bottom of blog call to action

3. Social shares

One of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your blog is to have readers share it on social media. The math is impressive:

One of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your blog is to have readers share it on social media. Click To Tweet`

Imagine if only 20 people share your post. But those shares go to some 20,000 of their followers. It doesn’t take a big percent of responses to see how your traffic will increase.

There are a few tools, like sumome, addthis, sharethis and social warfare that make it super easy to share your blog on social media. All of these tools should work perfectly on mobile (your mobile traffic could be as high as 35-45% of all traffic) with share buttons that stay at the bottom of the phone’s screen as the reader scrolls.

social calls to action

4. Content upgrade

This blog call to actio is a little more complicated to set up, but the results can be impressive. The idea of of ‘content upgrade’ is to deliver a report, or guide or check list that supplements the blog post the reader is on.

For example, if your post is about 5 ways to give feedback to employees, your content upgrade could be a check list that helps you choose the right feedback to use in your next coaching session.

Ideally, the gift can be consumed in one sitting and has high value for the prospect. After all, this is their first impression of you and your business.

To receive the download the reader has to optin to your mailing list.

The trick is to take the reader to what’s called a “landing page” where the offer is presented and there’s an invitation to join your list if they want to receive the gift but also receive future updates from you. The simplest way to do this is to create a hidden page on your site (like www.yoursite.com/offer) with the offer. You can also create custom landing pages in most CRM’s, like Convertkit, Ontraport, Active Campaign, etc.

example of blog content upgrade

5. Click to tweet

One of the easiest ways to encourage readers to share your post is to set up a click-to-tweet option. Your reader sees an interesting quote, identified with the Twitter bird icon, they click on that quote and your blog is shared onto their Twitter channel with a link back to your blog. This makes it super easy or your reader to share and you get exposed to their followers.

The set up for a click to tweet option is simple. At BlogWorks we use the plugin Better Click to Tweet. This video explains how to install the plugin. And there are others, like Click to Tweet and plugins like sumome and social warfare offer a click to tweet feature as an option.

Once you have the plugin installed add a click to tweet is easy. Copy a quote from your blog that you want readers to share. Click on the location in your post you want to insert the click to tweet. Click on the blue bird in your menu bar, paste the quote and you’re done!

example of click to tweet

6. Sidebar CTA

Most blogs have a menu of sidebar displayed options. It might be your most popular blog posts, advertising a product, like your book and it can be an invitation to join your mailing list.

Building your mailing list is an important strategy for marketing your business. Even with the explosive growth of Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and other social channels, you will always get stronger sales by directly emailing a list of loyal followers.

The sidebar CTA is an invitation to grow your list, usually in return for receiving a gift, or “lead magnet”.

Many of the mailing list tools, like Mail Chimp (called a signup form) or Convertkit (create form) make it super easy to design and load the “widget” box, complete with image of your gift, into your website. The full sequence of events, like Thank You page, optin confirmation email, etc are easy to set up.

More robust CRM (Customer Relations Management) software, like Active Campaign (create form to capture contacts) and Infusionsoft (create WordPress optin form) also allow you to create the form.

The beauty of these sequences is that once you jump through all the hoops (there are loads of videos on YouTube explaining how to do this), it will run 24/7 for years. Your job is to check the numbers and change to a new gift if you aren’t getting the results you want.

Use your sidebar for a CTA

7. The Pop-up Call to Action

Finally, we come to the much maligned pop-up CTA. But, before you run away screaming “I hate pop-up’s!” You need to know something.

Pop-up’s work. The trick with pop-up’s is to not annoy your reader! All of these tools are designed to select who sees your popup and how they see it. For example, you can delay the popup until the reader has been on your post for 2 minutes or they are about to leave you page. You can also set the popup to not show to returning readers. 

Some of the most popular popup plugins are Optin Monster, ConvertPlus, or WP Subscribe Pro.

popups work as a call to action

One more thing I’ve got to do!!

At this point you might be freaking out and thinking “One more thing I’ve got to do!!” Here’s the deal:

Just like investing in professional pictures of your products (or your profile picture), adding CTA’s to your blog are an investment. Every day you can be helping your readers with your blog or you can be helping them and you by getting them to respond to a call to action.

A small investment now (like 5 minutes to add internal links to a post) could pay big dividends day after day for years to come. So, stop screaming, pick one and get to work.

You’re welcome.

If you enjoyed this article (You new this was coming, right?), you’re going to want to check out these as well:

Why You Should be Re-Loving Your Old Blog Posts
How to Ensure Your Posts Look AMAZING On Social Media
Why You Need A Standard Operating Procedure For Your Blog

Why Adding a Call to Action is a MUST

Why adding a call to action is a must

Where do you lead people when they read your blog posts?

Are you even leading them anywhere?

A call to action (CTA) is exactly as it sounds – you’re calling your readers out to take an action on your site, such as sharing your post, subscribing to your newsletter, or downloading your content offer.

Without a CTA, your blog won’t actually help you achieve anything.

They are a necessary way to get people to do something on your blog. Without them, something terrible happens – nothing! They will leave and probably never return.

This post will show you a few examples of CTAs and explain how you can set up your own right now.

Let’s get started!

Examples of Calls to Action

So, what does a CTA look like? It could come in the form of:

  • A link to another page on your blog.
  • An image or graphic that links to a landing page or opens a subscription popup.
  • A button.
  • Getting people to contact you.

And more.

Basically, anything that gets your users to do something to keep them interacting with your company or moving down the sales funnel is a CTA.

Here are a few direct examples:

The “Read More”/Related Posts CTA

Related Posts example

I’m sure you’ve read a blog post, and when you got to the end, related posts popped up, right? This is a perfectly fine call to action. It keeps people reading.

Ideally, however, you also want to include calls to action to your landing pages and opt-in offers. Reading your stuff is great, but you want subscribers!

(Having trouble getting people to read your blog posts? Try this.)

Button Call to Action

Button call to action

Everyone loves buttons, right? They’re a great way to get people to take action. When designing a button, be sure to keep color contrast in mind! You want it to stick out.

Also, a small change in the copy – or text – of a button can make a drastic difference. “Subscribe” and “sign up” usually don’t work well, while “download” and “get” usually do better. That said, test different text for yourself – you might find the opposite is true.

Shareable Infographic CTA

Share this infographic

You can create an infographic using a tool like Venngage or Canva. Then, once you’ve uploaded it to your site, you can let people steal it – yes, steal it!

Basically, you let them embed the infographic on their own site with attribution to you. This gives you backlinks for better SEO, traffic from their site, and authority as it spreads across the web.

To let them embed it, use Siege Media’s embed code generator to add the embed code to your site. Easy peasy!

The Graphic or Image Call to Action

GetSOS Call to Action example

This call to action first appeared on our post about how to write killer blog posts. It works well to help us capture leads because it’s useful, visual, and includes a button – “get it”.

How to Set Up Your Own CTAs

So, you’re probably wondering, “What should I have my readers do?”

That’s an excellent question! And the answer depends on your goal.

  • If you want more reach, emphasize social sharing.
  • If you want engagement and feedback, emphasize asking people to comment.
  • If you want subscribers, send people to an opt-in offer.
  • If you want people to stay on your site, add more “related reading” CTAs.

There are a lot of ways you can get people to take action. The most important part is figuring out which actions are important and which you don’t care about.

Also, be sure to test different kinds of wording. Try to use power words to entice people to click!

Off to you – what are your favorite calls to action on a website or blog? Have any ideas we forgot to mention? Leave us a comment to let us know!