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Why Complimentary Articles can give you excellent SEO but poor subscriber growth

Getting customers to sign up to your newsletter — and to keep them is a challenge many of us face.

Those who’ve purchased from you are more inclined to buy from you again (especially after an email), and people that are newsletter associates are more likely to convert to buying customers after a couple or more regular emails than a casual guest.

So most of us know that newsletter members are golden. And I have been amazed that the biggest danger I thought I could shoot — to not let casual people view almost any of the articles they would be registering for — appears to be working.

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A little bit of background for you. After switching from a costly closed-source content management system to a WordPress site in March 2011, I changed everything but still allowed visitors to read their full monthly horoscope on my site. As an astrology gifts site, it’s an obvious issue to feature.

If they enjoyed reading this, my reasoning was that they could subscribe to the monthly newsletter that contained that information, plus exclusive materials and penis special offers, in addition to the separate, members-only yearly forecast.

With the client expectation and SEO benefit of (continuous ) free content, I started (on a separate WordPress site in March 2009), my everyday gift news blog. My online retail market is within the present market, I really like choosing gifts for others and wanted to make a site packed with (hopefully) intriguing gift-related info. Below each blog post is a link to the 12 Sun signs.

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I believed that after visitors were at my site, reading present info, they may hang around to read their stars and then would sign up and then — finally — become a client. Well, no, really.

My visitor statistics demonstrate that the most-read items are my present news blog posts, and with all the Google Panda upgrades, the Horoscopes page has dropped from the second-most visited page a year ago, to now the 9th most-visited content on my site.

Over time, I’ve experimented with conversion by:

• placing a small subscription box on the top right of my home page (lackluster results)

• Developing a pop-up box that appeared within about 60 minutes of you beginning to see your horoscopes (this annoyed everybody, even me, so I removed it)

• adding the full size newsletter subscription box down the right-hand side of the individual horoscope pages (that helped — rather )

• adding the subscription box down every blog post and the site itself (a bit more grip )

• creating a Christmas Countdown Calendar as a special incentive to sign up (that made little effect )

• writing a particular”There is one more step” type email to receive visitors who had not completed opting in to sign up (which works best when delivered within one hour of the initial subscription).

Finally, I was sick of it. Tired of writing a newsletter. Tired of providing free content for no return. Google Panda upgrades rewarded me with more traffic but not more readers.

After all, the people were not fussed about exclusive articles, they had everything they had, right there.

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So, what to do? I can see in the numbers that a number of the visitors who’ve been reading their horoscopes on my site for the past six years are repeat ones and so might like my writing style (and overlook my advice ) enough to sign up.

Last weekI set a Read More link below the first two lines of each Sun sign’s horoscope forecast which, if clicked, then guided them to the newsletter sign-up page spelling out exactly what they will receive within the next five minutes.

I worried about a backlash, howls of protest and abusive emails that they could not simply read their horoscopes without registering anymore. It might still go south naturally, but in the past week alone, I have had more 25 percent subscribers sign up than I did for all of October.

So maybe it pays to not give them all upfront.

Have you ever done anything similar?


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