MailChimp – Going Freemium: one year later

MailChimp posted some interesting numbers on their blog about how their free mailing lists worked out.

The answer is – VERY well – 650% increased profit!

They do add some thoughts on why that might not work for a start-up – the ratio between free and paid users seems to be around 10:1 for the average web service, but that 1 will have to cover all your expenses, and your starting infrastructure might not be up to the task.

Of course, their line of service is particularly good for free samples, since lists tend to increase with time, thus converting those free users to paid users naturally. Plus their free users automatically spread word about their service every time they use it.

A lot of software doesn't have such clear cut transitions, and users can keep using the free version forever.

That said, I do get some free advertising from STGThumb – my photo album generator – from watermarked photos and the HTML generation, however. While I never bothered to quantify this, it does add to a lot of hits over the years.

Site Reviews

MailChimp new features

As I prepare to e-mail the newsletter to my users (yes, it has been quite a while…), I logged in on MailChimp – which I'm going to use instead of PHPList, which is nice and free but very limited – and I learned that since the last time I went there a whole lot of new features were added.

Facebook Comments – which allows any post to have user comments, that optionally appear on their Facebook walls and thus carry the conversation (and product ads) farther.

A whole bunch of stuff with version 5.3 – including free Social Pro add on for 6 months.

Pretty impressive!

Software Release

STG FolderPrint Plus 3.78 release

I've just released version 3.78 of STG FolderPrint Plus – my main product.

This release contains a fix to an AV that was added by a subtle change on of the components I use. Unfortunately, I rarely turn Preview on and only caught it from user bug reports.

A big thanks for all users that sent bug reports! These really help a lot.

I've also added GIF to the preview system, and added an old request – Register with Explorer is now turned on by default when you install the program on Windows 7 and Vista. That means that you can right-click on a folder on Windows Explorer and click on STG FolderPrint to scan that folder.


STG Folderprint 3.77

Thought I should have a quick mention of the latest release. It just includes a simple new command-line option: -relative , and uses a new version of the protection system.

If you are not aware already, FPP has a lot of command-line options that you can use to automate reports of folders. Great for the busy sysadmin!

Book Review

Link Building Review

I've just finished another Wordtracker book, this time it was Link Building:How to build links for your site for SEO, Traffic and Response by Ken McGaffin and Mark Nunney.

On a funny note, I was quite pleased with the purchase of the book, as I had tried to purchase it for full price before. Wordtracker's system was broken for hours, so I couldn't order and let it go. Then a few days later, they sent me a US$20 discount, at which point I bought it, with a smile on my face 🙂 .

The book cover many ways to get links. Having read several other somewhat related books, many parts seem similar.

For example, I've seen most of Chapter 1 – Content, on Blogging for Business and Web Content Recipe Book (I recommend both).

There are a couple of details I don't remember seeing covered. Clicking when you link to someone, so that you make sure it gets on the referrer log. There were also a few references to, which I've had a quick look at and seems very cool.

Chapter 2 – Getting to know your online community. A very interesting view on how to classify link prospects, also a reminder that the easiest way to get links (and PR) is finding your 404 errors and converting to 301 redirects.

Chapter 3 – Make your site a linking magnet. All about the best content to get links – pretty much what was covered in Blogging for Business. One interesting reminder is that core articles can often be used for more than a target group.

Chapter 5 – Online Public Relations has some interesting insights about how to write a PR release.

Chapter 6- The definitive link building campaign – covers a lot of various ways to get your link campaign running.

Chapter 7 is a checklist of the various actions mentioned in the rest of the book.

Overall, I found the book interesting, but not great. The coverage on Blogging for Business and the Web Content Recipe book were overall much better.

On a interesting note, Wordtracker now has a Link Builder tool for US$59 a month. From what little I've seen, it doesn't look like a good investment.

You can get Link Assistant for US$99.75. I've used it myself, and it's pretty good. Do keep in mind that they do charge for updates (and it's hard to see when you buy!), but the most expensive plan will only cost US$6.95 a month, while the cheapest is US$3.05. They also have discounts for updates if you use more than one of their tools.

Book Review

Blogging for Business – Book Review

Blogging for Business, by Chris Garret, is the latest book I've read from WordTracker. It proposes to be a How-to for business blogging, and I'd say it covers that pretty well.

Chapter 1 – Why Blog? One interesting part in the beginning is the comparison with various others vehicles for communication –
– Blogs can have a wider audience, and permanence (of course, it's easy to archive your newsletter too).
– They also suggest tying your blog to your E-mail Service Provider to get automatic newsletters. I've been looking into various ones lately, and several can do this.
Your discussions are already started (articles)

Chapter 2 – Prepare to Blog – covers a number of preparations, such as analyzing the competition, choosing a site extension, subdomain or new domain, and software and hosting options. The Action section has a step by step guide on how to setup your blog with WordPress.

Chapter 4 – What to Write. Since I just read The Web Content Recipe Book, it felt similar in the basic ideas. Interesting additions are the idea of a editorial calendar, and in the Action section, suggestions on how to create a survey form in Google Docs, and the kind of questions you can use to get ideas for content.

Chapter 5 – Attracting Visitors. Various ideas for SEO, PPC, social sites and links.

Chapter 6 – Retaining visitors. Various techniques on how get users to subscribe, and stay. In the action section, how to set up a e-mail newsletter with Aweber, and detailed ideas on how to a serial

WPMU DEV - The WordPress Experts

Book Review

Writing Kick-ass Website Sales Copy – Review

After reading the excelent Web Site Recipes, I bought another Wordtracker book, Writing Kick-ass Website Sales Copy. My sales copy is a bit weak, so I thought it could help. It was somewhat helpful, but if it had recipe on the name too, I´d have to say it was a bit bland.

The book is divided in several sections:

1)How to power up your sales messages – various techniques to improve headlines. It has several classics, such as

  • adding a sense of urgency or scarcity (some the MLM people really love, albeit their is quite often fake)
  • give something free – bonuses, trials, etc
  • save – discounts
  • new – using NEW to get attention
  • reducing the risk – testimonials, case studies. 30-days no questions asked returns, and trust logos
  • 2)How to make a home page sell

    3)How to maximize conversion rates

    For me, this was the most useful section of the book. There are many tips on the best way to structure your sales page, your headlines, and the rest. One concept I thought was interesting was that the headline sells the lead, and the lead sells the rest of the copy.

    4)Landing Pages

    This is a short section. The main concept presented here is that a landing page should be just as the regular sales page, but with less distractions and extranous links to the site than a regular landing page. It also suggest (as I've read everywhere) that it's important to reflect the Ad message on the headline.

    If all this seems familiar to you, you might want to skip this book. Otherwise, it was ok, just not particularly iluminating to me.


    Advanced Website Optimization – Making your Site Faster

    Interesting article on the ASP site about site optimization.

    Several tips on the best way to do so, as well as reminders about why – not only does a faster loading site means your potential customers are less likely to leave, Google recently added some ranking based on site speed, so you might get better ranking!


    Resynthesize on GIMP

    Having mentioned the content-aware fill for Adobe CS5, I just had to mention the equivalent feature on the free GIMP.

    There is a pretty cool video that is similar to the CS5 one:

    You can see instructions on how to use it on Windows, as well as another demo here (blog post gone, link removed).

    Site Reviews

    Text-to-speech on e-mail newsletters

    I'm looking into changing my e-mail newsletter from PHPList – which is pretty good for a free tool, but obviously lack features compared to pricy ESPs (e-mail service providers), and deliverability is of course smaller, as the ESPs spend a lot of time tuning theirs.

    I'm checking out several ESPs, such as Mailchimp and GetResponse. One pretty cool feature added by GetResponse recently is E-Mail to Speech. It allows your clients to hear your e-mail instead of just reading it.

    The quality of the speech is pretty good. I still prefer to read (which is much faster), but I can see busy customers – or customers on the move – opting to use it.

    I'm pretty sure they'll post statistics eventually (unless they are awful ), and I'm very interested to see what the exact effect of this will be.