Do as I say, not as I do.

So, I decided to relaunch after more than a few years hanging out in the attic. While I care about content over having a spendy custom design, or even content over having the best optimized site…

Don’t do what I just did.

… Which is to launch your blog with only 2 pieces of content. Visitors should know that you’re going to produce amazing content and will want to return.

Why did I do it and you’re not allowed to?

This site is my personal brand. My domain retains a page rank 4 after years of being a blank white screen. And it’s still a PR 4 for a reason.  I know what I do works for me. I hope I can pass along some of my special sauce to you. And you should stick around because what I do works.

Seriously, I was shocked as hell to find that sweet page rank 4 a few weeks ago. It made me get off my butt and decide to start writing again. And teaching again. And sharing again. Drop by again soon, I think you’ll like what you find. Or, you know, sign up for my newsletter.

Let’s Talk About Subscription Boxes

This is sorta funny, because my primary blog is all about subscription boxes. But I don’t mean the kind of subscription boxes you get in the mail with the latest beauty products. Or for you guys out there, the kind with fishing lures or whatever guys like to get in the mail.

Nope, the kind that get you subscribers. The kind of subscription boxes you care about for your blog, no matter what kind of blog it is. You have an email list, right? If not, get one now. Niche site gurus tend to recommend Aweber, I prefer the sleek design of Mailchimp (that’s my referral link and I heartily recommend it!). Forget about using Feedburner’s mailing list. Given the recent sunsetting of Google Reader, you don’t really want Feedburner controlling your list. I do use Feedburner for serving up my RSS feeds on my main site, but I prefer the control I get over my mailing list. Truth be told, I’m still amazed at how few people really use RSS and prefer to surf, get a newsletter, or get fed new posts through Facebook or Google+ (join me on G+!).

Any of these platforms could die, but you’ll still have your mailing list. Your site could go down, get hit with a Google penalty, and you’ll still have your mailing list.  Do you get the picture? Get a mailing list.

Fill your mailing list with a Subscription Box

Now, in order to keep that mailing list nice & healthy, you’ll need subscribers. Along with all of your other efforts, you’re going to want some way to entice readers to join up. Whether it’s the promise of the latest news, a free special report, or some other exclusive content, you’ll probably want to offer it in exchange for your email address.

And how do you get those email addresses? You don’t need any fancy coding and in fact, I have found the easiest to use advanced WordPress plugin for collecting addresses from visitors: Hybrid Connect. I am a Hybrid Connect affiliate and this is my personal recommendation.

The Hybrid Connect plugin is amazing. Now, you might say, Brandy, your subscription boxes are, well, kinda ugly. That’s because I’m testing them. Hybrid Connect does automatic split testing with variations that you choose. Set up as many variations as you want, start your test, and Hybrid Connect will determine which subscription box works the best. This is a new site, so I’m running tons of tests to see which settings work the best. When I find one that performs well, I can run new tests.

And I don’t even have to show you how to use Hybrid Connect. One of the best parts? There are really short videos on nearly every page walking you through the basics so you can get up & running in a snap. Need something special? On Hello Subscription (my website about physical subscription boxes) I use a Pinterest plugin to make a Pinterest button appear whenever a user hovers over the photos. I didn’t want to touch the HC code, so I asked them about it, and they went into my back-end and fixed it. Amazing service for a relatively cheap plugin.

It takes only a few minutes to set up, and has awesome features like responsive design, Facebook connect (so if a user is logged into Facebook, she can just press a button and get signed up to your list). And tons more. Because I use Hybrid Connect on multiple sites, I selected the $67 version (I didn’t need the $149 license because I don’t flip websites or develop for clients). It was relatively cheap, and having automated newsletter subscriber capture is golden. If you want to see something a little flashier than what’s up here (remember, content always before looks! as long as your blog doesn’t look like garbage, anyways), check out the subscription boxes here.

What do you think?