Why should I create an email list?

🆕 🔜 Check this out if you dream of running a solo Internet business 🏖️

95 people on 100 will never get back to your blog. They just found it by chance. Give them a reason to stay in touch.

In a previous lab post I talked about SEO for programming blogs and how organic traffic is a great way to get people to read what you have to say.

With all these visitors coming from search engines, what are you going to do?

First, forget advertising. It does not work, especially when you target developers. I am talking about PPC mainly. Unless you are CSS Tricks or some other huge site, you will make peanuts.

The thing that works with developers is

  1. products
  2. pro content

in any case, they should be yours, not belonging to someone else / affiliates, because of margin reasons. If you sell an ebook for 10$, you get ~9$ after commissions. All it costs to you is a time investment up front.

I decided to start with an ebook. People liked it, validated my idea, and I wrote another one.

I then decided to create an online course. I already created 2 online courses in the past, but this is a story for another post.

Don’t make your email list call to action just be “get my next posts in your inbox”. That works, but I found that works best is to create something, and lead up some anticipation for it, and promise your people to deliver them greater stuff (and do it, of course!)

For example when I decided to create an online course about Vue.js, I drafted a timeline and I knew I had 70 days until my course was live.

I immediately put a CTA saying :

“I’m going to learn Vue full-time for 2 months, and I’ll create a resource for you to learn it quickly as well, with tutorials and projects, working examples and screencasts. I will send you the free content I create 👨🏼‍💻 and I will keep you up to date with the course and offer you a big discount when the course is released. Stay in the loop!”

That 10x-ed my mailing list sign-ups from 2-3 per day to 25 per day (I couldn’t believe it).

I think that if you center your blog around teaching something, creating an infoproduct like a book or a course is a perfect match, because people arrive to your site in learning mode, and they are sponges ready to absorb all you have to offer.

Another kind of product might not be aligned with what you write, and maybe in that case it’s best to create a blog that talks about your experience creating it, what you learn, document the journey and so on. But this is just a hint, not a rule of any kind.