Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How to Create a WordPress Membership Site: 4 Tips

Back in the day, we considered things like our Blockbuster subscriptions something special. It felt good to know that we are part of a group and if you were a premium member you could get exclusives like bags of popcorn with your movie rentals, or generally extended rentals. This business model has rapidly shifted to the online universe and more businesses are opting to make a membership based website.

If you are thinking about creating a membership themed website you’re likely slightly overwhelmed due to the countless options, especially when using a freeform development platform like WordPress. According to a survey by W3Tech, WordPress websites make up 30 percent of the web, so this is going to be a likely choice for your membership site.

You’re in luck. We are here to help you sift through the information and develop a plan of actions. The tips listed in this piece are designed to help steer you in the right direction and help you create an attractive, functioning, easy to use WordPress membership site.

Use the Right Base Plugin

Almost every website starts with a base plugin. Essentially, a base plugin is the core tool that will allow you to create and customize your site into the type of webpage you want to create.

Some types of websites, such as basic blogs, function perfectly fine with a standard form builder. However, if you want to create a membership site, you need a plugin that supports this function.

There are many different member-style plugins available. Many people opt to use a plugin called MemberPress because of its ease of use and powerful features. Some of the features include different access rules, a community forum for your membership site, coupons, dynamic pricing pages, and in-depth reporting.

Create Multiple Subscription Levels

Sometimes it’s not enough to make it so that people can either sign up for your membership or opt not to do nothing at all. You can benefit your customers — and your business — by offering multiple subscription tiers so people can get exactly what they want.

The most common subscription levels we hear about are silver, gold, and platinum. You may be wondering how to use these three tiers in your business. Here is a practical example to help you understand how making multiple levels can benefit you and your subscribers.

In this example, we are going to use an example company that offers valuable content in numerous forms.

  • Silver: Bare-bones. The silver subscription will give the customer access to the base level premium written content. They can also view all podcasts and shows the day after they air.
  • Gold – Mid-Level. Gold members get access to everything silver members get, but they get access to the podcasts and shows as they air live. Furthermore, they get a premium newsletter sent out to gold/platinum members that have additional tips.
  • Platinum – Top-Level. These are your top paying customers. They get everything that the silver and gold members get, plus more. They are able to take part in the live Q&A on podcasts and live shows. They can get access to behind the scenes information, meet the staff, up and coming articles, and also get your library of previously published e-books.

Adding multiple tiers to your subscriptions gives your customers a chance to pick the plan that’s right for them. This is what a multi-tier system might look like in advertisement/purchasing format.


Offer a Free Trial

When you’re creating a membership site, one of the best ways to increase the number of people who subscribe comes from simply offering a free trial. It has been discovered that when a business offers new customers a free trial, 40 percent are likely to convert to a paid subscription — and that’s on the low end! High-end estimates are around 60 percent.

Offering this experience to your potential customer creates a positive outlook of your brand. They are able to ‘test drive’ your subscription and see if it’s something that they are going to want to use over the long term.


You’ll also get the opportunity to use your free trial as an advertising tool when promoting your membership based website. There are plenty of companies that make sure to mention their free trial in bold letters so customers know they are going to get to try before they buy, which goes on to boost conversions.

Offer Discounts/Upsell

There are multiple ways you can make more per membership purchase if you understand the nuances of upselling and when to hand out discounts.

Typically, there are two times when you’re going to want to give out discounts. First, if you’re segmenting your lead list properly, you should have a group of “free” email subscribers, “silver” email subscribers, and so on.

You can entice your “free” subscribers with a greatly discounted price on a silver account, which will help establish them as a premium member. On the same note, you can upsell and offer a discounted rate on your silver members to try to get them to upgrade to gold, and gold to platinum.

It’s possible to upsell to brand new customers too. The best practice here is to upsell immediately after they make the purchase. You may want to send them a thank you letter and mention that they can upgrade to the next tier for (X) dollars. The simple suggestion and a reasonable price may be enough to drive more sales and create happier customers.

There’s no doubt that building a membership-themed website comes with its own set of challenges. However, once you start a proper site and members start coming up, these types of websites tend to grow quickly.

These tips were designed to help you build a solid site with a reliable structure. The most important factor in this process is you. You have to continue offering your customers new and valuable information that will turn one time subscribers into lifelong customers.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Brain Secrets to Increase Your Email Conversions

Imagine if you could improve your email marketing by simply understand how humans think right before they make a buying decision. For example, one of the most successful area of studies is to understand how people think, and what makes them make a judgement. You’ve probably noticed some decisions are very quick while others take enormous time to make. What is the difference between these two different types of thought process? With that said, I have been working with some email marketers to understand how we can implement what we know about the human thought process to better our conversion rate. You’d be surprised on what I learned, and how I’m able to increase my email conversions by adding a few tricks to my landing pages, and email follow-ups. These messages have been tweaked to tap into the human thought process.

Read through the following strategies, and implement them into your email marketing going forward. It’s important to test, and tweak along the way for optimal conversions. Let’s get started, and your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Things That Stand Out

Here’s something that is very cool, and marketers work hard at making sure they have it tweaked to perfection. When setting up email landing pages, or even sending follow-ups, it’s important you include things which stand out compared to the other elements. Think about some of the MOST recognizable companies, and why you remember them? You’ll notice they have certain aspects which standout, and whenever you think about them that’s the first thing you remember. Here’s the cool thing,

It doesn’t matter if the element is the color of the site, layout, logo, or specific text because it’s important it stands out in the end. The more you can get people to remember your brand, the better because they’ll engage with your content more going forward. Supreme email marketers will spend close to 75% of their initial time testing different forms, messages, and elements until they find those which convert the best. Why? They know how important it is to ensure people remember your brand.

Go through different elements on your website, and find how you can make them stand out. It’s also a good idea to look at ways to present them to visitors showing them the value. This way when it comes time to start your email marketing campaign, you can elevate them to the next level.

Lesson #1 – People always remember what stands out so make sure you have elements that you can turn to during your email marketing campaign.

The 3 Second Rule

Research shows that a part known as the amygdala controls quick gut reactions, and this allows people to make split decisions. It’s there so we can make emergency decisions to protect ourselves. However, the ability for marketers to tap into this part has been the desire for many years. Research shows if you can lighten up this portion through email marketing, then you’ve increased the likelihood of obtaining a conversion. However, you have to understand the human mind-frame to achieve this. For example, it’s important to understand how the product or content your presenting will form an emotional connection. You have to breakdown your niche, and product to figure out it’s selling points, then create a campaign after. The two best niches this strategy works with are romance and weight loss.

Both of these niches connect to the human emotion of feeling better. People automatically assume if they lost weight or find a companion their life would change for the better. This is why both these niche market products by tapping into the emotional aspect creating a quick reaction. They aim at presenting products to build a connection lightening up the amygdala.

Lesson #2 – Try to achieve that quick 3 second reaction with your readers. The faster it’s achieved, the higher chance of getting better conversions through email.

Images Work Faster

Over the years we have a certain belief that text content is always better. Since everything has gone online, we write valuable text content because we’re under the impression it will help us rank better, and we can drive organic traffic to our site. However, it’s important you keep the recent changes in your mind as it applies to content creation. We are now in a time where social media has changed the way we interact with the very same content. For example, you see enormous content created using the following format:

  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Text
  • Podcasts
  • Etc

This means you can now attract the visitor’s attention more quickly which works in your benefit. However, I’m shocked at the amount of people who still opt to use text content as a way to increase conversions. Here’s the thing, when you are trying to get that conversion, you have to get your point across quickly…right? Long text content requires enormous reading time which can work against you when trying to win over a conversion. Statistically images, and videos are much better at getting the conversion now days. I’ll admit this wasn’t always the case, however people are more in a hurry, then ever before. If they don’t find the information they need within a few seconds, they’ll leave, and head over to your competition. Remember, there is NO shortage of competition online!

By now I’m sure you are creating an email campaign so it’s time to think of ways to address your MOST important points quickly. Think of how you would use videos, images or even infographics in your campaign, and it’s important to test these channels out. Remember, you are tracking conversions so you’ll have all the data you have to tweak, and optimize along the way.

Lesson #3 – Try different content format to find out what works best with your audience. It’s important to test each content format keeping your main purpose in mind. For example, if you want to increase sales, then look for ways each content form at increases or lowers them. Use the format with the highest conversion rate.

Following The Crowd

Through your email marketing campaign, it’s important to connect your readers either through social media or comment box. Over the year’s research has shown that people tend to shop where others are shopping, and buy products where the reviews are awesome. This is why I have encouraged people to always leave reviews when they purchase a product through my site. With solid reviews, I can direct people to the reviews page increase the chance of conversions. However, here is the trick, you have to embed the review page link within the email campaign follow-up so people can read them before buying.

Research has shown positive reviews on a product has the potential of increasing its sale by 40%. This is a staggering high number with a huge profit potential. Google has also given preference to reviews within the SERP’s because they increase the user experience. For example, when someone is looking for a product, it’s best they find out everything they can about it before their purchase. Reviews offer a way for the “pros” and “cons” to be communicated to the buyer.

Lesson #4- Reviews are a great way to engage readers, and increase conversions. However, it’s important you know how to set them up, and get people to the right page. Email campaigns offer a great way for you to market a product, provide reviews, and increase overall conversions.

It’s About the Value

In the end, it’s all about the value, and this means to make sure you can show your audience what the product, content or service is all about. If you change lives, then you won’t have a problem converting people into loyal customers. The cool thing is you can address value through a solid email campaign too.  For example, when you have a good product, and awesome content, then use your email follow-ups to point people in the right direction. It’s that simple! Value goes a long way with very little work on your end.

Lesson #5 – To be number one online, you have to provide value which others don’t. Value is only recognized when your readers share it with others so you have to direct them to your content page. Use email campaigns to reach out to your subscribers sending them to content full of value. Ultimately this will lead to more social shares, external links, and higher conversions.

It’s About Testing

If you’ve read my other content, then you know how much I emphasize testing for optimal results. The same can be applied to this strategy. You have to figure out after implementation what’s working, and what’s not. Once you have a magic strategy then you can increase conversions tenfold. However, the only why you’ll find out is by testing, and tracking. The cool thing is many of these newer ESP have a solid tracking system so you can pretty much get all the data you need to track conversions. I recommend giving it anywhere from 30-60 days to collect data, then optimizing.

Final Thoughts

Understanding human psychology is a great way to market your products. If you can tap into their desire, then you know it will increase your bottom line. However, many marketers tend to NOT take the time to understand their audience. As a matter of fact, when I was first getting started online, influential bloggers told me the key to success is understanding your audience. I’m here to tell you understanding them, and tapping into their mind frame is what increases conversions.

Go through each of the strategies listed above, and implement them into your email campaign. See what kind of results you can before stopping to tweak it later on. The key is to get as close as to your bottom line – Your Profit. With that said,

Get started, and let me know how things turned out in the comment box below. I’ll like to hear what strategy worked best with different niches.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

More Places to Find Royalty Free Music (That’s Actually Free)

You might remember a while back when I provided a list of places where you can find free music for your YouTube videos. As you know, if you’re a part of the YouTube Partner Program and you want to monetize your videos, you need to ensure that your videos do not contain any copyrighted material. That means you can’t just pull your favorite song off the radio, even if it’s the perfect fit for your video.

But you already knew that, right?

As a quick refresher, the five sources of royalty-free or copyright-free music that I mentioned last time around were:

  • YouTube Audio Library
  • Bensound
  • Free Music Archive
  • Soundcloud
  • Incomptech

I encourage you to read (or revisit) that previous article for more information about each of these sources. Remember that not every track listed on every site is royalty-free either and you do need to give proper attribution when requested, so read the fine print carefully.

But where else can you find free music to use with your podcasts, YouTube videos, and other similar online productions?


The objective of ccMixter might not exactly align with the interests of the budding vlogger on YouTube, but that doesn’t diminish the relative value of the website in any way. The goal of ccMixter is to provide a platform where you can “collaborate with 45,000 musicians around the world.”

Some of those musicians upload original samples of their music. Others upload original a cappella recordings. And then producers and DJs on the platform combine them to form original remixes and songs. But you, as the podcaster or YouTuber, can also download a lot of the musical content on here to use for your creations too.

The music, samples and remixes posted on ccMixter are shared under Creative Commons licenses. Not all CC licenses are the same, so be sure to read the specifics for the song you want to use to check about commercial use, attribution, and so on.

Free Soundtrack Music

The name of the website Free Soundtrack Music seems pretty descriptive, wouldn’t you say? There, you will find a grand selection of royalty free music that can be used in films, videos, video games, YouTube videos, and other “digital multimedia productions.”

Remember, though, that “royalty free” is not the same as “copyright free.” It just means that you don’t have to pay ongoing royalties for their continued use. Some of the tracks there include a one-time fee, so just hunt for the recordings that are labeled as “free.” Then, be sure to include the name of the composer or producer, as well as the URL in the “credits” section as per the licensing terms.


What if you’re not so interested in providing attribution to the free music you want to use in your YouTube videos? In that case, you might be more interested in the free public domain music you can find at FreePD. The site is completely free to use and the music is 100% free with no attribution or copyright. That’s because they’re all public domain.

You can optionally pay $10 to download 800+ MP3 files all at once or $25 to download the 100+ WAV files (as well as the MP3s), but the free way is to download the songs one at a time. The songs are organized into several categories across the top of the page including upbeat, epic, horror, romantic, comedy, percussion and electronic.


On Musopen, you’ll find a variety of “recordings, sheet music, and textbooks” that have been provided to the public for free and without copyright restrictions. Yes, this means you can use the content as you wish for your digital creations. Musopen itself is a non-profit organization based out of San Francisco.

With the free subscription plan, you can download up to five files a day. The audio is standard (lossy). If you’d prefer to remove some of those restrictions, the $55 annual membership unlocks unlimited downloads, HD radio, and high-quality lossless audio, as well as the ability to get music before others. Above that is the $20/month benefactor level to request pieces of music too.


And finally, we have PacDV. In addition to a variety of free music, you’ll also find a number of free sound effects and free images there as well. The tracks can be used for free, but you do have to link back to their site and provide suitable attribution in your credits (like in your video description).

Part of the frustration here is that the site does not provide embedded previews of the tracks, so you will need to download the full MP3 to get at the music. You are also only shown a small handful at a time, so you’ll need to flip through the pages to see if you can find a suitable track. You do get mood/emotion tags like “determined” and “sentimental” to help you decide on the right song though.

Do you have a favorite source of royalty free music?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Want to Boost Sales? 5 Google Analytics Metrics You Need to Track

Google Analytics is a tool that almost everyone who owns a website uses in tandem with other analysis software. You can easily spend hours scrolling through data points with a wide range of metrics available through Google Analytics.

But mindlessly scrolling isn’t going to get you anywhere. You have to understand the metrics you’re looking at and put them to good use.

We are going to look at some of the most important insights you need to track on your Google Analytics account and how those factors can increase your sales and help you build a great business.

Bounce Rate

Google’s definition of a bounce rate is “a single-page session to your site.” While the actual definition is a little more nuanced and there are plenty of things you can do to change your bounce rate, such as making a user interaction “non-actionable” so that it does or does not count towards the bounce rate.

Regardless, your bounce rate is a vital statistic that you need to keep your eye on when tracking Google Analytics. The percentage will essentially tell you how many people are leaving your website quickly, or without clicking out of the page that they landed on.

What is a “good” bounce rate?

Basically, everything from 41 percent to 70 percent is considered average. If you manage to get below a 41 percent bounce rate, you’re running a website that keeps people around, and that’s excellent for boosting sales. If your bounce rate is above 70 percent it may be time to go to your website as a user and see if you’re suffering from long load times or errors.

User Demographics

When visitors come to your website, there is a good chance that they are logged into their Google account. As a result, Google Analytics is able to grab the demographics of the people who go to your site.

You can reach your user demographics by going to the audience tab, and then demographics. You’ll see data such as the age and gender, listed below.

(Google Demographics Example: https://www.intechnic.com/blog/google-analytics-audience-analysis-and-demographics-reports/)

Why is this data important?

Simply put if you know your demographic you can easily make content and advertise to this user base. As an example, let’s say you want to start an ad campaign on Facebook. You check your demographics and discover that your main audience is like the example above, males between 25-34. You can take that data and run ads that target this audience, which can increase your sales over time.

Page views

Another important analytic metric you must track is your pageviews. There is a big difference between user sessions and page views that you should know.

User sessions include the entire duration of the online session per user. In other words, one person, one session. Page views, on the other hand, represent individual pages and how many time they were viewed. In this sense, one user can generate multiple page views depending on how long they stick around on your site.

Let’s look at an example below.

(Google Analytics Pageview Example: https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/78660/how-can-i-see-pageviews-per-post-google-analytics-wordpress)

As you can see, the post from March 31st obtained the most page views. You can use this data to adjust your Google Adsense and advertisement placement. This will also give you insight as to what kind of content your viewers want to read. You can use this data to help craft better content.

Landing Pages

A landing page is, as the name implies, the page that your audience lands on when they make it to your website. This is an important metric because it helps you figure out how people are finding your website and what page they are landing on.

This data can help you manage your SEO. If you look at your analytics and see that there are plenty of people finding your page with one keyword, while others are barely getting any traffic, perhaps it’s time to work on your SEO marketing and change up your keyword formula.

Knowing your landing page data is important for other reasons too. It can help you figure out how to distribute ads and where you should put the highest paying ads. For example, you’re not going to put your highest paying ad on your least viewed landing page, right?

New vs. Returning Visitors

Finally, you should regularly keep track of your new vs. returning visitor statistics. As you begin to build your brand, you’ll, of course, grow an audience of consistent fans who keep coming back to see what you post.

You can build profiles based on your returning visitors and see who they are, whether they converted, and what you can do to pull in more people like them.

It’s also good to check out this metric to make sure that people are still actively learning about your product or brand. This is important to ensure that your marketing plan is working and you’re expanding your reach to a greater audience.

These five metrics will help you make the most of your experience using Google Analytics. If you combine all of these factors together you can create an effective business plan based on hard data. There is no better way to grow your business than by using facts and data that you can track over time.

As you collect more data on your analytics, you’ll discover what works, what doesn’t and how you can get more visitors, more conversions, and higher profits.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Newport Beach Restaurant Week – Lunch At Bluefin Newport Coast

We kick off Newport Beach Restaurant Week with a lunch at Bluefin Fine Japanese Cuisine on the Newport Coast. Bluefin is a uniquely innovative Japanese restaurant by critically acclaimed chef Takashi Abe. The restaurant offers stunning ocean views and a sophisticated, intimate interior with a deep ocean blue water fall, dramatic illuminated sushi bar, dark woods and contemporary Italian chairs.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My YouTube Re-Monetization Experience

I uploaded my first ever video to YouTube in 2006. This was around the same time that I started my professional blogging career and it was also around the time that I met John Chow for the first time. From what I can recall, I also had an account with the now defunct Google Video, as well as other video streaming platforms like Viddler and Vimeo. YouTube was not yet the undisputed king of online video just yet.

For years, I treated YouTube as simply a convenient place to share videos online. It was great that I could not only upload the videos there for free, but I could also embed the videos in blog posts. While we may take this kind of functionality for granted these days, it was groundbreaking technology at the time. Somewhere along the way, I qualified and applied for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

Michael Kwan on YouTube

It’s through the YPP that YouTubers can monetize their videos and get a cut of the advertising revenue. Even though YouTube (and Google/Alphabet) is notoriously secretive about how those dollars and cents are doled out, getting something is infinitely more than getting nothing. I didn’t really take YouTube seriously for years, uploading videos sporadically as inspiration struck and opportunities arose.

Some of my videos got barely any views. Others, like a video of an animatronic Albert Einstein at the Consumer Electronics Show, racked up hundreds of thousands of views. Go figure. In the winter of 2016, I decided that I’d give weekly vlogging a go. It was just one grand experiment in what would happen if I was more consistent with the platform and developed more of a standard schedule and format.

The weekly vlogs generally don’t get a lot of views, but I did experience some of my fastest growth in terms of subscribers. The original plan was one year of weekly vlogs. When the Christmas 2017 and January 2018 rolled around, I had planned on taking a bit of a break. Then, YouTube decided to change the YPP rules on me.

The original requirements to get into the YouTube Partner Program were that you needed 10,000 lifetime views on your channel. With the changes, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours (240,000 minutes) in the last 12 months. I did not satisfy those requirements and they said that they’d give a little bit of a grace period to catch up.

I didn’t catch up. So, I got kicked out and it felt like the end of the world. It was the apocalypse for YouTube small creators. Sort of.

So, instead of taking that break from vlogging that I was planning to do, I kept on trucking. I kept up with the weekly schedule. You see, I already satisfied the requirement for 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months by a reasonably comfortable margin, but I was about 100 subscribers shy of the 1,000 mark.

In the end, with my weekly vlogging and constant pushes for organic growth, it ended up taking several months before I cracked the 1,000 subscriber mark. And it felt good. So good.

There was some good news and some bad news at that point. The good news is that because I was previously accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, my re-application back into the program was automatic and soon as I met the new requirements. I didn’t have to do anything and the process got rolling on its own. That’s good.

On the day that I met the requirements, the monetization settings page said that I should hear back from them via email within a week. When I went to check again the next day, it said that I should get a response within a month. Apparently, the human workers at YouTube have been very, very busy dealing with a backlog of re-applications.

Eventually, it took right around three weeks to get the reply via email and my YouTube partner status was reinstated. From what I can gather, most of my original monetization settings were also re-enabled and the default settings were applied to everything newer than when I was booted out of the program. This required some manual review on my part as I dug through my library of over 500 videos.

And that’s about it. The re-monetization process really is pretty seamless and automatic. Now, I can’t say if it’d be the same if you were applying for YPP for the first time ever and whether YouTube prioritizes re-applications or new applicants. What I can say is that I’m happily enjoying my tens of cents from the revenue share.

Maybe it’s about time I explore more of those monetization alternatives to AdSense, eh?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Look Inside The One Funnel Away Challenge

In this video, I show you inside the One Funnel Away Challenge. I’ve received many questions about the challenge, and figured the best way to explain it, is to show you inside.

The One Funnel Away Challenge is designed to FORCE you to stop working on stuff that doesn’t matter, and start implementing the key tasks that will get your funnel LIVE, and your business flowing. In 30 days, you’ll have a funnel that is built and LIVE, and ready to gather leads and sales.

If you’re the type of person who vaguely knows what to do, but just needs to buckle down and DO IT, then this Challenge is going to be the kick-in-the-pants you need EVERY DAY until you get your funnel launched. I look forward to doing the challenge with you!

Click Here To Join Me for The One Funnel Away Challenge