How I cleaned my MailChimp mailing list

Back in August I did a little of spring cleaning and cleaned out my mailing list for my WordPress podcast network WPwatercooler.

The idea was that the number of opens and click through’s are pretty low and the number of people that were joining the show as participants was getting smaller so what I did is I took a list of all the people that were recently on the show for the last 12 months and added them to a do not remove list and then went through and removed all the folks that have never opened one of the emails and got rid of them. I went through and looked at all the people that haven’t clicked on the links in the emails and I set them with a special tag that I will at some point clear out. The reason why I did this is I wanted to figure out who the audience actually is and by having a bunch of people receiving the email I had this bit of a hesitation whether or not my efforts were actually worth doing sending out this weekly.

So a bit of background regarding this I send out an email each week asking people if they would like to be on the show. I also include links to the previous episodes so that they can view at their leisure and watch one of those episodes. I think it pretty important considering we have had some people on the show as speaking participants who have never seen the show before. Primarily these folks are marketers looking to get the word out about their thing, which is all fine and good except they don’t know any of the in-jokes or the reason why we make fun of a particular person or say a particular thing so really we would much rather have people on the show that have actually watched the show at some point in their life.

One thing I’m not a fan of is having big numbers for the sake of having big numbers when really those numbers should equate to actions that are occurring on the thing that I’m putting so much time and energy into. So by clearing out the closet of all the old craft I am able to really talk to the people that I know are engaged in the content are willing to participate and would like to be notified of the latest posts. I’m pretty happy with the results because with my 300 people subscribed to the mailing list I am able to determine that a good percentage of them are actually opening and clicking on the links. So far an average of 23% opens and 3.5% clicks is pretty awesome.

One of the other reasons why I wanted to clear out that mailing list is because I wanted to have a good idea as to whose actually doing what on the mailing list and are they actually involved. This helps me with running house ads on the mailing list as well as looking to see if advertisers are interested in running ads for my audience too.

Early on I started running ads for my friends products on the mailing list in hopes that I can drum up some data to determine how many people are actually clicking on those particular links. So far by including offer codes and other things like that I am seeing some click throughs which is pretty good. I think overall it’s a good idea for me to run a test like this so that way if potential advertisers are interested in running ads for a very niche market which WPwatercooler to be WPblab and CommunityConnections are that the advertiser or potential advertisers Well actually know that my mailing list is worth advertising on and will hopefully want to run an ad on the show as well.

Podcasting is a business is really interesting there’s a lot of moving parts with it from creating good content distributing the content tracking to see how many people are actually cooking on or doing things through that content and then using third-party tools to track how all of those efforts are resulting overall.

If you’re someone like me that has a mailing list and you’re noticing that your click through rates and open rates are really low I would highly consider going through your mailing list and seeing how much bait you can cut. Sending out emails to people that aren’t even going to look at the email let alone click on it or do we need type of actionable thing with it I feel isn’t worth sending an email to. Obviously there are many types of million lists and content and mailing lists that this very hard and fast rule doesn’t apply to you but to me and my content a lot of it has to do with actionable items.

Are you looking to get the word out about your WordPress product? Run an ad with us!

Our annual tradition, Letterboxing on January 1st

On New Year’s Day, my family and I went on our annual outing of going out to a local park and go letterboxing. What’s a Letterbox? Letterboxing is an activity that you do where you go to a website select a letterbox to find and go out and find it in the real world.

How does it work?

The process goes like this, you go onto a letterboxing website (we like letterboxing.org) and you find a location that you want to go to. That location can have a bunch of different letterboxes that are hidden throughout the place, these are typically areas like parks, outdoor areas, event venues and hiking trails. Once you have printed out your clues you can now go out and search for the letterbox using the clues the letterbox planter provided. Letterboxes are either hidden by themselves or in a series the clues will indicate that. While at the location you read the clues and follow their instructions to find the letterbox, some of these are very intricate and hard to find, other ones are fairly easy and they’re right off the edge of the trail where you can find the container. (I wrote about letterboxing a few years ago if you want to learn more you can check out that post too)

What do I need?

You’ll need a stamp, a stamp pad, and a notepad or something to collect your stamps with, bring a pen or pencil so you can write your name and the date. Typically people carve their own stamps, sometimes people will buy stamps at a craft supply store or something like that if they want to be generic.

Then what?

Once you found the letterbox you can take the stamp and stamp pad press the stamp onto the stamp pad to get some ink on it (that’s the stuff  brought with you) and then you open up the container of the letterbox and you locate the stamp that the person placed in the letterbox left in it along with the notepad or journal that’s in there for you to put your stamp in there. This is much like geocaching in the sense that your trading items but instead of trading the item you’re stamping their stamp in your notepad and stamping your stamp in the notepad in the container. As someone who has been involved in letterboxing for a while I will say that you’re probably better off finding a letterbox that’s close to where you live and if it requires a bit of walking maybe find a letterbox that is in a series so in case you can’t find one of them all hope is not lost in your lease get something out of the trip. There have been times where my family has gone out the letterboxing and we didn’t find a thing or we only found a few of the boxes in the series. The reason for this is that letterboxing is very much so part of the environment and if the environment erodes then the litter box may get washed away or found by someone who wasn’t intending on finding the letterbox. There are times where maintenance workers for the park or the trail will find it and throw it away not really realizing that the sandwich holder that they found is actually a hidden thing within a game and they should’ve put it back where they found it.

Let’s go letterboxing!

Now that I’ve explained to you what letterboxes are I’ll tell you a little bit about our trip on the 1st. We drove out to LA to a park that we’ve never been to before and kind of a sketchy area of town but this park had a huge trail with many many hills some of which were really fun to climb but if you are like some of my family members with bum ankles or knees it’s a little bit difficult to climb those hills. While on this journey to look for letterboxes that this one was a pretty good size series. So we parked at the park and locked up our car and started walking, the first letterbox wasn’t very far from where we parked.

After that we continue down the trail and found, even more, letterboxes this particular series had 12 letterboxes in total. While letterboxing you want to be discrete, you don’t want someone seeing where you found the box and then ruining it for the next person that is out looking for it. Once you find the box take it to a nice place away from where you found it and take some time to admire the artwork of the stamp, read through the journal of all the previous letterbox finders and take not the last time someone was there, people tend to leave the date they found the box next to their name and their stamp left on the page.

The view was incredible (but a bit smoggy but the weather added to the photos anyhow!) so I was glad I took some time to take some pictures while we were out there.

Once we found all the letterboxes we walked back to our car and proceeded to drive home. When we got home we take all the letterboxes that were found input all the information on to the website letterboxing.org and claim that you found those little boxes. There’s a good reason for doing this and that is your helping the rest of the community know but the litter boxes that were left or still there and that the next time someone wants to go look for it they can find out that they recently were found and it’s much easier for people to go back out and find them. Nobody wants to drive out to a location expecting something I never actually got to find it.

Go explore, take some pictures while you are out there and enjoy the outdoors, we do (one a year on New Years Day!)


All month long we at WPblab are hosting something we’re calling “Just Create January” hoping to inspire folks to create, share and interact with others all month long in January

Who is interested in doing a content creation (blogging, video, graphics) group here on Facebook for the month of…

Posted by Jason Tucker on Sunday, December 31, 2017

Applying focus to only a few personal projects this new year

Good Morning! It’s Day 1 of January the first day of the new year. I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things I’ve done, started and haven’t completed and have realized that I need to ditch a bunch of projects I don’t have time for and only focus on the ones I do. Most of these projects have some monetary cost to me each year in the form of a domain name, here is what I’m keeping to start:

Domains to keep

  • JasonTucker.blog
  • Jtuck.xyz
  • JenTucker.us
  • Jessalyn.blog
  • WPwatercooler.com
  • WPWC.co
  • Pressedlinks.com

Domains to ditch

  • WPtalkshow.com
  • Wpshowandtell.com
  • WPreviewshow.com
  • WPrecommends.com
  • Whitescreened.com
  • JasonTucker.photography
  • Doing.church
  • Geekfit.com

What I have realized is I haven’t applied focus on the projects that matter to me and haven’t found a way to apply a value to the ones I love, mainly in the form of monetization. I’m giving myself a year to monetize a few of my keepers and then I’ll reevaluate next year which I’m keeping.

It’s just about money?

Yes, when it comes to these they each cost money but all of them could make money but the passion for me isn’t there. The top 5 domains to ditch were show ideas that I wanted to do, most fall under the WPwatercooler umbrella anyhow. The photography one was back when gTLDs came out and I wanted to build a photography site, my photography is a hobby, stuff can be posted on JasonTucker.blog instead.

GeekFit.com was a show I did with an old friend, the domain has value and I’m trying to sell it but haven’t got much leads on it. This year I’ll try selling it again and see if I can get more than $100 for it.

Doing.church was an idea to provide churches with the tools needed to build an IT or AV infrastructure and the site would guide them on what other churches are using in this space, I didn’t have time to get it to take off but I thing the domain has value, do you?

Are you cleaning out your domain closets? How do you go about getting rid of them?

How to monetize a domain

Running advertisements on your website seems to be the simplest way to do any type of monetization. The other way to go about it is to write blog posts and put affiliate links in there so that when people like your idea and want to try to execute it themselves they can just click on the link in your article and purchase the product or service that you’re talking about and you’ll make a little bit of money.

The other way to monetize domain name that you no longer want is to try to sell it the simplest way to do that is just to put up a for sale sign on the domain name and then if somebody comes by and sees it they may want to buy it from you. So far I’ve used flippa.com and SEDO.com to try and sell my domain names.

Monetizing what I want to keep

As for the projects that I’m keeping most of them will most likely end up having to either some affiliate links or advertisements that I’ll run on the site myself or in the form of me speaking that advertisement on a podcast or YouTube show. My struggle here is that I’m not very good at selling so I need to figure out a good way to be able to sell ad space on my different podcast and YouTube shows so that I could make some money from them. For a long while now on the WPwatercooler we’ve never had advertisements in any form, I’d like to see if I can change that this year. Once I do I’d like to also continue to do this on WPblab so that there is some form of income that’s coming from it. Have you ever sold a speaking advertisement on a podcast?


All month long we at WPblab are hosting something we’re calling “Just Create January” hoping to inspire folks to create, share and interact with others all month long in January

Who is interested in doing a content creation (blogging, video, graphics) group here on Facebook for the month of…

Posted by Jason Tucker on Sunday, December 31, 2017

WordCamp US in Nashville 2017 with my 12 year old daughter by my side

This past weekend November 28 – December 3rd my 12-year-old daughter Jessalyn and I flew out and attended WordCamp US in Nashville Tennessee. As I wrote in my previous post –  WordCamp US through the eyes of a 12 year old Jessalyn and I were sponsored to go to WordCamp US by the kind folks at Bluehost via Women Who WP and giving us the means of flight and lodging to attend the event. Instead of boring you with a massive post I thought I’d build a bulleted list of my observations.

  • My daughter’s first flight ✅
  • Our WordPress community is amazing.
  • The venue, as well as Nashville in general, is absolutely gorgeous.
  • I wish we found time to go to the Johnny Cash museum, it was right across the street from the venue.
  • At first, I was a bit mad there was a room called “The Hallway Track” not because I have a show called Hallway Track but because it was weird that we legitimized something that was so organic, meeting one another between sessions during the WordCamp, it was its own destination and felt like I was depriving the speakers of people not being in their sessions. I latter realized that legitimizing this was a good thing, it allowed people who never go to sessions and just shake hands and kiss babies to do so in a room full of swag, marketers and sales folks. I spoke to a bunch of people about this and most said it was nice not having to be outside of the rooms talking with people and to be at a place where you could hang out and chit-chat with vendors.
  • I loved the idea of the community bazaar, how cool is that to have communities from all over have a place to be at to showcase what they do for their local or regional community. I loved that one of my communities Women Who WP was in attendance and had a booth to spread the love and community of women in technology.
  • I loved that ROSIE was EVERYWHERE including the State of the Word.
  • This years word was Gutenberg, love it or hate it it’s coming to WordPress like a freight train.
  • The food was awesome, Matt Mullenweg always brings the best BBQ to these events.
  • The official hotel and the event venue were walking distance away which is nice when you have a tired 12-year old that wanted to take a nap. That hotel was also really nice, we enjoyed ourselves.
  • My daughter’s swear jar got up to about $8 dollars. We’re not a family that swears and I have friends that don’t have kids of their own and find it challenging to communicate without swearing. Jess has an invoice she needs to send out to a few key people 🙂
  • Speaking of swearing I was a bit struck when I heard from the stage a poem that was said that included the word Mother F***er. It was crazy to think this happened in such a public forum almost as if Steve Jobs himself dropped an F bomb on state. Anyhow the video has now been made available on WordPress.tv has been modified to exclude an MF bomb in the middle of the poem. I gave WordPress and @photomatt some grief about this:

  • I think events like this need to foster the next generation of WordPress users, designer, developers and marketers and treating everyone in the audience on the same level outside of the professional norm is weird. I’m glad they have since modified the poem by blanking out the phrase used and the transcription of the poem, I feel this is in good taste given that WordPress is used by more than a quarter of the internet and countless businesses and organizations that dropping an MF wouldn’t be kosher.
  • The Nashville Science Center being rented out the way it was and we had full reign over the place was a welcomed addition to this awesome fun-filled event.
  • Jessalyn’s first room service ✅

Thank you to all the 13 women that took the time to interview with Jessalyn, 28 of you came out of the woodwork (with many of you sharing on slack, facebook and twitter to spread the word) we wish we had more time to interview you all.  Thank you for taking the time and inspiring my kiddo to get involved more with technology.

You can read Jessalyn’s blog post recap along with her interviews by going to the link below.

My trip to WordCamp US to interview Women in Tech

Thank you!

Thank you to Devin and the crew over at Bluehost for making our trip possible and for Women Who WP to supporting us throughout this project. You ladies mean the world to us!

I leave you with a big photo album from our travels out to Nashville from Southern California:

Stepping outside of my existing workflow and trying new things

Like most people, you find what works for you and you typically stick with it, I’m looking to change that when it comes to software, hardware, and services that I pay for. I use a bunch of web development tools to get the various jobs and tasks that I do on a regular basis and I’m starting to see that some of these things I only use only because I know the people that make them or I’ve been using it for years. I’m done thinking like that and I’m starting to try out new things to tweak my workflow to optimize the journey to the end result.

I’m trying my best to find replacements to tools and services I use for a few reasons: cost, time, difficulty/ease of use, and new hotness.

Apps

Quick Launchers

Menu Bar Management

Text Editors

Email

Local Web Development

File Sharing

As I start finding more of these things to try out I’ll add them to this list and will update it with what I’m currently using. Let me know in the comments if you are using anything new or different than what I’m using, I’d love to give it a try!