June 2016 Website Journey – adding an author bio with Starbox at the end of each post and using SendinBlue for email marketing
Even though most websites include an author bio (a couple of sentences about the post’s author), I never thought that PeasOnToast needed an author bio box.
After all, isn’t that just for websites with guest writers?
PeasOnToast has the same writer, me, for everything, so I thought there was no need for me to state the obvious all the time.
But then I realised….
- some people may only read one post, so they won’t know anything about me if there’s no author bio
- some people may print a post to read later, at which point there’s no way of finding out who wrote the post, if there’s no author bio
- even if there’s an author bio on each page, people skim through and ignore it if necessary, so it needn’t be a nuisance at all
- an author bio is helpful for those who are interested
Next step – find a decent author bio plugin.
As well as setting up the author bio, I decided to switch my email marketing provider. I used to use Campayn but now I’m using SendinBlue.
1. Setting up the author bio with Starbox plugin
I tested several author bio plugins before settling on the Starbox plugin by Squirrly UK.
I like this plugin as it’s versatile and has an attractive layout for the author bio, with options such as:
- several layouts
- upload image/photo
- social media icons
- suitable for multiple authors
- latest posts tab
- automatic or manual placement
It’s also very easy to set up – just go to the Settings, Starbox tab and then the Users, Your Profile tab in WordPress.
2. Using SendinBlue to send emails and create forms
I mentioned in Website Diary #6 that I was using Campayn for all my email marketing. It worked well and was easy to use, but the free, basic plan was just that… basic.
Campayn’s free plan only allows one autoresponder (an email that’s automatically sent when a particular action is taken, eg a welcome email is sent to a new subscriber). It doesn’t show analytics other than the percentage of people who have opened your email, nor can you view Campayn reports or messages.
Because of that, I’d been on the look out for another email marketing provider for a while. and then I came across SendinBlue.
SendinBlue and Campayn comparison
As you know, I’m all for saving money and, preferably, spending no money at this stage in the game! SendinBlue fits the bill perfectly.
Here’s a quick comparison of the Campayn and SendinBlue basic packages:
- Campayn’s free package – 500 contacts, 20,000 emails per month, one autoresponder, contact forms, very basic analytics
- SendinBlue’s free package – unlimited contacts, 9,000 emails per month (max 300 per day), unlimited autoresponders/forms, real-time reporting, full marketing automation
It’s a learning curve, but it’s worth it
One thing I would mention is that SendinBlue can be quite a steep learning curve at the outset [EDIT: this is no longer the case since SendinBlue’s website update]:
- terminology not immediately obvious to an email marketing newbie – eg Forms are in the “API & Integration” menu, and Autoresponder Emails are in the “SMTP Templates” menu
- different sub-menu options make it difficult to re-trace your steps to find what you’re looking for
- website content has been updated ahead of the tutorials with different terminology – eg the tutorials/screenshots refer to the automation “scenario” steps whereas the menu refers to the automation “workflow”
Having said that, it’s definitely worth persevering with SendinBlue as you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
The customer service team is to hand via email and are very helpful and responsive.
It’s just a case of you following the tutorials once. Then you’ll find your way around the SendinBlue dashboard and understand the terminology.
3. Changing my SumoMe pop-up text
As you know, I use SumoMe’s CTA subscription forms to collect email subscribers and provide freemium products in return. In this instance, it’s my fintech fact sheet which compares the pros and cons of using Revolut, Saving Stream, Monese and TransferWise.
A few months ago in Website Diary #6, I had CTAs (call-to-action, aka subscription forms) in the header, side bar and footer.
This month I changed things around. I removed the header and side bar CTA, kept the footer bar (aka Smart Bar), and added a pop-up box (aka List Builder).
These are all free SumoMe products and can be installed with the free SumoMe WordPress plugin.
The List Builder pop-up box noticeably increased the number of people subscribing. It automatically pops-up whenever a person’s mouse appears to exit the website so it doesn’t interfere with people reading the content.
4. Sharing your content
Being a review website, my visitor numbers vary with product trends.
I’ve recently had a lot of shares for my fintech product reviews and have noticed an increase in visitors – often averaging 100 a day.
Coupled with also becoming more active on Pinterest, it’s led to more visitors to my website. I still plan to create Pinterest pins for my product reviews… As yet, I’ve only created them for the Website Journey blog.
What’s been learned?
- an author bio is helpful to readers and keeps it accessible when printed
- test several author bio plugins as they offer different layouts and features. Choose the one that best suits your website requirements
- just because there’s a learning curve, doesn’t mean it’s too difficult. Persevere and you’ll be be able to benefit from all its features
Honest stats – June 2016
Monthly website traffic increased to just under 3,000. This is the highest so far and happened because more of my reviews are being shared on social media, so I’m getting more visitors.
So, that’s my update for June 2016 covering why I decided to use an author bio box and changed to using SendinBlue instead of Campayn.
Note: this blog post is intended to be a general resource only.
- reviews to save you time looking for good value, quality household/fintech products
- blog/tutorials for any of you website newbies to follow my PeasOnToast learning curve
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