20 Best Shopify Themes for 2017

Here at Elegant Themes, we might make WordPress themes and plugins, but that doesn’t mean we’re blind to eCommerce trends. Shopify is growing rapidly, with 75% revenue growth year over year. That growth is, obviously, fueled by more and more people turning to Shopify to manage their store. So to stay on top of the trends, we decided to round up some of the best Shopify themes out there.

Sorry, folks – these won’t work with your WordPress site. But if you’ve been itching to launch a store on Shopify, consider one of these Shopify themes for your next project. Plus, just because you’re managing your store with Shopify doesn’t mean you can’t still use WordPress for other parts of your site!

Top Shopify Themes for 2017

In collecting these 20 Shopify themes, I was looking for a couple of things:

  • High review ratings – if a theme fared poorly in reviews, it didn’t make the list.
  • Developer support – either evidenced through recent updates or through the text of customer reviews

Beyond those two criteria, I also tried to find themes with different uses and styles so that all types of stores can get value from this list.

And finally, you’ll find both free and premium Shopify themes at different price points.

Let’s dive in…

1. District

District

District is a clean, grid-based Shopify theme that comes in three different style palettes. The large promo banner lets you promote your latest deals at the top of the page and it also includes galleries and sliders to promote your latest products further down.

You can also bring in a bold, full-width Instagram feed. And the built-in marketing popup gives you another avenue to share promotional offers.

Better yet, District has maintained a 100% positive rating on over 247 reviews.

Key Features:

  • Promotional banner and marketing popup
  • Slideshows and collection galleries to promote products on homepage
  • Full-width Instagram feed
  • Home page video feature
  • Responsive design
  • Great reviews

Price: $160 | More Information

2. Parallax Theme / Aspen

Parallax Theme/Aspen

As you might have been able to guess from the name, one of Parallax theme’s defining features is its long-format, parallax homepage. Grab your shoppers’ attention with full-width images that look gorgeous with the parallax scrolling effect.

Key Features:

  • Full-width parallax scrolling images
  • 15 homepage sections including a video banner
  • AJAX add to cart
  • Built-in currency converter to dynamically convert prices

Price: $180 | More Information

3. Supply

Supply

Supply is a free Shopify Theme built with a minimalist design specialized for displaying and filtering large inventories. It’s not especially creative, but it is well-suited for stores selling more practical products.

It comes with 2 different color styles, detailed filtering options, and a homepage slider to showcase multiple products on your homepage.

Key Features:

  • Built for stores that need to display large catalogs
  • 2 different color themes
  • Detailed sidebar filtering options
  • Homepage slider

Price: Free | More Information

4. Narrative

Narrative

Whereas the previous theme was built for large catalogs, Narrative takes the opposite approach and focuses on small catalogs and product storytelling.

Narrative accomplishes this by giving you a bold hero video on your front page, as well as customizable image blocks, quote slides, and more on the product page.

It also comes with 3 different color styles, a neat vertical slideshow feature, and a full-width layout.

Key Features:

  • Built for small catalogs and storytelling
  • Hero video on the home page
  • Customizable image blocks, quote slides, and more
  • Full-width layout
  • Vertical slideshow
  • 3 different color themes

Price: Free | More Information

5. Icon

Icon

Icon offers a bevy of bold visuals, sliders, and a stunning parallax effect. If your store is focused on visual content, Icon is built to help you display it in the most effective way possible.

Icon also supports a full-width Instagram feed for even more visual content, and your shoppers can view more details about each product without leaving the page thanks to a product quick view feature.

Key Features:

  • Focuses on presenting visual content
  • 3 different color themes
  • Parallax scrolling
  • Product quick view
  • Full-width Instagram feed

Price: $140 | More Information

6. Ella

Ella

Ella is the best selling Shopify theme at ThemeForest. It’s built on Bootstrap 3 and features a helpful mega menu module, detailed product filtering by tags, custom page layouts, and more.

You can feature your products with a large homepage banner and your store is, of course, fully responsive.

Beyond being the best selling Shopify theme at ThemeForest, Ella has also maintained a solid 4.66-star rating on over 5,250 sales.

Key Features:

  • Advanced mega menu module
  • Built on Bootstrap 3
  • Product filtering by tags
  • Homepage slideshow banner
  • Drop-down shopping cart
  • Newsletter signup module that connects to MailChimp

Price: $56 | More Information

7. YourStore

YourStore

YourStore is right behind Ella when it comes to best selling Shopify themes at ThemeForest. It comes with 22 pre-made layouts and supports the Shopify Builder.

Beyond that, it also gives you a variety of product listing page and shopping cart variants, as well as built-in support for Google Rich Snippets and lazy loading, among many other smaller features.

Key Features:

  • 22 premade layouts
  • 8 listing variations
  • 3 product variations
  • 2 shopping carts
  • Google Rich Snippets support
  • AJAX search

Price: $60 | More Information

8. Simple

Simple

True to its name, Simple is an elegant minimalist Shopify theme that’s available for free at the Shopify Themes marketplace.

It offers a clean design that puts the focus squarely on your products. As a consequence, don’t expect as many bells and whistles as the other Shopify themes on this list.

Key Features:

  • Minimalist design
  • Accordion-style sidebar menu
  • Related products feature
  • Product image zoom and animations

Price: Free | More Information

9. Avenue

Avenue

Avenue is another popular Theme Forest Shopify theme. It features a helpful mega menu, AJAX wishlists and layered navigation, infinite scroll, and tons of other helpful features.

You’ll have a great deal of control over your product listing pages as well as your individual product pages. And you’ll also get a helpful newsletter opt-in popup that connects to MailChimp, as well as behind-the-scenes features like Google Rich Product Snippets and lazy loading.

Key Features:

  • Built on Bootstrap 3
  • Advanced mega menu
  • Newsletter popup
  • Product hover and quick view
  • Infinite scroll module
  • Google Rich Product Snippets

Price: $56 | More Information

10. Foodly

Foodly

Foodly is a neat food-focused Shopify theme that’s perfect for anyone selling food-based products. It features a drag and drop visual constructor as well as easy 1-click installation.

Beyond that, it also continues with the food theme by including special features to show recipe articles, a nutrition value section, and a helpful mega menu.

Key Features:

  • Focused on food
  • Recipe article type
  • Nutrition value calculator
  • Drag and drop visual constructor
  • 1-click install

Price: $59 | More Information

11. Mobilia

Mobilia

Mobilia is a beautiful Shopify theme focused on helping you tell the story behind your brand. For that reason, it’s best suited for brands that rely on storytelling, rather than large product catalogs.

Beyond plenty of space on the homepage to tell your brand’s story, Mobilia also featured a full-width home page video, a full-width Instagram feed, multi-level menus, and a customizable sidebar.

Key Features:

  • Optimized for large images
  • Collection images are full-width
  • Single product gallery for large, high-resolution images
  • Home page video

Price: $160 | More Information

12. Material

Material

Material is a popular responsive Shopify theme for sale at ThemeForest. As the name hints at, Material is based on material design principles and features a video slider, advanced filtering module, mega menu, and a variety of layouts.

Beyond that, it also helps visitors shop without page reloads with a QuickShop feature, and it offers a variety of helpful widgets, as well as a dedicated lookbook page.

Key Features:

  • Follows material design principles
  • Built on Bootstrap 3
  • AJAX filter module
  • Video slider
  • Multiple page styles
  • QuickShop feature

Price: $56 | More Information

13. Porto

Porto

Porto is a popular WooCommerce theme that’s since been ported to Shopify, as well as a number of other content management systems.

It features 20 unique homepage layouts, a variety of category page styles, unlimited header layouts, and tons of other customization options.

If you want a Shopify theme that’s flexible, Porto gives you a great deal of control over how your store looks.

Key Features:

  • Responsive and retina ready
  • 20 homepage layouts
  • Unlimited header types
  • Related products
  • Parallax category banner
  • AJAX add to cart and wishlist
  • Touch friendly

Price: $56 | More Information

14. Loft

Loft

Loft is an interesting theme that showcases products in an eye-catching masonry grid on the homepage. It’s ideal for stores with large product catalogs and features neat custom promotion tiles that can fit into the masonry grid on the homepage.

Beyond that, it also features a multi-level menu, as well as story-focused product pages with plenty of space for additional text and images.

Key Features:

  • Masonry grid homepage
  • 3 different color styles
  • Custom promotion tiles that fit into the masonry grid
  • Full-width Instagram feed
  • Multi-level menus
  • Story-focused product pages

Price: $160 | More Information

15. Hosoren

Hosoren

Hosoren is a responsive Shopify theme that comes with 14 unique homepages and 6 different header styles.

It also features a carousel product slider, AJAX add to cart, quick product view, and plenty of other helpful features.

Key Features:

  • 14 pre-built homepage layouts
  • 6 different headers
  • AJAX add to cart
  • Quick product view
  • Built-in mega menu

Price: $56 | More Information

16. Handy

Handy

Handy is a Shopify theme focused on stores selling handmade products. Basically, if you’re a craftsman, Handy is built to help you sell your wares.

Handy features a customizable mega menu, responsive design based on Bootstrap 3, multiple sidebar layouts, AJAX live search, AJAX layered navigation for easy filtering, newsletter opt-ins, and lots of other features for your handmade store.

Key Features:

  • Built for stores selling handmade products, though you don’t have to use it that way
  • AJAX live search
  • AJAX layered navigation for product filtering
  • Multiple sidebar layouts
  • Flexible mega menu
  • MailChimp newsletter signup popup
  • EU privacy popup

Price: $59 | More Information

17. Venue

Venue

Venue is a Shopify theme built for stores that also sell products at physical locations. So if you have physical stores but also want to open up a web presence on Shopify, this is a great theme for you.

Beyond showcasing your products, Venue also helps you promote your physical stores by letting you share store details and events, as well as display multiple locations on a map.

Venue looks nice enough as a standalone eCommerce store, but this brick and mortar functionality is what sets it apart from the competition.

Key Features:

  • Promote physical store locations and events
  • Pin multiple store locations on a map
  • Age checker popup to verify visitor age
  • 3 different color schemes

Price: $160 | More Information

18. Electro

Electro

Electro is built for Shopify stores selling gadgets and other technology items. It features a modern design with an attractive vertical navigation menu.

It also features both horizontal and vertical mega menus, 4 style options for product listing pages, a variety of collection variations, as well as helpful tools to up-sell your shoppers.

Key Features:

  • Built for gadget and technology stores
  • 4 product page variations
  • 7 collection page variations
  • Built-in shopping cart up-sells
  • Multiple homepage variations

Price: $59 | More Information

19. Fastor

Fastor

Fastor is a flexible Shopify theme with a huge variety of pre-made demos. Over 73 of them, in fact!

Fastor is one of the best selling Shopify themes at Theme Forest, supports Shopify Sections, comes with a page builder, built-in wishlist app, and plenty of other helpful features like lookbooks and more.

Key Features:

  • 73+ pre-made demos
  • 26 custom headers
  • Supports Shopify Sections
  • Built-in page builder
  • Wishlist app
  • Supports multiple currencies
  • Mega menus
  • Autocomplete search

Price: $56 | More Information

20. Palo Alto

Palo Alto

Palo Alto is a modern theme built for forward-focused brands with a story to tell. Because of its focus on storytelling, it’s a great option for brands with smaller catalogs.

Beyond plenty of space for extra text on product pages, Palo Alto also helps you tell your story with a bold hero video. And you can also easily bring in customer testimonials to boost your brand’s social proof.

Key Features:

  • Contemporary design
  • Built for storytelling brands with small catalogs
  • Bold hero video
  • Built-in space for customer testimonials
  • Optimized for large images

Price: $180 | More Information

Wrapping Things Up

I hope you enjoyed our list of Shopify themes! I know most of our readers are WordPress fanatics, but even the most avid WooCommerce supporter can’t deny the appeal of Shopify.

Now over to you – would you ever consider using Shopify over the world’s most popular content management system (that’s WordPress!)?

Article thumbnail image by Pretty Vectors / shutterstock.com 

The post 20 Best Shopify Themes for 2017 appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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What’s the Best Place to Purchase Your Domain Name From?

One would think that purchasing a domain name is a relatively simple process. Go to Google, type in “best place to purchase domain name,” clickity-clickity, and you’re done. Ta-da!

Unfortunately, there is a bit more to it than that. At least, when you plan on actually using that domain. Finding the best place to purchase a domain name is important. You’re probably going to be with that service for years, after all.

Finding the best domain registrar for you is a combination of cost, services offered, and support. Not every company will work for every person or company, but depending on your needs, I’m confident we can find one that will work.

Namecheap

best place to purchase domain name

Namecheap has become one of the top domain registrars around. It may not be as well-known as some of the others, but it consistently outperforms other companies in cost, services, and support.

They have deals pretty often for different domain extensions as low as $0.88 USD, though it’s rare to find something like a .com at that price. Most prices tend to be around $10-12 USD, with specialty domains such as .blog, .tech, and .io running between $20-60 USD per year.

The main draw of Namecheap, in my opinion, is the quality of their overall platform. From managing DNS to ownership/registrar transfers, they are reliable and easy to use (even if you’re not familiar with the ins-ands-outs fo domain management).

Additionally, newly registered domains come with free WHOIS privacy for the first year. (And $2.88 USD per year afterward–considerably cheaper than most other places). You will save you a pretty penny if you register or transfer in bulk. Plus, their support has been quick to respond and fix every issue I’ve personally had within a day each time.

Google Domains

best place to purchase domain name

Google Domains is finally out of the invite-only phase of its deployment, and it is exactly what you’d expect out of a Google-run domain registrar. Things are simple, clean, and straightforward, and for the most part…they just work.

The real benefits in my mind of using Google Domains is the ease with which you can get things up and running. Your entire domain list is consolidated in your Google account, so if you use G-suite for work or Gmail et al for personal use, you’re good to go (with payment information likely already stored, so that’s a bonus).

There are a couple of downsides to the service, the first of which is that there are never any discounts (at least that I’ve discovered). You pay $12 USD per year for the more common TLDs (top-level domains), and pretty much every other extension under the sun is available for $20 all the way up to $120+. You do get WHOIS privacy bundled with the price of each domain, so that tends to make the service a bit more cost effective.

In terms of support, it’s typical Google. Sometimes it’s spot-on and your problem is solved ASAP, and others you’re sent through a Knowledge Base and Support Forum treasure hunt without a map. So yeah. Again, it’s what you’d expect.

Flippa

best place to purchase domain name

Flippa is not your average domain supplier. Not technically a registrar, but a marketplace (think eBay for website and domain names), Flippa lets you browse through thousands upon thousands of listings for domains that are for sale. Sometimes you can snag the perfect one from a squatter for pennies, and sometimes you can snag the perfect one from a squatter for thousands of dollars. It’s a crapshoot in the best kind of way.

The search function works like any other company: you type in keywords you want results for, and then you pick whether you want existing websites or domains (or apps or Shopify shops, technically).

They do tons of transactions every day, and their support has always been quick for me. The main downside to Flippa is that it’s not a pay-and-go service with set prices and rates. You’re dealing with other human beings, and we all know how that can be.

GoDaddy, Hostgator, and Bluehost

Okay, first of all, I know that these companies are not the same, but having used all of them for domain registration and hosting, I’ve had nearly identical experiences with each and everyone of them. Their prices and offerings are very, very similar, so I bundled them together.

In my mind, these are the big-box stores of domain registration, the Walmart, Target, and Costco. They have every last thing you need, are incredibly affordable and easy to work with, and when you have a problem, they’re happy to help (usually for an additional fee, depending on the extent to which you need them).

Things to Consider

With any registrar that offers discounted rates and major coupons, make sure you watch out for the renewal rate for successive years. If you have auto-renew on, at the end of that first year, you will be billed the “then-current” price, which has yet to be determined at your initial registration. Just because you paid $0.99 for that first year doesn’t mean that you won’t be paying $29.99 the next. Read the fine print.

Additionally, these kinds of registrars are more casual-user oriented, and therefore many of their services are tiered and priced with that market in mind. Features such as WHOIS privacy tend to be a la carte and higher-priced than at smaller, more niche-focused companies.

Customer support, in my experience at least, also tends to be similar. For both GoDaddy and Hostgator, I typically receive responses within a day, but the quality is hit-or-miss. (LiveChat tends to be more useful than email support lately.)

Clients and I both have been consistently upsold by both GoDaddy and Hostgator in the past to the tune of $75 USD for DNS issues and SSL certificate installation, all the way up to $300/hr a fix I handled in literally 3 minutes for a client after they were told the Hostgator technicians had to handle it over a couple of days.

My interactions with Bluehost customer service have been delightful, honestly, but neither I nor a client have needed anything as in-depth as with GoDaddy and Hostgator.

Admittedly, that’s all anecdotal, so if you plan on going with one of these three for domain registration, it’s personal preference.

GoDaddy

best place to purchase domain name

  • GoDaddy has WHOIS privacy in three tiers between $7.99 and $14.99 USD per year per domain
  • 19 TLD extensions available

Hostgator

best place to purchase domain name

Bluehost

best place to purchase domain name

  • Bluehost has WHOIS privacy for $0.99 per month per domain
  • 14 TLD extensions available

Name.com

best place to purchase domain name

Name.com has been around forever, and they are very well known in the domain industry. They have prices ranging anywhere from $3.99 USD per year to $100+, depending on how special you’re looking for. Name.com does offer sales, and their extension choices are far wider than many other hosts.

The WHOIS privacy option here is on the cheaper side at $4.99 USD per year, too. I would also like to mention that they do offer add-on email support–even if you don’t have a hosting plan through them. That’s a rare find, and I thought you’d wanna know about it.

These folks have built up a reputation on being reliable and consistent. If that’s what is important for you, you will find a lot to like here. They aren’t flashy, and they don’t have a gimmick. That’s pretty cool. They do what they set out to do, and they do it well.

DreamHost

best place to purchase a domain name

There are over 400 domain extensions, and very few places can sell them all. DreamHost is one of them. So if the desire for that ultra-specific, specialty domain keeps you up at night, DreamHost has you covered. They run sales where you can pick up some extensions as low as $0.99 USD; however, common domains run around $12-15.

DreamHost also boasts about its dedication to your privacy, and they show it by offering WHOIS protection free of charge. Additionally, they have put their money where their mouth is and fought back against a US Department of Justice warrant that requests “all information available to [DreamHost] about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors.” (Emphasis theirs).

Regardless of where you fall on the politics, if privacy is one of your major issues, DreamHost may be your new BFF.

1&1

best place to purchase domain name

And finally, 1&1 is a lesser-known company that has a pretty nifty gimmick: they offer special domain extensions (such as .mobi, .pizza, .ninja) at discounted prices. While they’re still more expensive than a common .com (.common? #domainpun), you should definitely check them out to see if you can snag your startup’s awesome .io URL cheaper here than you can elsewhere.

Like many other registrars, 1&1 offers hosting services as well as the not-so-common standalone email. Additionally, they have a pretty sweet Microsoft Office 365 deal for businesses. 1&1’s deal might make it cheaper and more accessible than G-suite, depending on your company and team. (Or if your company hates Google like my previous one did.)

Did I Miss the Best Place to Purchase a Domain Name?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of where you can register a domain. But I do think it’s a list of the best places for you to do so. So if you want ease of use, customer support, privacy protection, or just plain-and-simple discounts, hopefully one of these will work out for you.

Which company do you use for domain registration? Let us all know where and why in the comments so we have even more fantastic options to choose from!

Article thumbnail image by VectorsMarket / shutterstock.com

The post What’s the Best Place to Purchase Your Domain Name From? appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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11 Annoying Things People (Probably) Hate About Your Website

You love your website. We get it. And why wouldn’t you? After all, you have put in hours and hours and sometimes quite a bit of money into bringing it into the world.

As a consequence, any insult hurled into its general direction is taken personally (and the perpetrator called a doo doo head – or worse). How dare they say bad things about your baby!?

However, I hate to break it to you, they might have a point. And in your heart of hearts, you know it, too. For weeks your bounce rate has been climbing, conversions are falling and your reputation dwindling. All the signs point to the need for a change.

Consider this an intervention. To open your eyes to the truth, in this article we will list all the things people hate about your website and that make it hard to use, confusing, badly designed or simply out of date.

Ready to take of the rose-colored glasses and get to work on your website’s flaws? Then let’s go.

Here’s What Your Visitors Probably Hate About Your Site

Still here? Alright, now it’s too late to turn back. Let’s see if your recognize your site in the points below.

1. Your Site is Too Slow

People have never been as impatient as they are today. We want everything and we want it now. Especially on the web. I know you think that once people know how fantastic your site is, they will gladly wait for it to load. But that’s just not true.

47% of customers expect a site to load within two seconds. 40% will leave after three. Yes, one friggin’ second makes that much of a difference. In fact, Amazon found that one second delay in page loading would cost them $1.6 billion per year. That’s right, one second!

As a consequence, slow page loading times are one of the best ways to annoy the heck out of people (especially on mobile). It’s one of the things people most hate about websites. So much so that it will keep them from coming back.

Luckily, there is plenty of things you can do, from changing hosting providers and reducing code to optimizing images and more. Even luckier, we have detailed article on this very topic.

2. It Doesn’t Look Good on Mobile Devices

Having a mobile optimized site is mandatory in today’s Internet. Nobody, and i mean nobody, likes to use the old zoom-and-pan technique to consume your content. Neither do they like hitting the wrong menu items because your buttons are just too darn small.

Is there a quicker way to get people to rage quit your site? Probably not.

However, it’s not just human visitors. Search engines are just as annoyed of websites that fail to deliver adequate mobile experience. In fact, Google goes so far as not even show websites in their mobile search results that they deem unfit to use with phones and tablet.

So, your existing users will quit your site while Google will stop sending you new ones. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me. Time to stop being annoying and fix it already. This article will help you do so.

(By the way, a good step in the right direction is to use a mobile-optimized theme. Divi is one such example.)

3. It’s Littered With Popups

Popups can be a very effective too for building an email list, if used the right way. However, if not, they also have the potential to be the bane of your user’s existence and send your bounce rate soaring.

Nobody wants to close a welcome mat, normal popup and a slide-in form just to get to the content. If that is you, no wonder people are disgruntled with your site.

Keep in mind that there are other websites out there that don’t do the equivalent of yelling at their visitors. Plus, the back button is just a click away in every browser.

I’m not saying don’t use any popups (you want to build an email list after all), I’m just saying be smart about it.

Take advantage of technology to stop showing returning visitors the same ads (especially if they have opted out before). Use exit intent to have serve popups only when they are about to leave or at least give them a time delay.

Or run A/B tests to find out which of your calls to action are actually effective and double down on that. Your visitors will thank you.

4. Your Website is Stuck in The 90s to Early 2000s

Look at the image below and tell me what’s wrong with it:

things people hate about your website outdated design

Hopefully you can see it right away. The site looks like the person who built it learned web design on MySpace in 2004. Nice blast from the Internet archive, right?

However, don’t be the fooled. That is a website advertising an actual company and its services today! Of course, that is an extreme example and I don’t think your site looks like this. However, if it contains some of the design hallmarks of that same era, it’s time to rethink if you are not sending visitors away screaming.

Blinking GIFs, elaborate animations, flashing ads and other eyesores – just say no. They are distracting, annoying and in most cases not furthering your goal. If your site fits this description, you have found the explanation for the hate mail your receive.

5. Two Words: Stock Photos

Do you know this woman?

generic stock photos

Image by Ariwasabi / shutterstock.com.

I see her literally everywhere. My wife and I actually have a running gag to point her out whenever we spot her. I have noticed her advertising everything from gyms to dentists to opticians.

That’s what happens when everyone uses the same stock images. Businesses (and websites) become indistinguishable from one another. A death sentence in marketing.

Plus, many of these images are cheesy, generic, non-genuine-looking and other unflattering adjectives.

generic stock group photo

Yeah, none of us actually work here. Image by Pressmaster / shutterstock.com.

Of course, you should use images in your content. And there are are exceptions (for example these).

However, stay away from stuff like above. It makes your company or website look as generic as the images.

A much better idea is to use unique images or stuff people can’t find elsewhere. For example, the Art of Manliness blog uses old vintage photos. Custom illustrations are another option. If that is not your thing, at least try to use real photos of your employees or clients.

6. Bad, Overly Optimized or Too Much Copy

Depending on how old you are, you might still remember the bad old times of SEO. Back in the day, when the motto was “the more keywords, the better”.

You would find pages with the same key phrases squeezed into every possible nook and cranny. Or copy that sounded as repetitive as the jokes in bad sitcoms.

Thankfully, search engines have caught on and punish people for said behavior. Yet, unfortunately, not everyone else has.

If you are one of those who still engage in keyword stuffing, it’s time to cut it out and get with the times. Read up some SEO copywriting tips, learn how to write in a way that is engaging and creates a connection instead of using marketing speak. And exchange your long prose with some multimedia! People only read 28% of your text anyway.

7. A Bland “About” Page

Especially if you are running a personal blog, the about page is usually one of the most frequented pages of a website. Visitors care about the person behind the writing and want to learn more about them.

However, this also contains the chance for failure. An impersonal about page filled with industry drivel that says nothing with a lot of words, makes no emotional impact and puts people’s brains to sleep can quickly become one of the things people hate about your website.

To avoid this scenario, focus on language that people actually use, tell a story, connect. Also, make sure everything is up to date, including your contact information.

8. Your Site Structure is Non-existent

Little is as annoying as a badly structured website. People come to your website to accomplish a goal, not wander around like a labyrinth (unless they are minotaurs, who are pretty Internet averse).

Two of the most important factors for site structure are site navigation and internal linking. Get one of them or both of them wrong and your visitor’s annoyance level will show a sudden spike.

Consequently, when it comes to navigation, make sure you first map out the route you want your visitors to take. Only then can you create a proper way for them. After that, give them directions via headlines, copywriting, calls to action and a clearly labeled (and not overstuffed) navigation.

As for internal links, make sure to link between pages on your site that are topically related. The point is always to enhance the experience of the visitor, not run a smart SEO scheme. In the same vein, don’t overdo the anchor text!

And for heaven’s sake, check your site for broken links!

9. Your Titles and Headlines Suck

Titles, especially blog titles are an important part of copywriting. They are usually the thing that pulls people in – or pushes them away.

Page titles also create expectations. That’s a good thing if you can fulfill them, however, an equally bad one if you don’t.

Imagine you had read the headline to this post, expecting for the author to tear you into you about your website flaws and all I’d end up doing is mollycoddle you. That would be a shame, wouldn’t it?

The point is, don’t do the old bait-and-switch and stay away from clickbait practices. It will only annoy people and send them the other way.

For tips on how to craft compelling titles and headlines, check this article.

10. Multimedia on Autoplay? You Gotta Be Kidding!

autoplaying media

Who hasn’t had the experience of opening a bunch of tabs and suddenly having one of them play an unsolicited video or sound file in the background? And who here thought that was a good thing? Nobody. Especially in office environment without headphones.

If your site does that, keep in mind that closing a tab is much faster than looking for the mute or stop button on your video. Whoops, there goes another visitor, never to return.

If you do have videos on your site (and there are good reasons to do so), make sure they are voluntary to play, not mandatory. Or, at least take a page out of Facebook’s playbook and play them on mute.

11. Two-site Syndrome

Even if you don’t know the term, chances are you have experienced two-site syndrome before. It’s when a company’s information website and ecommerce area are built with two different platforms.

For example, when you find yourself on a shop built with Shopify that takes you to a WordPress.com site when clicking on the blog button. It totally disrupts user experience and looks plain unprofessional. Say goodbye to your conversion rates!

The good thing is, with WordPress there is absolutely reason for the divide. WooCommerce and other ecommerce plugins integrate seamlessly into the platform so you can have everything in one place.

What Things Do You Hate on Websites?

As parents of our web presences, we idealize them. We think they can do no wrong and there’s never been a better website out there.

For that reason, it’s often hard to fathom that others have a different opinion. Yet, your analytics might indicate just that.

The points above are frequent things people hate about your website and websites in general. If you recognize yourself in those points, for the sake of all of us, take some remedial action.

You will find that, even if your site changes a bit, you will still love it. Only this time others will share the sentiment.

What are things you hate about websites? Let us know in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by Kit8.net / shutterstock.com.

The post 11 Annoying Things People (Probably) Hate About Your Website appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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21 Domain Name Generators to Help You Find the Perfect Domain Name

Choosing a domain name can be a daunting task. It’s sometimes easier to come up with the website idea than naming it. It can seem like the interesting and memorable names are taken. One easy solution is to use a domain name generator to find possible names based on your keywords.

In this article we’ll take a look at the most popular domain name generators on the web. All are free to use. They use AI to offer suggestions. Sometimes the suggestions are good, and sometimes not so good, but they can get you started in the right direction. For advice on domain name best practices, see the article How To Find A Good Domain Name For Your New Website.

1. Shopify Business Name Generator

Shopify Business Name Generator is an easy tool to use. Type in one word that you want your domain to include and it returns thousands of available domains that include that word. The example I used added one word to my keyword and gave me 4500 choices.

2. Instant Domain Search

Instant Domain Search allows you to enter a keyword and then see dozens of domains that use that keyword. The results include suggestions, domains that are for sale with their prices and purchase info, WhoIs info, and detailed analytics for your keyword.

3. Name Mesh

Name Mesh displays results under categories such as New, SOE, Short, Common, Mix, etc., so you can see the results based on how they can be used. You can filter the results by setting the maximum length and hiding registered names. It also has a WhoIs check if your keywords are taken. It works best with 2-3 keywords.

4. SpinXO WordPress Names

SpinXO WordPress Names provides suggestions based on your answers to several questions. Type in your name, what you are like, your hobbies, things you like, important words, and important numbers. It will provide 30 names. Click on the names to see their availability or click to spin again to see a new list of names. The availability check includes user name availability for the popular social networks.

5. Lean Domain Search

Lean Domain Search is from Automattic (the makers of WordPress). Type in a keyword you want your domain name to include and you’ll see thousands of .com options. The names will be green if they’re available and red if they’re taken. Click on a registered domain to visit the website. You can star domain names that you like, which will turn them yellow, and then view only your favorites.

6. NameStation

NameStation lets you type in a keyword and select appropriate tags to help provide names that are better focused. It will list available and taken names within tabs. Filters allow you to see names that contain your keywords, alterations, plurals, your selected topics, invented names, and more. The names are given a ranking. You can even hold contests to get ideas from the community.

7. Domainr

Domainr provides options as you type each letter. The available domains will be in green with a link to purchase. Clicking on them opens a list of registrars where you can purchase. Clicking a taken name opens a list of options that include making an offer and WhoIs information.

8. Panabee

Panabee lets you describe an idea in two words and then gives you a list of domains based on those words. The results are .com’s but you can choose to see other extensions if you want. Each result is displayed with a heart icon. The icon will be blue if it’s available and the domain will include a price with a link to purchase. If it’s not available the heart will be red and broken, and the domain will include a link to see similar names.

9. DomainsBot

DomainsBot returns dozens of domains based on your keyword and labels them as available, make offer, or provides their price. Each has a link to purchase. You can modify the results by selecting extensions, languages, synonyms, prefixes, suffixes, availability, etc.

10. DomainTyper

DomainTyper shows information about the domains by extension. You can see if the domain is available, WhoIs, visit the site, and see its ranking information. The generated names don’t seem to relate to the keywords but it has a domain hack feature that uses your keyword combined with extensions across the globe to make your domain available. The suggestions are in green if they’re available and red if they’re not. If the domain is available it includes a link to purchase.

11. Bust a Name

Bust a Name lets you enter lots of keywords and then combines them in various ways to create domain names. You can remove the keywords or select related words, and create groups of words and keep words from being combined. You can sort the results, purchase, and save them for review later. Choose options such as selecting 2 or 3 word combinations, choosing prefixes and suffixes, adding hyphens, pluralizing, and dropping the last vowel.

12. Dot-o-mator

Dot-o-mator combines words based on what you select or type into two fields. The more words you can type into the fields the better. The results will display the number of available names along with the names, and the number of taken names with a button to view them if you want. Clicking on an available name gives you the option to purchase or add it to the scratchbox, which allows you to check availability of multiple domains at once.

13. Nameboy

Nameboy lets you enter a primary keyword, a secondary keyword, and choose to allow hyphens or rhymes. The results will display in a table that shows the name and extensions, which will be color-coded according to availability. You can select the extension you’re interested in and then add to cart or make an offer.

14. Wordoid

target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”Wordoid creates made-up words based on choices you make. Choose your languages (just one or blend up to 5 languages), quality level (its look, sound, and feel), pattern (beginning, containing, or ending), and length (5-15 characters). The results are listed with boxes that show their availability and links to purchase. You can pin them to save to your favorites list.

15. DomainIt’s Domain Name Suggestion

DomainIt Domain Name Suggestion tool allows you to enter keywords, choose to include hyphens and numbers, select adult content, choose topic, basic, and similar filters, maximum length, and extensions. The results are listed by extension and include prefixes, suffices, topics, etc. Each one includes a button to add the name to your account.

16. Cool Name Ideas

Cool Name Ideas lets you enter keywords that describe your blog and then choose your blog’s primary topic in order to generate names. It returns thousands of options. The results display your original keyword in one color and the added words or letters in another color. They’re listed alphabetically. Clicking a word opens a popup that shows if the domain is available and if the user name is available on Twitter.

17. Domize

Domize is complicated but it allows you to use commands to determine the types of results you want. Using the commands, you can make it return synonyms, rhymes, numbers, parts of speech, endings, colors, phonics, and lots more. Results are listed with extensions that are color-coded according to availability. Hovering over the extensions gives you a popup with prices and links to purchase.

18. Impossibility

Impossibility lets you choose between 4, 5, and 6 letters, and between adjectives, verbs, and nouns – adding them to the beginning or end of your keyword. The available results are displayed in short a list with your keyword a different color. Each name is clickable so you can click to make a purchase.

19. Namesmith

Namesmith displays results from your keywords within categories. Categories include exact keywords, musical blends, artistic blends, rhymes, pre-/suffixes, and modifications. Each includes available extensions. You can star your favorites. It also has random names. You can choose between modern, Greek, Japanese, and Aztec. Each name includes a button so you can click to purchase.

20. 123 Finder

123 Finder allows you to enter your keywords and then view the results alphabetically. The results screen includes more choices such as names that relate, contain, start, or end with your keywords. You can also choose the minimum and maximum number of characters and include hyphens and numbers. If the domain name is not available it will show a question mark that displays WhoIs information when clicked.

21. Domain Puzzler

Domain Puzzler allows you to enter multiple domain names separated by commas and then gives you a list of alternate names based on those words. You can add a name to your favorites list. If a name is available it will have a green check-mark. If it’s not available it will have a red circle with line. You can combine names or add popular words.

Final Thoughts

With so few names available it can be difficult thinking up a name for your domain. A domain name generator is a great way to get a head start and can even provide names you never would have considered before and could even create a brand new word just for you.

We’d like to hear from you. Have you used a domain name generator? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image via VikiVector / shutterstock.com

The post 21 Domain Name Generators to Help You Find the Perfect Domain Name appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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How to Set Up Autoresponders in AWeber Step by Step

AWeber is one of the most popular email marketing services available, and it’s easy to see why. The tool packs in a plethora of powerful features, such as an intuitive drag-and-drop editor and a reliable autoresponder. It’s the latter we’ll focus on today, as it can be used to run your marketing campaigns without lifting a finger (aside from the initial setup process).

In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on autoresponders, discuss why they’re important for your marketing, then guide you through how to set them up step-by-step using AWeber.

What an Autoresponder Is (And Why They’re Essential to Your Marketing Efforts)

Autoresponders (or a follow-up series) are email campaigns that trigger once a user subscribes to your list. You’ve likely subscribed to at least one mailing list in the past, and you’ll be aware that some of them send regular messages your way. In most cases, this is the work of an autoresponder.

This is an example of an autoresponder series, as seen from AWeber.

This is an example of a AWeber’s autoresponder functionality.

As you may have gathered, these emails are mostly hands-off affairs. You simply set up a series of messages, add them to your autoresponder series, and leave it to its own devices for the most part. Your users will continue receiving messages in succession until either your campaign is over, or they unsubscribe from your list.

Naturally, autoresponders are pretty handy for both established and burgeoning internet marketers. Let’s discuss why:

  1. They can save you time. Setting up a few solid follow up messages may take some time, but once they’re complete, you can let them work their magic for you without further input.
  2. Engagement could skyrocket. Autoresponders enable you to gently remind your subscribers that you’re still around every few days, which may prompt them to reconnect with your services.
  3. Your conversion rate could improve. Ideally, at least some of your messages will include calls to action that should lead users to convert. If you keep your visitors engaged, chances are some of them will convert sooner or later.

In short, autoresponders are all about engaging with your audience and keeping them interested over the long term. If that sounds like a winning proposition to you (and it should!), then keep reading, because we’re going to guide you through the process of setting up autoresponders using AWeber.

An Introduction to AWeber

The AWeber home page.

AWeber is an email marketing tool that enables you to design and launch campaigns for your users. Using this platform, you’ll be able to customize every aspect of your email marketing experience from top to bottom. That means creating sign up forms, designing a campaign, managing your subscribers, and more.

On top of being a one-stop solution for email marketing, AWeber also shines due to its integrations. The platform also plays nicely with several Content Management Systems (CMS) including WordPress.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to create responsive signup forms.
  • Provides a drag-and-drop editor to design mailing lists
  • Includes over 700 mobile-ready templates for campaigns.
  • Lets you manage and segment your subscribers.
  • Helps you track the performance of your campaigns.
  • Integrates with dozens of third-party platforms.

Price: $19 per month | More Information

How to Set Up Autoresponders in AWeber (In 3 Steps)

Before getting your AWeber autoresponders set up, you’ll (of course) need to sign up for an account. Sadly, AWeber doesn’t offer a free tier, but it does come with a free trial in order to let you try before you buy.

Let’s take a look at what you should do once you’ve opened an account.

Step #1: Create an Email List and a Signup Form

Once you sign up, you’ll get the opportunity to create your first mailing list. To do this, the platform will ask you to fill out a few simple fields, including the sender’s name and email:

Specifying the sender's name and email.

Once you’re done, click Next Step. You’ll now need to pick a unique name for your mailing list, which will enable you to identify it in a pinch:

Setting a name for your mailing list.

You’ll also need to come up with a brief description of your mailing list and the topics it covers. This will display when a user attempts to unsubscribe from your list, and looks to jog their memory about why they subscribed in the first place. In short, make it sound compelling!

Setting a name for your mailing list.

Again, click Next Step when you’re ready. You’ll now need to configure a confirmation email for subscriber verification. AWeber provides you with a handy list of pre-approved subject lines that have been shown to perform well. Our recommendation is to use the option that includes your subscriber’s first name, since personalization is always a nice touch:

Confirming your email's subject line.

You can also edit the text of your confirmation message in case you want to make it sound more personal, although the default should work well enough. Finally, click on Approve Message & Create List and you’ll be prompted to create a signup form for your new mailing list:

Creating a signup form for your mailing list.

What type of form to use is a decision that will depend on your personal taste and your site’s style, so we’ll leave this one up to you. AWeber provides you with plenty of templates and a tutorial to guide you through the process, so it shouldn’t take you long.

Step #2: Customize Follow Up Series’ Welcome Email

After setting up your email list and a signup form, you should be ready to start receiving your first subscribers. Once they confirm their subscription, the first message they receive should be a welcome email.

Of course, a subscriber is likely already interested in your content. However, a good welcome email – or a series of them – gives you the opportunity to seal the deal and make sure they pay attention to your future messages.

To do this, head to your AWeber dashboard and navigate to Messages > Legacy Follow Up Series. In this section, you can set up a series of autoresponders for your subscribers – the first of which is going to be a welcome message.

For every entry in your campaign, you have the option of using AWeber’s drag-and-drop builder, simple text, or HTML. We recommend using the first option, given its ease of use:

Using AWeber's drag and drop editor.

The drag-and-drop builder is simple enough, but AWeber have put together a comprehensive tutorial to help you utilize all of its features. When you’re ready, go ahead and put together an initial welcome message.

After your message is done, click on Save & Exit. Your email will now appear on a list of drafts, alongside any others you have created. Next to its name, you’ll see a button that reads Send Options – click this and select Add to Follow Up Series:

Adding an email to your follow up series.

Since this is the first email on your autoresponder, AWeber will send it to any new users as soon as they confirm their subscription. Simple!

Step #3: Add More Entries to Your Follow Up Series

By now, you already have a working autoresponder set up using AWeber. The final step is add more entries to your follow up series. Return to Messages > Legacy Follow Up Series on your dashboard, and click the Create a Message button again. Now, repeat the process from step number two until your email is ready to go. When adding it to your existing series, you’ll get the option to schedule when it should be delivered:

Scheduling a follow up email.

By default, each AWeber follow up email is configured to go out one day after the previous one. You can tweak these setting to something more reasonable, such as a weekly email blast. In addition, you can also configure a specific ‘send window’ for your messages by clicking the Edit button. Using these settings, you can disable specific days so they don’t count – Sundays, for example – and you can indicate a window of time for your messages to go out. Some windows of time are better than others to maximize your open rates, so do a bit of research and set yours accordingly:

Configuring a sending window for your emails.

Once you save your changes, your new message will appear below your welcome email:

An example of an AWeber follow up series.

At this stage, you can add as many emails as you want to your AWeber autoresponder. You can also re-arrange the order of your messages by dragging and dropping them on the Legacy Follow Up section.

Conclusion

AWeber is clearly a robust email marketing solution. However, with the addition of its autoresponder feature, it transforms into one of the most efficient tools available to manage your campaigns. After all, staying on top of an email list can be incredibly time consuming – particularly as it grows – unless you employ some automation.

To start reaping those benefits, follow these steps to get your AWeber autoresponders set up:

  1. Create an email list.
  2. Customize your follow up series’ welcome email.
  3. Add more entries to your autoresponders.

Do you have any questions about how to set up AWeber autoresponders? Ask away in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by Bakhtiar Zein / shutterstock.com

The post How to Set Up Autoresponders in AWeber Step by Step appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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The Complete Guide to Writing a Follow-Up Email

Email campaigns are one of the most effective methods of communicating with your audience. If someone’s subscribed to your list, chances are they’re interested in what you have to offer. You have their interest – now you need to grab their attention.

The simplest way to do this is through a plain old follow-up email. It’s direct, and also offers a nice personal touch. In this article, we’ll talk about why you should send follow-up emails, some rules for sending them, then dive into how to create them in five steps. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Send Follow-Up Emails

For the uninitiated, follow-up emails do exactly what they say on the tin: they’re used as additional outreach after an initial contact is made. For example, follow-up emails are ideal when it comes to job interviews and networking opportunities. Here, they provide you with an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the pack, or re-open the lines of communication.

When it comes to email campaigns, your objective is a bit more complicated (although similar). For a start, you get a second chance to convince subscribers to engage with you (potentially increasing conversions). Furthermore, a lot of users tend to perceive email campaigns as nothing more than a sales attempt. Sending a follow-up email can be enough to set you apart in quite a few cases – doubly so if you create a killer one.

3 Basic Rules for Follow-Up Emails

While the concept of a follow-up email is easy to grasp, there are a few ground rules you need to know if you want yours to be successful. Here are three basic rules to follow.

1. Follow Up at the Right Time

The first rule to a successful follow-up email is to get your timing right. Wait too long after the initial contact, and you run the risk of subscribers forgetting who you are. If you’re too quick off the mark, you may come across as too pushy.

If you fail to get the timing right in either direction, you jeopardize your chances of increasing engagement – rendering your follow-up email a flop. As a rule of thumb, we recommend waiting around a week before sending a campaign follow-up email, unless you’re contacting someone who’s just signed up to your list. In that case, you want to follow up their subscription notification as soon as possible.

A simple split test can help you determine the perfect follow-up window for your audience. Try to segment your subscribers into different groups, then test their responses to the same follow-up email sent at different times. Use a week as your baseline, and work your way down as necessary until you find the sweet spot. Your mileage may vary if you increase the time, since you’ll run the risk of users forgetting your initial message.

2. Use the Right Tone

Aside from bad timing, nothing can wreck a follow-up email faster than not using the right tone. Sounding too pushy will do nothing but reinforce the notion that you’re trying to sell something. On the other hand, being too apologetic may cause you to lose your subscriber’s interest before you get the chance to make your case.

There’s not a single tone that will satisfy all your subscribers, but keeping things friendly is always a good bet. Sounding authoritative instead of apologetic also increases your chances of being taken seriously. If you don’t come off as knowledgeable, your subscribers will wonder why they should be paying attention to your advice in the first place.

Let’s check out an example of a follow-up email written authoritatively:

An example of a follow up campaign following the right tone.

This message is a friendly follow-up email to a subscriber who has just joined our list. We made an authoritative appeal highlighting the benefits the product would bring them. As long as you are providing your subscribers with the most relevant content and tools for their needs, there’s no need to be shy about it.

3. Give Your Subscribers an ‘Out’

While sending the occasional follow-up email is all well and good, sending a barrage of them is a faux pas. At some point, no amount of follow-up emails are going to help you convert certain subscribers. For these, you need to accept it, move on, and focus your efforts on polishing your campaigns even further.

The best way to deal with this issue is to provide subscribers with an easy out – a simple way to get off your mailing list. Most major email campaign managers include this option by default in their messages:

An example of an unsubscribe option from a mailing list.

When writing a follow-up email, we consider it good practice to be more explicit about this option. That way, we prove to our subscribers we’re not looking to inconvenience them, but just the opposite. Let’s use an example to illustrate this rule:

An example of providing an out through a follow-up email.

Notice how we mention both the classic unsubscribe option, and an alternative that other users might find more palatable? It gives the reader multiple options, further enhancing our customer-first stance.

As we mentioned earlier, you can segment your subscriber’s list into several categories. Doing so enables you to create unique lists where users can opt out of any deals you might send their way. That way, you get to retain them on your mailing list and contact them down the road to re-establish a connection if necessary.

5 Steps to Create Engaging Follow-Up Emails

Now that we’ve covered the ground rules of follow-up emails, it’s time to check out the five steps to creating one. Let’s start with setting a goal.

1. Set a Clear Goal

To begin with, each follow-up email should be written with a clear goal in mind. Maybe you’re chasing a conversion, or just welcoming a new member to your mailing list. Either way, you need to have a clear goal before writing.

That being said, not setting a clear goal doesn’t necessarily mean your follow-up email is going to be a failure. However, it makes tracking your success practically impossible, and prevents you from carrying out any advanced tests (more on this later). Goals will – of course – vary depending on the specifics of your campaigns, but here are a few basic examples to provide you with some guidance:

  1. A potential customer abandons a shopping cart with several items on your e-commerce site. You send them a follow-up email with the explicit intention of getting them to complete their purchase.
  2. You send out an email campaign promoting a product or a service, but conversions are lower than expected. In this case, your follow-up email seeks to increase them by informing subscribers about the benefits your company offers.
  3. You’ve gained a new subscriber, and you want to promote your services.

In each of those scenarios, having a clear goal in mind enables us to track our success over time. From here, we can use that data to refine our future attempts. For example, if you want to check whether customers complete a purchase after receiving your follow-up email, you can set up goal tracking as part of MailChimp. On the other hand, if you’re sending a follow-up email to a new subscriber, you can simply check the open and click rates to find out if they’re engaging enough.

2. Write a Compelling Subject Line

Once you have a goal in mind, it’s time to put your fingers to your keyboard and write a compelling subject line. This sets the tone for the rest of your follow-up email, and it matters a lot as far as opening rates go.

For example, going with a generic subject line could give subscribers the impression your mailing list has nothing of value to offer, or worse, make them write you off as sales spam. With that in mind, avoid unimaginative titles such as “Click for a Great Deal!” or “Huge Discount, Only Today!”. In fact, as far as follow-up emails go, your titles should be a bit more personal since your goal is to reinforce the ties between you and your subscribers. To get on the right wavelength, think less about marketing campaigns, and more about writing to a friend or acquaintance, such as:

  • “Hello X, I’m writing about Y”.
  • “X, I hope to help you with Y”.
  • “X ways I can assist you with Y”.

That last line is one of our favorites for follow-up emails to new subscribers. It’s short, and shows your primary goal is to provide value to your subscribers. Make sure yours are concise, and either explain what you can offer, or create a sense of urgency (by talking about due dates, for example).

As with follow-ups, you can use split testing to great effect when it comes to subject lines. Once your subscriber list is large enough for your results to be statistically significant, you can try out different headlines to see which ones get more users to open your follow-up emails.

3. Provide Context

A good follow-up email always provides enough context for your readers to connect the dots about how they began the relationship. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a personal follow-up, or a “Hello” to a new subscriber – providing context is always good practice.

Failing to do so could result in some of your subscribers not remembering how they came to be part of your list. It’s not a good idea, especially considering how simple it is to implement. We recommend kicking off your follow-up email with the context itself, so you have a natural segue into the rest of your message. For example:

An example of a follow-up email providing context.

Keep the rest of you context short and to the point. You don’t need to recap every step of your relationship, just enough to jog your subscriber’s memory. The context of your follow-up email depends on your relationship with your subscribers – so go with your gut for this one.

4. State Your Intentions

Now you’ve provided context, it’s time to state the purpose of your follow-up email. As we’ve mentioned earlier, not all follow-up emails are made equal. It means you have to tell subscribers why you’re writing to them.

Being upfront about your intentions saves everyone time, and it enables subscribers to determine right away whether your content is something they care about. To illustrate this point, let’s build on the same example we used during step three:

An example of a follow-up email stating our intentions.

Here, we go straight from the context to our intentions. There’s no reason to mince words, since subscribers should already have an idea of what they’re in for (thanks to your compelling subject line). As with context, your intentions will vary depending on the purpose of your follow-up email, so remember always to be upfront (yet still friendly!).

5. Compose a Solid Message

We’ve covered almost every step to creating a follow-up email – all that’s left to do is write the body of our message.

When it comes to follow-up emails, a lot of the time your message will be near complete by the time you get to stating your intentions. Remember: they’re tools meant to increase engagement, and perhaps even lead to conversions. As a result, they don’t need to be overly long to accomplish their purpose – consider them a digital version of ‘touching base’.

However, for follow-up emails to new subscribers, we can expand upon our message by providing some additional value. For example, you could offer access to a downloadable guide to cement yourself as an authority on a subject they care about:

An example of a follow-up email.

You don’t necessarily need to go down this route when it comes to your own follow-up emails, but it should follow the same principle. After stating your purpose, offer something to your reader that they will find relevant. It will help cement you as someone who wants to help your subscribers, and could pay off in dividends thanks to the principle of reciprocity.

Conclusion

Getting email subscribers to engage is one of the most difficult tasks we all face, but it’s not impossible. Follow-up emails are simple in principle, but require some effort to get right.

By following the steps outlined in this piece, a simple follow-up email could make all the difference to your subscriber rate and conversions:

  1. Define your goal.
  2. Kick things off with a compelling subject line.
  3. Provide context to jog your subscriber’s memory.
  4. State your intentions.
  5. Create a solid message.

Do you have any secrets for creating a compelling follow-up email? Subscribe and share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by vladwel / shutterstock.com.

The post The Complete Guide to Writing a Follow-Up Email appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

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