Ryan Hoover, Startup Edition, Product Hunt

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Quibb, Uber

lol re: RSS :)
As you know, I've been working on doing a lot more email. I'll write a full post about this at some point, but I've now redesigned the front page of my blog to be focused 100% on email collection. In fact, I have an A/B test running right now (via optimizely) to see what maximizes for email collection:

Original: http://cl.ly/image/0a2k0h3o1Z0K
Noheader: http://cl.ly/image/1F2R113O3036
Nosidebar: http://cl.ly/image/181T0j053u0f
Minimalist: http://cl.ly/image/2j1K1V3q1y08

We'll see what works. I'll share some results. It's funny because I never really thought to apply growth tactics to my blog, but now that I want more email subscribers I'm actually trying stuff :)

Startup Edition, Product Hunt

That's awesome :). I'd like to do the same but lack traffic to make it meaningful. I'm curious to hear your results.

Founder & CEO at Notejoy

Love that you are running this test! Can't wait to hear the results. I've had a similar feeling regarding the impending death of RSS. Because of this I've focused on emphasizing following me on Twitter to build my Twitter base. But given the noise on Twitter, getting email subscribers certainly feels like a better way to retain users. To Ryan's point though, I've worried about the low conversion rate of getting followers to subscribe by email.

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Startup Edition, Product Hunt

One additional benefit of Twitter over email is the growth in reputation/social proof that comes from an increased follower count and additional exposure to non-followers (via @mention and RT's).

Union Square Ventures, Fifty App (http://fiftyapp.com)

+1 to Andrew's comment. I love getting blog posts by email newsletter. I rely heavily on Bloglovin' to get my news/blog delivery in the morning over coffee :-)

Business Development at Coinbase

I am definitely an amateur when it comes to building an audience, but It seems to me that Quibb is an awesome way to retain readers and has been effective for me thus far. The fact that you can see exactly who is reading your posts, and engage your readers really differentiates it from other platforms I have used (Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Facebook specifically). To your point about being locked in, the nice thing is you can write a post on you own blog, and then post it on here, so I don't at all feel "locked in" to this platform.

I'm with you on email. Reading long form within my gmail is not a pleasant user experience for me. That could change, but currently, I have no interest in reading blogs on email.

Quibb, Uber

Totally agree re: Q. One of the things that Sandi and I talk about all the time are about how the real names for people really helps drive a sense of community. There's been all sorts of ideas about how to drive more IRL interactions too, besides events. Worth thinking about.

Union Square Ventures, Fifty App (http://fiftyapp.com)

Agree, this is one of the reasons I really like Quibb. Given that improving the quality and readability of comments on blogs is still not terribly well solved, I like how Quibb is like an alternate forum for reading comments among people I trust.

Somewhat like Quibb (where we're essentially annotating the web), services like TLDR (http://tldr.io/) and RapGenius (http://rapgenius.com/) also make me wonder if we're headed to a place where the majority of activity around we content happens outside the publisher's domain. I'm not sure how to reconcile this with "building a blogging audience", but if this trend is real then it seems germane.

Quibb, GrowthX, Kauffman Foundation

Jonathan raises an important and interesting point about value leakage. My sense is most content creators and publishers - from beginning bloggers to established media brands - allow too much value to dissipate or get captured by someone else's platform (see, e.g, @Quibb where the value of knowing what the community is reading and the articles themselves are often eclipsed by the related insights being shared by the community).

Union Square Ventures, Fifty App (http://fiftyapp.com)

Hacker News is another good case of this phenomenon. Andrew Chen's post on "Why Developers are Leaving the Facebook Platform" has 3 comments on his actual blog and 46 comments on Hacker News, where it's currently #1.

Startup Edition, Product Hunt

IRL is the ultimate "medium" for building real connections and Quibb is an excellent curator of people to meet.

Looking forward to seeing what you and Sandi come up with. :)

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Wild card at Betable

One thing that I'd love to do but still haven't figured out how is a dynamic gmail signature which updates with my latest blog post.

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Startup Edition, Product Hunt

Ha! I was just thinking about that earlier today. I wonder if MovableInk.com could enable this.

Let me know if you find a solution. cc Elizabeth Yin

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I know the folks at Moveable Ink, and yeah, their product can do that...in fact, that's one of their touted use cases. :) Let me know if you want an intro. Only thing is that since it's an image, your recipients need to have images turned on by default, otherwise they won't see your image signature...

Founder & CEO at Vero

I've seen people use this Stefano. No idea if it's customizable and you might have been after something that DOESN'T require an extension but it's the only 'quick fix' I've come across :). https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/wisestamp-email-signature/pbcgnkmbeodkmiijjfnliicelkjfcldg?hl=en

Startup Edition, Product Hunt

Thanks, Chris! I'll check this out.

Cofounder & CEO at Prime

So this is basic marketing right? You have to appeal to your audience; the mechanism by which they return is actually less important than the desire to return. Having a convenient mechanism is helpful, but irrelevant if the desire doesn't exist.

I'm not just talking about some platitude like "content is king" here though.

I'm talking about how:

* Sartorial blogs update 1-10x/day with photos of themselves. You return because looking at fashion is a guilty pleasure. Pretty pictures. Same reason you go back to Pinterest.
* Tech/lifestyle/food blogs do product giveaways and contests. You return because you want free stuff.
* etc.

The general thread here ^^ is you return because you want to know the latest on something. But I don't mean to say that's the only reason people would return; for example people go to http://thewirecutter.com repeatedly because they want to know the greatest, not the latest. Either way, the desire is mostly intrinsic; in other words it's not something you as a content producer can affect — you're tapping into a desire someone already has, whether they know it or not.

Take Daring Fireball for example. I enjoy reading it so much (largely because of John's writing style actually, but I do also very much enjoy reading about Apple) that I return even by literally typing the URL into my address bar when I'm not one of my devices with an RSS reader. That's desire. It's a desire to learn more about Apple; though I wouldn't do that for macrumors.com. I do it for DF because of John's voice.

So my suggestion is: if you're not getting the retention you want, consider that maybe the content you're producing it is the better issue to address, rather than following mechanisms. Just make your content available via Twitter, RSS, and (maybe) email subscription and worry about what matters: what you're actually creating.

Tiffany Zhong, BD at Product Hunt Tiffany Zhong
BD at Product Hunt
Bram Kanstein, We Are Off The Record / Startup Stash Bram Kanstein
We Are Off The Record / Startup Stash
Erik Torenberg, Hustler at Product Hunt Erik Torenberg
Hustler at Product Hunt