Tools, Tips and Tactics For Entrepreneurs and Digital Creators - SubscribeMe.fm
Jun 10

Pirates Keep Out

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators

If you’re an Online Course Creator you probably have Audio, Video, PDF and other files like Mindmaps, Powerpoints, Docs, Zips, Images etc, in your courses or on your website.

If you use WordPress, the most important features you’re going to need from an WordPress Audio & Video player plugin, are the following:

  • Easy to use
  • Create secure videos that cannot be accessed by unauthorized users
  • So this plugin must allow you to create an actual Video Player (not just a link to your video)
  • Should have basic features like all player controls, splash image, ability to speed up the video
  • Create both Single Video players as well as Video Playlists * It must do both regular videos (aka “progressive downloads”) as well as Streaming videos
  • It must allow you to Transcribe your videos (that you can repurpose)
  • It must provide you with user stats as to which user has watched which videos for how long
  • Also create Audio players for your s3 audio files.
  • A bigger plus if the player is not ugly, like the standard WordPress player, and instead is really pretty and customizable
  • Biggest plus if it could also protect other regular files, like PDF, Zip, Doc, XLS, and even Images like JPG and PNG.

Yes, there’s a plugin that does all of this, and it’s arguably the #1 plugin for Amazon S3 and CloudFront, and can create secure S3 videos, supports both S3 and CloudFront, can do regular videos and streaming videos, supports Audio players, supports Video and Audio Playlists, can transcribe Audio and Video, can protect regular files, and most importantly, is now available for a one-time fee (no more subscription).

Features? Check.
Usability? Check.
Price? Check.
Support? Check.

If you are a digital creator, you create premium content, and you have a WordPress website, then S3MediaVault.com is the perfect plugin for you.

Jun 09

Quora Traffic

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators , SEO , Social Media

In case you didn’t realize how valuable Quora is in driving traffic and new users to your website, here’s proof (last 30 days).

And I haven’t even been trying!

But there’s a way to do it without getting banned or getting your answers deleted for self-promotion. And I talk about that in detail in my upcoming SEO course for regular people. Join my list below and you’ll be among the first to know when it is launched (and you’ll get an insane pre-launch discount as well).

Quora links are no-follow. But think about it:

What’s the point of creating do-follow links ? To improve your website’s ranking in search results.

What’s the point of improving ranking? To be seen by more people.

What’s the point of being seen by more people? To get them to your website.

And if you can get traffic and new users with no-follow, that’s really all that matters. Do-follow matters too, but real people coming to your website matters more.

Apr 19

How to Start a Podcast in 7 Hours

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators

I just published my 7th book, “How to Start a Podcast in 7 Hours: The Fastest way To Plan, Create, Publish and Launch a Podcast

What this book is about

Do you wish to create and launch a Podcast?

Wish someone gave you an easy-to-follow checklist of things to do, in the exact order, and you could just follow that list, keep checking check-boxes, and come out with a podcast on the other end?

Wish you had a simple system with specific recommendations for microphone, recording and editing software, where to submit your show to – something that quickly showed you what to do, instead of giving you 20 different options at every step, leaving you with more questions than answers?

Great! That’s EXACTLY what this book helps you do: It shows you How to Start a Podcast in 7 Hours: The Fastest way To Plan, Create, Publish and Launch a Podcast , from scratch, really fast.

If you’re like “Hmm, I wonder what a podcast is and whether I should start one?”, then this book is not for you.

But this book is perfect for you if you know what a podcast is, how powerful it is as a relationship-building and content marketing tool, and you’re just raring to go, wanting to dive right into the actual creation, publishing, and launching of a Podcast, and not waste time “preparing for the journey”, and would rather just “start your journey right now ”.

The Podcast Launch Checklist in the book gives you a list of questions to ask yourself – and hopefully, you answer honestly – before you even think about creating a podcast.

Many books and courses about Podcasting are like a bad superhero movie, where most of the movie is spent on the “setup” and the boring “back-story” of the hero, and forget to spend time on the actual action, characters and plot. This is not one of those books. This book is the very definition of “cutting to the chase” – you know, like the first scene of a James Bond movie.

2 Other Pieces of the Puzzle

This book addresses the biggest piece of the podcasting puzzle: Details of how to create-, publish- and launch a podcast.

But there’re 2 other components here:

1) A whole bunch of myths and untruths floating around in the podcasting space, which can greatly distract you and derail your show.

2) Promoting your podcast once it’s published: There’s a lot of bad advice online about this as well, and most things you read online only scratch the surface (“keep posting on social media” is one of those).

That is why I’ve written 2 other books about this, and you can get them both for free as a bonus (see the bonus section towards the beginning of this book).

i. i) Confessions of a Wannabe PodcaSTAR: The Biggest Podcasting Myths Busted – and the Shocking Truths about Podcasting I Wish I Knew Before I Launched My Own Show

ii) Podcast Promotion Report: How to Promote Your Podcast, Reach New Listeners, Build Your Audience and Find Your 1000 True Fans

Both books are yours for free with your purchase of How to Start a Podcast in 7 Hours.

And I’m doing that because, on one hand, I don’t want you to have to buy 2 other books (even though it would be beneficial to me :-). But I also didn’t want to combine everything into one massive book which tries to be everything to everybody and ends up getting off-track from the main goal of helping you do one thing very well.

So I just decided to give them both away for free. Just forward the paid receipt for this Kindle book to me and those 2 Kindle books are also yours for free – in PDF form.

Cheers!

— Ravi Jayagopal
7-time Author and Podcaster

Mar 14

Dig Deep, Not Wide: Ideas for your suddenly spare time

By Ravi Jayagopal | Audio , Blogging , Community , Digital Creators , Email Marketing , Facebook , Focus and Priorities , Kindle , Know, Like, Trust , Podcasting , Productivity , SEO , WordPress

Stuck in "Social Distancing" prison? Here are some things you could do instead of simply creating more episodes.

  • Build relationships: Reach out to casual acquaintances on social. Strike up a meaningful conversation. Ask them how you can help. Listen to their podcasts, watch their YouTube videos, offer them feedback. Leave reviews for creators you love. Do something for them - even if something small - that you wish your audience would do for you - like share their work on social.
  • Promote your podcast: You probably have your podcasting schedule mostly figured out. So most won't need to create more episodes. Do other things to promote it (coming up).
  • Reach out to podcast hosts and see if you can get a guesting opportunity on their show. Don't just post in podcast guest groups - reach out to podcasters who are active in other major podcasting groups, like this one. Find threads where people are promoting their shows (you know, the "hit and run" posts, as I call them lol) and find the shows that resonate the most with you, the ones that you think you can add the most value to, and schedule a LOT of interviews. A LOT!
  • Create your "Podcast One Sheet" - basically a mini resume - and make it look good for potential interviewers.
  • Learn a new Video or Audio tool. Learn how to create audio or video effects. Greenscreen, audio effects, animations, anything to create interesting content.
  • Create a funny meme or video or image - maybe even a satire for your show, content or brand.
  • Don't have the magical "5000 downloads" to get "typical" sponsors? Don't fret. Reach out to products and services and plugins and tools that you use every day and love and recommend. Reach out to those individuals or companies. Join their affiliate program. Promote your affiliate link on your show. Get permission to call them "Sponsors". Promote them on social. Tag them on Instagram and Twitter, they will like or retweet or share your post, which means more reach for your post/tweet.
  • Revisit your podcast website, optimize it as a landing page. Create a lead-magnet to build a list. Publish a signup form. Be sure to add Google Analytics code and Facebook pixel (even if not for now, for down the road)
  • Look up other famous podcasters' websites and use it as an inspiration.
  • Be sure to put your feed player front and center on your podcast websites. Have links to all platforms where they can subscribe. Put your feedplayer at the bottom of every post on your website. Embed individual players in articles that are relevant. Instead of saying "Click here to listen to the episode where I talk about this" and taking them to a different page, embed that episode right there. Don't make your visitors hop around your website. Reduces (and thus improves) bounce rate (good for SEO).
  • It will be tempting to create more episodes and more content - after all, the one thing we podcasters are great at, is creating great content. Don't go there. Get out of your comfort zone. Think like a marketer - no, not like the sleazy marketer who you just thought of. I mean like those real, genuine, awesome people who want to promote their stuff so they can reach more people and impact more people and change more lives (whatever that means to you).
  • Write a Kindle book related to your niche. Have a great couple of intro pages with a professional bio - link to your podcast and other products/services.
  • Take the contents of that Kindle book and also publish it on your website - create a "Skyscraper" article. Super powerful for SEO.
  • Repupurpose your content. Go deep into repurposing. Posting on multiple platforms, but also optimizing the content for each platform specifically, with relevant hashtags.
  • Optimize your show notes. SEO and organic Google traffic is still an unbelievably untapped potential for podcasters.
  • Search for your keywords on Google. Look up blogs and forums in the results, and leave thoughtful, value-added comments on those posts. Use your website link in your signature, or just use it as the link in the WordPress comments section. Great for SEO.
  • Participate in Facebook groups related to your niche - NO, I'm not talking about podcasting groups. Actual, niche-related groups. Don't just comment on "Post the 8th photo from your camera roll" type empty-engagement posts. Go deeper. Get intellectual. People respect it when you say smart, intelligent, thoughtful things related to your niche. Write great responses to comments. Maybe even post an entire article in the group, rather than simply linking to it (a la this very post).
  • Some will say TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read). That's ok. Some will. And you will earn some brownie points with them. Part of the "Know, Like, Trust" process.
  • It is very hard to make a living off of sponsorships. First, you have to get to the 5000+ downloads range - PER EPISODE. Then you apply for a Midroll type account. You may or may not get sponsors. Even if you do, don't forget - just because you got 1 sponsor doesn't mean you get to keep them forever. They're looking for ROI too. So if your listeners don't take action on the coupon code or offer you're giving out, they may stop after a few episodes if they don't feel like advertising to your listeners is helping them.
  • Create your own products and services, and promote them on your podcast. Like I say, "Make money BECAUSE of your Podcast, and not just FROM your podcast".
  • Yes, I quoted myself. I'm weird like that lol.
  • Promote > Create > Consume: Create more than you consume (just don't create more of the same). Promote more than (or at least as much as) you Create. You don't HAVE to read 50 books. You don't HAVE to listen to 5 hours of podcasts a day. You don't HAVE to binge on Netflix.
  • Send out a great email to your list.
  • It is tempting to fall into the trap of creating more content. Or chill out and watch more TikToks, watch other people's lives on Instagram, read more fiction, or watch more Netflix shows. You've got to resist.
  • If the average person among us has the same extra (say) 3 hours per day because of the virus situation, it really comes down to one thing: Priorities.

To summarize...

Spend a LOT of time on... Your website, writing an email to your list, reaching out to people, scheduling quick online calls, do free calls with potential clients, help them first for free to make them realize that you can help them, write great articles, publish it on all platforms (Facebook profile, Facebook page, Instagram, Tweet it as a thread, Skyscrapers, optimize your site for SEO, optimize your YouTube channel with titles and descriptions and thumbnails, create and promote Audiograms, optimize your podcast titles and descriptions, add your show to every imaginable platform out there, do barters with other podcast hosts where you can give them your product/service for free in return for a promo...

The opportunities are endless... IF you can take a step back from creating more content, and thinking what other high-impact activities you could be doing that'll help you grow your show, your business, or even just yourself as a person. And try to do that without adding more "Consuming" to the mix.

"To Strike Gold, You Have to Dig Deep, Not Wide." - Ravi Jayagopal

(yes, I did that self-quoting again! lol)

Mar 09

Do WordPress website security plugins work?

By Ravi Jayagopal | Blogging , Digital Creators , Focus and Priorities , Free , Plugins , WordPress

Yes, they absolutely do!

WordFence is the #1 plugin I install on any new WordPress sites I create, and it's installed on every single one of my existing WordPress websites.

  • A security plugin can monitor a lot of things for you as the site owner or admin:
  • Monitoring successful logins,
  • Login attempts
  • Throttling login attempts,
  • Preventing PHP execution in the uploads folder
  • Firewall to detect malicious traffic and "protects against a number of common web-based attacks as well as a large amount of attacks specifically targeted at WordPress and WordPress themes and plugins" - especially useful because it's learning in real-time from 100s of thousands of websites around the world
  • Protect against SQL Injection, Malicious File Upload, Cross Site Scripting (XSS), Directory Traversal, Local File Inclusion, etc
  • Malware scanner to scan files on your website to make sure neither WordPress or other files have been compromised (" checks core files, themes and plugins for malware, bad URLs, backdoors, SEO spam, malicious redirects and code injections")
  • IP banning (both manual as well as database-learned)
  • Hiding WordPress version (which can be used by hackers to target vulnerabilities in older versions)
  • Brute-force protection
  • Locking out invalid username login attempts
  • Banning certain usernames
  • Enforce strong passwords
  • Preventing users from using usernames like "admin" when registering
  • Prevent discovery of usernames
  • Block IPs who send POST requests with blank User-Agent and Referer
  • Blocking fake Google crawlers trying to spoof Google user-agent
  • Country-based blocking

The list goes on.

You can no longer afford to run a WordPress website without WordFence installed. That’s just... begging to get hacked 🙂

Feb 24

Why You Should NEVER Host Video or Audio On Your Own Website

By Ravi Jayagopal | Audio , Digital Creators , Video

If you are digital marketer or digital products creator, then you are creating a bunch of Audio, Video, PDF and other kinds of files - like mindmaps, powerpoints, docs, zips, etc - for your content marketing, online courses, lead magnets and maybe just for SEO.

And I wrote about Why You Should NEVER Host Video or Audio On Your Own Website.

And no, Google Drive or Dropbox are not suitable for that either - they're for mostly one-off use, and not for mass-distribution, and their terms of service kinda make it a bad idea. I explain it all here.

Feb 21

Podcasts: Edited or Unedited?

By Ravi Jayagopal | Audio , Digital Creators , Focus and Priorities , Know, Like, Trust , Podcasting , Productivity

Me listening to a podcast while at the dentist.

I saw this question asked on Facebook, so I wanted to address it here.

Question: "Do you prefer listening to a podcast that is is edited? Or nah?"

My Answer: For the most part, I prefer podcasts that are edited for umms and aahs and pauses. Now, there are shows which the conversations are just absolutely incredible (Bill Simmons, Tim Ferriss, Marketing Over Coffee), and it would actually do it injustice to edit the natural flow - so such shows are the exception. But those are far and few in-between.

Most regular "interview" shows can use all the editing they can, not just to improve the length of the show, but for improving the audio quality (sound leveling, cross-talk, etc), and to improve the show quality just by cutting out the completely unnecessary stuff - like "Can you hear me now?" pre-interview banter, "Hold on, my door bell just rang", "Sorry, my child is calling me, let me quickly check what it is", "Mind if I grab a quick drink of water?", type stuff which is not important to the show or to the listeners.

Some additional points:

Feb 18

Best Web Hosting Options For Your WordPress Website

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators , Services , Technology , Tools

I've been building websites since 1995. And I've built hundreds of my own websites over the years. And over 100+ of them are WordPress websites.

And I've also created and launched several WordPress plugins, and my team and I have had to support those plugins, which means logging in to many of our users' websites.

And from all those years of experience with being a website owner, plugin developer and tech-support person, I can tell you that a majority of the web hosts that the average "influencer" peddles (on podcasts and blogs) are utter crap.

When it comes to hosting your website, I recommend only two hosting companies. If keeping your site(s) running practically all the time, and having insanely great support from your web host, are both important to you, then you go with a VPS server from one of the two hosting companies below. 

Feb 17

Forum Software For Your Website

By Ravi Jayagopal | Community , Digital Creators , Facebook

If you haven't already checked out my podcast episode about whether you should start a Facebook Group or a Forum on your own website, you should definitely give it a listen before reading this post, as it will add a lot of context. You can do that via the player below as well.

PODCAST: Facebook Group or Forum? How to Create a Thriving Online Community That Will Be Around For The Next 5-, 15- or maybe even 50 years

03/15/2018
SubscribeMe.fm by Ravi Jayagopal Facebook Group or Forum (On Your Own Website)? 03/15/2018
00:00:00 00:00:00

PODCAST: Slack vs. Forum for Your 1000 True Fans and How I'm using Scarcity, Exclusivity and Urgency to Build My Online Community

11/27/2018
SubscribeMe.fm by Ravi Jayagopal Slack vs. Forum for Your 1000 True Fans and How I'm using Scarcity, Exclusivity and Urgency to Build My Online Community - Ep #78 11/27/2018
00:00:00 00:00:00

So when it comes to creating your own Forum on your own site, what are your options?

Here are your 3 primary options for forum software, in order of increasing complexity, but also increasing quality, features and benefits.

Feb 13

The Greatest Free & Freemium Tools I Can’t/Won’t Live Without

By Ravi Jayagopal | Audio , Digital Creators , Free , Freemium , Podcasting , SEO , Tools , Video

I've been selling online since 1997. And in all of those years, I've tried and tested an insane number of tools, desktop software and apps and online services, as you can probably imagine. And today, it's just absolutely crazy to think that I depend on so many of these tools on a day-to-day basis, yet I've never had to pay for most of them. All of these are either completely free, and/or open source, or offer a free tier that I can pay to get additional features - basically a freemium (free + premium) service.

So here are some of the greatest free and freemium tools most of which I couldn't - and wouldn't want to - live without.

Feb 13

The Email Newsletter “Problem”

By Ravi Jayagopal | Digital Creators , Email Marketing , Know, Like, Trust

See the big blank box in the screenshot above? That's supposed to be a massive image of something, in an email "newsletter" I received.

And it's missing because I deliberately turn off images in the email from automatically loading, because I don't want to be tracked, you know? They may be tracking a lot more than just open rates, and I'm not taking that chance.

Feb 12

Skyscraper Content for SEO

By Ravi Jayagopal | Blogging , Digital Creators , S3MediaVault.com , SEO

Image above shows planning and brainstorming my article using a Mindmap - I do the same whether it's an online course, Kindle book, WordPress plugin, online business planning, product development or skyscraper post.

(Image above shows planning and brainstorming my article using a Mindmap - I do the same whether it's an online course, Kindle book, WordPress plugin, online business planning, product development or skyscraper post.)

I'm writing a Skyscraper post - basically a massive, all-in-one article at S3MediaVault It will be "all you ever wanted to know" type of post about files, delivery, storage, security, S3, CloudFront, etc. This post will also be released as a 30-50 page Kindle ebook. Then I will take snippets of it and post it on my other sites and link back to it.

Here's the most important thing: I am not waiting for the entire Skyscraper to be completed before publishing it. It's only complete 25% (at the moment), but it's up and running from when it was probably 5% complete. It's live and getting indexed and building up Google-juice. I've started linking to it from other sites to get the incoming-links going.

Here's the post...

How (and Why) to use Amazon S3 to Deliver Audio, Video and PDF on your WordPress website

In digital marketing - thanks to the sheer "digital" nature - there are a LOT of things that can be published WAY before it's "100%" complete, whether that's your online course, Kindle book, blog post, or even your podcast (yes, just launch with 1 single episode - don't listen to the clueless folks who ask you to record-and-release 5 or 8 episodes together).

So, don't waste time or energy trying to be a perfectionist.

Ship it quick, publish it fast, there's always the powerful "Edit" button.

Create.
Publish.
(Promote).
Edit.

- Ravi Jayagopal
Check out all of the Kindle books I've written

Feb 12

Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?

By Ravi Jayagopal | Alexa , Audio , Digital Creators , Kindle , Podcasting

“The Twitter of Audio”?
“Twidio”?
“Twaudio”?

Take your pick — those are my maybe-lame nicknames for Alexa Flash Briefings 🙂

I launched my own Alexa Flash Briefing (AFB) - which you can listen via the player below - in August 2018. And here are some random thoughts and comments regarding my experience.

Do you have an Alexa Flash Briefing? If yes, what is it? If no, why not? Let me know in the comments below.

It’s a digital goldmine right now, ripe for the gold rush. Very much like Podcasting, but even more exclusive, as not too many know about it, and not too many will put in the effort to create one, even though it's super-easy.

Which of these would you rather compete with for attention?

5+ Billion YouTube Videos
1+ Billion Websites
850,000+ Podcasts
10,000+ Alexa Flash Briefings

(The numbers have been aggregated from various resources, many of them making their best- and educated guesses. Anyway, the general idea — and my main point — remains the same.)

Oct 19

4 Tips For Better Audio

By Ravi Jayagopal | Audio , Video

4 tips for better Audio​

It's better to put just a little bit of thought and effort BEFORE you hit record, rather than try to fix bad audio in post-production. Remember "GIGO" - garbage in, garbage out. People will tolerate a little bit of poor lighting or slightly choppy video, but not many will tolerate bad audio.

If you showed people the video of a person using nails on a chalkboard, without the audio, they won't be too bothered by it. Then try playing the sound of nails on a chalkboard, and you'll see people cringe and go crazy. That's because audio can impact us more emotionally, than video. Which is why, podcasts are such a powerful way to build a deeper connection with your audience.

Watch the video for the 4 tips.