Why not put "spend 10 minutes, everyday, being taken on a journey around the world" front and centre on the homepage? (I found that text on the why sign up page only after the slideshow got to the last slide, then it moved, then I found the buttons to get back to that slide, etc etc, gah!)
I like the concept, although I'm not sure I want to read 1000 words a day on a random location – on the one hand, 1000 words can be skim-read (and the pretty pictures admired) in ~5 minutes; on the other, if it was a little longer and did take ten minutes, would I want to read it every day? Probably not, and if I'm not going to read it I probably don't want it in my e-mail inbox.
The advantage of a weekly digest is that I can read the ones that I'm interested in. I really look forward to my Quora digest for example. Daily engagement is something I give to my wife, not a travel blog.
Not everyone wants to go around the world and experience everything, but most people would be interested in, say, 10-30% of your destinations. I think your target audience of people who want to go everywhere and experience everything is too small and I almost wonder if its (not trying to be rude here, but can't think of a better word for it) snobbery on your part - I'm guessing you have all travelled a lot and see a lot of value in experiencing things from other cultures and places, even if they are not to your taste. Most people aren't like that.
Re: Call to action, I've made a minor tweak so the slide you mentioned is now front and centre. It can be improved, and will be - super valuable suggestion.
We can definitely do something differently around your "read 1000 words a day" thoughts. The emails are generally 3-4 photos and 150 words, which can be clicked through to the long article by the fraction of readers specifically interested in that location (or bored that day). That fact isn't clear from the site, and may be putting people off.
Your snobbery point is well made. I don't feel we're targeting people who want to go everywhere - more people who are entertained by varied travel stories, even if the story merely confirms that they never want to do that themselves.
Lastly - if we end up changing the whole business model from daily to weekly, I'm voting for Daily engagement is something I give to my wife, not a travel blog. to be the new company tagline. Thanks again.
Best of luck, glad the input was helpful – I should get on with some real work now :)
I absolutely agree with your points about the call to action - it's funny how often you can't see something that you've built from a different perspective when you've spent hours working on it.
We've also been given a lot of feedback about providing a weekly digest option, and that's something we're planning to put in place.
Once again, my thanks!
I had some insightful feedback on Part 1 from swombat about it being too 'us centric' and not clear about what's in it for the reader. He was right, and Part 2 is hopefully slightly better in that regard (they were written together and split for length); but we really do believe there's value in laying it all on the table.
To that end, I'm also happy to answer any other questions anybody has.
I looked further and it looks like youre monetising by hooking people up with travel guides?
Be really clear about what your value proposition is for your customer, why would they sign up now?
And just to clarify - the monetisation plan doesn't involve connecting people with travel guides. Maybe it should?
Our pre-launch survey gave us some great feedback about 'we want local insight', and there was also some strong feeling about 'give us an experience, not a guided tour'. So monetisation will (in current plans) involve advertising, possibly embedded into the daily experience (cafes, destinations, maybe even guides) - although we have yet to determine how we do that openly and without including any awful places.
Try and figure out how to align the needs of the advertisers and your customers and it will make things easier.
Contact me for some help on doing this if you want. I have a day job but could be an "intern" of sorts. I am sending you an email so you can have mine.
As a user, I'm really happy with the forums at TripAdvisor and ThornTree - any thoughts on how they could be advanced or improved upon would be welcome.
I agree there's an opportunity in the market for an interactive city guide - it was something we discussed, but aren't intending to focus on for now. Why?
Because we believe in email. We'd rather be called an entertaining travel blog than a generic one, of course, and your insight has revealed how we probably aren't being clear enough about our website v our emails. Thanks.
Ultimately we'd rather be known for entertaining emails than a comprehensive travel website. That's the choice we've made - it's not right or wrong, and you may see us in the interactive city guide market one day. Or someone else may seize it - and then we'd all be happier!
I read that and immediately signed up, but to echo Robin_message, I am not sure I want to be told about places I probably won't go. There has to be other ways you can make this 10 minutes work for me. I'll be waiting.