push notifications for niche site

How to Setup Push Notifications for your Niche Site Using OneSignal

If you are looking to build a following for your niche site then the latest tool to add to your arsenal are push notifications. I have only recently come to my senses and installed this on all of my sites.  The subscriber growth has been significant enough for me to beat myself up for not doing this a long time ago. 

When building a site you can be vulnerable to outside forces if you are relying entirely on search engine traffic. By building an email list, a social media following, and now push notification subscribers, you are insulating yourself from the impact an adverse algorithm change could have on your site. Over time these traffic generators could dwarf your organic traffic as they snowball into something big! But it takes time. Lots of time!

So if you have not already looked at activating this on your sites then hopefully this post will get you to take action today.

Should you use Push Notifications?

A better question to ask yourself is does your target reader have any reason to come back to your site? If the sole purpose of your content is to review products and make affiliate sales, then answer is probably no.

Your relationship starts and finishes with a Google search, and hopefully a click through to Amazon. If they buy, chances are they are done with you and your site. So a push notification telling the reader than you have just published another review of a similar product that they have already bought probably won’t interest them.

If you offer valuable information around the same topic then the relationship with your reader can be far different. Even if they have bought the product they may be interested in content around uses of the product, problems that people who use this product may encounter, or general industry/niche news.

Being able to retain your readers is at the heart of what will make your site a steady, valuable asset. Email notifications are just another avenue to get in front of your readers again and again. It is quick, easy and free to set up.

So as long as your content is worthy of their time, get it set up as soon as you can. You will kick yourself for not doing it sooner – just as I have done this week!!

Subscribers Added in 10 days

I added push notifications to three sites on the same day and the screenshot below shows the number of subscribers added in this time. This covers three very different types of sites: 

  •      Azon Hacks
  •      Amazon affiliate site (left)
  •      Google news site (right)

Your conversion rate will be highly dependent on the niche you are in, and also the type of post that a new user may land on. So while the sample size is very small it is worth looking at the conversion rate to date.

This will at least give me a reference point for the future. As I make changes to the site I can compare to my current rates so I know if the change has helped engagement or not.

WebsiteUnique UsersSubscribersConversion Rate
Azon Hacks1,075403.72%
Affiliate Site2,16580.37%
News Site12,735650.51%

Again the sample size if very small, but if we look at the most recent notification sent on the Google News site you can see that it is generating clicks back to the website (well, two clicks – if I sent one today I could expect 6-8 clicks with the same conversion rate). Given that the site covers five very different categories of news it is likely to be very hit and miss whether the topic is of interest to the reader.

For a niche site your content is likely to be far more targeted, and engagement higher. AzonHacks is a good example of this with engagement far higher than the news and affiliate site so far – Wooh! You guys are awesome!! 

Note: I will update this article with some better numbers to back this up once the Niche Site subscribers gets a bit higher.

While the clicks might seem minuscule relative to the daily traffic coming in, think of this as just one additional element of a traffic snowball that will gather momentum over time. 

*Again kicking myself for not doing this sooner!!!

When you also compare it to the current traffic that is returning to the site week after week you can see that even bringing a small number of return readers to the site it will have a big impact on the percentage of returning readers. Which is currently abysmal. 

An extra 6-8 clicks if i sent a notification today could add 10% to the expected user retention. Not bad for just over a week of collecting data, and it will continue to grow from there.

Improving this can only be a good thing in the eyes of Google.

In fact, both direct traffic to your site and repeat traffic to your site made into Brian Dean’s list of 200 Google ranking signals. All the way down at 131 and 132 on the list…. But its there.

Best of all…. Its Free!!

So far I have only used OneSignal for this. It does the job well and does not cost a cent. 

They make their money by retargeting the users of your site with advertising. This will not impact your site at all, and your readers will probbaly not even notice. So it is a win/win.

How to Install OneSignal Push Notifications

This is a very straightforward process, but as with anything techie, there can be one or two small details that can hold you up. So look out for the bolded text, and capitals where I missed details that took an annoying amount of time to figure out.

So learn from my mistakes!! If you do get stuck on anything please comment or email me so I can add some clarity to the steps below.

Before you start off:

  • Sign up for your OneSignal account.
  • Ensure you have an image selected for your notification icon uploaded on your WordPress site

Step 1

Setup on the One Signal Website

Click Add a New App

Step 2

Enter the name of your site so it is easy to identify.

Step 3

Select Website Push as the platform to configure.

 

Step 4

Start off with Google Chrome and Firefox. You can add Safari easily at the end of the process.

Step 5

Enter the URL for your target site.

Make sure you remove any forward slashes from the end of the URL.

E.g. siteurl.com/

Then retrieve the URL for the image you will use as the icon on your notifications. You can find this in WordPress by going to Media -> Library -> select the image you plan to use -> copy the URL

Note: Recommended size for the icon image to 192 x 192 pixels.  

Step 6

Select the WordPress option. This is the quickest and easiest option as a plugin will manage everything from here.

Step 7

You will now be able to view your API Key and App ID. We will use these in a moment, for now we will head back over to your WordPress site to install the plug in.

Head over to your Add New plugin page; Plugins -> Add New.

In the search box enter onesignal.

Install and activate the OneSignal – Free Web Push Notifications plugin (the one with the branded logo that matches the OneSignal website).

Step 8

You will now be able to see the OneSignal Push option in your WordPress navigation.

Click on this, and then the Configuration tab.

Copy and paste your App ID and API Key from the OneSignal Website.

Step 9

IMPORTANT – THIS MINOR DETAIL GAVE ME 30 MINUTES OF HEAD SCRATCHING FRUSTRATION

Enable the option – Automatically prompt new site visitors to subscribe to push notifications

Duh!!

Step 10

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and save.

Step 11

Go to your homepage. Check to see if the notification pops up, when it does select Allow.

Step 12

Go back to the OneSignal site and hit the Select Subscribed Users button.

Hit Done!

But we are not yet done.

Step 13

Still on the OneSignal website, go to the App Settings.

You will see that Apple Safari is Inactive. Select Configure.

Step 14

Again, enter your site name and URL.

Step 15

Copy the Web ID.  Then head back over to your OneSignal plugin configuration.

Paste the code in the Safari Web ID field at the top of the page. This is directly below where you entered your App ID and API Key.

Scroll down and hit save again.

Step 16

Sit back and watch the subscribers pour in!!

Or you can go that little bit further and start testing your visitor message.

You can customize all of your messaging, but the only one that really matters is that First Time Visitor Message. If you can get your conversion rate up with an engaging message than your subscribers will accumulate at a much faster rate.

With my current conversion rate on the affiliate site being 0.37% there is plenty of room for improvement! If achieve a 1% conversion rate that would nearly tripe my subscriber growth.

Final Word

Chances are you are starting to see these kinds of notifications popping up on more and more sites. So it is only a matter of time before people tire of them and become much more selective about who they subscribe to.

If you think notifications will work for your style of content then follow these steps and get it setup on your site RIGHT NOW!!

The above steps should take you no longer than 5-10 minutes and it will cost you absolutely nothing.

About the Author James Treloar

Corporate Debt Collector turned internet marketer. I run a successful portfolio of Amazon niche sites, an FBA business, and a content agency.
The Amazon opportunity has been life changing for me, and is so big that there is enough room for everyone to carve out their niche. The hard part is getting started!

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