Building Smart Websites for the Modern Creative Class
The web doesn’t need another basic blogging tool. For the hobbyist who wants to share an inspiring road trip story there are already a host of fitting options. In recent years, however, a more ambitious creative class has emerged — website publishers who deliver valuable content to engaged audiences, and convert that audience into paying customers.
These professional publishers have cracked the code that turns engagement into conversion: build a trusted voice through compelling content and then monetize with your own offering. Take, for example, Dave Asprey’s incredible Bulletproof content brand, which has become a major inbound marketing channel, converting Dave’s visitors into loyal Bulletproof Coffee customers. For an outlet like Dave’s, the blend of content and business is seamless, and the relationship between author and reader is symbiotic.
And yet, the tools available to professional creators like Dave do not match their ambitions. Most websites are heavy, inflexible, and difficult to maintain. In trying to achieve the scale and sophistication of leading media brands, they rely on outdated content management systems and an ever-growing marketplace of fragmented and expensive add-ons. Worst of all, with every click and page view there are major missed opportunities for learning and optimization; money down the drain.
To bring order to this chaos, we are proud to launch Verst, the first and only platform that’s built for the unique needs of professional publishers. Beyond the elegant design, search engine optimization, and dedicated customer support that you’d expect, Verst adds a new layer of integrated machine learning and intelligence that’s simple and intuitive to use. We’re pioneering a world where websites are replaced by smart sites that are conscious of the traffic flowing across them and the actions readers are taking, and are able to react and improve based on these inputs.
We begin today with a focus on timely and actionable insights, powerful monetization through calls-to-action, comprehensive mobile content management, and, coming soon, subscriptions.
Integrated Insights & Optimization
The most dominant media brands masterfully leverage data and analytics to make decisions. They’re continually learning and translating trends into growth opportunities. To achieve the same, aspiring creators have been forced to cobble together their strategy from a convoluted ecosystem of tools like Google Analytics, MixPanel, Optimizely, Squarespace and WordPress. By harnessing the power of machine learning, Verst simplifies and evolves the process of data-driven website publishing.
For one, analytics and A/B testing are built right into the platform. Every time you post, you can experiment with your article’s title and hero image to make sure you’re maximizing click-through, the same way giants like The Huffington Post do. You’ll never leave traffic on the table again.
Verst also pushes key insights directly to you. If one of your posts is over-indexing on performance, if an old article is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, or when an A/B test concludes, Verst will tell you immediately, and provide quick and easy response actions. Professional creators don’t have the bandwidth to pore through analytics to tease out useful trends. Automatically receiving timely, actionable insights means you never have to worry about missing a golden opportunity.
Over time, our machine learning tech will enable a more proactive approach to leveraging data. Verst publishers will benefit from system-wide learnings, as the results of countless A/B tests combined with a pool of traffic data creates a “rising tides lift all boats” environment. Through intelligent analysis we can suggest the best time of day to post, offer trending topics you may want to cover, make image or title recommendations, and even automatically improve your design.
A Modern Approach to Monetization
Display ads are an outdated monetization method. Not only do readers resent their intrusiveness, but the ads also don’t generate significant revenue. Luckily, there are better ways, including powerful calls-to-action (CTAs) and subscription offerings.
In Verst, CTAs are a native feature. Previously, you had to install plugins and find ways to shoehorn valuable CTAs throughout your websites, often with ugly right rails or hacky overlays. Now, you can quickly design them and click once to run them throughout your site. Our system will position them optimally, and you can A/B test your CTAs just like your titles and images. You can easily determine which button copy works best, or which special offers pique readers’ interest. For a conversion-minded publisher, the potential upside here is huge.
We also believe in (and have witnessed) the inherent value of excellent content. Soon, Verst will allow any publisher to introduce a subscription offering with just a few clicks. Many pro publishers have a devoted readership that’s more than willing to pay a trivial fee to gain access to more in-depth and exclusive content. For example, at $3.99 per month, 1,000 subscribers would generate ~$48K in annual revenue for the publisher. With very little effort, subscriptions can become a meaningful — and turnkey — revenue stream for any great creator.
All the Way Mobile
In 2017, it should be possible to draft a long-form post from anywhere life leads you. As such, we’ve obsessed over our iOS app (don’t worry, Android is on the way) to create the first truly mobile publishing experience.
For starters, we developed an in-app media search feature so you can fill your posts with images, gifs, Spotify tracks, and more without ever leaving the editor. So no more endless copy-pasting embed codes. The Verst app also includes the entire suite of tools found in its desktop counterpart, including A/B testing, CTA creation, and analytics. The ability to launch an A/B experiment with two taps from your iPhone represents a radical simplification of a previously complex process.
All in One Place
By unifying your website, your analytics, your optimization tools, and your monetization all under one roof, we’re uniquely able to close the feedback loop in a way that wasn’t possible before. Not only can we detect and notify you in real time that a post is surging in popularity, but we can also then empower you to feature that article at the top of your homepage to capitalize on the momentum. Much like the continuity between Apple devices, every component works together harmoniously.
This opens the door to a future where your Verst site can self-optimize and (with your approval) use data to make automated decisions that continually grow engagement and your bottom line. In today’s world, the work of improving your creations is never really over. Verst is building towards a future where your content keeps evolving long after you hit “publish.” Each post a living, breathing entity that gets better over time.
We’re thrilled to deliver an intuitive and intelligent platform because we know that for professional publishers, this is more than just blogging. This is your business and your livelihood, your brand and your impact.
Websites as we know them are static entities, frozen in time, rigid when confronted by new technologies, insights, and trends. Changing course is like redirecting an ocean liner, agonizingly slow, expensive, and laborious.
The new creative class will rise on the back of smarter, more dynamic sites that evolve as currents of data course through them. These flexible creative hubs will be fueled by bleeding edge advances in artificial intelligence that proactively grow your engagement and amplify your voice. Your content will have a dynamic pulse, an analytical heartbeat and an always-improving brain for optimization that learns from an infinite repository of data.
Professional publishers who want to embrace innovation and delight their customers will graduate to Verst.
Originally published at blog.verst.co