If you missed Part 1 read it here.
Welcome! You are wondering what “tips” I am going to give you that will bring huge changes to your blog’s traffic, right? Well, let me remind you that traffic always depends in the value you provide (through content and media for example) and your ability to share what you wrote with others. Are you promoting your posts? -That’s another post.
Here are some suggestions on easy but immediate changes that can make a big difference on the appearance of your blog:
- Don’t mix “ads” with “navigation” options in the same sidebar (if you have two sidebars). Dedicate one for navigation purposes, the other to advertising.
- Your top widgets should be: a way to rss and email subscribe and your social media contact icons (Facebook, Twitter…etc).
- Remember to have an email subscribe option besides the rss. Why? because many people do not use a rss reader. We like reading our subscriptions from our phones when we are in line at the bank, carpool, or waiting for an appointment.
- Can your blog post be read easily on an iPhone or other smart phone? My stats show that over 50% of my readers are reading my posts on their phone! I better make it easy to read for them!
- Have a tag/category cloud in your navigation bar. You are already going through the trouble of tagging your posts, why not let readers select similar posts on that topic?
- Recent posts. I almost considered omitting this one but if you have it and want to keep it… make it simple (5 latest posts are enough, I don’t need 20).
- Do you have an easy way to “share” the post? I can’t tell you how many times I stumble upon great content and there is no way for me to “click & share” right then and there. This is an easy plugin that will create more traffic to your site. Sadly, some people are not going to cut your link url and paste it in all the social networks.
- Another way to keep people reading through your page is with suggestive posts. There are plugins like LinkWithin and Outbrain that will do that. Suggesting further reading is just like the Starbucks lady asking if you’d like a cookie or whip cream with your mocha.
- Get rid of “recent tweets” from your side bar (specially at the top!). Seriously, how many times have you been joking around twitter with a friend late on a Friday night? Those tweets show up there too and you never know who is reading. I already have a way to click and visit you on twitter, so why post it there?
- Get rid of the dark background; unless you blog about a super hero/Darth Vader…lol, then it’s ok. I am not against darker backgrounds for your blog, I am just suggesting that the column where people read should not be dark.
- “Grab-my-Button” is at the top. Ok, I might want to grab your button but it’s not my priority. Reading your post, finding a way to contact you, and being able to make comments are. Consider moving it further down or create a separate page for this.
- Have a good navigation bar. Some websites have really good navigation bars that make up for all the advertising on the right. I can find everything I need quickly. I love it!
- Blogging widgets. What if you contribute to other websites, attend conferences, and are involved in lots of social media groups? Please, please, please don’t put them all on your side bar. It’s more important to toot your own horn respectfully with “as seen on” than to have a dozen buttons from past conferences. I mean… you’ve earned it, right? You’ve been featured!! Show your stuff.
That should give you a few pointers on some quick and easy changes you can do on your own. You can always check out your Google stats and see how long people are staying in your site. Check out Blogging with Amy for some fabulous ideas on how to do just about anything on your blog on your own. She is extremely helpful and can show you a lot of valuable info from how to move your current blog to WordPress (yes, all on your own!) to making some simple changes that will immediately make your blog better.
Do I always bounce out of pages who don’t follow my preferences? Not at all. I just thought that since you are spending so much time writing your posts, you might as well have more people read them (this is assuming you’d like more people to read/follow your blog). The next post I’ll give you examples of blogs I read and why I like them even when they don’t follow some of the suggestions above; which by the way, you don’t have to follow all of them at once… they are… of course… just my opinion.
What are some of your pet peeves that you see on blogs you wish people changed?