Blogging success boils down to two things:
1. Get traffic
2. Convert it
“Convert it” means “get people to do what you want them to do,” which is usually clicking an ad, subscribing to your blog/newsletter, or buying something. (Or linking to your blog, or telling their grandma how awesome you are, etc.)
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably have a fairly constant stream of traffic flowing to your blog from one or more sources – search engines, social networking websites, online directories, and so forth.
But are you converting it as well as you can?
Here are 5 simple tweaks you can make to your blog’s design or layout to make your conversion rates better. I can’t guarantee that they’ll work, but they’re among the most likely things I’ve come across, and they’re generally quick to try.
1. Color scheme
Sometimes the colors on your blog are turning visitors off to your offers. What matters isn’t what looks good to you, but rather what people respond well to.
For example, I once saw a business blog with a purple and green scheme. It was colorful, sure, and vibrant, but to me it conjured up Barney the Dinosaur. I urged the blogger to change the purple or the green, and they went to a blue and green look. I’m pretty sure conversion rates improved after that.
2. White space
Usually what you need to do is increase, not decrease, the amount of “white space” (empty space) between certain elements – especially between your key offers and whatever immediately preceds and follows them. Don’t overdo it, but remember that when there’s too much content crowded together, people tend to skip it all and head down to a white space for relief.
3. Above the fold
Before someone who visits your blog even scrolls down on the page, they need to see your key conversion opportunities very, very prominently and easily. Don’t hide those things way down on the page. Have them appear up high and, as much as possible, in line with what your visitors would logically think. For example, subscription options are best displayed near the upper left and/or upper right corner. Make sure you know what screen resolutions your visitors are using for the most part, so you can adjust your “above the fold” experience accordingly.
4. Post footer
When people read your blog posts, their eyes move down the left-hand side of the content column and rest for a moment at the bottom of the post content. Right then and there is where you need to make sure your key offer – buy this thing, subscribe now, whatever it is – appears boldly and beautifully in front of them. Don’t be annoying, but don’t be shy, either. If they liked the post, they won’t be offended by your invitation to convert on something.
5. Speed page loads
Mainly, this means getting rid of clutter, especially in your code and in the number of widgets and scripts you’re calling up every time a URL loads on your blog. If you don’t need something in order to achieve maximum conversion likelihood, get rid of it. The time to do that is yesterday.
How many times do people leave your blog without doing what you wish because they’re tired of waiting for a page or a video or a widget to load?
What Else is There?
This is just the beginning, and I’m sure you’ve discovered tweaks along the way that you could share below. Won’t you help us all out? What have you learned that can be a quick design/layout fix for other bloggers to make their conversion rates jump up a bit?