Once you really get into blogging you will discover there are a lot of advanced marketing and social media strategies for driving targeted traffic.
However driving traffic alone is definitely NOT the name of the game!
So you’ve found a way to get visitors to your blog, but do you have a way to keep them busy?
Do visitors actually translate into readers, subscribers and loyal fans?
Well that certainly isn’t always the case!
If you’ve been reading blogs long enough, chances are you have come across some really good examples of what bloggers shouldn’t do. A lot of the blogs out there just aren’t optimized to convert traffic…
And sometimes the issues are far from complex.
The same issues are what I will be covering in today’s article!
In the below paragraphs you can discover which are five effective ways to improve your blog!
Let’s get started:
1. Domain Name… Have You Bought One?
Back in the days, my first blog was hosted on Blogger. Indeed, the platform might lack some functionality, but it can work well for starters.
The one problem that came from running on a free Blogger account was that “.blogspot” being added to my domain. I mean you would certainly notice the difference between www.yourdomain.com and www.yourdomain.blogspot.com. The latter quite honestly looks amateurish and cheap.
Well, if you want to remain with Blogger, you can get a domain name for just ten bucks A YEAR!
Yep, you simply go to your Blogger dashboard, click on Settings, select Basic and under Publishing you click +Add a custom domain. The process is neither difficult nor time-consuming.
NOTE: If you have a custom domain on the Blogger platform, you can easily transfer it to a WordPress blog without losing anything. Check out my post on how to migrate from Blogger to WordPress.
2. Does Your About Page Have All the Elements?
Your blog’s about page holds a huge importance as it can be a great way to show that you are a trustworthy marketer.
Having it adds that extra layer of credibility that can really help you seal the deal both in terms of increased readership and more business opportunities.
But does your About page have all the necessary features?
- An actual headline – Most pages are simply titled About – not quite engaging. To get more people reading, you can alter the title to look more like a headline. Mine for instance looks like “Read More About Me and This Blog“
To do that click on Edit Page and change the headline to what you want. Secondly you will have to revert the navigation tab back to About. Go to Appearance, Menus, select your menu tab, click on it and fill in About or About Me under the field Navigation Label. You are done.
- Start with the reader in mind – The first few sentences should be about the reader and not about who you are and what you do. Make sure to first tell visitors what your blog is about and what THEY can actually learn from your content.
- Introduce yourself – After the initial sentences it is time to tell a bit about yourself, start from your name of course, where you live, hobbies and everything relevant you can think of. Don’t forget to include a photo of yourself (around 300px x 300px). That is what really destroys the anonymity.
- Add a couple of links – Even though you might have a welcome page, it might be worth mentioning some of your best articles as a starting point. That will also help you reduce bounce rates from the About page.
- Include an opt-in – It turns out the About page is a great way to convert people into subscribers. Not including a simple subscription box at the end of the page is a mistake. Make sure to fix it!
3. Isn’t Your Sidebar a Little Too Crowded?
When it comes to sidebars, it seems like a lot of bloggers get it wrong.
They put literally every a-little-more-interesting widget they come across as a sidebar element. And you know what a dozen of sidebar widgets will lead to?
Something like the ad-blindness syndrome. It’s not ads that we are talking about but it’s virtually the same thing. You just start ignoring common elements that flash through your eyesight.
And if you actually want people to pay attention, make sure to learn the rule of thumb – less is more. With just a handful of well-spaced-out (that’s important!) widgets, readers will have more time to scan through your sidebar and possibly click on something that interests them.
The three most important widgets I’d suggest you add are:
- An opt-in – Best would be to include it either at the top or at the end of the sidebar. A bit of testing will show you what works best for you.
- Popular posts – WordPress Popular Posts is a great plugin that allows you to display posts based on a variety of factors including average page views, total views and number of comments. You can also set a time range from the last 24 hours to an all time figure.
4. Did You Take Care of Your Mobile Layout?
The really first thing I’d advise you to take care of is disabling any pop-ups on mobile devices. Other widgets such as related content plugins might also interfere with mobile devices and their smaller screen resolution.
There are a lot of WordPress plugins that claim to allow you to turn your blog’s layout into a mobile-friendly design. The most popular is called WPtouch Mobile.
Your best bet if you ask me is to look for a responsive theme that changes with the resolution. I use Genesis Framework, they offer a wide variety of customizable and search-engine-friendly responsive themes.
Read my Genesis Framework guide here.
5. Do You Pay Attention to Basic SEO?
Okay, certainly not everyone is an expert when it comes to SEO. And in order to improve your results you really don’t have to be. The basics can prove just enough to get your organic traffic up and running.
Here are several of the more important SEO steps you should be paying attention to:
- Internal linking – Do you ever add links to relevant content within your articles? If not, you should start. It’s simple. Whenever you mention something that you’ve talked about more in-depth in another article, make sure to link back to it. If possible use a keyword as an anchor text. The higher the link on the page (i.e. closer to the headline), the more link juice it will be given.
- On-Site SEO – The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is a great way for targeting keywords with your articles. The plugin provides you with a simple checklist of locations where you need to include keywords and gives you a relative score as to how well you are doing.
All in all traffic generation plays a huge role, but for a successful blog you also need the means to keep visitors browsing your blog.
With those two elements in place you are getting a step closer to a better blog and improved user-experience.
Now on to you!
What is your view on custom domains?
Have you embraced responsive design?
What other tips can you add to the list?
Please take a minute to share!