Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin of Blogging Concentrated have been teaching bloggers around the world how to become better bloggers, helping them take the leap to full-time freedom. In this session, Live Blog Review, Dan and Rachel break down the elements of a website and examine the purpose behind each element — social platforms, sidebars, post structure and more. If you’ve been blogging a while and wonder why some things don’t work and others do — this is for you. Be ready to learn why changing one thing on your site can lead to more dollars, more engagement and a stronger community.
Design: Who is Your Audience, and What Does Your Site Serve?
The design of your website needs to directly relate to SEO and money. How?
- The theory of your design is that every single pixel should serve your audience–the site is not about YOU; the site is about you serving your AUDIENCE.
- Every single pixel on your screen needs to be dedicated to the audience and generate revenue for you.
- All your photos on your homepage should be pictures with captions that ask your audience to do what you need them to do with your articles. “Pin this on your summer movie board.” Add these call to action requests to your posts and photos!
- Make people feel like they’re a part of your community. Remember, the site is about THEM, not you.
- Make the landing page about your audience, your community, and make them want to read more. Structure your site BEST for your audience.
CUSTOM SIDEBARS are HUGE and Insanely Important!
- Your sidebar complements and adds value to your page: It’s the most important part of your page. Your sidebar should drive your audience to more pages and should work to make people engage with you.
- Whatever you have on your sidebar needs to link to something within YOUR page: do NOT drive people off your site!
- Line up your sidebar items with what you want your audience to do for you. Do you have a post about summer foods? Line up the post with an ad for Top Summer Side Dishes and make sure this ad links to YOUR popular post about summer side dishes.
- Do you sell affiliate products on your site? Don’t just put up a link to someone else’s site. Write a post on why you support the companies you support and link to YOUR post within your site. You can add the affiliate links within that post and to other parts of your site.
- Everything in your sidebar needs to drive directly to your site OR a way to bring you revenue.
- Even your headers and footers need to drive people to engage with you.
- Make your own ads for what you want to sell. Use Canva or Picmonkey to design ads that link readers back to your posts and pages. Do you want to sell a blender through Amazon? Instead of using Amazon’s ad for the blender where your reader will leave your page, why not write a post in which YOU sell the blender to your reader. Convince your reader to buy. In that post, THEN give a link to Amazon to buy.
Think: Does This Really Make Sense?
- Optimize your category pages: This is best for SEO content whose key words support a category.
- You need a category description! You can find this in WordPress and hardly anyone uses it. This can direct your audience to every post on your site within the category. Category descriptions are super useful when you have SO MANY OPTIONS within your blog and it’s sometimes hard to navigate. Descriptions allow readers to get to anything they are looking for! Drive your audience to the articles they should read first.
- You should only have another company’s badge on your site if you are profiting from it or the badge is of a recognized company that is giving your site approval and therefore establishing authority for your site. For example, if Good Housekeeping gives your site its seal of approval, this MEANS something. But the affiliate ad or ambassador logo that takes you elsewhere? Unless YOU are profiting, ditch the badge.
- Use social media the correct way: bring people BACK to your site. Having your Facebook page linked to your website is popular and is fine, but think about where you want to strategically place the buttons on your page. Do you want to send someone out of your site?
- Have the social media SHARE buttons on ALL your posts–use them as the road signs–the call to action–and put them at the top and bottom of each post! Make it easy for your audience to share your work and drive more traffic to you.
- Above all, keep people on YOUR page, and keep them interested! Don’t sabotage yourself by driving your audience away and onto other sites and pages.
- Don’t take your audience to a place that wastes their time–ever. GIVE THEM HELP. Teach your audience and take them to your MOST important posts. Make your own ads. Find a network whose salespeople advertise to YOUR people.
- Be in control of your own revenue.
- You get seconds for people to make a judgement on you–do it right!
- Need an example of a great sidebar? Check out per Dan and Rachel’s advice: http://kosheronabudget.com/
- Consider the plugin “Sidebar Ladder.” This plugin allows you to disable the “Opt-In” feature once someone has already subscribed to your site, thus allowing you to design the advertisement you’d like your subscribers to see next!
- Freeconferencing.com allows you to record yourself speaking to your audience. Upload your recording right to your site so that you can instantly connect with your reader!
This post was captured by Steph from Strongfigure.com, who believes that everyone has the right to a strong, healthy body and mind. Train hard, eat well, read much, and enjoy life. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram!