Building A Blog That Converts Is Difficult, Or Is It?

There’s a huge problem that a lot of bloggers face. This problem means your visitors don’t return and your income drops or maybe doesn’t happen at all.

That problem is building a blog that converts.

The ultimate goal may be different, but the problem remains the same.

Today I’m going to show you a number of key factors that will help you turn your blog around and start converting your visitors.

This may mean more product sales, more clients, more leads, more affiliate commissions or a bigger mailing list. Whatever the end goal, would you really say no to that?

First impressions matter

First impressions are everything and don’t let anyone else tell you different because first impressions are the difference between a visitor subscribing and becoming part of your community and that same visitor never reading your blog again.

Design is a big part of this and as Peep Laja mentioned, first impressions are 94% design related.

The truth is that if you don’t have a professional design then you are sending the wrong message but don’t think for a second that this can turn blogging into some sort of elitist money making method.

Thanks to WordPress and the ecosystem it has created there are loads of developers creating stunning looking themes that you can use on your blog.

Another big factor is loading time – if your website is slow then people will leave and probably never return. User experience is important.

Make your goals clear and eliminate distractions

When you first start planning your blog you need to identify a primary goal that will be immediately apparent to visitors when they land on your blog.

Understandably you will need to have various widgets in your sidebar, have menu items, possibly related posts widgets and more – all of which divert your reader’s attention but they are essential elements that help the usability of the site.

Your primary goal could be getting readers to sign up to a mailing list and in that case you need to make sure this stands out.

This shouldn’t be a case of just making an opt-in form bigger or brighter, you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Next time you think about adding something to your sidebar or another part of your blog, ask yourself: Is this essential? Will it harm the user experience if I leave it out?

If it doesn’t help with your goal of building subscribers and doesn’t improve the user experience – don’t use it.

There are times when you may have to compromise, especially when it comes to monetizing your blog. Ads are a great example.

Ads are a distraction so if you can manage without using them, leave them out because the average lifetime value of a mailing list subscriber is far higher than the few cents you could get from Google Adsense or the $20 you could get in commission.

On the other hand if your blog generates the majority of its revenue through selling ads to publishers then you won’t be able to get around this. And you shouldn’t, providing you are getting a good return from it.

Utilize the power of landing pages

 Utilise the power of landing pages

If your plan is to build a bigger email list or sell products for example – landing pages are important. Whether they’re straight up squeeze pages or sales pages, they are a powerful tool.

The above image is an example of a landing page from my blog.

Instead of just having an opt-in form I have created a dedicated page that I can refer traffic to from various sources to help me build my list.

This could include paid traffic or free traffic, but the best way to make this work is to send only ‘warm prospects’.

One of the best ways of doing this is to either include a call to action below blog posts like what Hubspot do:

Call to action buttons

Or by guest blogging on authority blogs and including a link to your landing page in the author bio like I have done on TweakYourBiz:

 Author Bio Box

There are more ways that you can do this but the important thing is that you will only be referring people to your landing page that want to hear what you have to say and value the content that you produce.

Sure you could blast traffic at it but your conversions will be significantly lower.

What about creating landing pages?

You don’t need a developer to create a great landing page – just look at the example I gave above and I’m graphically challenged. It just goes to show that you don’t need to be super technically savvy you just need a good tool to help you.

If you’re using WordPress then you’re in luck, I’ve put together a list of the top landing page plugins available for WordPress, you can find the list here.

What about improving landing page conversions?

There are paid tools available which are incredible, but you can get a lot of this done within Google Analytics using the Content Experiments tool.

The way this works is making design changes, recording those changes and having two or more landing pages with unique URL’s. One will be your original and the rest will be variations that you will test against.

In a post I wrote on Pro Blogger I show you how you can use the Content Experiments tool to scale up conversions on opt-in forms but you can just as easily use it for landing pages too.

Understand how your visitors behave on your site

Knowing how visitors behave on your site, where they click and where they don’t can be invaluable.

Again, there are tools available to help you such as the In-page analytics tool within Google Analytics or you could go for the premium option; Crazy Egg which has a number of different ways that it can help you visualise data.

You can then use this data to figure out where the holes are in your website.

Summary

Building a blog that converts is only as difficult as we make it, but if you make sure that you think about first impressions, make what you want your visitors do to clear, utilise landing pages and tweak your blog based on data then you will be off to a good start.

Do you have anything to add?

I’d love to hear more in the comments below.

Elegant Themes

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Comments

  1. says

    All bang on points Adam. Reduce distractions. Direct visitors to do one of a few things so they do them. It seems simple but most bloggers clutter up this process due to their lack of clarity. Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks Ryan – you’re right, the distractions thing is especially important and most bloggers do forget it.

      It’s a similar type of thing to the paradox of choice, too much of it isn’t always a good thing.

  2. says

    As usual Adam, this article is…badass.
    Glad I found this article on BizSugar

    I’ve wrote many articles about blog conversions and how important it is to start with the end in mind.

    Yet, most of the point you cover here were not on my list.
    Design, improving conversions on landing pages and analysing the behavior of the visitors with Google Analytics are precious tips that anyone should consider implementing.

    To your continuing success,
    Renaud

    • Adam Connell says

      Hey Renaud,

      Thanks for the kind words my friend, I really appreciate it!

      Design is everything, although a lot of people don’t admit it. Most people that land on your site will make a snap judgement based on the look of your site. First impressions are as big online as they are offline.

      Design changes informed by data is the key.

      Simplicity is a big one too.

      Thanks,
      Adam

  3. says

    Hi Adam, actually, building a blog that converts is a function of blogging for the visitors and the search engine. The visitors should find the content valuable while the search engines should find the content valuable for the visitors as well.
    Your take on designs and landing pages is useful and should be considered by bloggers.

  4. says

    Great tips Adam and you have inspired me to work on my email list – I want to use a new plugin that is a small popup at bottom on my site, I’ve been reading how well they work. You post reminded me of that. I’ve got to work on more products and ways to make money in the coming year. I really started my Inspire as a hobby but want to move it to another level.

    • Adam Connell says

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for the kind words and really glad to know that I’ve inspired you to work on building your list more.

      I think your in a great position to really step things up and make a good amount of money – hope it all goes well for you.

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