Look at the picture above. It’s a pretty accurate representation of how I feel when I visit some websites.
There’s almost always too much going on in the sidebar (ads, widget overload, etc.) and/or there’s too many tabs in the navigation. Sometimes, I can’t even find a subscription box to subscribe via email.
Less Is More: where do you want people to go?
When people come to your site, what is it that you want them to do next? Where do you want them to go? What do you want them to do?
Here for example, I want people to subscribe first and foremost. So you have options to subscribe via email and via RSS placed prominently on the upper right-hand side. I monetize the site in two ways:
Beyond that, I want to give people easy access to the rest of the content on my site. I use WordPress Popular Posts plugin to share the top posts visited on the site.
As for my navigation, I started to feel it was a little cluttered so I created a secondary navigation with landing pages to some of my best content on Blogging and Social Media since that’s the kind of content people come here to read. Those pages have Call To Actions to subscribe as well. For the most part, I’ve found that traffic is up on those pages and that they’re converting rather well. Mission accomplished.
What About You?
I think you need to start by asking yourself: what is it that I want people to do? Then, you need to structure your content in such a way that it guides them towards those areas.
If you look at your site right now, is it clear what action you want visitors to take? What can you change to make it more explicit?