(Hat Tip to Pamela Wilson for the analogy).
If you think about it, maintaining a website is like maintaining a home. Every week, you have to mow the lawn and occasionally, you need to trim the hedges. Otherwise, things become overgrown and messy looking. A few times a year you might plant flowers and re-seed the lawn. And if you don’t do any of those things, the landscaping becomes overgrown and well, it looks like no one cares.
What happens then? Site visitors click away in search of another, reliable source of information. A place that’s neatly maintained and is a constant source of valuable information.
How do you turn things around? What do you need to do to attract and engage visitors so they’ll spend more time looking at your offer?
In the past, I’ve written about asking you to consider what some of the most important pages are on your blog. What you might realize is that while every page on your blog is important, some pages on most blogs are more powerful than others. Furthermore, some of those pages are going to need updates from time to time. So today, I challenge you to spend some time identifying the most important pages (or posts) on your blog, and give them an update.
Let’s look at some of the areas of your site that might need a bit of a refresh…
Your Home Page:
This one’s fairly obvious. Most blogs are going to get more traffic to their homepage than any other page on their site. Here on my site for example, my home page accounts for roughly 16% of all of my site traffic (my About page is the second most visited page on my site). But really, my Home page is the page I link to in my email signature, on profile pages on various social media sites and, it’s the page I most often refer people to. Your Home page is also the page that people landing on old posts will often head to next to see what the site is about.
So, what can you do to give your home page a refresh?
- First Impression: does a new reader coming to your site know what your blog is about? New site visitors should be able to determine this immediately. If they can’t, then maybe you need to redo your header and include a tagline so it’s a bit more explicit. Additionally, does your blog’s title tags strongly communicate what your blog is about? What about the over-all look… Are site visitors eyes drawn to any one important element or is your site cluttered?
- Sidebar: Most blogs have a sidebar enabled on every page. But really, the sidebar is probably looked at more on your home page than anywhere else. Over time, sidebars tend to become over-cluttered with information as you keep adding content to it. If that’s you, maybe it’s time to give it a refresh. Here’s the key, leave only useful and important information there and get rid of everything else.
- Header/Logo: A quick way to give your site a refresh without having to redesign the whole thing is to give your header/logo a redesign (heck, I think I’m on my 5th header redesign). In short, your header needs to clearly communicate what your site is about without taking up too much site real estate. The smaller, the better.
- Think About Objectives & Call To Actions: When you look at your site, start by asking yourself – what are my objectives? What do I want people to do next? Do you want people to subscribe? Click an ad? Once you’ve identified your objectives, you can work on positioning your Call To Actions more prominently on your site.
Now while your home page is important, there are also other important pages on your site worth looking at. Such as your…
The “About” page on your site is one of those you should probably spend some time developing. My About page for example is the second most visited page on my site so I use it as an opportunity to capture new subscribers. Think about who visits that page…
- First-time readers wanting to know whether this is a site for them,
- Potential clients/partners/other bloggers wanting to know if they should invest time in building a relationship with you.
Needless to say, it’s a great opportunity to connect with people so you’ll probably want to spend some time keeping your About page up-to-date and thinking about how you call people to action on that page.
Let me share a little story with you… About 1 month ago, a real estate agent reached out via voicemail (private number) to ask if I’d be interested in sponsoring their REBarCamp. He didn’t leave a phone number, he just said call me. I clicked on their Twitter Bio to look for a phone number – nothing. I clicked on their website to look for their phone number – nothing. I clicked on their About page – nothing. I clicked on their Contact page – nothing. I tried submitting an email via their Contact Form – nothing (it didn’t work, it was broken). Finally, I Google’d their name and came across their brokerage office and number.
Now think about this for a second. I jumped through 5 hoops just to try to get in touch with this person and say yes, my company would be interested in sponsoring their REBarCamp. Do you think the average consumer is going to jump through that many hoops to get in touch with you when they can very well turn to a competitor and get a quicker response?
The lesson here: If you’re blogging for business, you’d better have a Contact page properly established on your site. If you’re not sharing your email and phone number, that contact form better work!
Other Key Pages:
Use a stats program like Google Analytics to determine what some of the most visited pages on your site are. Once you’ve identified what those pages are, make sure they are as up to date as possible. The key is to make sure that they’re helpful to your readers but also think about things like Call To Actions (like subscribing). Basically, just about every page linked to from your navigation menu is worth addressing, as these will be links people looking around your blog for the first time are mostly likely to visit.
So, enough talking… Go update some pages!
Good to have you back! Looking forward to the rest of the challenge.
Ricardo Bueno says
Is it too cliche if I respond with: it’s good to be back!
Thanks Mark! How’s things with you?
Everything has been good. Staying busy. How are things with you?
Galway Crystal says
thanks for this nice information.i like your blog.it is really amazing.
Rick Manelius says
Welcome back! I actually liked the little break. It allowed me the time to catch up on the other days 🙂
As for my site, it’s still a little too playful instead of professional… but it’s definitely optimized a lot better since starting this journey. Thanks so much for all the tips!
I think for me I have to focus on some more content build out. I’m liking my about page. I’ve cleaned up my sidebar a bit (although the large thumbnails might be overkill). I’m a drupal guy, so I’m not going to jump over to wordpress/genesis anytime soon… but I’m going to try to switch over to the omega theme so I can make it look a little prettier and more CSS3 optimized.
So catch up with some sleep… and can’t wait for more 🙂