Is Blog Clutter Making Your Visitors Run and You Cry?

Messy Blog

 

Do you have a cluttered blog? Let’s clean it up by doing a few simple things. Sound good?

As a blogger with several years of experience, I have been in the universe of learning, observing, extracting ideas from what others were doing, and FINALLY, doing my own thing.

It took a lot of time to “find” my own “pizzazz” shall we say (everyone has their own uniqueness). I’ve seen a lot of different blogs, good and bad,  which were great learning resources. All of them helped me to develop an understanding of blog “style” and execution.

The biggest lesson however, was creating a blog that viewers like – not what I like. After all, I want visitors, traffic, and my content read and hopefully shared.

But if there are VISUAL obstacles, visitors will be gone in a sec!

VISUAL OBSTACLES

  1.  A cluttered menu! There are so many topics to look at and explore that it can be overwhelming
  2. An unorganized menu – where topics are not sorted to be topic related
  3. Repetition in the menu  – Names or Topics are repeated several times
  4. Script font – hard to read.  This is important if you think of the potential needs of a viewer. They may be using reading glasses. Having an easy to read font and not to small is a smart thing to do for reading “staying” power on your blog
  5. Screaming promotions and Ads. People don’t like to be sold to.
  6. Large paragraphs of content with no breaks. If your content looks like a college “Term paper” – mouse click – gone!
  7. Jam packed sidebars with Ads, and anything else you’re dying to let your visitors know about. There is a thing called “Sidebar blindness”. So less is more.
  8. Overload of images. Yes images are good. If you have a “Magazine” style theme, or a “News” theme, okay .. but if you have a personal blog, balance the images. Let your images reflect your content because images reinforce what you’ve written.
  9. Make sure your blog plugins are updated! Sometimes they can distort how your content looks! OR you have a plugin that is not compatible with your blog theme and you’ll need to delete it.
  10. No CURRENT posts. That’s a sure sign that your blog is not being maintained with content.
  11. If you have a SLIDER on the front page of your blog, use one image to take up the full space of the slider. Avoid using an image that has several images within the image.
  12. At the end of each post, avoid having too many SHARE buttons, of or newsletter opt-in images… it’s visually cluttering
  13. Check your spelling – believe it or not viewers take note of this and they actually might message you about it!
  14. Never assume your visitors know or understand what you’re discussing! So if you use an acronym, for example – PAC, always put in parenthesis (Power Affiliate Club). You need to explain what you mean. YOU know, but your visitors may not
  15.  And one of my favorite tips is this – fear not the white space! Take a look at these 14 website design tips  (notice the sidebar – there’s hardly anything on it except for an email opt-in).
  16. Absolutely avoid BORING HEADLINES!

Okay so why am I telling you all this? Here’s why

Lots of studies have been done on how people peruse the internet. According to Mashable

Approximately one billion people in the world live with disabilities

 

 

 

And as stated by TributeMedia

THE 7 SECOND TEST

In the days of yore, a long forgotten Internet pioneer developed a test for web design, known as The 5 Second Test. But for the purposes of this blog post, we are going to rename it the 7 Second Test- because I’m feeling generous. Our web designers use the 7 Second Test of Design to evaluate the functionality of a website and whether a new visitor would know what the website does within the first seven seconds.

We all have that friend who doesn’t sugar coat anything. Go find that friend and ask him or her to evaluate your website in fewer than seven seconds.

 

What I’m suggesting is when creating your website, and often your content, it’s one sided – usually favoring you not your viewers.

It takes a lot of thought  to “walk in your audiences shoes” and provide an interesting, valuable, and memorable visit to your blog that they’ll share with others.

But if you take the time to adjust your website, follow the rule of thumb “Less is more”your efforts will show results – more visitors and share, and even comments.

I haven’t even discussed the challenge of “Attention Span” and how that plays into your website/content design!

So you want to present content that is not only scan-able, but the message is understood (Notice how I used the ‘BOLD” to highlight words in the list above to catch the scanner’s attention to understand what I’m talking about.

 

I visit a LOT of blogs

Some challenges I see are the following:

  • No current post to comment on
  • Lack of quality and presentation of the blog itself
  • Content doesn’t resonate with the reader = no comments, likes,
  • EMPTY OPT-IN pop-ups – the ones that say nothing but “Sign-up for my newsletter”! Why should they! There are TONS of them …
  • Screaming “LOOK at what I have”! Ads, offers, etc., all ve the place

 

Bad Sign Up

 

And, I understand this. But most bloggers are new, don’t know what to do next, don’t take it seriously, or put the time in to respect their online “Asset”.

Yes! Your blog is an ASSET because it has the potential to earn you money. How? Because it’s the “storefront” of YOU – where visitors get to know, like, and trust (KLT) you – that’s the number one purpost of having a blog/

The KLT factor is more important today than it ever was because the internet and social media now relies on ENGAGEMENT and quality of content…

If you have a blog and you’re just slapping stuff up there, not giving a thought to presentation, layout, and navigation, you will never build visibility online because no one will want to share it. Your blog will float to the bottom of the “sea”.

So take a good look at your blog ….

Here are some suggestions:

1.Clean up your menu. Organize it, put similar topic titles together. For example : Menu Title – ABOUT SUE. Subtitle – WORK WITH SUE,  CONTACT SUE,  SUE”S OPPORTUNITIES…  and so on. Don’t have them as a separate menu title. This example would “SCREAM” SUE!  Don’t repeat your name so much either. It’s obvious they’re visiting your blog if your name is the domain, right? Instead – Menu title: ABOUT SUE. Subtitles – CONTACT, COACHING, OPPORTUNITIES

2. Clean up the sidebar. So many blogs just plaster their sidebar with Ads, Facebook widgets, Affiliate opportunities.. it’s such a distraction. Do you REALLY think someone is immediately going to click on your opportunity or opt in?  The philosophy of “less is more” generates curiosity and entices a visitor to want to know more.

3.Check your spelling. This for some reason really bugs people. I’ve gotten a few emails telling me I spelled something wrong. So now I look things up, and use the spell checker. If you speak a different language and trying to write in English, ask for help in saying what you want to say in the right English format.

4. Use surveys to find out what people are interested in, their complaints and help them by offering solutions.

 

This all points to one thing – looking and presenting yourself as a professional blogger. How you come across through words, images, layouts, presentation, navigation all tells a story about who you are. The best way to a viewers heart is helping them in some way.

Your blog deserves YOUR best attention online.

Now, what say you? Comment below if you like …

PS – I use a plugin called “WP in Post Ads” by My Theme Shop to promote offers within a post, in a subtle way instead of having them in the sidebar.

.ads in wordpress

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