The Following post was submitted by Dave from PSP Culture
What are you trying to achieve with the design of your blog?
- Income from Advertising Streams
- Reader Loyalty
- Personal Satisfaction
For a while I believed all three points above were mutually exclusive. That is, pursuing any one of the above points automatically ruled out the other two.
With simple planning before you create your final blog design, there is no reason why you cannot ensure a good revenue level from advertising whilst maintaining reader loyalty, and most importantly, gaining personal satisfaction from your blog.
You may consider personal satisfaction a non-essential element of your blog, that in the long run it doesn’t matter and will have no impact on your income level or reader loyalty. In actual fact, the inverse is true – if you have no desire to work on your blog because you find it a drain, and it gives you no pleasure, it will never yield a reasonable level of income, and your visitors will show you the same level of respect and interest as you have shown your blog.
So how do you gain personal satisfaction from your blog design? Simply by making it something you want to look at yourself. If you look at your blog and find it confusing, fussy, over-detailed, over-filled, and worst, useless, your visitors are likely to see the same thing.
If you are using wordpress, or one of the many other off-the-shelf blog packages, its relatively easy to integrate a new design with the blog software to give yourself a site that is both good looking and functional. You could use a standard template for your blog package, there’s plenty available to choose from, but these aren’t tailored to your exact needs, and will not help make your blog stand out from the crowd. Visitors who have seen the same template used elsewhere will either confuse your site with another, or assume you have nothing original to say.
So sketch out your blog design, look at what information you’ve currently got to present to your visitors, and work out how best to lay it out. Convention dictates that you use two or three column layouts – thats fine but think about your advertising methods, and how these best fit in with the look of your site. Fortunately most of the big advertising brands (google adsense, chitika, yahoo) all use similar ad sizes, so switching from one company to another isn’t difficult, and doesn’t mean a complete rewrite if you were to switch.
Now is the time to decide how well to integrate your advertising into your site, and the impact this has on reader loyalty. You may be wondering why one has an impact on the other, but consider the first time visitor who may be misled into clicking on an advert because its badly placed or blended into a site design so well it assumes the look and feel of the sites navigation. Whilst these types of ads may yield high returns, it also ensure your first time visitor will forever remain a one time visitor, and in the long run, this will not benefit your blog.
Ideally you want to ensure your first time visitor is converted into a regular visitor whilst retaining a click thru rate on your adverts that ensure a reasonable income. Click thru should be maintained by presenting the visitor with good quality and applicable adverts, which is normally handled quite well by the advert provider.
By being sympathetic to your visitors needs by providing the information they require clearly in a good and useable blog design, while ensuring appropriate adverts are present should ensure that not only do you get the high income you wish for, but you get a loyal readership and, best of all, personal satisfaction from your blog.
So, is personal satisfaction a requirement, and does your blog provide it?