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Blog Design For ROI: Keep On Fixing, Keep On Fixing

This guest post is by Gab Goldenberg, author of The Advanced SEO Book.

If you choose to redesign your whole blog in one go instead of adopting little improvements on a regular basis, the odds are that your redesign will be a brutal chore.

Blog redesign

Instead, I’d like to encourage you to review the posts in this series on Blog Design for ROI and pick one area in which you’d like to improve. We’ve covered literally every area of the blog, from your homepage to category pages to posts, to individual elements like sidebars and social aspects like your community, so there’s bound to be something to appeal to you:

Once you’ve chosen where you’d like to improve, do the following.

  • Measure where you stand currently. For example:
    • Use usability testing with three friends to see if they can find your email subscription, and get their feedback on how appealing it is to sign up to your newsletter.
    • To simplify your sidebar, header or navigation use Feng-GUI to get an idea how visually loud they are.
    • Try a tool like CrazyEgg to measure how much and where people are clicking your archive pages, as well as how far they’re scrolling.
  • Write down your theory of why your performance is at its current level.
  • Brainstorm different ways to improve and write all the ideas down (don’t reject ideas at this point, as that will discourage creativity). See which of the tactics in the above articles you can apply, and how.
  • Choose one option to improve and test it out.
  • Measure results and repeat the above.

From my own experience, I can tell you that testing numerous small things and making incremental progress is a much easier—and more effective way—of improving your blog’s design, in comparison to the traditional ‘grand redesign’ method. Similarly, the crowd at Wider Funnel make a good case for the “Evolutionary Site Redesign” process instead of the “Revolutionary Site Redesign” process.

Now it’s your turn: in the comments, tell us which area of your blog’s design are you going to focus on improving? Why did you pick that? And what changes are you thinking of making? Share your goals with us in the comments.

Gab Goldenberg and Internet Marketing Ninjas are developing a book based on this series – get your free copy at http://seoroi.com/blog-design-for-roi/ . You can also get a free chapter of Goldenberg’s The Advanced SEO Book.

 

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Comments

  1. Jason says:

    Well said article. A complete website redesign IS overwhelming, and important things can be missed when done all at once. This is great advice by knocking it down into small chunks and focusing on individual pieces.

    Organizing a redesign game plan that occurs over a few months will help keep you from getting overwhelmed.

    Nice job

  2. I’ve started developing the habit of making at least one small change to my blog’s design everyday. It can be something so simple and unnoticeable, but over time it’ll make a huge difference. Yesterday it was changing the font-size of my tag.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. Great post Gab. I am working my through it right now, but I thought I would say thanks first.

    I have recently done a major redesign on the ThinkTraffic website, but I am realising that the work is never really done. I try to spend at least a handful of hours each week tweaking it, adding new content and re-working/improving old content.

    I love the idea of a website evolving rather just existing.

  4. “Shower Love On Your Community” is probably the most powerful part and the one I should work on… Take this comment as a good beginning! ;-)

  5. I have revamped by blog twice! Never again… small tweeks are best. Just stay up to date on what’s new and revise accordingly.

  6. Saif says:

    Excellent post. It is a short post but you have covered all the main points for a good post. This is true that Blog design should be keep on changing so that you can come to know that which theme or which has more call to action or which one is converting more.
    Thank you

  7. Brandon Bear says:

    Mate, just wanted to say this has been an amazing read. I really needed some help with the opt-in boxes, making them stand out, and just generally improving ROI/Conversions while also increasing the credibility that my blog design displays. Thanks!

  8. Michael Belk says:

    You showed us some great information to improve our blog. I like the way you put the links by category. It leaves it up to us. thanks

  9. Great post, i constantly review my design and usually work on improving it, this post will surely help me improve my design better.

  10. Angie says:

    I don’t have a blog yet – I’m in the first stage of researching, so I’m reading Problogger every day to get acquainted with it all. So please excuse my ignorance: What’s ROI? Thanks

  11. Good summary post Gab,

    Design isn’t all about fancyness it’s about practical usability.

    Can people find your best stuff or are they bouncing before they do?

    Here’s a question.
    Now that Google is encrypting the SEO results bloggers won’t know what people are searching to find their sites anymore. How do you think this will impact design trends?

  12. Hermine says:

    Short but sweet! My blog is constantly evolving and thinking about where it was when I started (nothing but a shell with no content) to where it is today, a lot of work has gone into getting it there, In fact, there is always more work to do!

    As you evolve as a person, entrepreneur and blogger the needs of your platform changes. You have those “aha” moments where something about your website or blog jumps out at you as to how you can improve it. Thanks for sharing this post to help streamline that process for us.

  13. Connor says:

    Thanks for sharing this and all the other resources Gab. I’m currently in the process of designing my blog / site so this is a huge help – thank you!

  14. Andrew says:
  15. Joe Gullo says:

    I completing agree. Site redesigns can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. I believe too much change can hurt your reputation with your readers if done too much.

    - Joe Gullo
    http://www.joegullo.net

    • Yes, the problem really is with time as designing can really take very long, plus it’s not only about making your site look aesthetically appealing to your readers.

      There’s also ensuring you get the highest conversation rates (making sure the layout you’re going to implement would give you high CTR for the opt-in forms, Adsense banners, affiliate banners, etc. laid out on your site)

      + keeping it all simple and practical at the same time, so to ensure the design itself won’t have to overwhelm your readers + for the site to load fast.

      Also, if a site owner was to decide that he’d want to redesign his site but with only an little amount of time to do so, no matter how great the design he might have in mind, if he’d end up rushing it (which is very likely) he’d just end up being frustrated about how things went.

      When that happens to me, I just end up having the most difficult time figuring out why I even got started with tweaking my site with the design I have in mind :\

      Cheers,
      Tyler

  16. Joe Gullo says:

    I completing agree. Site redesigns can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. I believe too much change can hurt your reputation with your readers if done too much.

    - Joe Gullo

  17. Gab,

    I can’t agree with you more – designing your blog can be really overwhelming! (even for an experienced designer like me!)

    A couple of days ago, I got started with designing my site Pros and Cons of School Uniforms.

    I laid out the plans and designs to follow on a piece of paper a couple of days ago because I just knew how complicated things may turn out if I don’t plan things ahead.

    But when I got started, things turned out to be much complicated than I thought because I’m customizing the very templates Blogger has on their site, and I never really thought it could be very tricky!

    I’ve gotten around it now, though and I have to say, it’s a really rewarding experience because I was able to come up with a unique template of my own liking, that I could also even use for my other projects.

    Regarding the ROI though – that’s actually something I’m worried about right now.

    I’m only following the same layout I’ve seen on a friend’s Adsense CTR template, but even with that being said, I still don’t feel 100% comfortable with it just yet because for one, our templates are not 100% the same to begin with. I’m not so sure I’d be able to achieve the results I’m anticipating for.

    I’ll be checking out the links you laid out in here.

    Oh, and also, I’d like to add:
    Actually, the tweet conversation up there sorta reminded me of my first blog.

    Long ago, when I was still a newbie to the blogosphere, was able finally build my own blog – not very big, but I was lucky enough to have some of the most loyal readers for small blogs like mine.

    But one day, I just had to shut my website down. It all started when I promised my readers I’d do a design makeover: “Hey, guys! I have a surprise for everybody – it will be up on the blog next week! Make sure to subscribe for updates.”

    But I wasn’t able to do that in the first week so I had to apologize, extend again to the next week. And then the same thing happens over again, and so we’re onto extending the whole thing again ’til next week.

    And that all started when I got so intimidated by the design of other blogs in my niche – I mean, man theirs were just really awesome as compared to mine – making me pull off the silliest decisions like this one: I just had to do the same design for my blog. Yes, like implement the same elegant ProBlogger design on my blog.

    If I can’t, how can I be one of them?! and what’s the point of even getting started with any of this if I can’t be like any of them (again, I was a total newbie, then)

    But of course – as expected from a total newbie to blogosphere, all the more from someone who had the most trouble navigating around WordPress and took ages to do so + close to nothing experience with any coding language at that time, things just didn’t turn out as I expected. Heck, it turned out much worse because I ended up turning the website down until the domain and webhosting expired.

    But just like designing the blogger templates mentioned earlier, the experience, though learned the hard way, is very much rewarding. :)

    Cheers,
    Tyler

  18. I would say highlight key content. Why i say that is its hard to write the best content but if you can find a way to show off content in the past you can still benefit from the visitors clicking on the post after they finished reading the article. Yahoo! does a great job at it 2-3 times in each story they link to related content. They really do a great job. Someone to look up to.

  19. Joel says:

    Hey Gab Very Informative article to think about Blog redesign.Yes you have rightly mentioned that making those small changes and checking out the results on a regular basis really does the difference.Keep up the good work Gab