Since writing my post on The Importance of Landing pages last week I’ve had a number of bloggers email asking for advice on how to make them – especially from bloggers not using WordPress (which has a ‘page’ function). Those bloggers using TypePad who want to work with Landing Pages should check out TypePad Hacks who has a post landing pages especially for you.
Nice post over at Seth Godin’s on “Landing pages” which coincidentally was something I was working a little on this afternoon on one of my blogs.
I’ll let Seth say it because he’s the master of this kind of thing:
‘A landing page is the first page a visitor to your site sees…..
A landing page (in fact, every page) can only cause one of five actions:
- Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else’s)
- Get a visitor to buy
- Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.
- Get a visitor to tell a friend
- (and the more subtle) Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback’
Landing pages on blogs are really important IF you have a desired outcome in mind with your blogs. If you’re blogging aimlessly with no real goals then don’t worry about them.
What I’d recommend bloggers consider are some of the following questions:
- What are the goals of your blog? What outcomes do you want of a reader visiting your blog (one or more of the above – or others)?
- What pages do most bloggers enter your blog on (most statistics packages will tell you this)?
- Are these landing pages optimized for your goals?
- If not how can you either change what appears on these landing pages to help you achieve your goals OR how can you get readers to land on other pages that have a better chance of converting?
Here’s a couple of case studies from some of the work I’ve done lately with blogs:
This post has been submitted by regular contributor – Aaron Brazell
Late last year, Automattic, the company behind WordPress, launched a brash new anti-spam product for blogs called Akismet. Of course, at the time of launch, I took the product to task but quickly changed my tune as I understood the system better.
When I installed Akismet at Technosailor, I was truly amazed at how well it handled spam. Literally, I went to maybe one comment a month that needed to be moderated. That was with no comment moderation enabled (save Akismet’s), and only Akismet installed as an anti-spam plugin. I was truly amazed.
So when I heard about Akismet being released for Movable Type last week, I had to go check it out (even though I only own a sandbox Movable Type blog).
If you haven’t come across 37 Signals’ products such as Basecamp, Backpack, Tada, Writeboard and most recently, campfire, it’s worth your time to find out what they offer. I’m finding Basecamp invaluable for managing my blog design clients.
As I read the e-book I realised that there’s also a lot of insight, encouragement and tips for (pro)bloggers. In fact, 37 Signals recommend their book for anyone who is an entrepreneur, designer, programmer or marketer working on a big idea. Their thoughts echo many of Darren’s posts here at Problogger too.
Here are 10 tips from the book along with some comments. [Read more…]
Blog Herald just pointed to a way to get a simple template for your Movable Type blog at Movable Type Style Generator. You start the process by choosing a layout and then have the ability to adapt it by changing colors.
The layout is pretty simple and not amazing in terms of style but it will be useful for beginner bloggers who want a quick and easy way to get a blog up that doesn’t have a default style.
Regular ProBlogger reader – IO ERROR – has written a post titled Give your blog design a spring cleaning which might trigger some interesting discussion. He does so after designing a theme for his blog that can be read on a smart phone or other mobile device and realizing just how poorly designed many blogs are when viewed in this way.
ProBlogger.net’s blog designer Rachel Cunliffe has started a series of posts that I’m sure many of you who love to play around with your blog’s templates will enjoy. In her post Creating a blog theme from scratch she outlines where she’d headed with it. Her 7 steps are:
- Consulting with the client
- Constructing a wire frame
- Constructing an initial design idea in Fireworks.
- Converting the design into the (WordPress/MovableType) template files
- Tweaking the design to suit
- Re-addressing the blog’s design after it’s been used for a month or two
- Blog maintenance
While I’m no designer (and suspect I never will be) I’m looking forward to reading more on how a pro blog designer does it.
One of my favorite blog design houses, The Blog Studio, have released a second free theme for WordPress 1.5 and 2.0. It’s called Liquid Summer and you can see it in action here. It’s a three column design and has a nice feel about it (even though that green is a little hard on my retinas on my screen.
The cool thing about it is the ‘liquid’ content section that expands and shrinks depending upon how big your reader has their browser window.
Of course the problem with free themes is that they are not unique – but it might suit some bloggers who are just starting out and saving up for a unique pro design.
This post has been submitted by regular contributor – Aaron Brazell
A lot has been made of SEO as it comes to blogging, both here at Problogger and elsewhere. If you are a regular reader of this site, then this is especially critical to you. You read this blog because you want to know how to most effectively leverage your blog to make money. A lot of those earnings will come on the back of traffic from search engines.
A few weeks ago, we looked at how to get a very effective integration of Adsense into your WordPress-based blog. I realized as I interacted with you in the comments that my affinity for WordPress would help many out but that there are a large portion of you who use non-WordPress solutions.
Today, there’s another tip I’d like to pass along – one that Darren turned me onto and that I have been implementing across my blogs. It’s optimizing your
<title> tag for Search Engines. Specifically, how to implement a “Entry Title – Blog Description” style title scheme. This time, I’ll cover more than WordPress.
The Importance of Title Tags
I’m preaching to the choir when I tell you that title tags are important. They could very well be the most important piece of your blog. We know a couple of things about title tags.
- Title tags describe a page. They are a one line summary of what the page is about. The common (and semantic) understanding of the tag is to wrap the title of the site. Unfortunately for many people, the title of the site is completely un-descriptive of the content of the blog. For example, my blog is called “Technosailor”. If I put this in the title tag, search engines really have no clue as to the content of my site. It means nothing to spiders. It would be much better for SEO to place a keyword-rich description (e.g. “Technology, Blogging and Politics”) in the title tag.
- It’s the Title Used in SERPs! The content of your title tag is what will be displayed in search engine results. Before I optimized Technosailor to use a “Entry Title – Blog Description” titling scheme, I had results like this in Google:
Okay, Title Tags are Good, but How Do I Tweak Them?
Depending on the blog platform you use, and the theme/template in use there are a few options.