If you’re looking for a blog designer (or you are one) you might be interested in this new central database for blog designers – arranged by location (not that I think location really matters that much these days – the people I work most closely with, including designers, are scattered all over the world).
My last post asked the question of how you build blog and website traffic. Tim left a comment that caught my interest regarding the syndication of one blog’s headlines to other websites he has an interest in – an effort to create stickiness at the website and drive visitors to the originating blog.
I’ve taken Tim’s example to heart and have done the same thing.
Use our 100% free tool to easily insert dynamically updated RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds into any web page, blog or content management system.
Thanks for the idea Tim!
Are there any other cool little tools like this you use or have seen in the blogosphere?
I was going to call this article tips for maximizing page views. But tips implies that what I suggest is going to work! These are merely thoughts and suggestions. I hope to encourage a bit of experiment and conversation with this post. Please use the comments and trackbacks to let us know if you try something as a result of this.
So, page views. A page view is not a hit, nor is it a visit. Total page views tells you how many individual pages have been seen over a given period. Dividing that total by the number of unique visitors gives you your average page views per visit.
How ever many you have, you want more. Page views are the add-on items of the web world. They’re the rust-proofing on your new car. The guacamole with your nachos. They’re where the profit is made. More page views = more ads seen = greater chance for your visitors to click on an ad.
Of course this is all completely moot if users are clicking on ads on their first or second page view. But if they were doing that we’d all be out shopping for Porshes instead of playing in Darren’s playground while he’s on holiday.
There are two main strategies I want to discuss here. The first is easy, the second requires some creative thinking.
Is a blog that uses pictures in its posts more likely to succeed that a blog that posts identical content but doesn’t use the pictures? Sure, we know that there are many other considerations in the success or otherwise of a blog, but take a pure economists view of a perfect market where both blogs are identical in every other way. We know that the quality of content is important, but I’ve come to a rather interesting conclusion, at least in the field of consumer and general interest blogs (as opposed to political blogs): blog aesthetics matter, and the prettier the pictures in your posts the more likely you are to succeed.
This in itself causes me a great deal of stress, mainly because editing and uploading pictures is slow in comparison to the creation of content. WordPress doesn’t allow you to just paste a picture directly into a post, and I’m presuming that other DIY packages are similar. The case in the free market may be a little different, for memory I believe you can cut and paste using blogger, but at the end of the day as a Problogger you’re more likely to be using a DIY or Paid hosting package as opposed to a freebie. The second point of stress is the extra demands on your site in terms of bandwidth: pictures slow down site loading times and cause bandwidth to be gobbled up at a faster rate. My immediate example is my new Weblog Empire Blog: The Gadget Blog, lots of pictures here, which are necessary and I’ll add are working a treat, but the bandwidth usage is 4 times that of the Blog Herald over similar visitor numbers. In other words pictures can also cost money.
The consideration though is whether the expenditure on pictures is rewarded by increased traffic and repeat visitor numbers. I’m thinking yes at this stage, although I’d welcome everyone’s views.
No, this isn’t a post involving a dirty subject, Darren has had all of us guest bloggers sign in blood that we will behave ourselves here at Problogger, but it is a serious question. Does size matter in terms of blog layout.
There is any number of different theories on this one, but its something else to think about whether you are starting a new blog or overhauling an existing blog.
I’ve put up a different version of this post up at The Blog Herald, but knowing that Darren is a Mac user I wanted to share a slightly different version on the theme here at Problogger: professional bloggers are ignoring compatibility issues.
I know from experience that many of the better bloggers in this world are Mac users, and I do honestly envy you. If I had a couple of thousand spare dollars sitting in my account to buy a new computer I’d most likely go with a Mac. The unfortunate reality is, that whilst Weblog Empire is going well, it’s not producing similar figures yet to Darren’s Mac powered network. Mac’s cost more, and while I can still build a new PC from parts for around $500 AUD (a decent one at that) I’m not changing yet. I also know that the chances are that the majority of you reading this use a PC running Windows as I do. Whether Macs are better or not is irrelevant, as Probloggers we specialise in content delivery, not whether one OS is better than another.
Peter Flaschner has a great post on The Perfect Number of Columns which I think bounces off my post on Blog Layout (I say ‘I think’ because he doesn’t link to it – but was part of the discussion here in my post so I’ll take some credit! :-) ). He writes:
‘How many columns is the perfect number? I’ve seen passionate opinions voiced in favor of 1, 2, and 3 columns. People seem to have very definite opinions about which is best. I’m here to tell them they’re all wrong.
There is no perfect solution. The right number of columns is determined by two things: your site’s raison d’etre, and your audience. Asking “what’s the right number of columns” is like asking “what’s the best colour”. The answer in both cases is it depends.’
Peter then goes on to talk about some factors to consider when choosing your blog’s layout, in particular your own needs and those of your audience. It’s a great post if you’re thinking through blog design issues.
Scrivs gives and insightful update on his decluttered design approach to adsense – the results speak for themselves:
‘Ever since I made the changes to the design of many of my sites to the extra minimalist style I have seen my eCPM increase anywhere from 50%-100%. My CTR has increased over 100%-200%, but this also has to do with the fact that I added an inline ad on FG for extended entries.’
Jim from Blog Kits shot me an email last week saying that he thought it would be interesting to do a post asking readers what their favorite blog layout was.
What is your favorite blog layout?
Do you prefer 2 columns, 3 columns or some other format? What are the advantages of the different formats that you’ve tried?
I think it depends upon the blog you’re running. Most of mine are a 3 column format mainly because I find 3 columns gives more options for placing advertising, affiliate programs etc. Two columns can make it hard to fit ads, navigation and other blog buttons and features in.
The downside of a 3 column layout is that it can make your blog look quite cluttered.
What do you prefer? Feel free to leave links to blogs that you like (or dislike) the layout of.