Having a professional website is key to getting your readers to stick around and read your content. Your reader equates your website’s professionalism with your credibility. Here are five ways you can improve your website.
1. Have the subscribe form visible or linked to every page
The easiest way to do this is to have your subscribe form as a widget on your page or a link in the menu. My subscrive form is a small popup that is very easily dismissed by the reader. There is also a link in the menu to go to the subscribe form. Getting subscribers is much easier when your form is visible and not overbearing. Don’t make your reader zoom out or change their behavior to exit out of your subscribe form. Readers equate this to spam.
2. Remove duplicate widget areas – specifically advertisements
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed about particularly new websites, most being WordPress.com, is that people publish their website without removing duplicate widget areas. You should make sure that your website is functional and easy to use. Some examples are websites having multiple search bars, menus, and advertisements.
I understand that you may be looking to make money on your website. That is okay. What’s not okay is having the same advertisement on your website two or three times in a row. When I am reading a blog, I don’t mind there being the one ad placed in a position that I can easily move past it, but when there are three in a row I almost never stick around to see more. Make sure that your website looks professional and your readers know that you have taken a look at every part of your website.
3. Make your homepage only show the excerpt of a post, not the entire post
If you really want your visitor to stick around and click on multiple posts, don’t show the entire post on the homepage. Doing this makes it very difficult to scroll down your website, particularly on mobile devices, and your visitors will get annoyed quickly. Visitors are not going to stick around your website for very long to begin with, so you need to get more than one post in front of them. If they want to read a post, they will click the title of it and read it. Don’t force all of your content on your reader on the homepage. The most common way of doing this is to show the featured image, the post title, post author, and post date followed by an excerpt of the first 100 words or less of the post.
4. Ensure your menu has all of your pages
I’ve recently discovered that it was difficult to get to the about and contact pages of several of the blogs that I follow. When you are setting up your blog, make sure that your menu includes your main pages such as Home, About, Contact, etc. Navigating a website becomes extremely difficult when your reader can’t find a page.
5. Categorize Your Website
Every website is categorized and this is how a website filter/blocker knows what websites to block. If you have not requested your website be categorized, the chances are that it will have the category “none”. This category, or lack thereof, will cause web filters to block the website by default. This means that your website is likely being blocked by people at work or school.
Categorizing your website is extremely easy. All you need to do is head over to Blue Coat and fill out a WebPulse Site Review Request. Type your URL in and click check category. You do not need to do anything further if your website is already categorized. If it is not, the site will ask you to choose a category and then submit the request. In my experience, the request is responded to within 24 hours. That is it!
Please do not take this as a personal attack on your website. Your content is very important, but you should know that your readers may never see your content if your website is poorly designed. I don’t mean that your colors are ugly or that maybe you don’t use their favorite font, but readers want to know they are reading a professional website. As you can tell from reading my blog, my design isn’t the greatest, but I’ve worked hard to ensure the content is easy to get to, the content isn’t overbearing, and users can subscribe easily.
Check out Blogging Tools & Resources to find tools to help you improve your blog!