Monday, December 30, 2019

Why Simplicity is the Key to a Successful Blog

The digital age has given life to so many voices via social media, and is expressed in as little as 280 characters.  When you put blogging into perspective it all boils down to being able to grab the attention of your audience.

Blogging is a hard nut to crack when you see how so many people have reached mammoth audiences with social media campaigns, and got thousands of visitors to boot.  But don't be discouraged, all is not lost.  With time and thought you can turn your blog readership with next to no viewers into a thriving influential force to be reckoned with.

Why Less is More When It Comes to Blog Images

A blog or website is boring and plain without images.  Even scholarly websites include some kind of imagery.  As reported by Business2Community, websites with images pull-in 94% more page impressions than that of their text-only counterparts.  To make your blog standout and improve your SEO you need to make your website more visibly enticing, and this is what you need to know.


Poor Quality Photos Aren't Going to Help You

Unprofessional, pixellated, dark, blurry photos will behave like an infection, making the rest of the work you've done on blog design look really bad. Having your own camera is great, don't get me wrong, more harm is likely to come to your blog than good when you take your own photos.  This is why so many bloggers turn to stock photo websites, or hire a professional photographer to take their photos.

Any images taken for Amazon must adhere to the strict criteria, and cannot be changed or avoided.  All product shots for your e-commerce site should be done professionally using a DSLR camera.  This will give your blog the clean, legitimate look it needs to cement confidence in customers who visit your website.

Don't Overuse Stock Photos

Stock images have a purpose, but can be used too much, and end up giving your blog an unoriginal look.  These kinds of images are mostly used on professional sites such as insurance companies, law firms, and mortgage brokersand are usually the same face of smiling men and women in suits.

People don't really like these photos and tend to look past them, or see right through them.  Making the user more desensitised, because too many of these images just look boring.


Images Devoid of Attribution are Blank Spaces

All visual elements of your web page should include a piece of descriptive text.  You can do this by adding a file name, alt attribution, or caption.  This should be done because:

1. So that Google and other search engines can index your website properly.  Giving the image a proper name and attribution tells the search engine what is taking up the space.  It's useful for SEO purposes and an easy way to add a keyword rich description, and fill your web pages with indexable content.

2. If the user has a difficulty seeing the image, e.g. if the image isn't loading properly.  A piece of descriptive text is there to tell people what is missing from the web page.

Visuals Should Add to the Users Experience

All of your images should be pleasing to the users eye, and not looking like your trying to fill in space.  As stated in the Search Engine Journal, "Ultimately, your reason for having an image is to complement the content, break up the text, and help your audience understand a product or concept."  If your image isn't hitting the mark with any of these points, you either need to create better images or not use any images at all.

Why You Shouldn't Overdo Blog Advertising

Many bloggers use advertising as their primary income.  Is this kind of advertising the best way to make money though?

Most bloggers use some form of advertising on their websites and blogs, the most popular form of advertising are banner ads or pop up ads in the side bar or on top of each post.

Experience has taught me that it's one of the most difficult ways to make money with a blog.

We're going to start looking at alternative ways, and why ads on blogs are a bad option in the long term for any blogger.

Good Reasons to Not Use Ads on Your Blog

Here are five reasons why using advertising companies such as Adsense are a bad plan for bloggers:

1. Little Control Over Ads Displayed

When you sign up to a company such as Adsense you have little to no control over the ads visible on your site.  Often times you find magazine or high profile websites with dubious products that otherwise would not be approved.

2. Website Load Time Slowed Because of Advertising

You can be sure that sites that use advertising will take longer to load.  For a website to rank high Google looks negatively at any blog or site that has a slow loading time.

3. Readers Are Lost for a Few Cents

Finding an audience can be difficult at the best of times, but couple that with advertising that's sure to frighten most readers away and you have a recipe for long term disaster as a blogger/website owner.

4.  Invasive Display Options

Advertisers will go to great lengths to maximise the coverage they can get from your blog.  For any visitors this can be really annoying, and feel like an unwarranted intrusion, and break in page momentum.  Leaving a huge dint in the blog bounce rate, and subscriber conversion rates.

5. Loss of Trust

Many readers won't visit a blog again because they know they can't trust a website with such intrusive advertising.  Over the years I've stopped visiting the blogs with high volumes of advertising, even those with a pop up blocker, because of the cookies and scripts that can invite unwanted guests to my computer.

If you're a blogger looking to a long-term income the above reasons should make you rethink your blog income strategy and main source of income.



Are There Any Alternatives?

This is where you need to start looking at the long term plan for your blog.

1. Create a Long-Term Strategy

We need to start looking ahead, looking at different goals and ideas you have for the next five years or so.  This will help you stay focused, and help you decide on where you want to take your blog next.

2. Investigate Other Temporary Sources of Income

In my blog post How to Start a Blogger Blog and Make Online we start looking at the various ways of making money from your blog.  This might include creating your own books, products are services and promoting them through your blog.

3. Start a Mailing List in Your Niche

Building a mailing list that will target the area you want to monetise in the future. 

4. Produce a Product that Appeals to Your Readers

The lion's share of bloggers who have been successful have created a product and sold it to a mailing list that was ready for the sale.  Bloggers such as Darren Rowse of Problogger, and Pat Flynn have been really profitable doing this.

5. Strengthen this Method by Encouraging More Traffic

After you have this all setup you need to start bringing in relevant users to your blog to all of your blog posts and pages to promote the funnel.

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