Here’s a pop quiz: would you rather generate tons of traffic to your website and not know what to do with it or generate smaller amounts of targeted traffic and focus on converting that traffic into paying customers?
In other words, before you are ready to monetize your blog, you need traffic, but also you need to know about traffic conversion.
Take a look at the following 7 ways to kick-start better traffic conversion and see if you are falling short in any of them (by the way, many thanks to SmashingMagazine.com for providing such great resources for this post).
1. Visitors Focus On Faces
People have a tendency to focus on other people’s faces as soon as they come into view, which gives marketers a huge power to focus website visitor’s attention on a certain aspect of the page by merely placing somebody’s picture.
Moreover, it is very important WHERE the face in the picture is looking at, since that’s precisely where your readers look next.
Did you hear that? You have the power to direct your readers’ attention to where you want them to look! Incredible!
Here are some images to give you a visual:
Eye-tracking heat map of a baby looking directly at us, from the UsableWorld study.
Now our attention is directed to where the baby is looking.
We are instinctively drawn to faces, but if the face is looking in a certain direction, that’s where our eyes will drift as well. So, once again, use this technique to direct your readers’ attention to your headlines, optin boxes, and such.
2. Quality Design = Credibility
One of the ways your visitors will determine the credibility of your website is by its design.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not urging you to run out and hire an expensive web designer, not at all.
Here is the screen shot of one of my favorite blogs: Problogger.net
Very clean-cut professional design that is easy on the eye.
Here are some of the elements that influence your website credibility:
Here are a couple of other things that influence your readers perception of you and tus your traffic conversion:
- quality of content
- how often you update your website
- amount of errors
- ease of navigation
3. Best Traffic Conversion Opportunity is Still Above the Fold
There are some conflicting studies on that one.
Some say most visitors do not scroll, some say that the scrolling habits are changing.
One thing remains a fact though: you can go wrong with treating your above-fold space as your blog prime real estate.
Here is what I see on a lot of blogs today: nice heading, blogger’s name in big letters, and possible a short subhead saying something like “Welcome to my blog!”
My first reaction is bah-bye! Why? Because I don’t know who they are, their name says nothing to me, and I am not going to scroll down to find out whether I actually like their blog or not.
My time is very valuable!
Let me refresh your memory on what you see on my blog above the fold:
First and foremost you see my header that has these elements in it:
- My picture – looking in the direction of the header, by the way, directing your attention that way as well.
- You immediately see what my blog is all about – Traffic Generation. This is extremely important!
- At this point, my visitors already decided to hopefully stay, if traffic generation is something they are interested in. Just in case, I also added a benefit to the header “Easy Strategies to Increase Your Website Traffic Today”.
- You can see part of my optin form to the left (that’s where our eyes naturally drift when looking at a website). Although you can’t see the entire form (can’t have it all:), you can see a benefit that entices my visitors to check it out further. Also, white font on a dark background makes it stand out more.
- You see a lot of white space around the core elements, making your eyes go to what I want you to see first.
Since the statistics show that about 77% of visitors won’t scroll (that number keeps changing from study to study:), I have a good chance to beat the odds, providing that I actually drive TARGETED blog traffic – readers who are actually INTERESTED in what I have to offer.
Don’t take these statistics to mean that you need to cramp as much as you can above the fold.
Visual appeal should still be your first priority!
Here are some core essentials to include above the fold:
- Name of the website (if your site name is based on your name, try to put in in smaller fonts giving larger space to WHAT your site is ABOUT – unless your name is widely recognized of course).
- The benefits the users will get from reading it (remember it’s all about your readers and what THEY will get out of it, not what YOU can teach them).
- Good navigation system.
- Optin form if you have one (you should have one).
Final thought: Did you know that you can change the color of your scroll bar? Change it to red to entice your visitors to scroll and increase your conversion rates. Here are two resources to help you do just that (this won’t work on Mac, by the way):
4. White Space is Extremely Important
White space is the space between paragraphs, images, margins, etc.
There are two huge benefits to giving white space proper attention on your blog:
1. It improves READABILITY and COMPREHENSION – by as much as 20%!
Although it might not directly influence your traffic conversion rates, it certainly adds to your readers’ overall experience on your blog.
Happy Reader = Returned Reader
2. Good use of white space allows us to properly format our thoughts: group the elements that belong together (like a list), separate the ones that we want to emphasize – it declutters our posts, in other words.
Readers find it much easier to digest well-spaced content.
5. Hyperlinks Are Best To Be Left Blue
That’s how we are conditioned.
If it’s blue, we want to click on it to see where it leads us; any other color makes us wonder if that’s a link at all.
So the idea of giving your website a different look is great, but keeping your readers in mind, doing certain things the way everybody else does is best.
When people come to your site, they expect to see certain things, like navigational tabs, header, and yes, blue links. It’s called usage patterns.
Google keeps all its links blue for a reason.
Here are some guidelines if you DO choose to go for a different link color on your site/blog:
1. Do not use the same color as your main font color – meaning black on black (you would think that’s an obvious one, yet I saw that happen very recently on one of the blogs I visited.)
2. Contrast is the main key: light for dark fonts, dark for light fonts.
3. Best guideline – stick to the blue! 🙂
Listen, there is nothing wrong if you choose a different color; just remember that it might make it more difficult for your readers to follow your links.
6. Most Visitors Are Blind
…to advertising that is.
If your users are looking for a particular information or are engaged with the very thrilling content you post to your blog, they will ignore all ads.
Moreover, they will ignore anything that LOOKS LIKE an ad.
Check out this screen shot:
The square banners on the left side of the page are not ads at all, they are content links. Imagine how many clicks they get!
My personal feeling about ads on blogs:
I get a lot of requests from bloggers to take a look at their blogs and make suggestions on what works and what does not.
Many a time I will see blogs swarming with AdSense. My first question to them is: are you making any money with it? The answer is usually no.
Why? Because when a visitor comes to their blog and is immediately hit with a bunch of ads, they simply leave.
In order to make money off AdSense and other revenue-generating platforms, you need an established blog with good readership. So my suggestion is establish that first! Create good content, start a list, drive targeted traffic, and with time add some money-making mechanisms.
Don’t put the carriage in front of the horse, in other words!
7. More Traffic Conversion Tips
Consider this a bonus or just me running out of steam:).
Here is the link to more great traffic conversion advice by yours truly – go there now and do yourself a favor – don’t forget to implement!
You are right: you don’t have to comment or retweet, but would it help if I told you it would be much appreciated? 🙂