Welcome to week 3 of the #MAKEOVERYOURBLOG series! Today we’re jumping into your blog’s layout.
I find that bloggers often don’t give a thought to the way their blog’s laid out. They purchase a pre-made blog template and fill in the blanks. After all, why does your blog layout matter? And what does “best blog layout for SEO” even mean?
What if I told you that your blog will perform better, rank higher & attract more readers if you went the extra mile to style and layout your blog in a specific way?
Your blog’s layout is something that is easy to overlook. But a few simple layout tweeks can have a massive effect on your blog’s performance.
Before we get started, let’s go over the basics of why the way you layout your blog is so important.
The way your blog is laid out will affect both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & User Experience (UX).
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a combination of strategies & techniques used to gain higher rankings in search engine results. Your blog will pick up more traffic if it appears on the first page of a search engine’s results. Or, even better if it shows up in the first three spots at the top of the results page.
So how does your blog’s layout affect your search engine rankings? Search engines like Google keep track of how long users stay on your blog. The longer they stay on your blog, the higher your posts & pages will rank on search engine results pages. Your blog must be laid out in a way that is easy to navigate & keeps readers on your site.
User Experience (or UX) refers to the overall experience of the person using & reading your blog. If your blog is hard to navigate, hard to read or confusing in anyway, your UX ratings will drop. Again, search engines are keeping track of how long users spend on your blog, what pages they spend the most time on and what pages are making them leave. Good UX will keep readers coming back to your blog and may even turn them into email subscribers.
So how do you design the best blog layout for SEO & reader conversion?
1. Optimize your primary navigation menu.
The easiest change to make is to optimize your primary navigation menu. This is the menu that most likely sits at the very top of your blog or just below your logo. Your menu should have 4-5 items, linking to the most important pages on your site. Any more than 5 links may begin to overwhelm users. If there are additional pages or links you’d like to include in your primary navigation menu, add them in as drop down links from your top level menu items.
Remember, your menu is how users will navigate around your blog. Make it clear and easy to use with links that are important and make sense to the overall message of your blog.
2. Make sure your Lead Magnet is visible above the fold.
Every blog should have a Lead Magnet, freebie, newsletter or way to capture email addresses. Whatever your Lead Magnet may be, it’s VERY important to place it is on your homepage above the fold. “Above the fold” refers to the space on your website visible before users scroll down. When readers land on your blog, your Lead Magnet should be the first thing that they see. This will ensure that every single user sees your lead magnet & will maximize the number of email subscribers you are capturing.
3. Have a separate page for your newsletter.
To optimize your Lead Magnet conversion rates even further, create a brand new, separate page just to describe your irresistible offer. Readers like to know what they’re signing up for before they hand over their email address. Tell them in detail exactly what they’ll be getting by signing up and what they can expect from being on your email list.
For example, if your Lead Magnet is a free email course, in addition to having a catchy hook on your homepage, dedicate an entire page of your blog to explaining and selling your free email course. If you want readers to subscribe to a weekly email newsletter, create a separate page that details the irresistible & exclusive content they’ll receive by signing up. When it comes to capturing readers’ email addresses, the more you can do to sell them, the better!
4. Create strong CTA’s on every post & every page.
Remember when I mentioned that Google tracks how long each user spends on your blog? This means that it’s very important to give them lots to do, read & see! You can greatly increase this time by placing strong Calls to Action (CTA) on every single post & page on your blog. CTA’s are commands that require readers to take action. Your commands should steer them to somewhere else on your blog. When they finish reading a post, where should they go next? Tell them in a CTA!
A simple and effective CTA is to include “Related Posts” at the bottom of each blog post. These can typically be automatically generated by a plugin and will show readers additional posts on your blog that they may be interested in, based on the post they just read.
5. Spend time with your analytics.
Your blog analytics are they key to understanding how readers are responding to your blog & content. So spend some time taking a look and studying their behavior!
What page has the most views? Make sure there is a strong Lead Magnet on this page to capture the greatest amount of email subscribers.
What links in your primary navigation menu are users clicking on the most? Be sure these pages offer an opportunity to capture email addresses. If there are links in your navigation menu that aren’t being clicked, consider changing the link name to something clearer or more engaging.
What are the last pages users are viewing before they leave your blog? Take some time to spruce these pages up and be sure to add strong CTA so users have a place to go after these pages.
By following these tips, you will be well on your way to structuring the best blog layout for SEO & reader conversion.
To recap, you’ll want to….
- Optimize your primary navigation menu
- Place your irresistible Lead Magnet above the fold on your homepage
- Have a separate sales page for your newsletter or Lead Magnet
- Create strong Calls to Action on every post & page on your blog
- Spend time with your blog analytics
If you’re ready to take your blogging game to the next level, sign-up for my FREE email course, Makeover Your Blog. This course is jam-packed with the secrets you need to know in order to build and grow a successful blog.
And if you missed the last two posts in this series, be sure to check them out!
Next week, I’m diving into how to plan your blog content & create stress-free content creation systems! Be there or be square 😉
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