Posted on January 1, 2013
It's easy to look at your blog and think, "Wow, this site rocks!"
And why not?
The design is pretty cool, the logo is great, and you even have an awesome headline for your latest article.
Yet no one is sticking around and no one is subscribing. Your last article had an amazing 0 comments, and you earned exactly five cents from Adsense. You haven't had a new subscriber in over a month.
I've got some advice for you. Make some changes to your site, and I guarantee you'll start to see some growth on your blog.
It's not enough to make you a ton of money, but by implementing these simple changes, you'll begin to grow your blog in the direction that you want.
On my blog, I call these areas the "Three Hot Spots." They're the most important spots on any blog to get important offers in front of readers. Keep reading to learn how to use these hot spots to maximize your blog.
Let's step back for a second and consider the evolution of "the fold."
The fold, as the word suggests, is the place in a newspaper where the paper is folded to make it easier to deliver. Now consider how a person views a folded newspaper. When someone picks up a copy of the New York Times, for example, what do they read first? Whatever is above the fold. So where do you think the most important stories are located? Exactly, above the fold.
This is the same on a website. People first see whatever is above the bottom of the screen. For websites, anything above where the screen breaks is "above the fold."
Therefore, when designing your site, you want to put the most important information anywhere before readers will need to scroll. It's hard to know what that exact space is since everyone has different sized monitors, but the best way to check is on a 21" monitor since that's the most common screen size. The fold may be bigger on larger monitors, but for now, stick to a 21" monitor as a guideline.
An important item to include above the fold is a "featured post" section that links to your best content. It's always a good idea to show off your best work which is your most popular posts.
You can also include an awesome logo above the fold in order to build your brand, and don't forget to include a custom e-mail opt-in form if you'd like people to subscribe.
Regardless of what you decide to use, it's best to put the most important content above the fold. Whatever that is for your site, make sure people will see it as soon as they land on the home page and won't need to scroll down to find it (which they may never do).
Other than Hebrew readers (myself included) who read right to left, the majority of people read left to right. So what happens when readers finish reading the first line? One of two things.
Either the reader will automatically go on to the next line, or else they'll pause because something caught their attention.
This is an ideal time to grab the reader's attention and potentially nab them as a newsletter subscriber. That's why the e-mail opt-in form should be at the top of the right sidebar. This is a really important space on any blog.
Many bloggers throw an ad here because they're excited about getting nickel clicks. And in some cases, this is a great place to for those ads.
But if you're really serious about making money, I'd advise against this. Instead, collect people's e-mail addresses as a lead. It never hurts to have more e-mails, especially to bring people back to your blog to read future posts, and it's critical for building a community around your site.
Below the article is another area that many bloggers don't optimize. The space is left blank hoping that readers will leave comments.
Below the article is a space where readers are left looking, almost begging for something to do next.
They read the entire article! They were so interested that they made it all the way to the bottom of the post, but they don't have anything to say except "great post," so they don't comment.
If you add something here, people might be more inclined to take an action. This is a good spot for a "related articles" plugin or another lead collection form.
Since they are already interested in what you had to say, this is the time to hook them. Get them to subscribe. Encourage them to read another article. Ask them to retweet. Tell them a little more about yourself. Whatever it is that you want the reader do, this is the place to do it.
If people want to comment, they will. But if there is an option for action like one of the suggestions listed above, there's a good chance they'll take the bait.
What will you put below the article to get more results?