Improve Your Blog 3 Ways
It’s been more than a year since I switched from Typepad to WordPress… and it’s also been more than a year since I started using the Copyblogger theme for my blog (after a couple months running the Sandbox theme).
Since last summer I had been thinking about upgrading to Chris Pearson’s Thesis Theme. From the moment I learned of it, I wanted to use it. Finally, my friend (and master programmer) Ken Gary took care of it for me.
And so you’ll notice that I’m now running the Thesis Theme on my blog. Ken carried over the colors from my previous theme and even created the icon idea I had described to him.
Because of the changes I’ve been implementing, I figured it would be a good idea to share with you how to improve your blog three ways. Here it goes…
Improvement #1: Install a High-End Blog Theme to Maximize Traffic & Readership
You might think that all WordPress themes are about the same, and that you should just pick one that “looks good” to you.
But this approach is misguided.
I’ve run multiple themes on this blog, my other blog, and my client’s blogs. And let me tell you: Not all blog themes are created equal.
Some are difficult to work with. Some have major limitations. And most have no support, so if you ever have a problem, you’re stuck!
Not so with Thesis.
Thesis is a fully SEO-optimized WordPress theme. The standard fonts are highly readable; the theme itself has amazing design flexibility; and, best of all, it comes with support since it’s a paid theme.
A lot of bloggers try to do everything as cheaply as possible. Unfortunately, what little you save in the beginning costs you even more over the long haul (in the form of lost traffic, lost back-links, and lost search engine rankings).
That’s why I strongly recommend you install the Thesis theme or a theme with similar functionality.
Improvement #2: Install Action Comments to Turn “Commenters” into Email Subscribers
Whenever somebody makes a small purchase, you have an immediate opportunity to upsell them into a larger purchase. And because of the principle of commitment and consistency, a certain percentage will automatically accept your upsell offer.
This is the principle behind Action Comments, a paid WordPress plug-in created by Robert Plank.
Basically, whenever one of your blog readers takes action by leaving a comment, you have an opportunity to “upsell” them by asking them to subscribe to your email list. And a certain percentage will.
You can see how Action Comments works below. If you leave a comment, it asks if you want a free copy of my Conversion Booster check list. All you have to do is check the box and submit your comment.
The plug-in is super simple to install. And it works with most email service providers, including Aweber. This one plug-in is responsible for adding a couple hundred readers to my blog in just a couple months. The first month I installed it, the number of email subscribers on my list doubled.
Oh, and the best part: You can get Action Comments for only $17. Best money you’ll ever spend to improve your WordPress blog.
UPDATE: AWeber now offers a free plugin that does the same thing as Action Comments. If you have AWeber, you can use this plugin instead.
Improvement #3: Install Ultimate Footer Ad to Overcome “Familiarity Blindness”
The first day I installed Ultimate Footer Ad on my blog, reader Becki Maxson left a comment saying, “What’s the cool bottom pop-up you’re using?”
Ultimate Footer Ad displays a horizontal ad across the bottom of your blog (or website). I’ve set it to display every 7 visits on a 2-second delay.
You can use the ad to offer a free gift in exchange for an email address as I have, or you can simply use the ad to link to a paid offer or whatever you want, really.
Caution: This is NOT a WordPress plug-in since it’s designed to work on any web site. Which means it was not as easy to install as I had expected. I actually needed a little help from my friend Ken Gary to get it set up properly.
Nevertheless, the results are awesome. Not only does the ad look professional, it is less intrusive than a regular pop-up. What’s more, since it’s so different, people actually pay attention to it.
Now, I don’t have any definitive test results that prove Ultimate Footer Ad is worth it since it’s only been on my blog for less than a week. But a couple of reputable marketers have already run tests and seen big increases.
And I know that pop-ups in general increase opt-ins, so I can’t imagine that the footer ad would reduce opt-ins. In other words, it can only help.
The Ultimate Footer Ad costs $47. If you’re interested in putting it on your blog or web site, you can order it here.
So there you have it — 3 ways to improve your blog. Now, the key is to take action. Pick at least one of these three suggestions and go implement it right now.
-Ryan M. Healy