How to make the most of your blog real estate

you will be surprised at how many use your navigation. There is no point having 4th July in the middle of December or New Year’s Eve in August

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ithout a doubt, your blog is prime real estate the bigger you are the more that real-estate is valued for some companies, for others, it’s the people that come and use that real estate that matter the most. As a blog owner how you use your real estate matters and you need to make the most of it. Today we are going to look at your blog real estate and make some actions that will help you to increase those pageviews, decrease that bounce rate and help you with monetisation as well.

10 Actions to make the most of your blog real estate for increasing pageviews, decreasing bounce rate and helping with monetisation

Contents

  • Where is your Blog Real Estate?
  • What to consider in terms of its tenants?
  • Actions to take to increase Pageviews, decrease bounce rate and help with monetisation

Where is your Blog Real Estate?

Each blog theme has it’s own real estate and there are differences between the mobile real estate and the desktop real estate. So let’s look at the view that we as bloggers focus on most of all. Our desktop view.

Where is your Blog Real Estate on a Desk Top?

The desktop view of your blog will depend on your theme but there are some general features that will be similar no matter what your theme if your blog has a traditional blog layout. These are:

  • Header Area
  • In Post
  • Sidebar
  • Footer

The Header Area can be divided into your navigation bars, header and if you choose an area above your header.

Navigation Bar

Used both on mobile and desktop you would be surprised at how many clicks on this and use this to discover more content. There is no point though having 4th July as an item on the menu bar in the middle of December or New Year’s Eve in August.

Header Image

Does your logo take up the whole of the desktop view? But, in fact, is only a time portion of the area? Although white space is great would it make more sense to position the logo to one side and use the other for something that will help with the 3 key areas.

Above the Header

Some themes allow you to insert areas above the header. This will be the first area that is seen as someone views your site, make that area count.

Within your posts is PRIME real estate, this is where the majority of people are going to be on your site. If you read last week’s post on why I removed the related post plugin you will see one of the ways that you can start to use the posts to reduce your bounce rate but there are other ways that you can focus on the 3 areas – pageviews, bounce rate and monetisation.

Your sidebar is important on your desktop – do you have it on the left or the right? What is key to you? We read from left to right so anything on the left of the screen catches our eye first. I always put my content first – have I tried to switch from a right sidebar to a left sidebar – well no. Because I want people to read the content as that will encourage others to return. BUT I still use the sidebar and have been working on improving it and making it work better for me.

The footer – of your blogs real estate this is one of the areas that people are less likely to get to but it can be extremely useful – you can use it for all 3 areas. One of the key things I did was put in a sticky footer ad on my site through the ad agency and this is one of the ad units that has the highest RPM. Well worth it and great for monetisation.

Where is your Blog Real Estate on Mobile?

Depending on whether your site runs a mobile theme that has some similarity to your own theme or you have a unique theme will depend on where the real estate is. If you run a mobile theme that just moves your sidebar to the bottom of the normal layout then you have a similar system with much more importance placed on your Header Area and In Post than on sidebar and your footer. If you run a unique mobile theme then look for position on your site that has the greatest chance of being seen.

What to consider in terms of your tenants?

As we are talking about real estate the way that you use it is your tenants and there are different ways that you can achieve your 3 areas so you want to achieve a balance.

Pageviews and Bounce Rate

These two are linked and you can focus on them together, although be warned that one of the measures to increase pageviews can raise your bounce rate as well although not if you have other bounce rate measures in place like those related posts some ideas that you could use

  • Popular posts
  • Sneeze Pages and Categories
  • Call to action to sign up to your regular newsletter (although an increase in regular readers that only visit the newest post read and then leave will increase your bounce rate, you can put measures in place to avoid that rise)
  • Targeted recent posts

Monetisation

Getting the right balance with monetisation on your site can be difficult. You want the right mix of ad’s, affiliates and your own products if you start to sell them. As a blogger, we also seem to notice and get annoyed with ads more than the average user because we spend a lot more time on blogs than the average reader does. However, when you talk to people that make good money from their ad’s, affiliates and products it’s about getting the balance right

Some ideas of how to include these on your site

  • Join an ad network if you have enough pageviews, Google Ad Sense or Amazon CPM
  • Create ad’s for your own products
  • Use some of the creatives that many affiliates provide
  • Add contextual links to popular posts
  • Create posts advertising your products or affiliates

Actions to Take

There are so many actions that you could take and I am sure like myself you have taken courses, read posts and listened to the experts but from doing this these are things that really work.

  1. Make sure your Navigation is useful – what is the point of having 4th July content in December or New Years Eve in July. If you have all of your content in your navigation bar then you are giving people information overload. Instead take a look at what you have, what people are coming to your site to find and use that to direct people around your site. Utilise your sneeze pages in your navigation especially if they are in season, make sure your categories are a good fit and showcase your best areas, create landing pages for products and affiliates and use these too.
  2. Target your popular posts in your sidebar. It is so easy to pop in a plugin that creates a widget and displays your popular posts. Come on you know you’ve done it. BUT you then loose control. Take back that control and showcase your best popular posts for NOW. Really think about those posts from your stats and use the ones from this month last year plus any from last month that were as popular to showcase and direct people to 5 or 6 of them from your sidebar
  3. Add visual links to your sidebar to get people to your sneeze pages or prominent categories and switch these out as well. Sidebars shouldn’t be static they are part of your blog and need to change with the seasons, where your traffic is coming from and also as your blog evolves
  4. If you want those badges awards etc… on your site for whatever reason move them to your footer. Hang on let me say that again maybe a little louder – MOVE THEM TO YOUR FOOTER. Yes I understand why you want to showcase you were the best blog of 2015 its great to be recognised but your sidebar is your valuable real estate – where do those badges lead to? Are they helping with your pageviews, decreasing your bounce rate or monetisation of your blog? In 99% of cases what they are doing is taking up space that you could be using to directly work on those 3 areas. Oh and whilst we are at it – category and archive boxes or tag cloud… if you must go on put them in the footer too. If someone wants to use them they will find them
  5. Add your call to action and decide what it should be. I am going with email as my 2017 focus as unlike social media I control it. Plus from taking a few courses in the last year as well as some experimentation most of the follows that I gain on social media are generated on social media rather than from my site. So I have created a call to action and added them to posts, in my sidebar and anywhere else I can think of.
  6. Ditch your related post plugin and get those contextual links in place and read this next working for you to decrease the bounce rate. Don’t believe me that it will benefit your site – just check out the results.
  7. Make your own ad’s for products and your most popular affiliates then place them in the sidebar, or in posts. Want a quick way to do it then the ad-inserter plugin is great and you can place them in specific categories or tags too.
  8. Add affiliate links to your blog posts or your own products where relevant make this contextual and people are more likely to click through to them.
  9. Make sure you are making the most of your header area – do you have a small logo right in the centre – could you move it to the theme you have? There is some prime real estate for adding a featured series (pageviews and bounce rate), leaderboard ad, call to action make that area useful.
  10. Look at your ads if you are with an ad agency get them to check that they are performing well if you are not yet at the pageviews for an ad agency (and I would recommend that if you are that you apply it takes a lot of the guesswork out of ad placement and my increase in revenue from ads has been AMAZING since I joined) then join Google Ad Sense and Amazon Affiliates for CPM and then…. do some research on the blogs that you know are with ad agencies and get good ad revenue see where they have ads placed and try them out yourself.

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Cerys Parker

Cerys is the founder of Rainy Day Mum a top UK parenting blog. Prior to having children, she taught digital media and web development. Supporting other bloggers to develop, grow and expand their blogs through actionable tasks that aren't as terrifying as they seem to be!

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