Yesterday I attended this workshop at Rackspace called “Results with a web strategy: from content to cloud.” A lot of information was exchanged in the course of a few hours.
Since 15-30% of web traffic is mobile now we must have responsive themes to improve general usability of our blogs and websites. Decluttering is key. If you need an image of what a decluttered page looks like think about a bank ATM screen. It has just a few options centered in the middle, no distractions, and it is friendly to the eyes.
Blog posts and articles should be written with a mobile screen in mind. The key is to reduce the scrolling and to make sure that the most relevant information can be found at the top of the post. The structure for a post/article looks like this:
- Header (with keywords for SEO)
- Lead (continuation of the header)
- Pull quote to get people’s attention
- Short list of details about the issues you discuss later
- Body text (approx. 50 words per paragraph)
- Call to action
Rachel recommends we use less adverbs and adjectives. Instead, we should use more examples or add details. She also highlighted that on the web shorter sentences are absolutely acceptable as well as fragmented sentences. Bulleted lists can replace a written summary. She also recommended not to hide critical information in a PDF but to add it to the post.
Melissa’s talk added details to Rachel’s that were of use to me as a blogger. She drove down the message that your high number of page views does not automatically mean that there is content engagement by your readers.
Your statistics are seasonal so if you look at your analytics make sure that you read correctly. The month of June differs from November simply because of our Thanksgiving Holiday. December shows another patterns as May. So the trick is to not compare month by month within one year. You compare a month to its statistics from last year.
When you check analytics the engagement on your top pages and recurring content tell you what your strengths are. How do people find your blog or website? Keywords? Categories? Referrals? Where were they before they landed on your site and where do they go when they leave?
Be aware that you may have great content but if it is on the wrong spot on your blog or website people may not see it. Rotating old posts can help here. You could ask friends to help you here. Let them check your site and ask them to describe it in 3 sentences. Maybe you can do a user test to find out what your readers value most. What are their favourite things to read?
Evaluate what your readers say or need and compare that information to what you wish to share on the blog or website. Of course, if your site is a commercial one selling products or services then you have a different investment in that site. Check your needs and goals and compare them with similar sites from people with similar goals and do not try to copy what the top bloggers or websites do. They may have the latest features but the key is: do readers use it?
Last, Melissa mentioned that writing unique content is time-consuming. Thank you! Not everyone realizes that a well-written blog post was hours in the making. She quoted about 20 hours of work for a feature piece is you want unique content.