How to Stop Your Blog Bleeds

158 amazing comments

365:2010/07/30 - digits iv
Photo credit: Foxtongue

Your blog is bleeding. Hemorrhaging in fact.

Every day you are losing valuable readers because of tiny cuts and gashes all over your blog. All that hard work you did crafting headlines, writing original content and marketing your work is going to waste. In this article I am going to show you how you can stop your blog bleeds and retain more visitors to your blog.

Diagnosing the blog bleeds

The first thing a doctor does when he or she sees a patient is takes a history. In fact, 90% of all diagnosis’ are done from the patient history. Apply that to the blogging world and it means you can solve a lot of your blog bleeding by just knowing where it is taking place. A lot of people have no idea.

What exactly is blog bleeding Tyrant?
Okay, so maybe I should talk a little bit about what blog bleeding is? Basically it is places on your site that allow or cause people to leave.

You might not know this but I visit almost all of my readers’ blogs. If you leave a comment there is a good chance I will check you out. And one thing I am constantly seeing is a few mistakes that cause me (and others) to leave. That is why I decided to write this post.

Isn’t that just Exit Pages?
If you go to your Google Analytics account you will see a link under Content called Exit Pages. This is the stats relating to the pages that people leave from. Blog bleeding is more than just Exit Pages though. Sure, Exit Pages show you where people left from but they do not tell you why they left from there. That is something entirely different and much more important.

How to find and stop your blog bleeds

My cut up thumb
Photo credit: John Leach

Let’s jump right in to the problems and the treatments. I would really love to see some comments from you about your Exit Pages and why you think people are leaving from those.

1. Form and Email Submit pages
The first place that your blog bleeds a lot from is your email submit pages. Here on Blog Tyrant, for example, I get a lot of people leaving by the Free eBook page. This makes sense because this page sees a higher percentage of people entering their email address to get the eBook and then leave to confirm the link. This is the best kind of blog bleed you can have because it is a type of goal conversion.

It is still a bleed, however.

How to fix it?
One thing I do is put some posts in the confirmation email telling people that they can check these articles out while they wait for the eBook to arrive. This has the effect of getting them back on to the blog itself and engaging the content in a new way.

email deliver options

If you use Feedburner you can change the confirmation email by going to Publicize > Email Subscriptions > Communication Preferences and then editing the Email Body. Very easy stuff and a good way to get some readers back.

2. After reading the headline
Sadly, the most common place that most blogs bleed is after the headline. And it is often design related. More and more I am seeing people write brilliant headlines that attract my attention only to lose me with horrid designs that do not promote the content at all. If you have a super high bounce rate this could be part of the reason. I wrote about this in my Problogger Guest Post on Three Problems that Make Me Leave Your Blog in Three Seconds.

How to fix it?
The first thing you need to do is clean up your design so that it draws the eye down. This can be done by adding more white space, removing clutter and using a theme that is designed for content. I talk about this a lot in my article on increasing conversions; you have to appear trustworthy.

Above all, remove those darn Adsense ads that you put below your header. Sure, it might get a high click rate there but you are losing readers. Unless you are building a website that is designed for Adsense you shouldn’t be sending your readers away for just a few cents. It doesn’t make sense at all when you could be promoting an eBook or a sign up link and retaining them for 10 or 15 years.

3. At the end of an interesting article
If a visitor has arrived from a social media website it is likely they did so because they found the headline (and hopefully the article) interesting. The problem then is that they might not think anything else on your website holds water. The end of articles presents a challenge because you have to get the reader to look at something else as opposed to just closing the window and searching for something new.

How to fix it?
The most sure-fire way to fix this problem is to understand your niche. It is both a blessing and a curse to be a niche blogger because on one hand you only have a small topic to write about but on the other hand you only have a small topic to write about! You may have just done a killer piece on email marketing but lost interest because your next article was about Twitter.

The end of every post should display a list of relevant articles that might interest the reader. You can do this by installing the Related Posts plugin and then setting it to categories. You also need to make sure that every article you write has relevant internal links throughout the content. An ideal situation is to get people to visit five or six pages off of the one article.

4. Inconsistent image size and post structure
Humans love things to be the same. They like to be able to predict outcomes. And visually, humans like things to have clean lines and a smooth flow. All of that is lost when you use images that are different sizes or content layouts that do not encourage scrolling. Quite often I visit a blog only to leave because the lack of space and the varying images left me confused about where I was supposed to look.

How to fix it?
The best thing you can do is get a professional theme like Thesis and stick to the posting and image guidelines. These themes are designed for blogging and have very well designed Stylesheets that make your headers and titles and link all fit together perfectly.

If you cannot afford a theme then pick one with lots of white space and make sure every image you use is the same size. One way to do that is to install Photo Dropper for WordPress because it searches for images from Flickr and inserts them all at the same width and height. Then edit your Stylesheet so that your h1, h2 and h3 tags all look clean and nice. If you need some help with this code drop a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Where is your blog bleeding?

So where abouts is your blog bleeding from? Have you ever looked at your Exit Pages and wondered what it was that made people leave? I would really love to hear about any stories or ideas you have because reader retention is a very big interest of mine. Leave a comment and let’s get talking.

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158 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Kim

    Excellent article as always but has me wondering. I know that two of my issues were the header and at the end of articles. I just tend to write an article and no call to action. Just plop it on and it just lays there with nothing to peak more action. Perhaps that will be my New Year’s resolution. Learn to engage readers. What do you think?


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Kim.

      I reckon you do well with the ends of posts. The only thing I might suggest is a few more headers, lists and bold text in the content to make it more scannable.

      Tyrant


    2. Elliot Ross

      “I just tend to write an article and no call to action.”

      Sigh –

      Kim, you spelled out my problem as well. I like your idea to make it a new years resolution to try to loosen up and let it speak.

      Glad I am not the only one, thank you!

      Elliot


  • Pete Carr

    Hi BT,
    Great post. My biggest issue is no email sign up. It needs addressing. Also I am not sure about red text for my links, think this could be changed to blue.
    I use linkwithin which shows post at the end of a post, these are not related though. So related posts could be a good idea.
    I also think my blog is a little cluttered sometimes. I like reading your blog because I know here everything is and it is very easy to navigate. Oh and of course excellent content.
    Be brutal with me BT, I want to know your thoughts on the BG.
    Thanks
    Pete


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Pete.

      I’m just on the iPhone but will get back to you later. I had to stop by though and say that you have to get on thr email subs! I’m shocked!

      πŸ™‚


      1. Pete Carr

        I know, I know. I want to give value though, not just rehashed BS. I am working on it along with a million other things.
        It has gone to No.1 on my priority list.
        Pete


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          The thing is Pete, what you consider re-hashed BS might be gold to someone else.

          Go for it!


  • TJ

    I appreciate these posts that help me understand the mechanics of all the stuff behind-the-scenes. Part of me is super defeated because the learning curve is so high.

    Yet part of me is realizing that if I can even just begin to understand what exactly needs to be done, then I will be able to prioritize a list and find somebody technical to do it for me.

    My fear is that if I tried to work with somebody now, I would be at the mercy of their opinions and easily convinced to do whatever they want. I need to stick around so I can be sure they will do what the Tyrant says!!

    Thank you for sharing your expertise and happy holidays from germany,
    tj


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Don’t be overwhelmed TJ.

      A lot of the information is just 5% stuff. Things to put the icing on the cake.

      Thanks for commenting.


      1. TJ

        That’s super nice of you. I’ve barely begun mixing my batter or greasing my cake pan. But I’m happy to have found a chef and a recipe book if you know what I’m sayin!


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Are you asking me out TJ?

          Just kidding.


          1. TJ

            Christmas cookie crumbs just flew out my nose! I didn’t see that coming. And just when I was worried about why I look like a strange blue hexagon instead of a human like the other lovely commenting visitors. How did you even know I was female? Teach me your ways tyrant…!! See ya in 2011.


  • Samuel

    Awesome post Tyrant. I will check out my exit pages and see where its bleeding. I guess I need to turn myself into a red cross in order to cure the bleeding. πŸ™‚ great post once again. Thanks for sharing.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries Samuel. Let us know what you discover.


  • Stuart

    Nice way to begin the post BT, saying that our websites are bleeding profusely lol. But it made me read the article so fair play.

    I’m sure my blog is weak and bleeding in certain areas, but it always help to make a diagnosis, even when everything seems fine. Things can always be made better πŸ™‚


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Let us know if you find anything out.


  • CreativeBlogger

    Nice!

    One of the most popular pages where I bleed is my front page … I think what I need to do is limit how much of the most recent post is available on the front page. As of now, readers can read the entire post right on the front page, but the downside is that they may not want to, so they’d have to scroll through it in order to reach the previous posts published … I’m guessing most don’t have that patience.

    I’m going to cut the most recent post considerably and add a categories and popular posts widget to my sidebar in effort to reduce all of this bleeding.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Sounds good to me!


  • chris

    Walking through the steps…
    1. Feedburner email: note that FB states that it’s a text-only email so any links are going to be straight link text.

    I added one link to a quiz on my site. Seems the best of links to add.

    I seem to be pretty good on the rest of the stuff. A few areas I need to clean up on older posts and focus on for consistency sake.

    My retention rate skyrocketed when I added a related articles section to the bottom of my articles a year or so ago.

    My exit pages are typically:
    1. Stumbled Upon pages for obvious reasons.
    2. The same as my top visited pages found through web searches. My topic is live sound and I *think* people visiting these pages tend to be looking for information regarding recording work.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Very nice Chris!

      I wonder how we can keep those Stumblers on site more?


      1. chris

        I’ve got related links, I’ve got a box for “todays popular articles” and I’ve even recently completely revamped my footer. [and as a note, I’ve been surprised at how many people click the “back to top” link.]

        I’ve considered a box at the bottom of the article saying “not what you were looking for? drop me a line…comment below, etc” to give them an opportunity to tell me what they want.


        1. Dorothy Ray

          I like this idea, Chris. “I’ve considered a box at the bottom of the article saying “not what you were looking for? drop me a line…comment below, etc” to give them an opportunity to tell me what they want.” I think I’ll do that, too if you don’t mind.


  • Lye Kuek Hin

    Hi Tyrant,

    I believe my blog bleeds the most in the sign up form as there is no attractive and valuable freebies to attract people in signing up. Hope to come out with a valuable ebook in 2011.

    Thanks a lot for the information. Talk soon.


    1. chris

      I know I’m not BT but for what it’s worth…when I look at your newsletter subscription box, you say “sign up for the newsletter” but you don’t tell me what’s in the newsletter. I’ve found the highest success rate when I mention a few things like
      “Sign up today for my monthly newsletter full of enhanced articles, etc, etc.”

      This way, you are telling them newsletter frequency and the benefits of the newsletter.

      Also, I found a nice jump in subscribers when I created a “find out more” link in my subscription box. This links to a page with a link to a pdf of a sample newsletter, more information about the newsletter, etc.


      1. lisa chiodo

        Hi Lye and Chris, my subscribe box is just as I installed it (thought I was pretty clever) now I will see if I can change the text to make it more inviting. Would love some input from Blog Tyrant community

        ciao
        Lisa

        PS while I would also love imput from the big “B.T” I love that Blog Tyrant community is here working with each other to get some new results
        ciao again.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Hi Lisa.

          Aren’t they all wonderful!

          I’d get rid of the search function and put it way down the page. Then change the text to “Get all the updates for free” or something like that. And delete the Feedburner link, the box outline and make the box wider. That way it looks part of your site.


          1. lisa chiodo

            Ok
            – got rid of the search function (lower down)
            – changed the text on subscribe box

            Unsure how to
            – delete feedburner link / box outline/ widen box

            getting there, and yes they and you are wonderful
            ciao
            lisa


      2. Lye Kuek Hin

        Hi Chris,

        Thanks a lot for the input. You have pointed out the problem out for me. Appreciate your help.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Lisa. In the Feedburner code just look for the border code. It will be set to 1px. Just change it to 0.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Lye the only thing I’d do is move the email subscription box to the very top.


  • Dorothy Ray

    Dear Tyrant,

    For a tyrant, you’re a honey, giving such good information to bloggers who don’t know nuttin’ like me.

    Thanks for looking in on my blog. I noticed your name on the list when I had a lovely page with colorful pie charts and explicit lists. It disappeared and now I’m back to WP regular page again. Downloaded the Google Analytics for WordPress, but now I have no idea how to access the information on my blog. Someday it will come to me.

    Looks like it may be another year before I get technically proficient enough to try to sell anything. So, I appreciate the tidbits you share.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I’m not a very good Tyrant really am I? Not nearly enough pillaging.

      What do you mean downloaded Google Analytics? Normally you just add a snippet of code to your footer.


      1. Dorothy Ray

        I added to my plugins “Google Analytics for WordPress.” It was supposed to do everything automatically. They said they’d automatically add the snippet code to the header and I saw no opportunity to do anything like that myself.


        1. Pete Carr

          Hi Dorothy,
          There should be a box in the settings section of Google analytics for WordPress were you add the analytics code.
          The only bit of code you need is the bit starting “UA-123456789” It is the UA code you need, then add to the plug-in and it should place it in the relevant places. When it is in place go back to analytics and click the “verify site” button. You should be set up then.
          Pete


  • Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

    #1: I have them come back to my site to get the link to their freebie. On that page I have several other places for them to check out. So I think I’m doing okay there

    #2 and #4: I don’t put ad sense ads anywhere but my sidebar, but I know my images aren’t optimized well. Problem is, I’m not sure how to do this. I hear so many conflicting answers on how to make your photos optimized. I also have the added issue of having to use specific creatives for campaigns (like if I post a link to a coupon that is through my affiliate network, I can only work with the creatives they give me).

    As far as H1 H2 H3…um I guess I let Genesis do that for me? I think my posts are pretty scannable?

    #3: This is actually a problem for me. I’ve tried various “link within” type plugins, but haven’t found something that works well for my type of content. I would need a plugin that would omit deal and coupon type posts from related posts (since those are time sensitive and how horrible would it be to jump to a great deal that was 2 months ago?). I’ve used a few different ones, but even omitting several categories, I haven’t found one that works well.

    I know I need to put my content (articles and such) more up front to make my readers more “sticky”. I’m just not sure how to do that. I did make a small navigation menu in my sidebar and titled it “articles” but I don’t know that it’s working.

    I would LOVE to get “smart archives” working on a page for my articles, but I spent about 8 hours one day attempting that and it just did not work out.

    It’s hard to make my articles really come out front and center when I have the coupon/deal thing going on as well.


    1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

      btw…sorry for the book, LOL


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Hi Heather. Great comment!

        As for #3 – just manually link when you write posts so it is entirely contextual. Don’t want to overdo it.

        I think your photos look great. It suits your niche.


        1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

          Thanks for the compliment.

          I think I contextually link pretty well, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.


  • Jagan Mangat

    Nice post author really i didn’t cared much about exit pages,i am blogger which provides web tricks,much of the visitors are from Google,they just read the article get web help and exit from that page only because a person while struggling to find some help just only care for his/her own work and not even about the page from which he got help(Blog Post).So my every post is exit page for readers.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Jagan.

      I reckon you could increase the retention rate by saying something like “If you liked this trick you might also like:” and have a list of other articles.


  • Todd@PhitZone

    I just recently started paying attention to the exit pages, but didn’t really know what to do about it. The related post plug in is awesome, and works!
    You mentioned post images. Should they be consistently on one side (left), or is it okay to alternate between left and right?
    My post background is white, but overall background is black. When you say white background, to which are you referring?
    You’re a huge help. Thanks!


    1. chris

      The background of the blog article should be white – or a very light color. Here is a sample page of mine for example.

      http://www.behindthemixer.com/content/how-remove-audio-feedback-through-equalization

      Also, pick a side for images and stick with it. Have you ever read a magazine for a long time and then one month they change formats. Imagine a format change every time you read. check out my home page as an example.

      In my case, it looks best on the home page aligned left. Then in my full article view, I shift that image to the right so the first paragraph is naturally where the reads eyes fall. IN my case, I have control over both teaser view and full view.


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Hi Todd.

        I agree with Chris. Make all your images left aligned, every time. That way I know what I’m getting.

        I feel kind of loyal to your site Todd because two of the big sites I sold were fitness ones.


        1. Todd@PhitZone

          Will do. Pictures from here on out will be moved to the left.
          Chris–I don’t see how I’d be able to move them to the right within the post, but to the left on the main page. I’ll just have to stick with one.
          Tyrant–It’s very cool having you even look at my site. Fitness is a passion, and the blog has become a cool way to share it.


          1. chris

            That looks sooo much better now.

            Don’t worry about the left/right side as long as you are consistent across all articles.


  • Lisa Angelettie @ Article Marketing

    My blog bleeds based depending on where the visitors came from. If they found me via my grammar tips, they tend to read one or two and leave. If they found me via article marketing keywords, they stay much longer. Already have related grammar posts which they read sometimes – but I think often they just want to know how to use the word I am profiling in the grammar tip and move on.

    I like the idea of recommended articles in the confirmation notice – I’ll implement that today. Thanks BT!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Lisa.

      It is a common problem you have there with the grammar style pages. I’ll have to come up with something clever for us all.


    2. Dean Fitzpatrick

      Hi, Lisa!

      Just wanted to say I stopped by your site and after about 3 seconds your pop up came up. You may want to go into the settings of your Popup Domination plugin and see if you can adjust the time it takes for your plugin to load. Give your readers a chance to get a feel for your site before letting the popup take over the page. Just my $.02… Have a happy holiday!


  • Holly B

    Some great advice. Now I am off to check my blog for bleeders. I could also use your expertise too, if you want to give it!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Holly.

      I would change your background to something more neutral. You want to make your lovely content the focus.

      Hope that helps.


      1. Holly B

        Thanks !!


  • linda

    What a love you are, sharing all your snarling advice with us…I finally decided to delurk and ask a question as well as grovel for a split second.
    OK, now #1 of 2,000,000 questions [grotesque code stuff mostly as I know what you’ll say about my blog “look”. White? umm…]

    #1= how to make my older photos be the the same size as my current ones? I changed my blogger template to their new ones- Β‘#%$!Β‘- now my old photos are huge compared to the new ones, that I limit to just ONE SIZE! [how about that? ;)] BUT HORRORS! I looked back one day to discover 800px is rather wide NOW, I’d even admit and how to fix? Can you help me because I did fix it then forgot to make a note and now cannot remember how I did it–bloody code, I am an old woman who lives in a shoe… Next up is #2 but firstly, let’s play with codes and #1, shall we. I also have a feeling that lots of blogspots are having this identical problem based on my trying to find an answer!!

    now good stuff-> love your blog and am beginning to think I might actually learn something if I stick around. novel approach, young man! x


    1. chris

      In my experience, theme changes can heavy impact images.

      I used to use a format with a narrow but very wide image for each post. In the teaser view – the page that displays the summaries of the posts, the wide image was appropriate.

      Then I changed my theme.

      I had to go back and resize all those images. I don’t know if there was a way to automate the process.

      Any time you consider changing your site layout (theme), you need to consider additional work like image resizing, image alignment, and possibly even font color corrections.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Linda.

      Thanks for commenting.

      I think Chris is right; the only way is to go back and manually do everything. You can outsource this to save yourself time or do it yourself.

      I think you also might want to make your background more neutral. Keep the focus on the images and the content.

      Hope it helps!


  • Monette Satterfield

    Sigh….

    Thanks for explaining some about what to do with the exit stats. Just checked mine and the home/current post is pretty much the exit page. It looks like a long road ahead πŸ™‚


    1. chris

      I took a quick look at your site and the first thing that jumped out at me was the way you present your articles. Two to a page. This is where it helps to have summary views with 150 – 200 words and a related photo. This way, you can get eight article summaries on your page.

      The more articles you can highlight on a home page, the more you are showing the type of content within your site.


      1. Monette Satterfield

        Thanks, Chris, for the look. I chose that format because I personally dislike having to click to “read more” but maybe that’s just me. Your reasoning about showing more content makes a lot of sense. I’ll revisit that πŸ™‚


      2. lisa chiodo

        Just had a look at your site Chris and I see what you mean about summary views – yep my site is bleeding here also.
        ciao lisa


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Monette.

      Yep, do the summary.

      I write my articles specifically for the summary. I put the MORE code write under a bit of a cliffhanger. Seems to work as on average my readers view 5 pages.

      Also, I couldn’t find any categories on your blog. How do we navigate?


      1. lisa chiodo

        perfect timing – I have categories on my site when I post, yet they don’t show on the actual blog?? I have tidied them up and made them match my “About” page.

        Where have they gone on my blog??

        Lisa

        also any suggestions for theme (about to outsource this)


        1. lisa

          found my categories Yahoo!


      2. Monette Satterfield

        Thanks, BT, for taking the time to see what’s up. Oh – categories – I’ll have to visit that too.

        Tags are at the bottom but they seem to be functioning more as a cross between tags and categories right now. A little better organization is in order!

        Thanks for the insights – so very helpful!


  • Henrietta

    Hello BT,
    I think it’s time to introduce myself, so far I have been a silent reader. I do like your posts so much, I print them out and keep on reading them to find new ideas each time.
    I think my site – which is written in Hungarian – is a bit overcrowded. Also, it’s very difficult for me to make my readers committed, I mean they come and go – and do not like my Facebook page or subscribe to my newsletter.

    I would be interested in how to change H1,2,3 and also, what do you think is the best size for images?

    Thanks, and greetings from Hungary!
    Henrietta


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks for coming out of the dark and commenting Henrietta! Nice to meet you.

      I think your images look wonderful. But perhaps you are right about the site being a tad crowded.

      What is the main goal of the site for you? Is it email subscribers, advertising, Facebook sign ups? Once you become certain about this you can tweak the layout accordingly.


  • Tim

    Good article.
    Interesting about post email sign up. I have implemented links to some of my must read posts in my MailChimp confirmation email, as well as links to free stuff (contained in posts, so they head back to the site).

    Also, the CRO stuff is really important. I got Scratch Media to do a CRO based site overhaul which I am about to launch so it will be interesting to see what effect it has, as it switches reader focus from reading free content to converting them to ebook buyers.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Make sure you track and measure the changes, with Google Webmaster Tools if you can.


  • marzana

    I recently took your advice and started hosting my own site. (I think I am). Anyways, I really tried using Google Analytics but found it confusing. Would really like some help with that. My last comment is, I really do not have a niche but am a stay at home mom, so my posts are very varied, how can I focus more and get more out of this. Kind of lost on it.


    1. lisa chiodo

      just been to your new site (and subscribed – like it!)
      I think we are in a similar situation – both newbies to wordpress, stay at home mums and just working things out… Stick with it!
      ciao
      Lisa


    2. lisa chiodo

      Hi there,
      just to let you know that when I subscribed – the confirm subscription box had this message – Please be aware that by subscribing you are exposing your email address to the owner of the website.

      This is a bit off putting – is there any way you can change the wording to something less “scary”
      ciao
      lisa


      1. marzana

        Hi Lisa

        I am looking into and trying to find a way to change this. If you know how please let me. really appreciate it.


    3. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Marzana.

      I think if you are writing a totally personal blog you have to show your face a lot more. Unlike a niche blogger, your main commodity is you. People will become loyal to you.

      What part of GA confused you?

      Nice content btw.


      1. marzana

        i don’t know how to log in and track everything. so any help with ga will be helpful. thanks really appreciate it.


        1. Dorothy Ray

          I’m with you on that, Marzana.


      2. marzana

        Hi BT

        I got this comment from a subscriber and would like to know how I can change it to be more friendly. Read below:

        “Hi there,
        just to let you know that when I subscribed – the confirm subscription box had this message – Please be aware that by subscribing you are exposing your email address to the owner of the website.

        This is a bit off putting – is there any way you can change the wording to something less β€œscary””

        Oh and thank you for noticing the content. I am always trying to find ways to improve on me. πŸ™‚


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          I will try to do something on GA soon.

          As for the subscription notice, I have no idea sorry. Its yet another reason to move away from Blogger though I have to say.

          Good luck!


          1. marzana

            i moved from blogger and am using wordpress. my own hosted blog (i think!)


  • lisa chiodo

    Yep bleeding!

    Just put in the “related posts” pluging
    (learning curve high and I am loving it!)
    Can not find any info on having thumbnail images for related posts instead of text. Can you point me in the right direction? I like to try and work it out b4 I ask for help…HELP

    Next off to look at images as these are an important part of my blog.

    ciao for now
    Lisa


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I’d leave them as text if I were you.


      1. lisa chiodo

        well that makes life easy. Why text over image? (my blog is full of images)

        ciao BT
        Lisa


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Just because your headers should be the most enticing thing. Images may work for you as well, perhaps a split test?


  • Brandon Cox

    I’ve never heard of this term before – “bleeding” – but it makes sense. Bouncing, bleeding, whatever the case, I need to check mine out!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I think its because I thought about it when I was making breakfast!

      Thanks Brandon. Love to hear how you go.


  • Amanda

    I love you Blog Tyrant!!
    Wordpress.com used to do the whole “related posts” thing automatically, but since I moved to .org I lost it and had no idea how to get it back.
    All done now!! Thanks.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      πŸ™‚


  • rosemary

    I got rid of the adsense as it wasn’t making any money and I have amazon assoicates on the blog which lists things I really do have or love for people to purchase. I am in the process of having the blog re-designed for 2011, header photo to be smaller. When you speak of doing lists, how often would you post them? Once a month or so…there are many NYC things I could do lists about…10 best cupcakes in the city or 10 best chocolate shops ….I think I could do one a month for sure….any thoughts? I also am getting traffic from urbanspoon and my blog is growing on their nyc blog list daily. love this site and your tips! thank u !!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Lists sound great but I also mean within each post. People like to scan posts so you should use lots of dot points, headers, etc.


  • RinatisDinoro@SmartAboutThings

    Hello, Doctor Tyrant! πŸ™‚

    I’d need your feedback regarding my subscription rate. I just can’t get more subscriber, even if I have lots of people commenting on each of my articles.

    Thank you a lot!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Okay. As an exercise, why should I subscribe to your blog if I am a visitor? What’s in it for me?


      1. RinatisDinoro@SmartAboutThings

        A load of awesome articles on topics like self improvement, life coaching, blogging advices. Some of my articles had a pretty unique approach, like these two http://www.smartaboutthings.com/2010/12/01/drinking-water-will-make-you-a-better-blogger/
        http://www.smartaboutthings.com/2010/12/13/are-we-multitasking-freaks/
        But I see that the majority of people comment/subscribe only to people who know “blogging”, like yourself. is this the problem?


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          You should tell people what they are going to get. Don’t just promote a sign up area, use some short and sharp text to get people interested. An incentive.


          1. RinatisDinoro@SmartAboutThings

            So the catch is not so much into the content and original information but in how you “sell” it? I must admit that I’m inspiring my blog from your clean design, although I had this from beginning.

            I am writing on my blog so that later I could launch a product (speed reading book), so I guess getting subscribers should be my essential task?


  • Margaret Adams

    There’s just so much valuable information here.

    Thank you for the guidance. What is really helfpul is showing us how to edit Feedburner etc.

    So much to learn. However, there’s also a lot to implement after reading this post, too.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hope it helps Margaret!


  • Laura

    I’m sure I’m bleeding somewhere, but heck if I know where. I have posts that will get 20+ comments. Then I have posts that get “0”. But really, all this blog talk can get confusing, from SEOs to Exit Pages…

    I know my blog title has nothing to do with my blog content, but after a 1-1/2 years blogging, I’m not sure if I should try to change it.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Laura.

      I know how you feel.

      One thing I would do is make your header smaller. It takes up 80% of the screen above the fold which means people aren’t seeing much of your content right away. That is usually a cause for higher bounce rates.


  • Rachelle

    Well it seems that people exit from pages that have less to do with landlord issues… surprise surprise πŸ™‚

    For instance my awesome blog tyrant post which acutally contained my first attempt at poetry boasts an astonishing 87% exit rate lol

    Another post I did which attracts a great deal of search hits… about raccoons has a 100% exit statistic.

    My all posts page which is a summary page of all my posts including guest posts has a exit rate of 13%

    I’ve made an awful lot of changes recently, not sure you’ve had a look, can you guys pop on over and let me know what you think? BTW, that’s not a supermodel on the front page… that’s me πŸ™‚ I know it’s easy to get confused.

    Any suggestions welcome.

    I also want to point out that even though it was a struggle I am now getting about 100% more phone calls and emails for help after the changes I made.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      What is the Rent Compass thing?


      1. Rachelle

        You just pushed my guilt button… I’m supposed to be doing corporate sales for them, but got way too busy.

        Rent Compass is a site that does rental ads on IPhone, Google Android phones and are one of the most downloaded resource apps in Canada. Basically if you have the app on your phone, you can look at any rentals.

        I have their banner up, but I also do the odd article to spread the news about them. They are free for landlords.

        When a landlord places an ad on their network there is a link to my site on it, they also tweet all my articles.

        If you think that it’s really disturbing I have tons of sidebar space that might work well for them.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          It looks like your site is called Rent Compass. I always see that first.


          1. Rachelle

            I’ll have to do something about that…


  • chris

    I guess you can’t bleed without blood. My blog is very niche specific, seasonal and new, so I have no traffic just yet. I’m glad I found your blog though, very helpful.


    1. Rachelle

      Maybe so, but your content is great and your blog design is very clean and compelling.

      You may want to work on more compelling titles.


      1. chris

        Thank you for the feedback rachelle. Yes I agree my titles could use some work.


  • chris

    I’ve downloaded related post plug-in but can’t figure out how to get it onto my site? It’s active on my plugins, how do I get it to actually work? I’ve dragged the icon into my widget toolbar but nothing happens?


    1. chris

      nevermind…figured it out


  • Dean Fitzpatrick

    Great post, BT! Gotta quick question for ya’: I use a WP plugin for my email list; should I use Feedburner instead? I already utitlize the service for my RSS feeds, but I wasn’t aware that they offered an email service. I just put the subscription form up last week, but I’m not getting the amount of subscriptions that I had hoped for.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      TBH I’m getting a bit sick of FB. It’s so slow. But it’s the best free option. What plugin are you using?


      1. Dean Fitzpatrick

        It’s called “subscribe2″… The jury’s still out on it as I just started using it a couple of weeks ago. I do like that they let you customize your autoresponder emails and the like, though…


        1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

          I just started using feedblitz not long ago and I am so in love with it. I highly highly recommend it!

          I attempted to go with aweber and their customer service was absolutely abysmal. I had read such fantastic things about them from the “big” blogs I frequent, but apparently they only lend that level of customer service to the big guys.


  • ideaSmile

    BT,
    great tips again.

    One thing though – Most of your technical tips (how to fix or make things better) are related to WordPress and I understand that as you are on WP. But, would you be able to shade a light on how to do these same things on other blogging platforms such as “Typepad”.
    Also, may be a separate/new post on comparing various blogging platforms and how to choose a blogging platform?


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Idea.

      Good points. I will defo do the comparision at some time.

      The reason I only talk about WP is because I really belive that everyone should be on it. But also, I have no idea about Typepad.


  • Joshua Hood

    Thanks for the GREAT material! You hit it right on the head. I see so many of these mistakes (and realized I was making some of them myself). I will be tuned in to hear further wisdom from you…


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Glad you liked it Joshua.


  • lisa

    can anyone help with this? I have email subscription set up (I subscribed myself to see what the posts looked like) and they come through with the entire post… I would like to have part of the post come through not the entire post???
    Any ideas?
    ciao
    Lisa


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Lisa.

      I would advise you to give your readers the entire post. One of the top reasons people give for unsubscribing is that they can only get part of the post.

      If you want to do it, however, you just go in to Settings > Reading > Select Summary.

      Tyrant


      1. lisa chiodo

        I think you should be the Blog Angel!! thanks so much for that feedback, I will keep it the way it is.

        Hope you had a wonderful Christmas

        ciao for now
        Lisa


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          I wonder if you would have read if I was called the Blog Angel?


          1. lisa chiodo

            Nope! that TYRANT got me curious!


      2. chris

        I agree with BT here. My feedburner is the latest blog – in full. My email list also gets the full article whenever it’s posted.

        The only time it’s ok to email users with the teaser is when you are mailing out a bunch of articles. For example, I can think of a few sites (e-magazine style) that send a monthly email with summaries of top articles.

        I tried the teaser thing in my rss feeds for a while. Then, thanks to BT a while back, I switched to the latest full article and have seen a 50% growth in new rss feeds in the last month. Before that, growth was minimal.


        1. lisa chiodo

          Fantastic thanks so much for that feedback! My concern was that if they got the full post they wouldn’t go to the blog. Now I think of it I only have 2 or 3 blogs I will click on to read the full post the rest I usually delete or leave to read later (and never get back to). The ones that come in full I have a relationship with and usually leave a comment.

          Is there a way to have a new tab open when someone clicks on a link on my blog – so that my blog page stays open on their tabs???

          ciao Lisa


          1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

            you have to change the target of your links. You change it to target=”_blank”.
            I’m also a fan of full article feeds. In fact, I tend to cancel subscriptions to excerpt feeds.


  • Udegbunam Chukwudi

    The whole losing readers to Adsense clicks is fast becoming a myth ’cause I believe if the visitor NEEDS the info, he/she wouldn’t mind wading through a few ads to get it. This applies to me. I’ve kinda grown blind to ads and always go straight to what I came looking for πŸ˜‰


    1. chris

      Think of adsense as a stepping stone. If you don’t have anything to sell directly then you can go for the adsense. If you have started selling your own, then drop adsense. This is strictly my personal opinion.

      I’ve seen a lot of big name sites using adsense now but it seems like a desperate attempt to draw in extra money. Of course, look at your adsense clicks. If you aren’t getting a good click rate, then why give adsense the space on your site.


  • lisa

    Hi All,
    I am about to have my Tech Guy give the site a new theme (he is suggesting Woo Themes) and I am thinking of going with “Crisp”.

    Any thoughts, opinions??? There are so many to choose from and I am getting dizzy!

    How did you choose your theme?
    ciao
    Lisa


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      See the link in the post above for Thesis. Very cool.


      1. lisa chiodo

        Hmmmm reading about Thesis it sounds suited to someone who is tech savy (not me!)?? So my concern is that I will go nuts trying to work it out, and need someone to do it all for me. It sounds fantastic but will I be able to use it??

        My need is for something that has a professional feel, that I can learn as I go, that I don’t need to be super tech, and that reflects the feel of our site.

        I just want to get blogging and have this sorted…

        What say You?

        ciao
        Lisa


        1. Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

          I use Genesis and like it. Atahualpa is free and very user friendly.


        2. the Blog Tyrant

          Thesis is made for you Lisa. So many people use it.


  • Richard

    Hi Tyrant,
    Many good points. I’ve been thinking much about changing up the theme on my blog to one that has more white space to highlight my content more. These is a good choice, though I’m partial to hybrid themes myself.

    You make a good point about not using pay per click ads that take people away from your blog for a few cents. I also keep those ads to a bare minimum on my blog.

    This article reminds me much of the “no leaks” concept that Michael Dunlop advocates. Good post.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Richard. Glad it helped!


  • Trevor Watkinson

    I had purchased the “Thesis” theme prior to reading your article but had made some of the errors mentioned here that had to do with presentation.

    I have since cleaned up my theme and implemented the comments and Adsense changes you recommended. Do you have any other suggestions for how I might gain and retain readers / subscribers based on how my theme appears now?

    Thanks in advance!


    1. lisa chiodo

      Hi Trevor,

      Would you say thesis would be suitable for a non Tech person? I have to get my theme sorted and get on with the blogging! How did you find it worked for you?
      ciao
      Lisa


      1. Trevor Watkinson

        Hello Lisa,

        I bought the “Thesis” wordpress theme after about four years of learning html, css and php coding by trial and error.

        My experience includes using many free wordpress themes and altering them to suit my needs, along with having made my own themes completely from scratch.

        That being said, Thesis is a great value for what you pay. I bought the single site option and may yet purchase the developer’s option as well.

        Thesis is ready to go as soon as you install the theme. It has multiple settings pages with drop-down menus for changing things like site layout, number of columns, typography and color selections.

        While a newbie could use Thesis without customizing it at all, I would still recommend that you put some effort into learning how wordpress blogs are structured prior to purchasing the theme.

        Having some knowledge of the programming languages involved gives you much greater flexibility with your theme and would also allow you to make use of the custom file editor contained within the Thesis theme.

        So before you but the Thesis theme, try to get familiar with how wordpress code works. When you do eventually purchase a premium theme like Thesis, you’ll never want to go back to using a free theme.

        If you are serious about blogging, purchasing a premium wordpress theme is well worth it.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Trevor.

      Looks good.

      I would have a popular section for the most popular phones.


  • Jack

    I’ve ever thought about changing the Feedbuner activation letter, but never done it.

    Thanks!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries Jack!


  • Chris Parsons

    I was unaware of the Exit Pages functionality in Google Analytics. Thanks for that bit of info…

    The numbers actually look better than I thought. I have a 55% exit average. Some of my blog posts have done much better than others – with 85% exits on some posts and 25% on others. I don’t see any particular theme to what is causing the difference though.


    1. chris

      Once your site is Stumbled, then your exit percent will skyrocket. that being said, I tend to ignore my overall average and look at specific top site page performance.


      1. Dorothy Ray

        Chris, Whaaattt? What are you saying, please? I just got on Google Analytics, but am just playing. I see that people don’t spend much time, some more than others, but…I’ve got a ways to go.
        Thanks.


        1. chris

          Let’s say my web site has a 75% exit rate. That sounds very high. This indicates that 75% of the visitors view one page an leave. However, after further investigation, I discover that people are marking my site using the StumbleUpon web service. My site falls into the music category. Therefore, anyone who is using the StumbleUpon web service and has music as a preferred category is likely going to be shown my site. Well, since my site is for sound guys, I’m sure not everyone will be interested. Therefore, I know that my 75% exit rate isn’t an accurate value for people who are truly interested in my blog topic.

          What I do is look at my top 20-50 pages visited and look at the exit rates. As I know which pages were used by StumbleUpon, I know their rated are going to be high.

          Let’s say I see a top 20 page(blog article) that has not been stumbledupon, yet has a high exit rate. I can then read that article and see if I need to add more content. Maybe I have a broken link. Maybe the content isn’t quite what visitors desire.

          Look at it this way…if you have a store in the mall and you get 10,000 visitors in a week but only 100 people buy anything, you have to wonder two things;
          1. Am I advertising to the wrong crowd?
          2. Am I not giving them what they want?


          1. the Blog Tyrant

            Well said Chris.


  • Hear Mum Roar

    Thanks so much for this:) I know my big one is inconsistent image sizes. Most of them are the same, but one or two here and there need to be changed for uniformity’s sake. I’m definitely going to go over my whole blog with your ideas, and see what I can find. My blog’s template will be having an overhaul soon anyway, so now’s a good time to think about this stuff


  • lisa chiodo

    Need some help, I have just posted an article with my 10 New Years Resolutions, problem is I want to make each one consist of the image – a line or two of text – and then have the text for that number continue elsewhere and so on for all ten items.

    I have been messing about with page break, and just found but can’t get it to look the way I want.

    Anyone have the answer??? I’ll be your best friend!!
    ciao
    Lisa


    1. chris

      If it’s what I think it is, you need to add a break after the image with a clear option. In html, it looks like this:

      http://www.w3schools.com is a great place for this type of stuff. Of course, that’s again if you want to get into html.


      1. lisa

        thanks Chris,
        I am seeing that getting into html would be benificial. Now I have some confidence with WordPress it is the next step. Will check this link and see what I can work out (I love this stuff!!)

        I also see the difference in “Being Direct” and “Being Nice” your feedback for Rosemary is both focused and clear.

        ciao for now
        -Lisa


      2. lisa

        In html it looks like what???
        w3schools looks fantastic, no idea what it all means but hey a month ago WordPress looked like that! All good!
        ciao
        Lisa


    2. rosemary

      I think it looks nice the way it is…did you fix it on your own? nice blog!!


  • Joi

    Great advice! I have to take your advice to each of my blogs and see what kind of changes I need to make. Great stuff.

    I completely agree about using Thesis. The white space, the typography, the navigation – it’s all good. On a lot of blogs (and even forums) I see people asking for help with problems with this or that. Using Thesis would alleviate so many of these problems.

    THEN, with the time they’re spending trying to round up help, solutions, tips, etc.. they could be creating quality content. Content’s still king, but he’s a needy king. He needs lots of attention! Thesis frees you up to focus on what really counts.

    Great article, great blog. Thanks!


  • rosemary

    I just had my blog updated for it’s design and would like your opinions…I think it looks pretty clean and more professional than before. I also will be doing my first list of the 2011 Museum Exhibits to see in NYC which I think should work out well. We will see how the list goes plus I have a great giveaway for New Years Day…a chanel nail polish from their 2011 Spring line. Hoping to get more followers for the new year! thanx and love this site and all the information…. Happy New Year !!


    1. chris

      I’ll give this a go. It’s pretty dead at work and I’ve got a few minutes…

      1. Get a real url. Point it to your blogspot.com web address. When I saw it was a blogspot url, I almost skipped reviewing your site all together because of the quality I’m used to seeing on blogspot sites.

      2. I’m not sure if you can control this with blogspot but your home page lists full blog posts. It’s better to show teaser posts (6-8 per page) and then have visitors click on the links.

      Before I go any further, let me say I like a lot about your site but this post is meant for pointing out areas to improve, so…

      3. The subscription block needs to be at the top of your right-side bar. Then list your profile information.

      4. I’m not sure what you are trying to accomplish with “grab a button” and the html text below it. I remember sites use to have those (well, something similar) as a way to get other people to easily link to your site. I just don’t see that done any more. If people are going to link to you from another site, it’s via text links and they will do it the way they want.

      5. “All images and text are copyright protected 2010….” consider moving this to the bottom of your right-side bar or implement a footer to your site and place it there. Same goes for amazon disclosure and anything else along those lines.

      6. Drop your feedburner count. If you want to show it, wait until you get over 1k.

      7. Sections like “blogs worth a peak” and even photo’s to your inner pages are killing me. You’ve got way too much in that right side bar. Use simple text links where necessary. In short, you have so much stuff on your right side bar, I feel like you are encouraging me to leave your site and visit other sites – and I feel all the photos in the side bar take the focus off the blog articles themselves.

      8. Blog post texts are all different colors. Pick one color and stick with it.

      9. Blog post headers – while I appreciate the fancy script, that’s killer for your search engine optimization. Words in a H1 level heading get a lot of weight. Instead, your keywords are in images so you don’t have any h1 heading at all.

      10. image copywriting within the image – try to keep this in the same location each time. It’s rather distracting when looking at the images and seeing it in different locations. my eye is drawn not to the picture but the varying locations of the copywrite mark.

      11. I’m not sure about the center alignment of the images. I’m picturing all images aligned to the left with text to the right. This just makes it easier on the eyes.

      12. Finally, and I mean this in the most encouraging way possible…I think you’ve outgrown blogspot and need to move to a different platform because I get the vibe you are going after with the Cursive font and the photos. I’m picturing a site that can give that feel but still take care of your SEO issues as well as readability issues. Try this for inspiration: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/tag/showcases/

      Now that I’ve cut your site apart, I hope you see it as as surgeon’s point of view and not as a butcher’s… πŸ™‚


      1. rosemary

        Wow Chris…thanx for the ideas… #1 and #2 I will look into …..
        I have moved the subscription email to the top right…..

        I just added the blog button so that is staying!! (sorry) but I will move it down on the side column

        I got rid of the feedburner count, moved copyright to bottom….

        if I move the amazon how will readers see items in case they wish to purchase? I have it lower than before…

        I will clean up the right side bar a little, I want to have events going on within NYC to be there for people to check out that information…

        I will stick with black for blog posts..sorry I like color but guess it’s not working like I thought and I will try to do photos to the left with writing on the right if that is better for the eye …

        Regarding the font for the posts, it is new with the new design….I am not sure what you mean by a problem for the search engine…..??

        thanx for all the ideas…just what I was looking for…
        I think making it a bit more simple will be a benefit

        take a peek now and let me know what u think


      2. rosemary

        I reduced the blogs worth a peek from the 25 to 16 ..most of them are NYC blogs which I want to promote…I got rid of a lot of the photos on the right of the sidebar….

        I felt showing some photos with links within my site like for the Cake Boss would help people find those posts easier, do you not think that is a good idea?


    2. lisa

      A few things I noticed

      1.Took me a while to find the subscribe by email button.
      2. Think your blog button could be under your profile (I want to get to know you first) wouldn’t mind a photo of you??
      3. Love your images! Yummmmm! Content is great!!!
      4. Everyone seems to be saying get onto WordPress, I have no computer skills and got most of our blog done with google training videos and BT, also other blog experts. Still learning and now have someone to do the tech stuff in the New Year.
      5. I love your passion, I like this blog just want to be able to sign up without having to go looking for email/RSS subscription.

      ciao for now
      -Lisa


      1. rosemary

        thanx Lisa as I moved the subscribe button to the top
        as far as my photo…not really liking my photo on the blog…the cannoli photo will have to do !! Made a bunch of changes to take a peek again!! πŸ™‚


        1. lisa

          Hi Rosemary,
          Much easier to navigate and less confusing. My husband is Italian so cannoli photos are fine! Do you link through Facebook? I am creating a really strong network there and will move them over to the site once it is set up (in the next week).

          ciao for now
          Lisa


          1. rosemary

            thanx = I agree = just need to look into getting the font fixed on he headline of the posts. I am on facebook but under my real name, not the blog name

            Happy New Year and Thanx again!!


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