Test, Test, Test… Test Everything
It’s sort of ironic that i still don’t look at my blog as a business, as I do with my other websites. Even though I am generating revenue from advertisers (thanks), I still feel like my blog is more of a hobby than a business. It’s an outlet to discuss what I am doing, in order to generate ideas that will hopefully help others. However, subconsciously, I am doing things on my blog that I should be doing on my other websites.
One of the mantras of direct marketing is to “TEST EVERYTHING!” This means that a website’s layout, color scheme, post titles, URL structure…etc should be tested to bring optimal traffic and great user interaction. With my blog, I have been doing a number of tests, and not only might you consider some of these tests for your developed websites, but I should be testing them on mine as well:
1) Post times – Determining the day of the week and time of the post that generates the most traffic and interest. I believe I have a good idea of this already, but I can try to be even more exact. Sometimes breaking news hits and the timing doesn’t really matter. However, I frequently write posts on the fly for future posting, and these should be tested. I’ve found that early afternoon Tuesday – Thursday seems to be the best time to post. Also posting late morning on Saturday can have the longest lifespan since there are much fewer posts on the weekend from other sites.
2) Images – After spending several minutes or hours on a particular post, I don’t usually like spending time searching for a corresponding image. I don’t think I am such a creative person, so coming up with something artistic that’s illustrative of my post isn’t something I enjoy doing. However, I have been seeing if an image is important, and what size is important – either 500px to take up the entire top of the post, or a smaller image/logo. I’ve found that people like the images, but I haven’t really determined if there is any impact on CTR. Videos do increase time on the site, which may be good for SERP.
3) Affiliate links – I have refrained from using advertisers’ affiliate links in favor of direct payment for placement, because I don’t want people to think I am pushing a service over others because I will be paid more. I have done experimenting with affiliate links in posts, although most of the time they aren’t very profitable (haven’t don’t many other than Snapnames and a couple others though). This is something I may try on my other sites as a way to make a bit of money and test to see if they work. You need to balance revenue vs. annoyance because of “spammyness.”
4) Color scheme – I tested colors early on, and I found that they aren’t important enough to change the color scheme I like. The one (obvious) thing I found is that it is much better to have a contrasting link color so people know where to click. Duh!
5) Posts per day – Some posts aren’t time sensitive, so if news breaks, I can push those posts back a day or two. I try to write at least one interesting post per day, and I try not to just regurgitate press releases. On occasion I will post a press release if I think the information is helpful to others (like BuyDomains seminars), but I generally won’t post them since I receive quite a few of them each week. I don’t post simply to post because your time is valuable, as is mine, and there is no sense in wasting it.
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