A reader emailed me to ask:

Can you please take a look at my blog and tell me how I can make it better?

So I looked at the blog.  There wasn’t anything really wrong with it, a couple of minor layout bugs that were easily fixed.  So how can we go about making it “better”?  Of course, it depends.

What Are Your Goals?

You can’t improve something that you can’t measure.  So before you set about making changes, you need to understand what your goals are so that you have measurable outcomes in mind.
If you haven’t defined your goals for your blog as a whole, then that is where you should start.  Goals can be broad, but more specific goals help you develop actual strategies to meet those goals.

Example: Make more money

That is a very broad goal.  If you’re making no money now, then there is a multitude of different ways you can make money, and each requires a different strategy.

Example: Make more money by increasing traffic to my product’s sales page

That is a more specific goal.  You’ve already got a way to make money (the product you sell) and want to increase traffic to your sales page to sell more of it.

Example: Make more money by increasing the conversion rate on my product’s sales page

That is another specific goal.  You’ve already got a product and plenty of traffic and want to increase your conversion rates to make more money out of the traffic you’re already getting.

Create Metrics for Your Goals

In order to measure the outcome of your attempts to improve your goal you need to decide what type of results will mean success or failure.

Example: Make an additional $1000 profit per month by the end of the year.

Revenue is a fairly simple metric to measure based purely on the dollars coming in to your bank account.  But because some revenue generating techniques cost money you should qualify it by measuring profits.

Example: Increase daily unique visitors to my sales page by 20% within 90 days.

Traffic is also easy to measure as long as you have Google Analytics or another stats tool installed on your site, but not all traffic is equal.  20% more unique visitors is different to 20% more page views because each unique visitor may view more than one page or return to a page multiple times, so be as specific as possible so that you measure the right stats.

Example: Increase sales page conversions by 10% per month within 120 days.

Again this is an easily measurable goal because it is about dollars going into your bank account.  But you might still need to consider some additional factors that can skew the results.  For example, if you’re running an affiliate program and some of the affiliates are sending poorly targeted traffic to your sales page then that could be lowering your conversion rate.
So you might want to be even more specific about your conversion metric and only seek to increase the conversion rate for traffic that you are sending to the page yourself, or only look to improve the conversion rate for a specific campaign that you control.
You’ll notice each example also has a deadline included.  Goals without deadlines make great “to do” lists that never get done.  I find that I work harder to achieve goals when I have set a deadline for them.

Develop Strategies to Meet Your Goals

Once you have defined your goals and metrics you can start working on strategies to achieve them.  How can you do that?  Well for things that you aren’t sure about you can do some Google searches or check out some discussion forums for tips.
Though there are generic strategies that work for most cases, one of the best and worst things about building a successful blog is that there is no single tip, trick or technique that will guarantee success.  One blog’s killer traffic technique might fall completely flat for another.
So as you develop strategies you may need to consider more than one way to actually execute it.

Example: Make an additional $1000 profit per month by the end of the year.
a)      Sell more products
b)      Increase advertising rates
c)       Offer consulting services

The increased profit could come from any one of those sources, or a combination of the three.

Example: Increase daily unique visitors to my sales page by 20% within 90 days.
a)      Increase social network traffic
b)      Increase search engine traffic
c)       Increase referral traffic

Again the improvement may come from one or more of those sources.  Each one in itself could be broken down even further for more specific targeting.

Example: Increase referral traffic
a)      Write more guest posts
b)      Leave more comments on other blogs
c)       Join some discussion forums

Test, Measure, and Test Again

The final piece of the puzzle is to put those strategies into play.  You should only do this once you have clearly identified your goals, how those goals will be measured, and then determined the strategies you’re going to try and use to reach those goals.
For the most accurate results try not to test multiple strategies at the same time if you can’t clearly separate them in your analysis.  For example, if you’re trying to increase referral traffic you want to be sure that traffic from a guest post on a blog can be tracked separately to traffic from comments you write on the same blog.  You could do this either by using separate landing pages for the links you use in each of them, or use campaign codes in the URLs for each.  Anything is fine really as long as they can be reported on separately.
But the most important thing is to measure each test, try different things, and then when you have determined which strategies work best to achieve you goals then those are the ones that you put in place.
Thats how you improve your blog.

Originally posted on October 11, 2011 @ 10:58 am

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