designing my blog simple

Redesigning My Blog – Simple, Captivating and Conversion Friendly

Erik Entrepreneurship, Thoughts of a Mastermind 4 Comments

The past week has been huge for The Mastermind Within.

2017 was a great year of content creation and building a solid foundation. Starting out, I didn’t know much about the technical and business side of blogging. As a result, I began studying, growing, and experiencing more.

One of the skills I’ve picked up over the last 14 months is web design and development, with emphasis on user experience and conversions. In October, I spent 2 weeks on redeveloping my business website, but left The Mastermind Within to the side.

2018, I’ve re-prioritized how this blog looks and feels for my readers and users. First impressions matter a lot, but also second, third, and fourth impressions are very important.

In this post, I’m going to share with you the thoughts behind me redesigning my blog to be more simple, captivating and conversion friendly.

Brand and Blog Redesign

Back in March 2017, I redesigned the front page of my blog to be more user-friendly. For the majority of 2017, the site looked like this:

For the past 10 months, I thought this was pretty great, but started to do some soul searching, chatted with web design friends, looked at other successful websites and realized I needed to make a change.

I noticed this as well, when you would arrive at the home page, you would have 20 things you could click on, and for a user, having more choices is not always good thing starting off.

When a user gets to a site, it should be clear where their eyes should go, so they aren’t overwhelmed and want to click away.

Taking these thoughts into consideration, I wanted to create something simple and clean. Here’s the new home page:

simple web design

Simplicity for Success

Have you ever heard the phrase keep it simple stupid? I’m a smart guy, but I hate to make things complicated.

Look at first home page image vs. the new home page image. The first view of the home page only has 7 places where you can theoretically click. It’s clear what the site’s content is, a blog and podcast, and if you want to learn more, or subscribe, there are buttons to accomplish this.

Making it Dynamic and Eye Catching

One thing that a picture cannot capture is the fading in of the headings, text, and buttons on the front page.

When the user arrives, they see a blank slate.
the mastermind within entry

Using JQuery, I fade in each of the headings, paragraphs, and buttons. You can see this when you go to the home page.

What is JQuery?

A quick aside to touch on JQuery… and first, I should introduce Javascript. Javascript is a web programming language which is used alongside HTML and CSS  to create dynamic websites.

JQuery is a framework which is built on Javascript to make the creation of dynamic elements more simple for the developer.

What is Javascript and JQuery capable of? Really anything… it’s one of the core technologies of the web.

WordPress, the content management system I use, uses JQuery for many different things, and the integration was more or less seamless. Here’s an example of JQuery in use:

This is text which is fading in and out using JQuery.

At the end of my post, I just add script tags, and the necessary code to achieve the result I want. Pretty cool!

I’d recommend checking out Code Academy to learn this technology for free.

Creating a Site which is Clean and Conversion Friendly

Back to the redesign of The Mastermind Within: one of my goals with this blog is to provide value through my freebies and build a community.

This is in accordance with The Mastermind Within Mission Statement:

The Mastermind Within hopes to build a collaborative community where ideas can flow openly, and readers can build knowledge and experience amazing personal growth.

If my goals are to provide value through my freebies, then I need to be explicit and give the user many spots where they can subscribe to the site and get instant access to these freebies.

In digital marketing speak, a conversion is the successful completion of a goal by the user for the website owner. This goal could be a purchase, viewing a certain page, putting their email into a specific form, click on an ad or link, or whatever the website owner wants it to be.

My goal is to provide value through my freebies. To do so, I’ve taken steps to optimize my site for more subscribers opting in to my email list for these freebies.

At the end of every post and page, there is a freebie offer form. In addition, at the top of the window, there is an offer for my freebies as well.

As a website owner, if you have a goal, then it’s crucial to make sure there are many spots a user can interact with this goal (just remember, there’s a fine line here, and it’s important also to not be spammy and over the top with your offers!).

An Attempt to Lower My Bounce Rate and Unearth Old Content

At FinCon 2017, the first key note speaker was Darren Rowse of Problogger.com. He has been blogging for over 15 years, and has an incredibly successful blog with over 300,000 subscribers.

He talked about one change that he made to his blog which resulted in great success: the creation of 8 content portals.

I implemented this concept on The Mastermind Within this past weekend and am very excited to see the result. At the bottom of every post and page, you will see the following:

the mastermind within portals
When someone gets to the end of an article, previously, there wasn’t really anywhere for them to go. Since there isn’t anywhere for them to go, then they click out and leave the site.

For page views, and for my goal of providing value, this isn’t optimal.

With the concept of the portals, a user will look and see a number of things that might interest them and could potentially help them in their life.

Most new readers to The Mastermind Within come with the dream of financial freedom but also with one of a few common needs or challenges.

As a result, I’ve organized the site into 8 sections to help you find the content that best suits your need. These are:

It will be an interesting experiment to see if this pays off with the bounce rate and page views per session on this blog.

Inside these sections, I’ve linked to a number of my older articles. Some of them are pretty good, but because the SEO isn’t that great on them, they are rarely looked at. By highlighting them in these portals, I will be able to leverage what I’ve written in the past and be able to more fully help you on your path to success.

Conclusion

I’m really excited about this redesign, and I really hope it has positive results. There’s so much to learn and do with blogging, and I love doing a little more each and every day.

I love web development and programming. I’m getting better and better every month, and I’m excited to keep learning new technologies!

If you are a website owner, blogger, or businessperson, and need some website help, feel free to reach out and we can chat. I’d love to help as helping and web development are two of my passions!

Thanks for letting me share with you my new design and I’m looking forward to seeing what the results are at the end of the month!

Readers: what do you think about the new site design? Check out the portals, do you think this is valuable? Hope you enjoy reading some of my older articles! Would you be interested in more articles about web development (at a high level)?

Erik

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  1. I am liking the new layout. Noticed when I came to your site it had changed so glad you wrote a post about it. Clean and user friendly is the way to go. I prefer more minimalist to my approach. Less is more so to speak. The 8 categories sounds like a good idea too. Just makes it slightly more manual labor for you to add posts to each category as you write and publish them. Looking forward to seeing your traffic reports moving forward and seeing what these changes do for you.

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