Are you satisfied of your online business?
A few days ago, for the umpteenth time I was analyzing my blog, and I made a checklist of a few things to change/improve.
It has happened dozens of other times: as I was going on, I’ve found better ways to do certain things, or I’ve found things to test.
It’s normal, as you go on, you improve your knowledge, and you want to improve certain aspects of your online business as well.
Will this process of continuous improvement ever stop?
I don’t think so. We are constantly trying to improve ourselves or our stuff.
It’s an iteration: you can get closer and closer to perfection, but you can’t reach it. And you won’t stop until you can improve something.
Because of this, I though about sharing with you 7 timeless ways to improve your online business. No matter how you’ll work on these 7 points, you’ll always come back to one or another soon or later.
1. Improve Your Design
Pay attention to the most common web design mistakes: your blog will either hit or turn away first time visitors.
Once you’re sure that you have the basis of web design covered, you can bring your blog even further.
Do you have a free WordPress theme that doesn’t really look good? Switch to an appealing premium theme.
Does your blog design exude your personality? If it doesn’t, try to express it by customizing your design.
Even when the look of your blog is good you can turn it to great. Maybe you’ll need a good web designer, but it may be worth it.
And even when you have a great blog design you can improve it: design isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s also about effectiveness.
Are you sure that your sidebar is working as it should?
You can test the effectiveness of certain elements of your web design by using an eye-tracking software like Crazy Egg.
For example, I tested two different ways to show popular posts on my blog: a widget that was showing 10 posts, their number of comments, and small thumbnails, and another widget that was showing only 7 posts with bigger thumbnails; as a result I doubled the click-through rate for my popular posts in the sidebar.
Another example are my optin forms: I’m testing different designs, and I’m improving my subscription rate, one step at a time – if you’re wondering it, I’m using Hybrid Connect to design and test my optin forms.
You have many different elements to test, start playing with them. The more test you do, the more knowledge you have, and thus the more power you have.
2. Improve Your Email Marketing
Are you doing email marketing?
If you aren’t, stop making excuses and jump on the boat – here you’ll find some stats that will give you very good reasons to do it.
And read my Email Marketing Beginners’ Guide, it will help you.
In case you’re already doing email marketing, you can be sure that you can improve it in a way or in another.
Even if you build a killer autoresponder series, you’ll find a way to improve it.
Test the headlines of your autoresponders, in the long run you’ll enhance your opening rates.
Test the call to actions in your autoresponders, over time you’ll improve click-through rates.
You can improve your lead magnet. There’s always a way to do it.
Maybe you can add content, or maybe you can improve the existing content inside it – likely you’ll be able to do both.
You can improve the content of your emails.
You can test a different series of autoresponders.
You can test dozens of things.
Learn to write better sales letters. This really is an invaluable skill that overtime will make you increase your revenues, a lot.
Try also different types of sales letter.
3. Improve Your Blog Posts
Your blog posts are very important. VERY IMPORTANT.
Most of the times it’s because of your blog posts that people will like or dislike you.
Stop making excuse and improve your blog posts.
Learn how to write in a online-friendly way, which includes using short paragraphs and a lot of white spaces. Don’t be formal, leave that for working places.
Insert big headings inside your posts so that they’ll be scannable – more and more people have a little time, so they may need to scan your post to find immediately what they’re searching.
Use images and videos which will improve readers’ experience.
Make the interaction with your blog posts really easily and people will love your way to communicate, period.
4. Build Better Landing Pages
You will probably use landing pages to sell your service/product and/or to get email subscribers, in either case them are crucial to your online success – if you haven’t landing pages and want to design them cheaply, you can use Premise (it’s the plugin that I use to design landing pages).
Opmized landing pages will improve your sales funnel, which means better earning without increasing traffic.
You can try more visual landing pages, or you can use landing pages which have a bigger focus on copywriting.
Often, longer landing pages will have a higher conversion rate, but sometimes it can be true the opposite, so test the length of a landing page.
The headline is a crucial part of a landing page, and it will have a big impact on your conversion rate, so spend time thinking about it, and run many tests. It’s not only about the headline’s text, it’s also about the headline’s font, size or position.
Try to use stories in your landing page and test the result.
Test different types of testimonials because some of them may work better than others. Their position may influence your conversion rate too, so make tests.
Is known that videos affect conversion rate. A video may be expensive, but it can also bring great results, so it can be a good investment.
How do you know it? You already know the answer
Test different calls to action, they may have a big impact on your conversion rate.
You can also use images to improve your landing page conversion rate.
I could write a 2,000+ words post by just listing the things that you can test on a landing page to improve conversion rate – it’s subtle a way to tell you that I’m lazy now, and I won’t write them here, but probably I’ll write another post to do it
Improving the conversion rate of a landing page in an endless process, you can always do better in a way or in another.
5. Improve Site Speed
Is your site fast enough?
Site speed is something often overlooked – and I overlooked it for a long time – but it’s very important: visitors may be turned off by a slow site.
PingDom is a great tool to measure your site speed.
Recently I noticed that Blog Growth was VERY slow, so I started working on its site speed.
At first I improved it just a little…and I was thinking that I couldn’t do much more about it, except than using a dedicated web hosting.
I started studying site speed, and in the end I found many solutions to improve site speed without needing a dedicated web hosting – and my site speed improved a lot!
You can use images wisely. Every image that you upload on WordPress should be optimized for the web or it will end slowing your site. This means that if you need a picture that is 300px of width, you’ll upload it with that exact width already; in case you’ll upload a larger image, your site will be slower.
You can reduce the size of the image of your background, if you have one.
As a general rule, .jpg images are lighter than .png images, so prefer them.
Images are just one aspect.
You can reduce the number of plugin you use. There’s always a way to reduce your plugins.
To do it better, install P3 plugin that will help you see which plugins will have a bigger impact on site speed.
Once you know what are these plugins, you can ask yourself “Do I really need this plugin?”.
If not, remove it.
By using P3, I noticed the caching plugin that I was using to improve my site speed was slowing down my blog! I removed it, and now it’s much faster.
You can also use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to see what you can improve to increase your site speed.
You can hire someone to improve your site speed too.
Another great solution is to get a better web hosting.
6. Enhance Navigability
Giving people the best experience with your blog is a key element to improve your online success.
Don’t you hate when you land on an interesting site and you can’t find the content you would like to read?
Make people find what they want pretty easily, and they’ll be happy.
You can enhance your navigability by improving your menu. Make it as clear as possible, and don’t overload it with many pages.
You can also test different names for the pages in the menu and see which one get the best results.
Displaying your best posts is a great way to make people stay on your site because it will help those people get what they want – quality content.
You can also show featured posts or pages to help people get the best from your blog. Sometimes your most popular posts aren’t the most useful, so it’s worth testing a featured post widget.
Another interesting way to enhance navigability is to show related posts. When someone read your post and like it, he’ll likely want more. It’s your goal to help that person.
You can do it by showing related posts in the sidebar, at the end of a post or by using a slidein.
(if you’re wondering it, I’m currently not using a related post plugin because I can’t find one that works well from my blog)
You got the point: there are many ways to enhance navigability, and probably you’ll find one to improve your site.
7. Produce Better Content
You can always improve the content on your blog, in at least one way.
You can improve the average length of your post, so that you’ll publish thorough articles.
Using images to better explain your concepts is another good way to produce better content.
You can try to produce types of content that you usually don’t publish – for examples they may be videos, infographics, interviews, etc…
You also have the chance to integrate different kinds of content in a single post.
Listening to your audience is an awesome way to produce better content: give them what they need or want.
Comments are good to learn what your readers want, but there are many other ways to: asking by email, asking in a blog post or asking on Facebook (or other social media) are just a few examples.
Improving your online business is an endless process, and it can be interesting and fun too.
Start improving your business today, and go on: success is made one step at a time.