Blog and website owners have many tasks on their plate and tons of new features and tips to mull over. One of the basics for blogging and webmastering for success is remembering the way real estate works when designing and adding value to your site.
You can’t just pile on the widgets and backlinks and forget them just like you can’t just buy a home and not keep it up, maintain it or update it. Frequent house cleaning is required and you need to periodically check that all those links and widgets are still active and up to date. You’ll do your site harm if you’re linking to dead links or sites where content has changed beyond your set standard.
Your sidebar is your driveway and sidewalk. Your sidebar will typically be filled with color, many different advertisements and widgets. Just like walking onto a property for the first time, people judge the rest of your home/site by how they are greeted on the approach. Tone it down. Keep it minimal if possible and if not, organize your space so that the ads mesh well together and there’s nothing offensive to your site or content.
Selecting the perfect paint colors is the same for your website. You wouldn’t paint your living room black and accent it with fluorescent yellow and green, would you? You want your home and site to be a relaxing oasis and have a welcoming feel. Visitors will likely stay longer if they feel comfortable. Stay away from too many combinations as it becomes too busy. Your call to action and award winning article will be swallowed in the over abundance of colors. You’re selling your site to your viewer. You may even be selling a product or service. While online, you can’t sell face to face so the next impression are the colors that hit your readers upon entry. Depending on your site’s subject, your personality or the personalities you’re trying to attract, here are standard colors, what they’re associated with and what type of psychological emotion they invoke in people:
PURPLE – feminine, luxurious, eccentric, royal, dreamy.
BLUE – success, sincerity, trust, professional, power, truth, respect, seriousness.
ORANGE – cheap, young, vacation, comedy, celebrating, fun.
WHITE – safe, simple, clean, conservative, inhibition, innocent, pure.
PINK – teen, youth, party, fun, baby, maternal, feminine, soft, sweet.
GREEN – eco, outdoors, money, winning, animals, life, serene, global, political, healing.
BLACK – attitude, seriousness, negative, dark, gloomy, cover up, secret.
BROWN – earthy, homey, eco, nature, simple, safe, emotional, warm.
YELLOW – loud, action, seasonal, youth, fun, questioning.
GREY – business, safe, calm, trustworthy, neutral, reserved.
RED – bold, loud, statement, call to action, attention, adventure, definite, passionate, danger.
Keeping it simple is a nightmare but necessary. After having a website or blog for years, you’ve accumulated widgets and social networking buttons galore. You’re becoming a Realtor’s worst nightmare, a pack rat. We don’t like selling homes that are cluttered and it’s one of the hardest things to get the owner to recognize. We’re all guilty of buying new gadgets, adding new shoes to the closet and new buttons and features to our sites. It’s time to declutter. What do you absolutely not need on your sidebars? What hasn’t brought you an eyeball in months? What site that you’re required to link to can fit on the very bottom of your page tucked away from eyes? Ticking clocks and calendars are a waste of space. You may think they look great and while they might, get rid of them. Thanks for the redundant reminder, but everyone online has a clock and calendar on their taskbar.
Walking into a property or website should positively land that first impression. If you walk into the front door and there’s an odor or seventeen vases of fake flowers poking you, you’re already wanting to leave. If you arrive on a web page and there’s an overwhelming feeling of panic attack, it’s time to step back and reevaluate. Pick someone’s style you trust and ask them to critique your homepage honestly and brutally as you would your home. Listen to the ideas and criticism. Get a few more opinions and compare them. Look at your header. Is it too large to see content? Do your viewers have to scroll for miles beyond Adsense and widgets to get to the purpose? Do you have your favorite country song on loop hoping your visitors like it as much as you? What about ads or pop-ups asking them to sign up? I don’t care how great of a writer you are or how lovely your homemade jewelry is, a good portion of your guests will be exiting. Hopefully they’re not tripping over the pornographic dating ads in the driveway as they pick up speed.
Choosing your site’s (location, location, location) is actually up to you. Many site owners or bloggers complain about the mighty three search engines not liking them. They like you, you just haven’t chosen the location you want on the first page. See what the top ten are doing and have done to get there. Pick a few phrases you want to rank high for and evaluate the competition. Get an idea of what they’re doing to achieve their results. Ultimately, if you want to get to where they are you need to write keyword and keyphrase rich content that has the proper percentage and range within your posts or articles. Properly adding a noticeable accent color to a room is the same with keyword placement. If you repeatedly use the accent color to the point of annoyance, it’s no longer an accent but a forced theme. If you use the same keyword or phrase so many times that it’s no longer reader friendly, the search engines and your guests aren’t happy about it. Spreading out your desired words/phrases within the text creatively, the same with an accent color will provide a perfect harmony. It’s noticed but not obvious. Not too much, not too little. A well placed writer on the search engines writes with both Google and their reader in mind in everything they do.
Making offers and negotiations are encouraged. If you’re trying to step up your marketing campaign and shell out a few bucks for monthly or yearly advertising, shop the top sites that are ranked well and make them an offer. Don’t be intimidated by their asking price or industry standard rates. Make them a fair offer and preferably long term so that the price is higher and they’re foolish to decline. Don’t insult but don’t give too much. There’s a fine line and negotiating is an art. Start with 10% off their asking price and contact them respectfully, enthusiastically and seriously. You can save enough over a few sites to get one for free. That’s an additional backlink. Depending on the site it’s on, it could tip you over the edge in the location department and increase your click through eyeballs.
Entertain and make guests feel at home on your website. Doing this properly will ensure they miss you and want to come back. Being rude to your guests by forcing them to see and hear things they didn’t ask for and not designing or keeping up with your site, is a mistake.
It’s my opinion that established websites and blogs in the future will have a higher value than today. More and more companies and bigger pockets will want sites that are already prevalent and have readership and earnings. If you build it right and keep making your visitors and advertisers happy, you may end up experiencing appreciation and be able to cash in on a future hot market. Invest wisely now and take proper care of your virtual real estate.