Your blog is the heart of your content marketing campaign, and as such it’s responsible for producing the greatest impact on your audience and the greatest propensity for conversion. Your blog is where new visitors will often first get to know your brand, and it’s where old customers will come to read new information and reintroduce themselves to your online environment. This level of immersion, driven by information, entertainment, and engagement, should ultimately result in conversions—sooner or later.
Unfortunately, it isn’t simple enough to start writing and hope for the best. You need to optimize your blog for conversions if you want to convert the greatest percentage of traffic, and that requires specific design changes.
If you’re trying to get the most conversions from your audience, try implementing these eight design tweaks:
If your call to action is just another seamless part of your blog, users aren’t going to notice it. Including a call to action in the background or as another feature in an endless row of features is a surefire way for your call to action to go unnoticed. Instead, make it stand out. Set it aside from the rest of your page by surrounding it in a distinguished bubble or container. Treat it as a completely separate component of your blog, and readers’ eyes will naturally go to it the moment they start to wander.
It isn’t enough to set your call to action off to the side in many cases. For a reader engrossed in your written material, that distinguished bubble won’t be enough to draw their attention. You’ll need an arrow or a marker as the final push to get your readers’ eyes to your call to action. In some cases, a simple arrow is plenty—it might seem obnoxious, but heat maps show that calls to action with arrows tend to get more attention than those without. You can also use more subtle markers to draw attention to a specific area of the page, such as a person’s eyes leading to the call to action.
Colors are powerful, and you’ll need to use them to your advantage if you want to increase the conversion rate of your blog. The easiest way to do this is to use strongly contrasting colors on the bulk of your blog and call to action, respectively. For example, if the majority of your blog is a deep blue, you can use bright orange as a contrasting color for your call to action. Additionally, different colors have different connotations—for example, red tends to stimulate a sense of urgency or energy, blue tends to increase feelings of trust, purple tends to be calming, and black evokes a sense of luxury or class. Choose your colors carefully.
Everything comes down to your conversions, so your call to action should be the most important feature of your blog. Everything else can fall by the wayside. As such, you should minimize or eliminate any additional features or designs that could interfere with your user’s attention. For example, splitting your user’s attention amongst ten potential objects is less effective than splitting their attention amongst two. Do a thorough review of every visible facet of your blog page, or use a heat map to determine where your users’ eyes are drifting. Take out anything that isn’t immediately advancing your goal of achieving conversion.
White space is an important design element that should come about as a result of your efforts for design change number four—and it doesn’t have to be white. White space is any amount of solid-colored space that doesn’t contain any other design elements and thus doesn’t distract readers to any focal points. Making good use of that white space is key to guiding your users’ lines of sight. For example, if you place your conversion bubble between the main part of your blog page and the white space left on the edge, your readers will be far more likely to notice it. You can also increase the amount of white space you have to increase the relative value of everything that isn’t white space.
This is a simple principle that can sometimes get lost. It might make some sense to include a call to action at the bottom of a blog post—after all, a reader who has just finished reading a highly detailed post is probably more likely to convert than someone just visiting the blog for the first time. However, calls to action above the fold—visible before a reader scrolls—tend to be more successful than ones below it. As a soft alternative, you could have a floating call to action that remains on screen in the same position no matter where your readers scroll.
Sometimes, an interruption is the perfect opportunity to facilitate a conversion. It draws the reader’s attention away just long enough to get a call to action in front of them. On your blog page, set up a feature that initiates a small, unobtrusive window appearing in front of the blog, obscuring the content and presenting the call to action. A minority of your readers might find the feature annoying and leave, but your conversion ratio should generally increase as a result.
If you’re worried about preserving the visual consistency of your blog but you still want to optimize for conversions, you could simply set up a separate landing page for whatever it is you want to sell. For example, instead of using a call to action to gather information like a name and email address, you could use a call to action to link to an external landing page and sell your users there. This is also beneficial because you can use your blog in unique ways to lead your users to this new landing page. For instance, you could use the body of your text to link to it when relevant, or mention the product by name in your blogs. You can also create multiple landing pages for multiple unique products, maximizing your ability to target specific demographics.
These eight design changes may not seem like much on their own, but when working together in conjunction with an air-tight content program and an engaging brand, they can significantly elevate your conversion ratio. Be sure to take a snapshot of your traffic and conversion metrics before you apply these changes, so you can compare them to after and objectively measure the impact your changes had.
Of course, it’s a good idea to make more tweaks over time as you learn more about your audience and refine the details of your content strategy. Doing so will ratchet up your conversion ratio ad infinitum, and position you for the greatest ROI.