I’ve been meaning to share this post for well over a year. Since my initial idea to write it, several more potential clients come to me with broken sites, specifically regarding pageviews. These sites have been designed and built in a way that adheres the latest design trends but lacks a thorough understanding of the technology and SEO. Each of these examples the difference is not a few pageviews here or there, it’s thousands and even millions. Losing page views because of a design flaw can have a significant impact on your brand monetization success.
If you are a blogger, pageviews matter. Your design should foster reader interaction and engagement; brands consider this metric when looking at collaborators and influencers. Pageviews should be purposeful. If you do not design for worthwhile clicks, you are not going to get them. This post will explain those situations and identify what you should look for in your design (whether custom or premade) so that you are maximizing your pageviews.
Case Study #1: Broken Queries, Infinite Load, and Understanding Google Analytics
Blogger #1 is a lifestyle blogger with several thousand subscribers (around 10,000). Her theme uses a Genesis child theme. Before her previous redesign in late 2015, she averaged nearly 200,000 page views per month. During her launch month, she saw a 25% increase in sessions and users, but a 40% decrease in page views. The following month of her launch she saw another 20% dip in page views. Her page views continued to decrease month-to-month until she averaged about 50,000 a month. Within the past year, she saw a 75% reduction in her pageviews, but only an 18% reduction in her sessions. This metric illustrates that her visitors did decrease, but her pageviews reflected her broken site.
Upon analyzing Blogger #1’s analytics and site structure, I found that her main query was broken. The infinite load button would load new posts, but since her query was broken, she was not getting the page views credit for it. The designer used a plugin so that the page views would count, but when I disabled the automatic load, the query did not work. Analyzing her stats pre-launch, her popular URLS were variations of her home page query (i.e. domain.com/page/2, domain.com/page/3, etc.) After the launch, not only was she NOT getting credit, but those other pages were broken. The home page content would repeat on those respective pages.
Solution: I’m not saying don’t use infinite load. It’s a great feature when implemented correctly like with Out to Eat. When designing your site, especially a blog, make sure that readers can access your past posts via the main query. You can easily check this by inserting in variations of your domain such as domain.com/page/2. If your content is repeating, then your query is broken.
However, for page navigation, I prefer to use numbers, like in my premade themes. Numerical pagination is easier for readers to jump to specific posts.
Case Study #2: Static Home Page
Blogger #2 is a food blogger who has hundreds of food recipes on her blog. She wants a curated home page experience to show the different recipe categories, so she uses the Genesis Recipe Box template and creates a static home page. When you visit the main domain of her site (herdomain.com), you will see a selection of all her recipes. However, you have to go to her blog page to see the most recent ones.
Since she has implemented this strategy she noticed that her page views have steadily decreased by 15% each month. Furthermore, Google Webmasters is showing several broken URLS with (herdomain.com/page/2). Her blog page (herdomain.com/blog) is not even being indexed as one of her top 10 pages via Google.
Solution: You can have a curated homepage experience without interrupting your page views. In fact, almost all of my sites have this, especially The Recipe Critic. As a blog, it is important to always showcase recent posts, but you can incorporate areas where you have more curated content displayed.
Bloggers want to showcase a plethora of posts on your main URL (home page). It’s often the only URL that visitors go to when they visit your site. A curated and beautiful home page will encourage readers to click on other posts. But, if your designer/developer does not optimize the page correctly, you could be missing thousands/millions of pageviews per month! Out of all my premade themes, Penelope is the best for bloggers with hundreds or thousands of posts!
Out of all my premade themes, Penelope is the best-curated homepage layout for bloggers with hundreds or thousands of posts!
Important Templates for Bloggers
When bloggers are either shopping around for themes or working with a designer, you have three important templates to compare – Home Layout, Individual Post layout, and Archive (Category, Tag, Author, and Date). Ninety-five percent of your readers will only see the Home Layout and Individual Post layout. These two layouts need to encourage readers to explore your site. The Archive template is a great way to display the breadth of your work, and it must be designed so that it is easy for your readers to scan.
Home Page: When looking for a theme, you want to find one with a curated homepage layout that does not sacrifice page views. You should be able to have a curated experience on the main query page. If you can select between pagination of numbers, I would also highly recommend number pagination.
Solo Post: Your solo post view must be easy for your regular readers to navigation, but also encourage readers to explore elsewhere on your site. Related posts and include tags foster positive clicks.
Want more Blog Design tutorials? Check out these posts! If you have any questions about this post, leave a comment below.
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