Guest post by Kelli Cooper
Some failing bloggers make the mistake of thinking that more is better. Nothing can be further from the truth though, as adding more and more widgets only divides your reader’s attention and confuses your audience. Since list-building is a huge part of your blogging efforts it is vital to minimize the number of options on your blog down to a few. Chief among these options are your opt-in form or squeeze page banner ad, both of which goad your blog readers to surrender their name, email address and phone number so you can provide them with value-packed updates, establish a relationship with your audience and prosper via your blogging efforts.
If you jam pack your sidebar with extraneous widgets which serve no real purpose you are doomed to blogging failure. I mean, does including a widget which tracks the geo-location of each of your blog visitors really necessary to grow your business? Of course not. Might give you a little ego boost if you see visitors consistently flow in from around the world but of course, it only serves to divert my attention from what I should be doing, and that is signing up for your blogging list. Same deal with Facebook Fan Page widgets, these boxes give you a little ego boost but divert your attention and screw up your conversion rate, because you ultimately want to convert each reader into a list member.
These busy, noisy widgets snag a reader’s attention fast, displaying when the latest web visitor stopped by your blog and where the individual was located at the time. Other than providing a little glimpse into reader demographics these widgets are a waste of valuable space, where you can be posting a banner ad or opt-in form to capture your reader’s information and grow your blogging list.
Facebook Fan Page Widgets
Yes some individuals maintain that posting a Fan Page Box on your blog is a powerful branding tool but you must ask yourself if this is the most intelligent use of your blog real estate. You are not blogging to get more Facebook Fans, or to give yourself a little ego boost. You are blogging to grow your list quickly each day. Scrap the widget and replace with white space or an opt-in form, or advertisement through which you can get paid.
Twitter Stream Widgets
These are some of the worst, most distracting widgets known to the blogosphere. A reader shows up to digest your valuable content and sign up for your list and they are distracted by an unending flow of extraneous tweets via your widget, totally confused by your sidebar box flowing with update after update. Do your readers and your blogging list a favor; never use widgets that show off your latest tweets.
Ok feel free to set up an Adsense account, or maybe you can post a few ad widgets on your blog if advertisers seek you out, but avoid cramming your sidebar with ads. Until you begin to see a substantial, steady traffic of targeted readers a few ads, along with your opt-in box, will do just nicely. 5 or more advertisements is a disaster, and even 3 ads on a clean-looking, focused blog is pushing it. By all means, make money with your blogging efforts but just keep your ads to a minimum to keep your readers focused on your valuable content and opt in forms. This ensures that you gain the trust of your target market and building trust is a most prospering act for any online entrepreneur.
Kelli Cooper, writing for Exhibit Deal, is a freelance writer who enjoys covering all things internet marketing.