Good blog design really affects rankings
Posted by markharrison on August 21, 2007
If you’re blogging (and, of course, you should be), then you will probably be interested in reaching as many people as possible.
One way to do this is by submitting your blog into the “blog lists” – the likes of blogtopsites, and blogtoplists and so on.
If truth be told, not that many people find my blog because of those (about 2-3% of readers of this site), but some do.
While most people deny that they are influenced by what others do, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that actual “peer validation” is something that most of us find hard to ignore. Presumably, because of that, I’ve noticed that the higher I rank in the lists, the more hits I get through them. There is definitely a positive feedback loop going on, anyway.
Over the space of a week, however, I rocked from about 150th place in the “Real Estate Blogs” list on BlogTopSites to 88th, and it’s all because of a design change.
There are three ways to see my blog:
- You could come to the main blog (seeing lots of articles) (about 1/3 of readers)
- You could come to a particular article on my site (about 2/3 of reader)
- You could be reading this article on another site that “syndicates” what I write (no idea, by definition I can’t see those figures)
The various blog lists tend only to count those readers who come directly to my site (so, SingingPig, Ubuntu, you aren’t helping my ratings 🙂 ). The way they tend to do this is by looking at how many people need to see the “icon” (which you’ll find in the left hand column of this site.) The icon gives a rating of how well I do on their lists, and the more people who load a page including that icon, the better I do…
The old design of my site only showed the stuff in the left and right columns when people were seeing the “main site page” – ie viewing lots of articles. This meant a poorer experience (because there was no indication of what else there might be of interest in the blog) and meant that those people were being excluded from the blog list ratings.
The new design of the site has the columns visible, even when you’re reading one particular article… so as far as the list sites are concerned, I suddenly have three times as many readers.
And sure enough, not only have my ratings improved, but actually, I can see rather more people come in referred by those list sites.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the vast majority of people reading this blog have just found it by searching on Google for things like “Property Negotiation”, “foreclosures UK” and “Mortgages”, so the whole “concentrating on property” seems to be what most of my readers are looking for.