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Site feedback -- SuccessBuildingBlocks.com

PremiumMember
gradyp
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Joined: 28 Jun 09
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Site feedback -- SuccessBuildingBlocks.com

We have such a great community here. Maybe I can get a little feedback.

One of the things I've noticed, in particular in the wake of the Penguin, is that the main site I have seems to be getting a high bounce rate. I have another site (not nearly promoted as much) with much less content that seems to have a lower bounce rate. So I'm wondering what ideas you might have. The one I'm having trouble with is the one in my signature.

What I have done, recently, was to change the header logo. I did this because I felt I needed a more "brand-able" logo (which I feel I now have) but I'm thinking this could also help with the bounce rate. I've tweaked the colors on the site to go along with the header image more consistently.

I also noted that I had a lot of social media sharing that was pushing the main content further down the page. I've either removed these (where they were duplicating something another plug-in did) or pushed them to after the post to raise the meat of the content up.

Another thing I have done is to take most of the links within my pages and pointed them more at my review pages rather than directly to the site themselves to help "funnel" them.

I'm curious to see what other suggestions you may have to help with this. I know I need a few tweaks, particularly with the ebook, but that wouldn't affect bounce rate. I know my site is more of a blog than a true "affilorama" type site, but I'm finding I like the interaction with the traffic I am getting.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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maryt
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Hi Gradyp,

First, here are the things I like about your site:
- I like the header, though I haven't seen the old one, but this one is a good-looking one.
- I like the site layout- clean and very easy to navigate.
- The change of colors went well with the header

These are the things (I think) you can improve on:
- the text is a bit small and the spacing a bit crowded as well. Perhaps change these into something that is more readable and not tiring to the eyes?

- Too much white space at the bottom- and this makes the content found in bottom-left column hard to see right away. Maybe you can cut several content in the bottom left column and place them somewhere else just to cut down the white space below

- The sign-up form does not stand out.

That's it! I hope that helps.

Mary
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PremiumMember
gradyp
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Yeah, I know that email sign up doesn't stand out. It will do for now, in part because my big project for the summer is to rework my email series and opt-in ebook (may even use CampNaNoWriMo rebel style to do that ;)

As to the font, I have it at a 12 pt. font Georgian. I just upped it to 14 TNR. I'll give that a try.

I think that white space at the bottom problem is primarily on the home page, which doesn't have as long a content and I don't think has the opt-in box or comment stuff to balance it out. Maybe on a few of the archive pages as well. Most of the blog post pages and review pages, though, are longer than the sidebar.

The original (actually, the first 2 or 3 versions) header had the entire site name spelled out in the blocks. The last version, I used a different "material" in generating the basic block itself that came out much darker than I wanted and have now in this light brown version.

Thanks for your feedback, Mary!
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maryt
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No problem. :)

Mary
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cecille.l
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Hi Grady,

I like the header too. It definitely is more "brand-able" now as compared to the old header. I hope you make it into that clickable header that will take you back to the homepage.

I like how the titles of your articles look now. Not so happy with the fonts of the body text look. Have you tried Calibri at 12point? Or Georgia at 12point?

I like your little Welcome text there and image up on top but I think that your opt-in form deserves the top spot. You can then follow it up with your recent posts and categories. Maybe you want to add a menu up on top for Categories so that you don't have to have it there in the Sidebar?

I agree about the white space. You do not have that on your article pages which is great.

That's all for now. Hope that helps. Have a good day!
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Cecille


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PremiumMember
cterao
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Hey Grady, lookin' pretty good.

Here are a few things I would change though...

1. Your photo in the side bar is facing away from the content, which my architecture schoolin' tells me draws visitors away from the content of the site. (Maybe Jim Coe can back me up on this one...).

I would either use a different photo where you're facing the other direction or just mirror that one so that it draws the visitors eye into your site.

2. Secondly, I would put an opt-in box above the fold, maybe in the sidebar below your photo.

3. Third, would also recommend putting a background color in the opt-in box at the bottom of the page so that it really "pops" more.

4. And I don't even know how to do this myself (so if you figure it out, be sure to let me know!), but I'd also add a footer opt in at the bottom of each page below the comments.

5. I don't know if you're doing this already, but I would also split test your opt-in forms. You can set this up in AWeber pretty easily. Try to constantly improve your opt-in rate since your list is your most powerful asset :)

Other than that, looks like a good site.
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Clayton
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jimcoe
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Some thoughts:
Sorry if I repeat anything someone else wrote - didn't want to bias my thinking by reading the other posts yet.

UVP:
First thing I note is the UVP situation (Unique Value Proposition: "Why should I take the action you want and why not from your competition instead of you").

The clear and quick expression of your UVP should be the page's "Job One". I think your UVP is "Helping You Build Your Success One Block at a Time". But this is about your site and your site's "mission" isn't it? Not so much about what the a visitor gets from you, as I think it should be. The UVP viewpoint should be that of the visitor and should resonate with what they are thinking as a result of how they got there. So, I think you need to work on your UVP some.

Visual Eye Path:
Now the visual eye path. First I see 3 child's blocks and your eye contact portrait photo - about equally strong, then the site title in those primary colors, then the stacks of blocks in the right column. In other words, you immediately divert my my eye path around your UVP statement, making it somewhat invisible.

And the eye path "forks" downward to equally strong left and right sidebars, diverging around that important top text (which should be finishing the UVP and enticing the reader into the ad copy). Also, the yellow UVP is much weaker than the images and the page title, helping it to be less noticed. So there are problems with visual weight/emphasis.

Your photo: You have to handle full eye contact head/shoulders portrait images very carefully. They're like nitroglycerin - very powerful and will bring the eye path to a dead stop instantly, destroying progress through the sales process. Just because so many people feature strong eye contact head and shoulder shots doesn't make it a good thing to do.

I'd remove that pix, or move it below the fold or take a new pix with you looking toward your text. Why is it there? The site is not about you - although I understand that you want to "start a dialogue" with the visitor and be a "real person" and such - which is all to the good, I feel the sequencing and strength are wrong. Seems to me you need to introduce yourself later and not with so much visual strength as to distract from the ad copy and sales process.

The stack of blocks to the right (note above that those are so dominant that I thought there was a "right sidebar") with the post title is a cute idea, but is rather too strong - helping to make your text invisible. I'd make that image a lot smaller and on a pure white background, like the blocks in the masthead. And for the masthead itself, I'd make it smaller. It will be just as readable at a smaller size (since you made it so clean and effective - great job!) and you'll get more real estate above the fold to develop your sales process.

Another distracting image is the "Follow us" in the left sidebar. You already have the social buttons below the text. Isn't that enough?

I'd use a lighter brown background color for more readable text and less visual emphasis on those areas over your main column ad copy text.

Text:
Then, visually, the "Welcome" text above your pix is equally strong Vs the more important post title. The title is good visually, the welcome needs to be toned way way down. Also repeating the welcome in the top text is redundant and irrelevant to developing the UVP and post title. The real meat of the text is in the 3rd paragraph. That needs to be the 1st paragraph, I think (remove the welcome and remove the question or make it the first line of the top paragraph).

That "You will find..." is an ideal place to use a bulleted list, further making your text "graphical", breaking it up from a "gray block" and competing better with the image elements. The numeric list is good, but I'd indent it too.

I'd also make my signature in italics with a long dash in front.

I like to use abreviations to make text sound more like speech. Like "you'll", not "you will", "you've come", not "you have come". Also, your text slips into passive voice a bit, like "Do you feel you have low self esteem?" should be "Do you have low self esteem?" (either they do or they don't - more direct and active).

In the email signup, why is the "we hate spam" statement repeated?

I see a lot of blue text. Shouldn't blue text be reserved for hyperlinks per web standards?

Summary:
So the main thing I'm saying re the visuals is that you need to de-emphasize the images and emphasize the text more. The visual should "support" the text, not "take it over". So, the text needs to be a larger font, with bold headers and so forth, to turn it into more of a "graphics element" to better compete with the images for a bigger share of the eye path.

I'm thinking that you're a visual guy (like me), so you have to concentrate more on learning about writing engaging text and think about adding some discipline to spend more effort on the text. Images are great to magnify the impact of text, but text itself is the dominant and specific way of reaching the mind of the prospect - which is the only place sales happen.

Hopefully, emphasizing the text more, against the strong images and making it more engaging (more conversational, active voice, concise) will lower your bounce rate.

Of course we can't know how well the text you use to get people to your site matches what they see when they arrive, but I know you realize a high bounce rate could be caused by a mismatch between what visitors expect and what they get.

Hope that helps...

Cheers!
_jim coe
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PremiumMember
jimcoe
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Another thought:
Have you considered using your drawing of yourself, rather than your photo? It's very effective.
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PremiumMember
gradyp
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I realize I should move that opt-in up, and after I've got the ebook and newsletter series fixed, I do plan on making it more prominent. I do like the idea of the background color to make it pop :D And Clayton, on the post pages, I do have an opt-in form after the text and before the comments.

I guess I put my pic on it to give a more personal touch. I did have a more front facing shot, but someone (*cough* bro) said it looked creepy, so I changed it to this one. I had considered trying a right sidebar, which would have me facing the text ;) I think I originally put the pic and the text underneath for a more "human" connection as well as an attempt at putting the UVP up there (back before the new header).

I did have it at 12 pt Georgia. I guess I could change that back.

Jim, that image on the right was one I did a long time ago based on the original blocks I used for the site and before I learned how to do the transparent background. Might not be a bad idea to remove or replace that image.

On the UVP, you think changing "Helping you to build..." to "Building..." would be more effective?

Didn't notice the repetition... thanks for catching it!

And as for drawing... You mean like the one I have as my avatar here? :D

I know long term I need to improve my opt-in, but for now, I'm concentrating on reducing the bounce rate, and you've given me some great things to think about! Thanks everyone!
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PremiumMember
jimcoe
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@Grady: UVPs are almost a book-length subject - and super critical to success, I believe.
What I understand about one's Value Proposition all comes from http://www.MarketingExperiments.com, so I recommend a search and some study there there on "value proposition" or such.

Yes, I really like the drawing for your avatar here (even though it's not facing sideways toward your posts, lol).

_jim coe
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PremiumMember
gradyp
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It may not be full facing like yours, but at least it is turned in that direction :D

Thanks. I'll check out that site... Looks like they have a ton of stuff there.
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PremiumMember
jimcoe
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I highly recommend their free webinars (especially when Dr. Flint McGlaughlin is speaking). These are usually every other Wednesday. Lots of valuable info on landing page optimization, etc. and they often critique sites submitted by the audience.

Cheers!
_jim coe
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PremiumMember
gradyp
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Wow, Jim! Fantastic resource!

I've just spent 2 hours watching a couple of those videos and while a part of me feels I could sit and watch 30 more if I had the time, I see how easy it could be to watch all that great information and forget to take time to try to apply it! :D Thanks for sharing that resource.

Okay. I made a few changes. I dropped the box with the pic and the UVP, since the statement now duplicates what's in the headline anyway. I've bumped up the email opt-in, though I still need to do some work on the "freebie" and the sequence before I "spruce" that up more (though I still need to go into AWeber and update the duplicate phrase ;). I also removed some of the extraneous things like the archives and the recent comments, since that can still be gotten to through the category pages. (Might add archives back, but maybe not.)

I also moved the sharing buttons down. I left them there because the ones in the sidebar have a different purpose than the ones "inline" with the post.... The "in page" buttons allow you to share the page while the ones in the side bar allow a visitor to follow me on the social media I frequent.

I'm wondering if there's a plug-in that can allow me to choose and/or order the categories that are shown in the category widget. If anyone knows of any, let me know!

I am finding, though, that one of my goals may be paying off. It's way too early to tell since the "redesign", but I can already confidently tell you that penguin has been a boost to me. Though I'm not getting anywhere near as much "Google" traffic, I'm seeing more clearly that the traffic I am getting is staying longer and engaging more. My bounce rate is way down (still not under 60%, but I was over 80% pre-Penguin), duration is up, "new" visitors is down (meaning they're coming back more).and pages per visit is up. And instead of google being 63% of my visits, it's closer to 15%. (maybe slightly higher, but no others are.)

One thing I was wondering... Maybe this is not a good idea... I don't know... But I was thinking of figuring out a way to incorporate the 4 main areas of focus on my site in the header... Mindset, Health, Wealth, and Relationships. I had originally thought to do another set of blocks on the other side of the header... 1) what do you think of this idea and 2) If I did it, would using the first letter of each be too obscure? Or maybe if I just listed the 4 on the right? Or not at all and just move the title/tag over more center with the remaining space? Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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gradyp
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Oh, Mary... You said you never saw what it was before? Here's the original header: http://www.successbuildingblocks.com/wp ... blocks.png

There was another version I did a few months ago that was done in the more "realistic" blocks like the current version, but the wood color on the "unpainted" blocks was much too dark, the yellow was too blown out, and there were obvious specs throughout that detracted from it. I think this is a much cleaner version than that one :D

Hmm.... I think there was one other version, too, where I had it on a green "table" and where I fixed the color pattern a little closer to what I had in the last version so that there wasn't so much yellow facing.

Just a little tidbit... These blocks were originally created for a project I did when my second son was born, and I repurposed them for the original SBB header. (Which also happens to be the same blocks on the right in the main page... Those are from the original version of the blocks matching the header I just mentioned.)
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gradyp
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Okay... tweaked blocks for ligher block color (and matching lighter text background color) as well as a darker green (and matching darker green text and page background color). Also, centered text a in remaining space... at least for now.
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Site Admin
cecille.l
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Hi gradyp,

You've definitely been busy! :) I visited your site and I have to say, it looks much better now. It looks pulled together, professional and it's great that your opt-in form is visible.

Great job! Have a good day!
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Cecille


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gradyp
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Thanks! I'm even planning to use some ideas from the new AB3 to come up with content ideas and keeping things going.
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rogercoachproducts
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I'm just getting ready to do my first site in Affilo... but I already have 4 affiliate sites that are doing absolutely nothing except getting views... NO conversions. Let me put in one site, and can someone help me with what I may be doing wrong so I don't make the same mistakes in Affilo? All 4 of my sites are the same layout, and the others are in the area of (1) weight loss and (2) muscle building -- abs, which are two of the affiliate recommendations in Affilo.

This site has received 970 unique page views the past 7 weeks. Again, but no conversions:
www.tinnitusmiracle-earringing-relief.r ... scoach.com

I have 9 long tail keywords that look good on Google Keyword Tool.
Description reads: "Tinnitus Miracle relief for ear ringing and buzzing: symptoms, treatment and cures.'

Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong?
Roger
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