Adding new and shiny items to our blogs can be super exciting. New plugins, custom widgets, images, and links are always popping up and it’s tempting to want to add it all. We need to keep our blogs up to date and be trendy, right?!
However, it’s important to stop and think each time you add something new to your website, especially if you’re running a business. Keeping yourself and your readers focused is challenging as it is. Adding extra noise to the mix makes it even more difficult.
My pitfall on past blogs was my sidebar. I always had an image and bio, social media links, opt-in incentives, popular posts, categories, social media plugins, ads, a search box, and whatever else I could find. I’m sure you’re with me in saying it was too much!
Luckily, it’s easy to take a quick look when you’re ready to add something new to decide if it’s really the right thing to do. Let’s go over 3 questions to ask before adding something new to your blog.
Question 1: Will this support my goals?
If you’re running a business, I’m sure you want your blog to be there to support it. However, it’s really easy to lose sight of the importance of staying focused, especially when we’re excited about something new!
But let’s take a step back and look at an example. Let’s say your goals are to:
- Grow your email list,
- Increase your monthly page views, and
- Build trust with your audience
Adding a plugin that displays your Instagram feed in your sidebar actually serves as a distraction, rather than supporting your goals. Rather than growing your list or increasing page views, you’re actually drawing visitors away from your website to check out your Instagram feed.
On the other hand, updating your footer to include your newest opt-in incentive would be perfect. It will serve to grow your list and build trust through providing valuable free content.
If you haven’t defined specific goals for your blog and business, jump on over to this post. It’s all about setting high-value goals that will make a difference in your business.
Question 2: Will this create too many calls to action?
Remember, when you have a new visitor on your website you want them to be focused on your amazing content and what you have to offer. Ideally you’d provide them with one action to take that would lead them to your email list or support another one of your goals.
Adding all kinds of plugins and features can cause your audience to become distracted and overwhelmed. It’s difficult to keep track of what you were doing and the original reason you visited a website in the first place when there are different calls to action all over.
For example, if you’ve written a blog post that has a related content upgrade and free workshop, that could be too much, especially if you’re advertising something else in your sidebar.
Your readers will be pulled in multiple directions and can become overwhelmed and frustrated.
To learn more about using calls to action, take a look at this post!
Question 3: Does this fit with my brand?
The last point you want to think about is whether the new addition to your blog fits in with your brand’s appearance and message.
There are several common items I see in sidebars and footers that distract from the original brand:
- Pinterest plugins – often your latest pins are from other blogs and they stick out as being out of place
- A logo to a website you’ve been featured on
- A badge saying you’ve taken a course or participated in a blogger linkup
I’m no branding expert, but if you’re not sure why a consistent brand is so important check out this post from Kaitlyn of The Crown Fox!
Do the items on your website work for your business?
Take a look around your website. Does everything you have work towards your goals? You may be surprised to find that looking at certain items in this new light will lead you to items that work directly against your goals.