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Your Blog Design Is Bollocks (And How You’re Gonna Fix It)

If you have spent any time in the CRO world or read a single article on landing page optimization, then you have heard this catchy little slogan.

And yet, unlike most substance-rich marketing advice, this is a phrase that can drastically change the effectiveness of your site’s pages.

how? By focusing on the intent of your page.

Having only one objective removes the external CTA, helps target your message, and makes it easier to track actual success.

I mean, if your page has 10 CTAs (and we believe that each has an equal chance of being), then each has a 10% chance of requesting action.

Slash that there are two options below (to opt-in or not) and you have missed your chances of the user performing that single action.

I know that a mass inspection is to be done, but the principle stands. Presenting fewer choices and honing the focus of your page has proven time and again to increase affirmative action.

The JAM study revealed that fewer choice analyzes reduce paralysis, increase sales, and reduce subsequent purchase remorse.
Countless CRO studies have shown that reducing user action improves UX and increases conversion.

A more targeted page allows you to truly house the benefits of a single offer.
So my question is that when countless studies, anecdotal evidence, and testing reveal the benefit of eliminating page-deflection, do I see a one page, one objective rule being broken?

Why do I see international brands, agencies big and small, and online stores break this simple rule and complicate their pages?

Worst of all, they don’t just break the rule, they break it on some of the most traffic pages of their sites. They continue to use an older template for pages that most users are desperate to visit.

Which pages am I referring to?

Your blog content page.

Blog Design Bout of the Decade!
What is the most visited page of your site?

Most marketing blogs have dozens of articles about your “page”. And of course, they are probably right in the context of single pages.

But think about this.

81% of buyers conduct thorough online research before making any purchase decision. These people are not looking for your “page” or your contact form.

These people will be landing in your blog posts and informative articles explaining what makes your product or service different.

I will trust the rest of my good eye that the cumulative traffic of your blog posts will capture about your “page”.

And yet, blog design layout is something that has fallen into a rudeness.

The mainstream advice for blog design is the same as it was a decade ago.

When I started my first blog, there was a lot of consensus that you needed a sidebar with an advertisement in the form of some general ad like “sign up on the newsletter”.

For years this advice remained to maintain, inform and guide the design of blogs around the world. This has led to this cookie cutter approach to blog design, and is a design that is not conducive to meaningful conversions.

Fortunately, over the years, some forward-thinking conversion-focused brands and agencies have been moving away from this design.

They have adopted a full-width content template, which reflects puberty best practices.

Personally, I think it is a change in the right direction. I ran a sidebar for years and saw that it produced some positive results.

Getting rid of the sidebar forced me to make more strategic decisions with my opt-in offer and provide a cleaner user experience in the form of each page and the offer is more targeted to user needs.

But this is just my experience.

Instead of writing an article on purely substantive assumptions, I’m going to examine two different designs and find the opinions of CROs and marketers to be much smarter than me.

Contents / Sidebar Conundrum
How often do you see the sidebar on a site?

How often do you check what the brand has to offer in this sidebar and if you do, how targeted and relevant is it to you?

Personally, I rarely see the sidebar of any site I visit. My focus is entirely on the content that took me to the site.

This is similar to Banner Blindness. I know the sidebar is there, but I ignore it because it does not hold the value that has taken me to the site. This is an annoying appendage for which I have zero need.

And mobile users are now overtaking their desktop counterparts, so you have to consider those smaller displays. Check any blog with a sidebar’s mobile site and that content is usually pushed down from the bottom of the content.

Whether it is visible or not, the sidebar is often completely ignored, rendering it all useless.

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