11 Essential Elements of a Perfect Blog Design (a Data Driven Answer)

design

Are you trying to create the perfect blog design? You know, one that encourages people to read your content and share it on the social web and, most importantly, gets high rankings in the search engines?

Luckily for you, I’ve worked with so many popular blogs – like Gawker Media and TechCrunch - that I not only know what works, but I also have data to back it up.

If you are trying to create a popular blog, here are the 11 essential elements you need within your blog design:

Element #1: Threaded comments

There are a lot of commenting systems out there. From Disqus to Facebook comments, the options are endless. But do you know what the best commenting system is?

Threaded comments.

“Why?” you may ask. Because threaded comments will typically increase the number of comments you receive per post by 16% to 33%. The more comments you receive, the more text you’ll have on each page. And the more text you have on each page, the more long tail keywords you will rank for.

Stick with threaded comments no matter what. Even if you have an active Facebook community, don’t use Facebook comments. Facebook owns that content, and it won’t help you get more search engine traffic.

Element #2: Snippets

Have you noticed that I don’t list the full post on the Quick Sprout’s blog homepage? I only show you a few paragraphs (a snippet), which prompts you to respond to the call to action “click to continue” to read the rest of the post.

You want to have snippets instead of full posts because of two main reasons:

  1. People have short attention spans – you have an attention span of 8 seconds, and so do your readers. By only showing them snippets, you allow your readers to choose from a number of posts. They will scroll until they find a post that piques their interest, and then they’ll read it.
  2. Duplicate content – if you place your full post on your homepage, you will create duplicate content, which will hurt your search rankings. This is another reason why you want to use snippets.

On your homepage, you can test the call-to-action text to find out which version maximizes the number of people clicking through and reading your post. I’ve tested the phrases:

  • Continue reading
  • Read more
  • Click to continue
  • Continue

The text “click to continue” outperformed the other variations by at least 10%. You should, of course, test this as what works on my blog may not work on yours.

Element #3: Scrolling social buttons

I’ve tested a lot of social buttons on Quick Sprout. I have had buttons at the beginning of the posts and at the end, and I have asked people to tweet about a post from within the blog post. The one design that continually outperforms the others is scrolling social buttons.

Plugins like Sharebar and Flare have increased my social traffic by 27%.

social media

When using a scrolling social plugin, make sure you limit the number of options to three. In other words, pick the three most popular social networks your readers are using. For me, it’s Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

If you add too many options, in my experience, it will decrease your social traffic.

Element #4: 11-point font size or larger

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post on how text size affects readability.

I did a test on 13 blogs, and I found that by increasing font size from 8 to 9, I was able to increase the time readers spend on site by 13 seconds. I saw another 8-second increase when I went to size 10. And I gained another 6 seconds by going to font size 11.

Granted, this only works if you are using a readable font type like Arial or Times. If your font type is hard to read, increasing the size won’t help much.

When in doubt, use a bigger font size.

Element #5: A sidebar on the right

Have you noticed that some blogs have their sidebars on the left? Or even worse, some have two sidebars? I’ve played around with different layout types, and I’ve found that the optimal layout is to have your content on the left side and one sidebar on the right side.

This way people can focus on reading your content, yet you’ll have the flexibility of promoting other things within your sidebar. Just make sure the main content area takes up at least 60% of your design. People come to blogs to read, so you don’t want to distract them with other elements.

If you want to place your sidebar on the left-hand side, you can. But what I’ve found is that it typically decreases the number of people who read your content by 15% to 25%.

Element #6: Your bio

Whether you have a corporate blog or a personal blog, you want to build a connection with your readers. Without that personal connection, people are less likely to comment or buy from you.

One way you can create a bond with your readers is by opening up. Within your sidebar, put a short bio of yourself, and then link it to your full bio.

If you have a corporate blog, put the bio of your founders or the team that manages the blog in the sidebar. Make sure you include a picture right above your bio. People need to see you in order to connect with you.

Element #7: Email subscription options

I’ve mentioned this before: collecting emails is one of the most important things you need to do if you want to grow your traffic. Your options vary from an opt-in at the top of your sidebar to a pop-up if you want to be more aggressive.

emails

You’ll notice that by offering a free e-book or a course, you’ll get a good number of email subscribers. You will also see that if you ask only for people’s email addresses instead of their names and emails, you’ll get roughly 10% more opt-ins.

For the month of June, emails made up 28% of Quick Sprout’s overall traffic. That’s not too shabby. Those users also generate the majority of my comments and social shares.

No matter what, start collecting email addresses of your readers. That way you can notify them when you publish a new blog post.

Element #8: Most popular widget

Can you guess what the most-clicked area on the blog is? It’s actually not the content.

Within my sidebar is an area that showcases all of my guides, my most popular posts, and my current hits.

popularity contest

That’s the most popular clicked-through area on the blog. Not only does it help drive traffic to my most important posts, but it also helps with search engine rankings because of the way I cross-link.

You too can have this on your blog if you use the popularity contest plugin. You’ll have to get a developer to modify it so that you can have tabs similar to mine.

Element #9: Yoast SEO plugin

This is probably the simplest tweak you need to make to your blog. In the long run, you’ll notice that it will help your search engine traffic grow by leaps and bounds.

If you are running a WordPress blog, download and install the Yoast SEO plugin. If you are not running a WordPress blog, you’ll have to optimize your site for search engines manually by following the steps in this post.

Element #10: Keep your color scheme and design simple

Different colors have different meanings. Make sure you pick the colors for your blog carefully. They matter, and not just from a psychological standpoint. Some colors make it easy for your readers to read your content, while others don’t.

For example, red text on a black background isn’t as easy to read as black text on a white background.

Keep things simple by creating as much white space within your blog design as possible, and use black for your text color. There’s no need to make your design complex because at the end of the day people are coming to read your content. Your goal should be to make your content readable.

Element #11: Images

Have you noticed that I place an image at the beginning of every blog post? I didn’t always do that, but from testing, I found that it increases the number of people who click through from my blog homepage to a post.

images

Can you guess by how much? A whopping 37%. All from just one image. If the image you are using is appealing, you’ll see good results. If the image you use sucks, fewer people will click through.

I prefer using stock photography images. You can also use royalty-free images, but the quality of those images typically isn’t as high.

Conclusion

Designing a blog that can boost your traffic isn’t that hard. All you have to do is follow the steps above. If you do, you should see an increase in traffic.

If you don’t have time to make all of the adjustments above, start with installing a scrolling social plugin and threaded comments. Those two simple changes will increase your social media traffic and search traffic in the long run.

What other elements make up a perfect blog design?

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Comments

  1. I am regular reader , how do you post the exact post that I am looking for ? you are a Mind reader !

    Thank you for this wonderful insightful post , I am going to make some Important changes right away and will upload the Hopefully positive results.

  2. Hello Sir,
    Thanks for the great information as usual. Found 2 new points here and I think Snippets are special for me. Hope this will help me to increase my blog visitor more.

  3. Perfect Guide, Neil.

    I think I am following 100% of your suggestions. :)

    A happy moment for me..

  4. Another great post Neil. Really appreciate you giving up your knowledge.

  5. Thanks Neil Patel for this wonderful post, I have already tried some of them but also few of them are new to me. Actually before this post I don’t know that if only email from readers rather than name and email can also increase your traffic. Text size is also a good way to boost traffic but a much larger size can also decrease your traffic

  6. Neil,

    I think leveraging threaded comments to rank for more long term keywords is an amazing idea. I’ll have to try that out on one of my sites.

    Thanks for making my monday special with this awesome post! ;)

    Cheers,
    Rohit

  7. I thought I was the only one who had the attention span of a puppy but apparently the whole snippet deal is huge! Thanks for the reminder.

    Threaded comments, did not know that. Hmmm. Thinking a lot about that right now.

    Font size. Agreed! I get more hits on blogs that have larger font sizes than the ones with small font sizes. Plus, I prefer to read a blog that is bigger because it’s easier on the eyes, so why wouldn’t other people???

  8. thanks for this. Are there any plugins for wordpress for making a bio for the side of a page?

  9. Excellent write up, I’m going to make some changes according to your tips.

  10. Thanks for that one great guide. I will surely take note of those when I redesign my site. :)

  11. Hello Neil, Another great post on blog, what is the specific reason that you have always something new?

  12. Hi Neal!

    What do you exactly mean by threaded comments? (as I don’t really understand the word threaded).

    Is Disqus good or not for this purpose?

  13. Neil, I’m still in awe that you can generate so much free information on top of your guides and guest posting. Thank you for this post as usual so helpful!

  14. You mentioned that you should not use facebook comments. Are you opposed to Disqus for the same reason? I’ve wondered if Disqus hurts SEO since they seem to load dynamically.

  15. Can you suggest an alternative to Popularity Contest?

    According to the Plugin page – “This plugin is no longer supported and is not recommended.”

  16. The Popularity Contest plugin is no longer supported. Do you use the unsupported version?

  17. Awesome tips once again Neil! Super helpful and so insightful.

  18. Thank you for the post Neil, as always very helpful. One I think is a good element is to enable following comments. Not many people check back if someone responded to their comment, so an optional email subscription to your comment is beneficial. (It’s the one thing I’m missing on your blog, hehe).

    I’d be happy even for one comment, but so far no one has commented on any of my blog posts. I’m seeing a good number of people reading my blog posts (for my standards, yay!) but no one has commented yet, so it makes me wonder whether my content is just boring that no one has anything to say or there is something else wrong, hehe.

  19. Will you post on “how to get 5x ROI on Google Adwords”

  20. Hi Neil

    Firstly I would like to say thank you for the time you put into your blog posts. They are truly better then most posts I read on the internet.

    I just have a few questions I would like to ask you.
    Q1: can it hurt my websites ranking on search engines like google and others if i post articles from article directories on my website?
    Q2: if i already have an seo plugin installed on my website will i still be able to use yoast. i really want to use this plugin but i dont want to start over with my seo.

    Hope this comment gives you some great long keywords. My way of saying thanks.

  21. point number two of Snippets is a good tip, thanks!

  22. Hi, Neil!

    Another amazing and useful post.

    My question is, would you use snnipets even for, let’s say, 200-400 word posts?

    Thanks in advance!

  23. Popularity contest is another ways to engagement with your loyal readers and new readers.

  24. I noticed that the popularity contest plugin is no longer supported. Can you recommend an alternate?

    Thanks

  25. Thank you again for an insightful post, Neil. I plan on adding a WP blog to my site this week and this will help me do it right the first time. I really appreciate everything you do for the community. Thank you!

  26. Great advice Neil as always! Got to check out share bar! Was using flare earlier but it started slowing up the load time. It would be interesting to hear your opinion on wordpress themes from a conversion and seo point of view!

  27. Great article, in the first point you have mentioned that threaded comments is better than Disqus or Facebook comments. I have been using default WordPress comment system for a considerable amount of time, during which my site caught up a malware which showed a pop up ad to all visitors, and on tracking down I found that the malware code was injected through the commenting system. I reset my site, increased defense with security plugins and migrated to Disqus.

    Do you think, using the default commenting system is safe? Moreover, you have to note that Disqus comments are indexed by Google.

    Can you please advise me on this?

    • I think WordPress comments are safe as they continually work on security issues.

      As for Disqus comments, I found that the conversion from visitor isn’t as high as just normal WordPress commenting system.

  28. Niel,

    You are just too much. I recently find out that what you give is more than some $4999 course online. i recently wnet though one i found that all they were teaching i alrwady learnt through you blog keeo up the good work

  29. Aaron, thanks for the tips :). Thanks for the feedback!

  30. Great article Indeed !

    Your content is very easy to digest. Thanks for sharing such ultimate articles.

    Following all your tips and suggestions :)

  31. Looking for the best wordpress design book or lessons. Can you suggest one?

  32. Neil,

    Good afternoon. Some updates:

    Popularity Contest plugin is sunset and no longer supported…

    http://alexking.org/blog/2011/12/28/popularity-contest-is-dead-and-on-github

    Flare as a WordPress plugin is also no longer supported. Flare is now a hosted app with Filament which you get by going to http://filament.io/flare. I’m currently using SimpleShare Buttons – I had been using Shareaholic, but the combination of slow load times and share buttons not working in some browsers prompted me to finally pull it off my site. I’m going to test Flare.

    Floating share buttons – hopefully both Sharebar and Flare will work on responsive designs. Typically with a left-oriented main column, I’ve found that floating sidebars break responsive features and obscure the content. I tried them one time and got negative feedback from my readers.

    12th item I’d add to the list – don’t load your sidebar with all kinds of junk. I simplified mine and cut my load time from nearly six seconds to around 3 – 3 1/2 just be cleaning the javacripts/iFrame garbage out of the sidebar.

    I’d go easy on plugins also – every plugin adds to the load time on any site.

    I’ve just now implemented “Click to Continue” on my page excerpts on the home page. I had to add a box to Thesis (my theme) to make it happen, but it’s done.

    I’m using Discus and think my comments are already threaded, but whatever you use they should be.

  33. Hi Neil,

    Bravo. Thank goodness I’m following most of these elements on my current blog, and will adopt on my new blog….excellent stuff.

    I took a cue from your About Me page. I wrote a wikipedia-style, in-depth About page because before folks trust advice they check the source. All design ducks can be in a row but without a good, open, sharing About Me page you’re losing readers who can’t really get to know you.

    Talk about your life. Share successes and failures, your background, and allow people to get to know you. Of course, lead off with some benefit to your audience so keep their attention spans, but it is about sharing who you are so readers can connect with you on some level, gain inspiration from your story, or simply open up, and trust you.

    Sidebar. Check. Images. Check. Readers dig eye candy, and if you can add a few images to each post all the better. Since I have a heavy internet lifestyle element to my blog I’m happy to share pictures of myself chilling in Fiji, or gorgeous nature shots from here. It makes the post more real, more emotional, more inspiring, and our readers dig the feelings seeing images, elicits.

    Also, since we think in pictures, we’re doing some serious legwork by using images in our posts. People don’t have to read works and picture; we’re doing it for them with image use.

    Thanks Neil. You know I’m tweeting this ;)

    Ryan

  34. Neil, Excellent and easy to implement suggestions.

    Which rolling social media plug in are you using right now? It looks different than the two you recommended. I like this one because it’s simple, elegant, more discreet.

    Thank you so much!

  35. Anther Great Post Neil, I’ll do some of these tips now in my site Thanks Neil :)

  36. Was looking for this stuff since few months but didn’t get something good.
    I was looking for redesign of my blog and I wanted to know the elements lacking.
    I am confused in the widget for popular and random posts, I tried almost all widgets but they didn’t perform as expected also most of them were reducing page load speed pathetically.

    PS
    I am using semrush trial, I didn’t find anything amazing different from your online site audit tool.

  37. Hi Neil,

    Great ideas, which goes without saying at this point.

    I love the idea of adding a bio to the sidebar and linking it to your about page where visitors can learn more about the person behind the blog, so to speak.

    I’ve been using Facebook comments for some of my website pages lately since I get more of them, but I didn’t realize the SEO benefits of threaded comments. Thanks for that tip!

    Also would never have thought to try scrolling social share buttons, that’s a useful nugget of info I will have to play around with that idea.

    Anyways, thanks again!

  38. G’day Neil:

    Thanks for yet another informative post. What caught my attention was the section on fonts and point size.

    I have been leaving my posts in the default setting.

    But now that we are encouraged to write around 2000 words per post, I find even my attention span wavering when reading my own work.

    There is a plugin, I think it’s Tiny MCE, that is supposed to help with this.

    Do I understand correctly that font size 11 is the ideal, in your opinion? I was thinking of going even larger, say, 14.

  39. Hi Neil,

    Love your stuff. One of the few emails that is not redirected to my newsletter folders.

    One thing we struggling with is where to find good value (er… cheap…) images for blog posts.

    Do you have any recommendations on which sites are best?

    Thanks for your awesome content.

  40. Kris Gunnars :

    Thanks for this post Neil, I’m a new subscriber. All of your tips are spot on.

    I’m curious about the sharing plugin that you are currently using. Is it a custom design?

  41. Neil,
    Yes good design makes visitors to spend more time on your blog and returning visitors % will also gets increased.

  42. Hi, Neil!

    This is indeed an epic post.

    Blog design has been one of the most important factor that your blog must have. As for me, your own uniquesness, creativity and style is marked by your blog’s design.

    Blog design plays a great role in your blog. It helps keep your readers read more of your content, it helps to make your content more shareable on social media, and it helps your blog to get high ranking in search engines.

    I must agree that these elements listed above are possessed by a perfect blog design.

    As what I’ve read, a perfect blog design must have threaded comments, snippets, scrolling social buttons, readable font size of text, and a sidebar on the right side of the webpage.

    Your biography is also important to build trust, online visibility, credibility and personal connection to your readers. A perfect blog design do also have email subscripition options, which is indeed valuable to gain much more traffic.

    Widgets, SEO plugin and the color scheme of your blog design also matters, and a must to consider. While images must not be forgotten in building the over-all look of a perfect blog design.

    I’ve indeed learned a lot. Thank you very much for this helpful, informative post! :)

    -Pauleen
    Anyway, I’ve found this post shared on Kingged.com, and leave this comment there.

  43. Neil, one other item that you do particularly well (that isn’t explicitly mentioned here) is ASKING for engagement with your blog posts (asking readers what their take is, what their experience has been, etc). Also, the follow up to those that took time to comment. Both drive engagement and both are critical elements IMO. Kudos on another fantastic post by the way!

  44. I came to this website like one of my uncles who was a Muslim went to a Church to gain a lady’s love and got converted eventually.
    Like many other people, I came to get a backlink but I was convinced to stay. Neil, you rock! Sometime I just wish I have such plugin that could borrow your SEO instinct. Would be glad if you can get me one. Thanks for your effort in making us better.
    N- Needed
    E- Early
    I- In
    L- Life.
    Stay NEILous

    • I came to this website like one of my uncles who was a Muslim went to a Church to gain a lady’s love and got converted eventually.
      Like many other people, I came to get a backlink but I was convinced to stay. Neil, you rock! Sometime I just wish I have such plugin that could borrow your SEO instinct. Would be glad if you can get me one. Thanks for your effort in making us better.
      N- Needed
      E- Early
      I- In
      L- Life.
      Stay NEILous

    • Lekan, thanks for the kind words of support!

  45. Great list I must say. You keep rocking the SEO part of me. Thanks alot

  46. Another Great Post from Magic Box of Neil Sir.. Really Awesome Stuff.. :-)

  47. I really enjoyed this post. You are right about all the elements. I have to try the scrolling social buttons and snippet text variation. Thanks Neil.

  48. Hi Neil,

    This is awesome. Simply superb.

    Just bookmarked the whole 11 elements for my next blog venture.

    Thanks.

    Regards,

  49. Hello Neil,

    The headline pulled me in and then I found some definite golden nuggets. Love nestled comments – keeps things organized.

    Snippets are definitely preferable, I agree, and never waste prime real estate by posting a full article… Agree attention span is short, so give them lots of tidbits to choose from…

    I used to use Digg Digg for scrolling social buttons, and the person speeding up my website said that it was a very ‘heavy’ plugin and caused many requests to be sent to the server and other types of plugins were better.

    I may have to re-check this and maybe find a way to speed up my site and still use a scrolling social sharing plugin.

    My dilemma is that I want to have all my counts transfer to the new plugin – any idea as to how to research one that will do this? (Certainly don’t want to have to test them all…)

    Will share this awesome post so others too can benefit.

    Thanks for all you do to help folks, Neil – your site is a treasure trove!

    - Carol Amato :)

    P.S. I saw this post mentioned inside the Kingged community.

  50. Your content is king Neil. I just want to say that. It explicitly don’t need to say everything in brief. You just point out the issues and solutions. To the point…. I loved that matter most out of your blogs.

  51. @Ankita I agreed with you. I am regular reader of Neil’s post and i always get something unique and detailed info from his post. His content quality is up to the mark and the way he presented to his audience is just remarkable. Neil, please post one more blog on Brand Promotion as well.

  52. If anyone want to make blog attractive and eye-catching then its essential to have good layout and design. A blog with user-friendly features and easy to navigate always gain much popularity. As well as content is one of the big part since beginning. Content should be unique and meaningful so that users will get worthy knowledge whatever they are looking for. Another worthy and useful information Neil. Thanks for sharing this…..:-)

  53. Hello Neil,

    Thank you. While reading this post I was also changing my site as per your advice in another widow.

    Let us see how much traffic gets increased. :)

    Dilip

  54. Hi Neil,
    I am starting a new site about Learning English and wonder what you thoughts on photo sliders on the homepage?
    I have heard that they are not good for blogs/sites any more. I myself don’t like them but my gf does. What do you think?
    Do they annoy more than they help? Thanks for another great post.
    aidan

  55. Hi Neil,
    This is quite awesome. I really do agree with the part of adding your bio to the sidebar section cos it works. Thanks for other tips I’ve learned from. You rock! :)

  56. Thanks for providing a nice article.

  57. Hey Neil, Do you have any recommended plugin to use for the scrolling sidebar ads and the social sharing buttons ?

  58. Really, really USEFUL post. I was looking for something just like this, since we’re about to change our blog design.
    Thanks a lot Neil!

  59. A bit misleading headline.

    I was expecting (after you put data-driven) to see all the data, all the numbers behind these claims.

    How can we be sure that this IS the perfect blog design? We can’t. Unless we test it.

    Lesson here should be to test everything and back it up with data.

    If you can show us the data behind your suggestions, then we have great article. Until then, I’m sorry, but no amount of “Luckily for you, I’ve worked with so many popular blogs – like Gawker Media and TechCrunch – that I not only know what works, but I also have data to back it up.” will work, until we actually see it :)

    Cheers!

  60. Fatih Ahmad :

    Hi Neil,

    a superb post again, this was what I was looking for, I have a quick question, I see you have scrolling social Widgets on the sidebar, but you have not included Linkined in the social widgets? is there any special Reason for this?

  61. I guess the devil is in the details. Would have never though of font size as an element to adjust. Great insight!

    Have you looked into any statistics or behaviors specific to mobile readers/subscribers? I’m starting to notice we’re getting a lot of mobile traffic to our site.

  62. Another great share from you Neil. This was really helpful in creating/maintaining a blog and it indeed attracts user traffic. :-)
    What is your opinion about theme of blog according to the industry?
    Also you have mentioned about adding images, a customized image(solely edited for the article) will provide more visits I guess. Please let me know your thoughts on this too.

    • A theme just needs to be simple… and focus on the content. That’s the key to a good theme.

      Yes, good pictures help with more traffic. Focus on finding great pictures.

  63. Blog design obviously plays crucial role in attracting new readers! Though I wanted to ask you one thing Neil, making responsive blogs using Blogger is really difficult thing, is there any service which provides awesome responsive blogger themes?

    Thanks in advance

  64. Neil,

    You have always made my life easy :)!

  65. Hi Neil,

    As usual, great post. I want to implement them step by step.

    Thanks

  66. Hey Neil

    Great advice as always, we have taken your advice for our new site and results have improved.

    Thx

    Thomas

  67. Great tips, Neil. Especially like how you use data to back up your recommendations. Thanks for sharing.

  68. Thanks Neil,
    My head starts hurting again processing all the new information. LOL

    Time to get back to work and rethink my design.

  69. Hi Neil,

    This post was great i must say! I have recently started my own blog but was not sure about what are the key elements for a good blog that i should consider in the initial stages of my blog. Based on the info you provided there are couple of questions in mind that i want to ask.

    1] How many articles i should initially post in a week or month.

    2] Can i use images on my content from causal Google image search ? Can this make an adverse effect on my blog ? OR I should make a custom graphics as per my needs by asking someone to design them for me on a Pay basis.

    3] How many articles should i display on Home page (I mean with the snippets)

    4] Is there any other important suggestion for new Bloggers, that he or she should consider ?

    Thanks,

    • 1. Ideally 1 a week to start off with.
      2. Custom images work the best.
      3. 5
      4. Make sure your content is really good. That’s the key to doing well.

  70. Absolutely great post, Neil.

    At the same time responsive web lay out is absolute. Isn’t it?

    I’m gonna implement all the tips on my blog. Wish me best of luck.. LOL

  71. Hello Neil!

    Great article (as usual :D)

    I am new to blogging and have difficulties using snippets. Any resources recommendation?

  72. Great advice as usual, Niel.

    We are going to implement these to our new blog.

    Thanks.

  73. Hello,

    This is great! I do some of your tips on my blog.

    Thank You! :)

  74. hi neil ,

    Great post again but neil i think i am partly agree with you at some point like increasing font size agreed but font type like Arial or Times i am not agree because there are lots of fonts which looks amazing and we should try them at least once.

    Thanks neil for such a nice post

  75. Neil,

    Great post, thanks for sharing some helpful knowledge!

    I was curious as to why you’d recommend the Popularity Plugin since it now says “This plugin is no longer supported and not recommended”.

  76. Neil,
    Great post. Quick question though: On your first post you mentioned the recommended use of threaded comments. I’m currently using Disqus. Is this not ideal? Or should I say, should this not count as a threaded comment?

    The reason I went to Disqus (and away from the standard wordpress comments option) was because I kept getting spammed the crap out of by bots. Literally hundreds of bot comments per week/day.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks for your time

  77. Hi Neil

    Thanks for this post related to blog design. Really helpful in designing the blog.

  78. Hey Neil!

    What sharebar are you currently using for your social icons?

  79. Hey Neil,

    Been reading your blog for some time and have found it very useful. Where were you when I was doing a site redesign in March?!

    I’m hiring the designer again to do some things and I’ll run some of this by him. Mostly looking at “more white space” and “larger fonts”.

    Thanks for that. I found that the pop-up subscribe increased my reader subscriptions by about 400%, but after doing a survey, most people claimed that the pop-up was the most annoying aspect of the site! What do you think? Please the readers I already have or keep getting new ones?

  80. Hi, Neil.

    Great post, I love it! I have 2 questions:

    1. What do you think about author box with short bio below the posts? Do you believe it’s better to place it only on sidebar?

    2. What do you think about title and meta of posts below the featured image (or first image) of post?

    Thanks

  81. Niel, I have basically played with a lot of plugins (not Yoast yet) for my WordPress site, but none have given me good results. Very frustrating.

    Have you worked with Yoast SEO plugin with your clients ? Does it really do what it says in terms of increasing traffic, keyword search-ability reach etc ?

  82. Hi Neil,

    Quick question about tracking for the scrolling social buttons. Is there a good way to actually track clicks on those? We ended up getting rid of ours because we couldn’t track them very well, and we created our own buttons that we put above and below the post so we could add click tracking. If there’s a good way to actually track the usage of the scrolling buttons I’d like to try them again. The problem is, just because traffic from social channels increased while those scrolling buttons were being used doesn’t necessarily mean it was a direct result of those buttons. Without tracking directly on the buttons it’s tough to say what caused the increase.

    • I think Flare may track social button clicks. I’m not 100% sure on how to get it done, but I know it is possible. My dev did it with mine… but then again my buttons are also custom.

  83. Neil, great stuff! Awesome post with loads of great tips. I will start implementing them one at the time to see how they impact my traffic. Quick question, what commenting system would you recommend for threaded discussions?

    Thank you so much!

    Romina

  84. Found the points to be very relevant. I am surely going to adopt this on my blogsite.

  85. Awesome post Neil. I really appreciate your way of thinking as well as your unique ideas which you share in form of nice articles.

    Thanks for sharing excellent post.

  86. Awesome post as usual Neil.

    About #3, social buttons, I have been experimenting a lot here. Wanted to ask 2 things here:

    1. Like vs Share buttons? Which buttons work better? Doesn’t share require a higher degree of commitment then just simply liking?

    2. In your case when using only a single scrolling plugin like Flare, I’ve noticed there are no share buttons on mobile devices. Considering a good proportion of most blogs traffic is mobile these days, wouldn’t this be a bad move?

  87. Do you have an alternate plugin suggestion to popularity contest? It says, “This plugin is no longer supported and is not recommended.”

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