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WordPress Template Tweak

Wordpress-Template-TweekI’ve been reading other people’s blogs about blogging lately, specifically about template design. This is, in part, because I have not been entirely happy with the finer points of the layout for my travel information website. I already had some changes in mind, and I wanted to get more ideas about the finer points, especially ad placement, since I was going to eliminate the box where one ad had been carefully hidden from day one.

Obviously, hiding your ads is a bad idea if you want your site to make any revenue!

Read on to find out what changes I made, and what I think of the result.

Previous visitors to my travel website may recall the original layout, which featured the latest article. I was never a big fan of this feature, but it came with the template. So why did I choose that particular template? If you really want to know, leave a comment asking me about it and I’ll take the cue. Anyhow, here is the top of the template:

Wordpress-Template-Adjustment-V1

Notice the absence of any navigation, although the ad across the top could be confused with a menu. This could be the source of the ¢12 clicks. The other thing is that before I added the link for the RSS feed, there was nothing to draw the eye to the ad in the box to the right. In any case, the size of that box is unpredictable, and when I posted a story with a particularly tall photo, I realized something had to be done.

Meanwhile, I read on someone’s blog (I forget who’s now, sorry - it could have been copyblogger or John TP - that the best place for an add is near where everyone clicks (I knew that already, but didn’t bother to look into it), and was reminded that Google Analytics does have a rudimentary click density overlay. This I also knew, but did nothing about.

I’ll give myself some credit here - when I started out, I didn’t have enough traffic for the click density overlay to show much of anything, and with few visitors to the site, the maximum revenue, no matter how optimized the site, was not going to exceed the minimum revenue by much.

What I found out from the click density overlay was that people were clicking around the navigation menu and RSS feed links a lot (this was pre-large-RSS-feed-graphic).

So I’ve changed the layout thus:

Wordpress-Template-Adjustment-V2

I only just implemented it, so it is too early to notice any results. but a few things are pretty obvious. That one add is not longer hiding, there is a second ad visible, the navigation and links are much easier to find, and it just plain looks better (in my opinion).

What do you think? Comments and opinions, even contrary ones, are always appreciated!

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