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Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose In One Second?

By Yaro Starak
72 Comments

This is potentially one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself as a blogger, and yet is where I see pretty much every blogger go wrong. I’ve even had trouble with this myself over the years each time I redesign my blog.

The challenge, when coming up with a blog design, is to ensure your blog conveys a message about why it exists. This message should focus on the reader and why they would want to visit the blog and consume the content there. It’s the purpose, the benefit, the reason why, the what’s in it for me statement that gives your blog meaning to a new visitor.

Over the years I’ve been asked to review blogs, often by members of my coaching programs during live calls. Sometimes the question I’m asked is simply how do I improve my blog?

In almost all cases, when I first go to visit the blog in question, I can’t immediately figure out why the blog exists. What is its purpose?

http://youtu.be/

Multiple Objectives

The challenge with a blog, as compared to say a landing page or sales page which have one objective, to get the opt-in or convert the sale, is that blogs are trying to do multiple things, including -

In my opinion, blogs, although they have multiple objectives, each of varying importance, have really only one core objective to aim for -

To be read.

Or in the case of a video blogger or podcaster – to be listened to.

The idea is that your content should be the main focus, because if you can engage your audience, you will have an opportunity to meet your other objectives thanks to the attention you’ve been given. Some of your goals will be met as a byproduct of focusing on creating engagement, for example, people will subscribe to your RSS feed if they like your content – they will go looking for the orange button.

The natural follow on from this idea is to highlight your blog articles as the main first message to present to new visitors to your blog. The problem with this is that your current latest blog headline is usually the content that makes the first impression, and if you’re like me, your blog subjects are diverse, so no one article can accurately sum up what your blog is about, although you can certainly give a general idea.

You may argue that focusing on the email opt-in should be the main objective of a blog, however if that was the case, why wouldn’t you use a landing page instead?

Landing pages earn much higher conversion rates than blogs do for email opt-ins, even if you use a pop-up on your blog, because the focus is clear – give me your email and I’ll give you this in return.

However blogs do so much more than landing pages. Blogs want to get traffic from search engines (landing pages rarely do this well because the content is sales pitch, and very brief). Blogs want to foster an audience long term, attract repeat visitors, demonstrate the expertise of the author, create real relationships over time, as well as all the practical outcomes I mentioned above.

Landing pages, combined with a solid email follow-up sequence, can meet some of these objectives, but the most important one, attracting the traffic in the first place, is not something landing pages do inherently by themselves. You need another traffic source, like affiliates or Pay Per Click to drive the traffic, where blogs can be a traffic driver in and of themselves – and a considerably good one.

In short, blogs are conflicted in terms of goals, but that’s because they can do so much, which is why so many people go wrong when it comes to figuring out how to make the right “first impression” with their blog. It’s not a simple answer.

How To Make A Good First Impression With Your Blog

So what is the key to explain what your blog is about in a matter of seconds?

The answer is to combine what we know about how people interact with websites, with some good old marketing psychology. And of course, to test.

The first thing you should do when you set up a blog is ask a relative or friend who is not savvy to Internet marketing or blogging and have them view your blog. Give them 30 seconds or so, then ask them what your blog is about. If they can’t answer with something close to what impression you want to give, then you need to make changes.

Below are my tips on how to make a good first impression with your blog and make it clear why it exists. Bear in mind that these tips work best in combination, as each element enhances the other elements to deliver a unified message. We are after consistency, not conflict – a harmony of elements.

The challenge is that you simply may not know yet what your blog is trying to do because your strategy is in flux. It’s easy to make this work when you have a clearly defined funnel and positioning strategy, but if you don’t, you’re going to have to be flexible and keep adjusting these things as you change focus.

Here is my advice on how to make a clear statement about what your blog is about -

  1. By far the most important element for clarifying what your blog is about is to include a description byline, or tag line. So many bloggers make the mistake of not having this, yet it is critical for clarifying your blog’s topic. This is a simple sentence that sits just below your blog title and explains what your blog is about. You might equate this to a USP (a unique selling proposition) if you were to describe your business. It’s like the elevator pitch for your blog, in one sentence.My current by-line as I type this article is “Down to earth advice and tips for bloggers and Internet marketers“. This sentence sits just below the title/logo of my blog. If your blog doesn’t have something like this I have one piece of advice – add a byline today
  2. Your blog’s logo or name is absolutely critical, and represents your brand, but because it is short, doesn’t offer enough information about your blog. This is why the byline is important. If you combine a good logo-title with a good byline, then you have a fantastic combination that can both leave a lasting impression and offer a practical explanation about your blog. This is why it is worth taking some time before deciding on what to call your blog.In my case Entrepreneurs Journey is a very emotive and descriptive title, which to a degree gives some indication about what my blog is about – though it is very fuzzy – it doesn’t really explain what my blog offers to people. The title in this case is a good brand, but requires further specific clarification, which can be achieved with the other elements of my blog.
  3. I’ll briefly mention the domain name is obviously relevant as well. Your blog title is usually the same as your domain name, so they have the same considerations. The challenge with the domain name and title is to get a combination of good brand, good keywords and good explanation of what your blog is about. You can’t always satisfy all these elements equally, so you have to be flexible with how you go about meeting each objective.
  4. The title tag (this is the title at the top of the browser bar) is possibly the most important element of your blog, especially when it comes to search engine optimization, but it counts for humans as well, and therein lies your challenge. You need to come up with a solid title for your blog, that presents a clear message about your blog’s subject matter, and also hits the right keywords for search engine queries.If you’ve set up your blog’s internal structure right, then each page of your blog has a unique title tag (usually the headline of the article itself), and only the homepage has a descriptive sentence the attempts to encompass what your entire blog is about. This is a good place to once again use a sentence to clarify your blog’s purpose, bearing in mind this is also the information search engines will show in their results pages, so it’s even more important.
  5. Your main call to action, like an opt-in box, or a video play button, or a large graphic, whatever the first element of your blog that grabs the attention of eyeballs, needs to further represent your blog’s purpose.If you’ve prioritized your blog design elements, after your first article content headline, the next element, or it might even be the first element you focus reader attention on, is some form of call to action, usually with an opt-in box along with it.For example on my blog, the opt-in for the Blog Profits Blueprint is the main call to action, especially because it has my face in it (the small video box). Faces are usually the first element to grab attention. The opt-in explains what value I offer in exchange for your name and email.

    Although this call to action has a specific purpose, it’s also an extension of your overall blog subject matter. If a person landed at my blog and saw nothing else but my opt-in box, they already form a perception of me as a blogging expert. Although this is not the only subject my blog is about, it is the main element in terms of my sales funnel and what my brand has been built on.

    Your main call to action says a lot about what your blog is about, even though it’s only in reference, since it has a purpose of its own.

  6. Your blog content headlines, if you’re following my suggestion to focus on reader engagement, will be in the hottest area of your blog (the left top or center top areas, based on the eye-tracking heatmaps), which means not surprisingly, what you write about tells people what your blog is about.This part of your blog is the area that changes the most frequently, since each time you publish a new article, a new headline features in the hottest area of your blog. Depending when a person comes to your blog homepage, dictates what message you deliver to them.This is why it’s important your blog content strategy stays on-topic and consistent. If your subject matter jumps all over the place, you’re sending mixed messages about what you stand for and what your blog is about. Of course if you’re not sure yet, then don’t put too much pressure on yourself either – you are allowed to experiment with content, that’s what is fun about being a creative writing blogger – but try and get yourself to a defined topic area eventually.

The rest of the features of your blog don’t have as much of an impact on your blog’s first impression. If you focus on the list above, you give your audience a clear indication about what you offer them.

Bear in mind at all times focus on benefits for your readers, rather than features of what you are talking about. Emotional benefits always win over feature explanations, which create a lasting impression and a higher level of engagement. Once a reader knows what you offer and feels an emotional desire for it, you have them right where you want them (cue evil laugh).

Yaro Starak
Blogging On Weekends

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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72 Comments

  • JM

    Yaro and other Entrepreneurs-Journey Readers,

    I just started my blog about three weeks ago, maybe more or less. I feel like I am spending way too much of my time on the design because I think of myself as such a perfectionist. I actually have gotten as far as to tell myself I will only work on this for one hour. After this, I need to write.

    Anyways, I kind of went on a tangent, but I hope people can see what my blog is about in one second. Thank you for another great knowledgeable post.

    -JM

    • looks great, though I’d add the newsletter above the fold. Most people dont understand RSS but will go for email. it’s a tiny bit hidden.

      my 2c.

      • I have had similar experiences. It seems to me that most internet users are shy of rss feeds.

  • As someone who’s set up multiple blogs in the past I’m acutely aware of the fact that it’s so easy to get lost in the endless plugins and extensions to add onto your blog.

    Some of these are valuable – most are not.

    Yaro, as you succinctly point our in your article title, if you can’t articulate what your blog is about in a simple one second glance, you run the risk of losing that visitor forever.

    Absolutely – your content has got to be valuable, however, you also have to consider the value of the first click. And is that’s through some sponsored link on your sidebar that hardly ever pays out you’re losing long-term visitor value.

    It all boils down to great content, optimising your blog for conversions that produce best long-term return and marketing your blog as effectively as possible.

  • Nice post Yaro. Blogs are great to build little communities around your niche. If you work hard enough and long enough, people will start to notice and read your content.

    It would be nice to have a fancy blog but I still believe the content is what people are looking for, not the design.

  • Always you are giving something different information, this time also. Your post is really amazing.

  • Great practical tip Yaro! Once again, you have done a great job explaining a very simple process. I’ll take care of this for my site as soon as possible. :-)

  • I have a website, but not a blog. However, many of the points that you’re discussing are very useful and I’m definitely planning to use them to optimize my website. Great post!

  • Is that truth that your blog get 10,000 dollars per month? Only from those small advert buttons? That is amazing nad sound impossible :)

    • the $$$ come from the courses… which are very good, btw.

    • AP

      Jan, I think Yaro is up to about $50 000/month! (but that really freaks people out so he leaves it at 10 000)- if you count his memberships sites – that come out of his blog! and no it is not impossible. Think Big!

  • This is a useful tip but it’s not that critical. Just put what your blog is about in the description and stay relevant. No need to go crazy.

  • It’s true, you have to set up your blog as if everyone has ADD since you only have a few seconds to capture attention.

  • I wish I had read this when I set up. I went down the list, yes, check, uh-oh, oh no! I have some revising to do this weekend.

  • Yaro
    Thanks for this post. This has been really helpful to know that I am on the right track with my blog. I know that I have more work to do on it, but it is coming.
    Thanks
    Steve

  • Personally, my blog doesnt explain its purpose in one second because it is just for personal use and people like to read it for fun. I guess its main purpose is for just reading.

  • Agree totally: at the end of the day, blogging is a form of writing (and publishing) – and really any form of writing should focus on the reader first and last and all the way through the middle too.
    That ability to always think of the reader and what they want, what they will think, the impression they will gain, is something that should come as second nature to professional writers. Many bloggers are good at it too, but you do see many blogs where people haven’t really ‘got’ this fundamental truth yet.
    But you’re right, when setting up a blog it’s so easy to forget when you get bogged down with plugins, widgets and CSS customisation.

  • Yaro, good thoughts again.

    The tagline and USP stuff is so critical, we should constantly revisit this to make the tagline and USP become laser focused, if you know what I mean.

  • This was great timing on this I am just moving servers and moving my old site to a wordpress platform. This is the perfect time to rebuild my site from scratch. I never had a call to action on my old blog, sure I knew better but my clients always got the better sites, and its been along time that I have needed to get my site updated.

  • Wow, excellent and just what I needed.

    After reading I have just realised that my subject matter does quite often jump all over the place and that is certainly one to watch out for.

    I have just been thinking of changing my theme so it might be a good time to do some planing before I do it this time rather than do it as I go alone as I tend to.

    Thanks,

    James

  • Saw you roller blading around Southbank?

  • My blog would explain itself in a second by it’s title thankfully “Escaping the 9 to 5″ I think (hope) gets right to the point of it and tells people what its about and whether or not it is pertinent for them. Great post, really enjoyed it, I was happy to think “yes I can answer that positively!”

    • Good choice for a domain name/name Maren, though of course you can always clarify it a bit more in terms of what is in it for a reader.

      Do you help them escape the 9 to 5, or are you telling stories of what you do when you are not at work. Never underestimate the power of ambiguity and interpretation.

  • These tips will be invaluable when I revamp my blog in the next couple of weeks. As an earlier reader mentioned, all the plug-ins and things really can blind you to the goal of getting readers to come, stay and listen/read what you’re sharing. I’m going to put this up on my TO-DO wall as a guide while I rebuild my blog. Thanks!

  • Like Maren, I was happy to think that my blog satisfies most of the criteria outlined. Nice feeling and awesome article, Yaro!

  • Yaro: Thank you for this important discussion. I especially appreciate your statements about the importance of having a photo of yourself on your blog, and the fact that faces are often the first element to grab a reader’s attention.

    I’m a full-time actor and voiceover artist in Los Angeles, and one piece of conventional wisdom you often hear in this business is that a VO actor should never include any pictures of themselves on their website. An image, the thinking goes, might prejudice a person, and give a potential client a false impression of an artist’s sound based on their appearance.

    I’ve never agreed with this — in fact, many of the websites I’ve seen for VO artists that don’t have a picture seem anonymous to me. I’ve never shied away from including my photo on my websites, and in fact I think it helps a viewer to key in to my energy and personality quickly.

    Keep up the great work! I enjoy reading your blog immensely.

    • it would be interesting to do a split test on your website/blog – one with photo, one without. If you are at least half descent good looking, I would think it’d help ;)

  • [...] Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose In One Second?… [...]

  • Hey Yaro, great material as always!

    I was curious as to why you chose to place pictures of yourself at the top right of your blog, when you could have exploited the advertising income potential there.

    Did you want to create a more personal aesthetic?

    Was it about building relationships?

    I’ve been chewing this over and just can’t come to any clear cut answer.

    Thanks,

    Dave H

    • Hey Dave, I placed those photos there because I want to create a personal connection with my audience and demonstrate my travels. I’ve got enough advertising in my blog already, so I was fine giving that real estate to something else.

  • Right! So very True! If people don’t understand your blog in a couple seconds, then you haven’t done your job. It should obviously already state the purpose in your title and web address. Great post! Really helpful, Yaro.

  • I have created a few blogs for about a year and a half and there are still alot for me to learn.

    You have provided a good check list above to bloggers like me. I need to do something to my blog today.

    Thank for creating such an informative blog and I totally enjoy reading your blog.

  • Thanks, Yaro. Am in the process of finalizing the theme, but, went ahead and changed my tagline right after reading your post. Initially, I was averse to long taglines…but it just makes sense now. Now to the other items on the list. :)

  • Top advice as usual, Yaro. People forget key things like this all the time.

    Till then,

    Jean

  • The fact is this very blog itself. The message is simple but needs such elaborate explanation. Like this, the blog’s purpose has to be simple and the content elaborate and substantiate the purpose. Great advise. Thanks.

  • Creating a blog is harder than many people think – that is if you want sustained readership and decent search engine rankings. I think new bloggers (and those who have been doing it a while) can definitely benefit from this reading as it touches on the basic search engine strategies that are tried and true as well as basic construction of a post.

    First impressions are very important; if a visitor doesn’t understand the purpose of your blog you risk the chance of losing that visitor immediately – and every other person who found your blog.

  • Thanks. Good article.

  • I especially like the tip about the tag line and the call to action. Thanks.

  • I’ve done a good job at picking a high paying keyword in my domain name, but I still have to further describe to my viewers what my blog is about when landing on my page. Thanks for such great tips Yaro! I will be sure to implement the tips you’ve outlined into my blog!

  • Great post Yaro,

    I believe you have 3 seconds to sell your blog to new visitors. The information above the fold needs to address the needs of your visitors and engage your audience quick!

    First impressions count for everything, so the site design, layout and the compelling copy have to entice to reader.

    Valuable content will outway poor design, but only if you can engage the visitor quickly. Some great information in this post Yaro :)

    Have a great weekend.

    John

    new blog coming soon!

  • Call to action, as you mention it, is really important in my opinion. Great post. Has been really informative. I will try to improve my blog based upon the tips you’ve provided here. Thanks.

  • Yaro, I’m somewhat new to this online marketing world and my blog is a wordpress hosted blog and still in the construction stage. Based on your article, what are your impressions?

  • Thanks for the inspiration Yaro!
    My blog is called MySoloBusiness and the tagline is “Thoughts, Tips And Resources For Solo Consultants, Trainers and Coaches”. How does that sound?
    I hope the title and tagline accurately describe the audience I’m trying to reach and what I’m trying to offer them.

  • I think going to a better track even was unaware that it is right or wrong I made it possible to understand my blog firstly by choosing a accurate blog tittle and related domain name.

    I have started my blog http://www.digmlm.com that is only 17 days old and getting great responses because of unique content and less design using very less no.of pics, promoting my contents and getting 3 times pageview from visitors also getting returning visitors and happy to see they are hitting again and again on my ABOUT page that’s why my very next step should be more informative and friendly having personal pics and brief contact information to about page.

  • I thought about my tagline for awhile. At first it was going to be “Think Like The Sun”, based on this article here: http://www.nunativs.com/think-like-the-sun/, as the Sun is always my first source of inspiration. Instead I made a smallish graphic and put it at the bottom, mostly for me.

    Later I decided to soften it up a bit to, “Nomadic Paradise For All”. Guess I can’t help having these grand visions for what I’m doing, but then again I’m very much a dreamer, (too much).

    Anyways, thanks Yaro for providing lot’s of down to Earth advice to keep my grounded!

  • I do agree a blog must exits in a purpose otherwise it won’t attract the traffic that you are expected. Yaro does always have something great to say about his program blog mastermind. and I really like this one!

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  • [...] Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose in One Second? – Entrepreneur’s Journey [...]

  • Ya, I think my blog does a pretty good job of conveying the message loud and clear that I want it to

  • Yes

    BUILD MUSCLE FAST AND FUN!

  • Thanks for your tips. I found the differences of landing page and content blog and the essential of byline are very useful for me.

  • Great tip about having pictures “faces” to grab attention. Did you always use your face/picture on your blog and if not when you started did you notice a visible increase in signups?

  • Yup I can explain my blog in just 1 seconds or even in 1 word, 5-letters
    “share”

  • Many readers bounce leave the site after reading only one post, Wall said. If you make it easy for them to find some of your best work then they may stick around and read more. Some will subscribe to your blog feed if they find your content compelling enough.

  • I have been trying to think of a change for my site and I am still struggling, but I believe that it is alright for the small niche that I operate in.

  • long article indeed… full of information… how do you keep your schedule as a blogger?
    time is one thing that struck me the most….

  • Hi Yaro,

    After reading your great post above, I go to my WP dashboard and try to change tagline of my blog by following your description above. I hope it will attract visitor to figure out my blog. But, I still do not know how to create a logo for my blog and also for appearing in browser bar.

    Thanks for your great sharing.

  • So this is like the “elevator pitch” where you have to explain the purpose of your business in 30 seconds… interesting how “real-world” translates to the online world…

  • Of course i can..

    “it helps” walaa…less than a second.. lol

  • I think that my blog conveys the message that I want but I do know that there is always room for improvement and I will always look to improve it when necessary!

    Lori

  • Useful tips Yaro!
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Great article Yaro. Very informative and helpful for blogger who will be just starting or already started. You have given us points that will make us a better blogger. Thanks for sharing.

  • Very thorough post – great ideas that can improve anyone’s blog. Thanks for the article.

  • That is very interesting. I had not thought about it that way, and the answer is no. I am still in a phase of figuring out exactly where I want to go with my blog. I have various different types of posts and the ones I didn’t think would get the most hits are, so i really need to change my direction.

  • What you said in this post is certainly true. Four months ago, I decided to work on not just having a blog, but making it a useful effort for my readers. I was ranked by Alexa at over 5,000,000 in the www. After Changing My title to better reflect my purpose, and reworking my blog purpose statement, and titling my articles to reflect that purpose, my Alexa rating is now up to 994,733. What you have proposed, has really worked in my case. Of course, this is just the beginning, but shows what can be done with a little thought and effort. Just posting this comment on your highly ranked page will boost my ranking. Thanks for the insight.

  • [...] (We Blog Better) 8. 5 Uncreative Ways to Unlock Your Creative Juices! (Church Creative) 9. Can Your Blog Explain Its Purpose In One Second? (Entrepreneurs Journey) 10. Increasing Your Blog’s Interactivity: 10 Tips for Staying Fresh [...]

  • Many times we need another set of eyes. What appears good to us isn’t necessarily so.

  • I think a website tagline really helps show the purpose of the site and clear up what you’re trying to accomplish, and really I’m surprised how many sites don’t have one. By far the best way to say “hey, this is what we’re about.”

  • Great Post Yaro! I totally agree with your comments regarding the multiple objectives,however its easier said than done. Keep up with blogging!

  • great stuff , i bookmarked it. very knowledgeable article.

    Thanks
    Misbah Mumtaz

  • What is the best way in your opinion to promote your blog though !

  • We have just added our blog to the facebook app “networkedblogs” it seems to be working for us really well.

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