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WordPress makes it pretty easy to build an attractive food blog with all the bells and whistles. Plugins like OptinMonster allow you to painlessly create tempting popup optins. You can add gussied up social media sharing options with plugins like Social Media Feather and Monarch. The sky’s the limit.
But just because the options are limitless, doesn’t mean you need to add all those extra elements to your food blog. Too much of anything can be a distraction, and that’s especially true on a webpage, which has limited real estate to begin with.
You started your blog because you wanted to share your thoughts and ideas with readers, but if you add too many design elements to it, it becomes harder for readers to focus on your message.
Take a look at any page of your food blog and see how easy it is to find the essentials: navigation, a search field, and content. All too often, I stumble across food blogs that have put the premium on advertising and CTAs, forgetting to make the basics easily accessible to readers.
Where should you look when you’re looking to simplify?
There are some fantastic, powerful optin tools that you can use to capture emails on your blog, but be careful how many you include and where you include them. OptinMonster allows users to delay popups until readers have reached the end of a page or to include the optin box in a less obtrusive spot than the middle of the screen. Remember, wherever you add your optins, keep them short and sweet to avoid clutter.
Your sidebar is a great place to keep a quick introduction to yourself, a subscription optin, and category options to help readers navigate quickly to the sections that most interest them at the moment. It’s also a popular spot for ads. However, remember to prioritize your followers’ needs over your financial needs – you’ll have a harder time making money on ads if people are too put off by an overstuffed sidebar to re-visit your site.
Each blog post is an opportunity for a Call to Action. Ask readers to subscribe to your newsletter or to download a cool printable, to join a group or to purchase a cookbook. However, limit the number of CTAs on each page. One primary CTA is sufficient in most cases. Not only will this prevent a sense of clutter, but it’ll also unburden reader of too many choices.
Your fans are coming to your food blog to hear your story. All of the visual elements should either direct their attention to that message or complement the message, providing more information or other opportunities to connect with you. Keep it simple.