One of my 2012 financial goals is to increase and stabilize the online income from Retire By 40. The best way to achieve this is to improve user experience. You, the reader, are #1 in my book and I will do everything I can to make your experience here a great few minutes out of your day.
You may have noticed the changes on Retire By 40 since Christmas. I purchased Thesis, a premium theme, to improve the readability of this blog. The Thesis Theme for WordPress has great typography out of the box and I love the improved readability over the previous theme. It is a lot easier on the eyes and I am very happy with it. I hope you feel the same way too.
Another reason I updated to Thesis is to increase speed. The previous theme (Atahualpa) was great, but it’s Achilles heel is the slow load time. Many reviewers said Thesis is a fast theme and it definitely sped up the site a little bit as soon as I changed over.
In an effort to improve the speed further, I reconfigured the home page. The home page now shows the most recent post and then 4 teasers with thumbnails below that. Previously, I had 3 full posts showing and it took a bit longer to load 3 full posts and pictures.
Thesis is quite complicated and I am still learning how to use it. As I learn, I will remove more plugins to improve the speed further.
If you’ve been following Retire By 40 last year, you probably noticed some ads before the main post. I removed these ads for returning readers and you shouldn’t see it on the most recent posts. The advertising should only display to readers from the search engine. The ads will also show up on posts older than 2 weeks.
I joined a couple of affiliate programs (Commission Junction and ShareASale) in an effort to increase income from older posts. I can pick a relevant ad such as banks or stock broker for each post and this should blend in a bit better. The plan is to use Google Analytic to find our popular posts and the place banner ads in those posts. For example, I placed a Groupon banner advertising on the Groupon VS Google Offers post. If someone purchased something from Groupon, then I would get a referral fee.
I’ll generally add these affiliate ads to older posts and leave the recent posts alone. This post is an exception though and there is a huge banner link for Thesis up on top. 😉 I think this is probably a good time to buy Thesis if you are thinking about it. I have a feeling they will change the pricing model to an annual subscription basis soon. Right now, you only pay once and get free upgrade for life.
Of course, I haven’t made a cent yet from affiliate advertising so if you have any tips, please share with us.
WIP – These following items are still in the work. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment.
Revamp Nav Bar – Clean up the Nav bar by combining privacy and disclosure pages. I should separate the contact/advertise into 2 pages as well. I’ll work on making it more distinctive at some point also.
Revamp pages – Update those pages with current info especially the “about” page. That page is the 2nd most visited page on the site after the home page and it really needs some attention.
Make an archive/start here page – A little road map for new readers to follow instead of jumping randomly all over the place.
What do you think? Improving user experience should help bring back visitors and increase traffic in the long run. Eventually more traffic will mean more advertising dollars. Do you like the new and improved look?