Monday, June 9, 2008


The image above is the new layout for my Blogs Page. If you click it you will be taken to my existing page and see the slight layout change - pictures on top!!! If you do that after the end of June 2008 this page will then be uploaded and live along with the rest of the new site.

I am in the process of doing a structure redesign on my main website, PopArtDiva™.com. While I'm at it I am also remodeling the look a bit.

I have learned that most people who surf the net are not that savvy and you have to K.I.S.S. - keep it simple and say it with pictures, just like you would for a 5 year old.

You have to point them where you want them to go, tell them where it is and make it interesting for them to want to go there. Not an easy job when you have limited real estate, about 8 seconds or less before they click away and you're competing with a billion or more other websites and blogs.

I have decided to focus on pictures for my navigation points and leave the text as a secondary element. Most people don't read on websites - they want quick, instant, bullet points and pictures that say "GO HERE". A lot of my text is not good for bullets as I write a lot about my art and the pop culture theme, but I make an effort to keep the text limited and dynamic.
I rely on my images to gain my visitors interest. If the images catch them they will stay and read more and visit more pages.

Here's some of the Tips and Tricks I use to boost my SEO, my page rank and my hits:

  • My brand icon is at top left, followed by my logo. Mine are unusually large and, if you can, I recommend you make these smaller, but my brand icon is not readable much smaller and I feel it's important to give my logo and my brand top priority as they are the hub of all my web spots.
  • Under that is my navigation bar that leads to all my major sections. This navigation bar is on every page and, additionally, at the bottom of longer, scrolling pages to aid in helping people get around my site and find what they're looking for.
  • The left hand column always contains my main keywords - search terms that I expect people to use in finding my site or page. Since this page is about blogging I have used Blog, blogged and all the main terms for each of the blogs I publish: pop culture, martinis, art, TV, movies, pets, etcetera.
  • The far right hand column is the "cheap" real estate - where the eye usually travels last, unless there is some horrible blinking or flashing movement located there (P.S. Don't do that or allow any offsites to do that either unless absolutely necessary! It will take the focus away from your content!) This is where I place my affiliate advertising. I do not place affiliate ads (Google AdSense, etc) in my "hot spots". Hot Spots are prime spots on a website where the eyes will focus first. I reserve those spots for my own important elements like my brand images, my keywords, my own ads for my stores and blogs and for my key linking images. This website is not one set up to make it's money from affiliate ads, though I get enough traffic that having them in the "poor neighborhoods" to pay for all my web costs! That is my goal for affiliate marketing on this site.
  • The middle section is visually the prime spot for a visitor, but not for the search engines which will read this section almost last on their spidering! So this is where I put my images which I have turned into smaller icons. I have tried to put as much visual information that tells the story in there as possible while still keeping them readable at these small sizes. These images load quick, they are visually appealing and they tell the viewer what to expect from that click. I always use "alt" tags, text that the search engines can see, to describe the picture and where it's going (keywords again!). Search engines do not see images - they are blind to pictures so you have to remember that and use alt tags!
  • BTW, I use tables for my layout because this will force the search engine spiders to follow my path of keyword and content crumbs. Additionally, if someone alters the text size of their browser this keeps you elements from accidentally layering over each other and becoming unreadable!
  • My third column to the right is where I put additional secondary information - like links to other pages, links to my stores, my newsletter sign up icon. This is a good way to get the spiders to search deeper into your site - put links to third and fourth level pages that aren't included in your prime navigation bar.
  • Lastly I always put some keyword in the very last column at the bottom because spiders will always hit that area before they leave the page. I darken them to almost the color of the background just so they're not too visible to the reader. This information is for the search engines not visitors to my page. If you make it the same color as your background you will get spanked by search engines for it so don't do that!
So there you have it. A few lessons in how to layout a web page! Happy designing and keep checking back for new tips and tricks on web design for artists.

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Melodieann said...

Okay - I'm off to revamp my websites. Far too wordy apparently. And since I am a huge believer in not saying anything in 2 words if you can use 10, this could be a huge challenge for me. If I don't surface in a few days, send out the dogs!

Pop Art Diva! said...

Melodieann - I have the same problem - I can write and write but then I have to trim it all down to the basics and stuff it into a tiny area on my web pages, lol.

I will send Pixel (my itty bitty dog) out next Monday with a Martini if you get lost in html hell!