All that stuff around blog posts

How much of what surrounds the article is really a distraction
Note: This is the very first edition of this newsletter. Thanks for your support and feel free to share any feedback!

I’m pretty sure you’re already familiar with blog posts that have CTAs, categories, article snippets, and more similar gimmicks on the side of a post.

But how much of that is fluff and what keeps people on your website?

First, here’s an article with no surrounding clutter. Just the text and its supporting images to keep readers engaged. No tempting side links or calls to action.

Let’s jump to some examples of what you can add to the sides of a blog post and when too much becomes a distraction!

This instance on the Greenhouse blog pushes their newsletter forward but keeps the rest of the post clear from diversion. 

This post has a CTA banner follow the reader as they scroll through the post. The same CTA is repeated at the end of the post so it’s pretty clear their main strategy is to get people to sign up.

Does this approach seem like it’s a bit too promotional?

Not until you look at better examples of putting your product out there.

StoryChief has an SEO score widget along with their CTA which offers a quick look at one of their tool’s capabilities:

Ahrefs completely ditches their straightforward product CTA with a stats section and link to their feature instead:

All of the above are good examples nonetheless. Here’s where things get out of hand:

Fiverr’s blog posts have multiple sections highlighting other posts, a CTA to their product, and another CTA to their newsletter. This makes the reader’s choice of staying within the post versus going to another article or worse, picking among the two calls to action, an impossible feat. 

So much text surrounding the article makes it seem like the post is a heavy piece. People could be tempted to leave the page altogether. Not to mention this mimics early ‘00s websites where ads used to border the content.

Still want all of this info on a page? You have to option to add everything below the post along with the categories and Featured Articles section:

As a final takeaway, prioritize your marketing goals before you work on the blog’s layout:
  • If you care about growing your email list, add your newsletter CTA to the side.
  • Want more leads for your product? Keep that product CTA but don’t add other links on the side.
  • But if you need people to stick through a post and share it, keep it simple by just the sharing options next to the post.

E-A-T warning

No side ads or content should distract a reader from seeing or accessing the main content. It’s time to ditch your pop-up CTAs and keep banners as simple as possible so that the primary content pops out instead. 
If you enjoyed this edition, don't forget to send it to a friend! In two weeks, we're looking over the tags vs categories issue.

Until next time,
Alexandra Cote
Here's some further resources to have a look at in the meantime:

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