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Blog Design Features That Will Earn You More Money

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Making the most money from a site without selling out or making your site look bad is important to me. More money means I can invest more, buy premium domains, hire SEO, design, programming, copy guys, anything I can do to improve my website.

I like to funnel people through my website, I like them to feel that the way they use my website is natural, they go here, then here and then end up buying something if they feel it’s right for them. I think most people get monetization wrong because their first thought is to monetize, that’s probably why people don’t stay long enough on their websites to earn them any money. Make your website inviting, make it easy to navigate and then once you impress them, that’s when and where you monetize. I hope you enjoy today’s post, please leave a comment and let me know what you think you could be doing better, or better yet, what you are already doing that’s working well for you.

7 Design Tips That Will Make Your Site More Money!

Top Navigation

This may seem odd to a lot of people, how can your top navigation effort your earnings? It’s because if you send visitors to pages that make you the most money, then you will make more money. The best way to show you this is to explain my navigation:

  • How I Started – it’s about how I started and how you can two, monetized with affiliate links.
  • How You Can Start – Most common asked question, monetized with affiliate links promoting the tools I use.
  • Make Money – category of all posts related to make money, most are monetized, very popular subject.
  • Driving Traffic – same as above, popular and well monetized.
  • Blogging Resources – my own products and product I recommend
  • About Us – a page to promote my business and my writers so that they get a further reward for writing for me. If they didn’t write, I’d get less traffic, so it’s a trade of. Exposure for traffic which in turn makes me money.

Another factor is the text you use, not just the link, if your link says for example About, it’s not going to get as many clicks as My Story, to further increase clicks, I changed it to How I Started. The links have to make people want to click them, a link saying Product isn’t advertising, Blogging Resources is.

Before I made a recent change to my navigation, I was sending nearly 4,000 people to a page on my website that had no real benefit to the reader or me, I’ve since changed it and have seen an increase in page views and earnings. Have a look at your top navigation right now, do you have enough links? Do they make you want to click them? Do those pages either inspire or make you money? If it doesn’t, fix it! You may need to publish new content to link to, this was the case for me.

Advertising Different Products in Different WordPress Category’s

Way back, around three years ago when I was monetizing a blog I had in the web design industry, I was struggling to show targeted affiliate offers. Someone reading about Dreamweaver, probably won’t be interested in products about Photoshop, it’s a different type of web designer. What I did was using one line of code, I showed two different adverts, one in the Dreamweaver category and one in the Photoshop category. To do this, you need a real basic knowledge of code, or just ask your web guy to do it, here’s the exact code I used all that time ago.

Plain Version:

<?php if ( in_category(’6?) ): ?></p> <p> // Some category specific PHP/HTML here</p> <p><?php endif; ?><br />

Actually Code From My Site:

<?php if ( in_category(’4?) ): ?><br /> <span class=”red_normal”><b>New! </b></span><b><a href=”” mce_href=”” target=”_blank”>Photoshop Video Tutorials</a> – You Are About To Discover The Fastest Way To Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop (With Just 2 Hours Of Instantly Viewable Video Tutorials).</b><br /> <?php endif; ?><br />

This isn’t just going to make you more money but it makes your site “make more sense”. It can be confusing to see unrelated adverts, most would see it as selling out or trying to hard to earn every penny possible.

My Story Box

Your about page should really be your “who you are and what can you do for me” page. I call it a My Story page, it should educate them about what you do and how they can do it themselves. Yo then monetize it with affiliate offers and perhaps a training program which can take them further which obviously makes you money if they buy. Because of this, it’s one of your most profitable pages, either they buy there and then or because they get to know you and buy from you in future. Making sure the most amount of people visit that page is in your best interest and so having a big box with a bold headline in the top right corner is vital.

Your about page earns you money in other ways, if people like who you are, they will link to you or do an interview with you. This will bring more traffic which in turn, earns you more money. You can also get seen by the press or asked to speak at events.

Header Advert For Maximum Exposure

Just below my top navigation I have a bar which promotes other pages on my website. I know which pages make me money, specific guides and reviews. The more visitors I send to those pages, the more I will earn. This is the highest click through area on my blog. Second is the top right but it hugely depends on the size of the advert. Utilize this spot if you want to direct more traffic to your highest earning pages. This will ultimately end up with you earning more money.

Lightbox Optin, Powered By Popup Domination

Most of my regular readers will know just how important this is. More subscribers, means more money, the problem with typical lightbox opt-ins is that they are ugly. Last year I launched a new software called Popup Domination which has a standalone version and WordPress version. It allows you within a few short steps add a well design lightbox to you site. One of the most important things about it is the design, everyone uses it because it converts but also because it makes their site look great! Below is a preview of what it looks like, it’s a javascript popup which comes up over the website, it’s part of the page and people can simply click the X to remove it. This increased my subscribers by over 500% literally over night!

Check out Popup Domination to create your own lightbox!

Featuring Your Best Content

Most sites have featured content on their sidebar, often seen as popular posts. This section is used to show your most popular content but also the content that makes you money. I have it split into three sections:

  1. Inspiration – top lists that inspire people to take action.
  2. Interviews – inspires people but I also get the chance to promote interviewee’s products.
  3. Guides – my best guides, all well monetized with affiliate promotions.

If they like just one post on your website, it’s likely they want to find more, this widget is really important for making it easy for readers to do exact that, find more great content which means you will earn more money. Most premium WordPress themes have something similar built in, check out the Busybee theme by Woothemes.

Squeeze Pages To Get More Subscribers

I build my list in two ways, with a lightbox popup and a squeeze page. Personally I don’t believe you need anything else, that includes a sidebar opt-in. You see the lightbox get’s you the bulk of subscribers, however some may not see it or decide later on that they want to subscribe, this is why they visit the squeeze page. Another reason for a squeeze page is they are easy to share, if people love your list, they can say, they can send a friend to the page so they can opt-in. If you simply just have a subscribe box on sidebar, they can’t direct them exactly where to opti-in. One thing I do is in my most inspiring posts, I’ll link to my squeeze page and mention, want to follow in this persons footsteps, click here and then I direct them to the squeeze page.

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  1. Mark Greer says:

    Hey Great article, I think I am going to implant the different products per category thing you talked about.

  2. hey thanks man..i try to customize my blog design this week to create more powerful monetize space in my blog..i try to refer a few design at your blog.

  3. Anass Farah says:

    Great Post, by a great person, Thank you Michael, very good article to help us improving our blog monetizing strategy 😀

    Thank You Again

    Anass Farah

  4. Todd Herman | Traffic Bakery says:

    Great idea on the “Advertising Different Products in Different WordPress Category’s”.

    I’ve already sent it off to my programmers and change around clients sites as well.

    Great post Michael…thanks for sharing.

    • Adam W. Warner says:

      Just wanted to add an additional comment to this concept of targeting specific categories…

      …keep in mind that you can also target specific pages, posts, tags, and custom post type archives too…

      The power of WordPress is truly amazing and it’s why I do what I do:)

  5. Cody Sipe says:

    Great info. Your team designed my blog. I have the BusyBee theme and want to organize my featured posts like you have with three tabs and then showing the pictures with titles. But I can’t figure out for the life of me how to do that!
    In fact there are several design features you use that I am trying to emulate and having a tough time doing so. Suggestions?

  6. Last week I hire an Affliate Manager to start the process of monetizing my blog. My blog is about a year old and is getting about 500 to 700 visitors daily. I’m working hard to increase those numbers. Excellent article.

  7. Hey Michael, thanks for another extremely helpful article. I have already learned so much just by looking at your site when I was building my first two blogs, but this is really a great insight into what makes your website tick. It is nice to see it all come together in one place.
    Thanks for all your help and guidance so far…

  8. Income Insiders says:

    Hi Michael, I love your Popup Domination. It was the first thing I got for our blog. Thanks for those tips.

  9. Belize Hub says:

    Thanks for this info! I will definitely implant the Popup Domination on my site.

  10. Brad Campbell says:

    Hey Michael, excellent post and very good timing, as I’m in the process of building out the infrastructure of my new site. I couldn’t agree more about your take on opt-ins and their placement.

    The top right static opt-in box that everyone says is a “must-have” is absolutely worthless in my opinion.

    On my first site, Top Fat Loss Trainer, testing showed that around 80% of my daily opt-ins were courtesy of your product, PopUp Domination (thanks!)… and the rest were from sending ppl to my squeeze page.

    I’m also experimenting with using OptimizePress to place a static opt-in box at the very bottom of most pages — almost like a hybrid page that contains info, my story and a bit of a squeeze…

    Keep up the great work.


    • Michael Dunlop says:

      Hey Brad,

      Glad you see the same results as me about the sidebar opt-in. Also happy for your success with Popup Domination!

      Optimizepress is a great tool, let me know how you get on with the new site.


  11. Onibalusi Bamidele says:

    This is awesome and just what I have been looking for, Michael! I have been looking for other ways to monetize my blog for the long term lately and this blog post comes in handy.

    Thanks so much for the great post,

  12. Michael,

    Great post. When did you start monetizing your blog? I have my income journal I have started, and don’t want to monetize the blog yet, as I don’t want potential readers to get the wrong idea. I want to grow the blog and show them that I can offer value first.

    • Michael Dunlop says:

      I’m the same with some of my websites but I have to say, monetizing is a good idea. The second you make $5, you take it seriously and your work harder and make it happen for you.


  13. Joshua Zamora says:

    Great post Michael!!!

    I love how you implement affiliate offers within every value packed post.

    Learning a lot from you..

  14. Carol Mortarotti says:

    You have some great tips on this post Michael. I need to add more affiliate links and monetize my blog better since I am now getting traffic.

    I look forward to reading your next post!


  15. Hi Michael love the content you are helping me and others so much have started posting but post far to long been told to keep it 350-750 words or split post down whats your view ?

    Have bought pop up domination does it get stopped by pop up blockers on firefox etc

    Thanks again for your help Look forward to reading any new post

    kind regards

    • Michael Dunlop says:

      Hey Simon,

      Firefox doesn’t blog it, it’s part of the site as far as I know.

      As for length, I write larger posts usually, I write as much as I like. There is no set rule, just make sure you deliver value.


  16. ZPTsotetsi says:

    WOW, super Post Michael. this is really what im looking for…nice one…i’ll be emplementing on my new project:

  17. Margy Long says:

    I really like the way your site is set out. I have a question for you as a newbie if I make a post it goes onto my home page automatically, though I have renamed that page, but how then can I post to one of my top navigation tabs please?

  18. Hey Michael,

    Another superb post mate – You’re quickly becoming my “go to” guy when I want to know anything about making the most of my blog.

    Just a quick suggestion – I know you recommend Optimize Press but I’ve just bought a theme recently released called The Profits Theme that is similar to Optimize Press but many people are saying that it beats OP hands down. (I haven’t used OP so don’t hold me to that lol)

    I can vouch for it myself, it is a really, really awesome theme with amazing features especially if you’re looking to make your own product, create a membership site or build a squeeze page with little effort at some stage.

    Check out my site Michael (and readers), I’m playing around with the Profits Theme at the moment (making tweaks so it might look a bit rough!) – I’m just using one of the blog templates at the moment but there are other templates for landing pages, squeeze pages etc.

    Just thought I’d let you all know in case you weren’t aware of this new theme 🙂 They have an affiliate program too Michael so if you think it’s better than OP, you can recommend it and add it to your monetization.

    Hope that’s helpful to some people! Best wishes


    • Michael Dunlop says:

      Hello Altug,

      Thanks for your large comment, good to get them. I’ve seen both and many other similar themes. They all do the same sort of thing, the main difference is design. Optimizepress was founded by James Dyson who did sales page designs for lot’s of top marketers. He took those designs and gave them to everyone, plus new ones. That’s why it’s so great, he has the best designs which convert well.

      The thing I don’t like about PT is it lacks exactly that. Also being a product owner myself, I’m not a huge fan of copy cats and I don’t care if they have a better affiliate program. I support whoever I think have the best product, it’s also important to me that they are good people too.

      Keep us updated on how you get on,


      • Hey Michael,

        Those are fair points – I wasn’t aware about the sales designs of O.P being superior..That’s definitely a selling point!

        I’m not sure if Profits Theme is a copycat of Optimize Press – They have a few different bits and pieces if I’m not mistaken. I mean, after all, there are very few “brand new” products out there that haven’t in some way been inspired by other products/services right?

        I definitely agree with your last points about only recommending products that are quality and have good people behind them 🙂 just thought I’d mention it in case you and others didn’t know about the theme but you do so it’s all good!

        Will let you know how I do with it! Thanks again for the great post


  19. Dr. Michael Haley says:

    Great simple ideas. I need to change some button text. You gave me an idea… but then I check and saw that you didn’t do it! I was going to see what products you use and checked the top navigation. Yes, I eventually checked the blogging tools. But why not use sub-pages for each tool (drop down navigation). I’m gonna do that next at … I see we recommend the same tools. Clearly its because they are the best. The best recommendations don’t always have the best affiliate agreements. But I see you recommend a couple that I don’t know about. I’ll use your links to check them out.

  20. Shane from Genuine Internet Marketing says:

    Great tips, but I really like the different header adverts on the various pages throughout the website. Like you mentioned, most people have pages on their site that are higher converting than others, so this definitely helps drive more traffic to those pages.

    Good stuff!

  21. Rune Ellingsen AKA "Elling" says:

    Really nice post here Michael. You know my emails have been filtered so good now that I almost only get great content every day.

    ( You do not email every day – thank god )

    Really nice to see great value from you.

    I have not gotten to know you yet… But I am getting to know you, through this page:)

    Keep up the good work-


  22. Jaco from New-Technology-World says:

    Great post thanks Michael.

    Sometimes we tend to forget the basics, we tend to make things more complicated than they are. Getting back to the basics. We need to remember that (our) websites are visited by real people.

  23. Hey Michael,

    Your post is spot on. That just answered some of the questions I have been asking myself about top navigation. I tried some few things in my own blog but what you said makes perfect sense.
    I’ll let you know my own results after implementing those tips.

    Thanks buddy!

  24. Physician Assistant says:

    As usual Michael, another awesome post. My blog is better now because of following your sound advice.

    Keep em coming.


  25. Mike Griffin says:

    A lot of great ideas that I intend to work into my blog in the coming months. I am already a popup domination customer and I am happy to have these new ideas to go with it.

  26. Luc Stokes says:

    Hey Michael,

    Good stuff. I especially like the product banner at the top of the page. I just switched to PopupDominator from another hover ad software I had and I am seeing a 73% increase in opt-ins. So, thanks.

    Question for you-
    I am looking in to Optimizepress and wanting to get a feel for some of the theming you can do. Is an OP site?



  27. Hi Michael.
    I like the post a lot, just what i needed for my new website (it’s on danish though). I found a typo: “How I Started – it’s about how I started and how you can two, monetized with affiliate links.” Two? 😛

  28. Hey Michael,

    I am a subscriber and love your stuff man. The problem I find is that my genre is self-help and having ads and what not doesn’t seem to flow well. Yet, profit is good and necessary. I’m going to do an ebook but would like more of a regular passive income. I am going to work towards interviews and commissioning from their products. Any other ideas that may be for a site like mine?
    Live it LOUD!

  29. I am one of the smaller bloggers that blog about different stuff that have made me money but I can definitely use these tips to better my blog. I’m working on adding more good helpful content so it’s still a work in progress but your tips are great. I’m actually going to bookmark this post and implement some of these tips on my blog later on. Really enjoying your articles.

  30. Andrew @ Blogging Guide says:

    Great Idea. Good thing you’re out there to give us tips. This blog enticed people to make more money but still makes the site “make more sense”.thanks for the share.

  31. Hi Michael,

    Thank you so much for this useful post..i was searching in Google to properly monetizing my blog..Finally i got ur post and got some idea…

  32. Hey Michael,

    Sorry me again 🙂 Hope I’m not clogging up your comments section but hopefully my question might help others as well

    I was wondering how you got different banners underneath your nav-bar? Is it similar to using a bit of code like you mentioned in the “different ads in different categories” part of this post?
    Or do you use a plugin for this?

    Thanks for any insight, appreciate it 🙂


  33. As usual, an excellent article. I especially agree with the “Featuring Your Best Content”. Like Must Reads, or Most Commented or perhaps Most Viewed. Also, thank you for linking to Woo themes, I’m currently trying to find some good themes, got bored of free ones!

  34. Thanks, Michael; I just revised the “My Story” page, especially the box you see above the fold. You really have a knack for combing through people’s minds and pointing in the right direction.

    Next I’ll work on featuring my best content in a more organized way. As I peruse your site I keep learning stuff.

  35. Some great ideas to implement.

    Thanks Michael

  36. Thanks for the shove in to action 😉

    After reading this post it’s given me the much needed shove to actually get round to implementing the things that you mentioned.

    The featured post and the header area advert are real good nuggets.

    Thanks again for a great article.

  37. Hi Michael. Great blog. Can you give me some guidance on where the code snippet for displaying category specific ads goes? I’ve no issues with the coding, it’s just the placement of it.

  38. Zach Crawley says:

    Like the tip about changing the About me to “How I started” but I think for me, I’d have to start bringing in some income before I tell them how I started ..


  39. FitnessScrolls says:

    An important thing to keep in mind is that you’re unlikely to nail the optimal site structure right away, it takes many variations and experiments.