What has changed on this blog this year?



For sometime now well wishers have been informing me of a few things which make their surfing experience at this blog not too interesting. The most common complaints were:

Too many links

On the left and right sidebars of the homepage, I had placed text affiliate banner links from some blog posts so that people can easily find the resources they need to create a blog, monetize it and to do work from home activities. The subsidiary idea was also to make this page eye-catching.

Homepage slow loading

But the colourful banners made the page slow to load, what could make visitors quickly click off and go elsewhere. Moreover some visitors found the links distracting. They are on the site for information (mainly the blog posts) and having those bright things beside the posts could not make them concentrate much.

Planning
So for some time now I have been planning on removing those links. But the question was: since they are available elsewhere should I dump them or, since they are important for my blog visitors should I place them elsewhere no so conspicuous but still accessible where they will not be in anybody’s way? After due consideration I decided to leave the text links on the left bar intact and create the following blog post categories for the banner links (weren’t they the most distracting?):

- Affiliate networks: will contain banners from my affiliate networking companies
- Website resources: will hold banners concerning site creation and webhosting
- Traffic sources: will have information on search engines and traffic exchanges
- Submit sites for SEO: these will be text links dedicated to submission to web directories

I decided also to remove sign up forms for my Aweber and TrafficWave campaigns from down the site (a stupid place to place them since important matters on a site should follow the 3-click rule, which means that they should not be more than three clicks away from the top) and place them where they are easily visible to visitors who could get this resource to run their own campaigns and build their lists (remember: the money is in the list) or promote their offers, products or websites.

The google+ followers were also hidden somewhere down the page. I decided to bring them way up, to the right sidebar. Concerned are also the blogs that I follow, poll: how would you rank the site?, subscribe to follow by email, and subscribe to posts and comments. To be brought here were also the YouTube and the YouTube video bars.

But the most difficult decision to take concerned the “External News” and “Thought of the Day” category tabs. They didn’t really fit in with my blog theme but contained gems. Some of them were visited every day and had run up quite a count. The problem was not to lose the counts but to cut them off from people who come to the site because of them. But didn’t the Bible say that if a part of your body is troubling you, it’s better for you to cast it off? Don’t surgeons amputate a gangrenous foot because it poses danger to a patient’s life? It isn’t an easy decision to take but go the leg must if the whole body should be saved.

This is why you won’t find any thoughts of the day nor external news matters anymore on the site.    

Implementation          

I began making these changes yesterday evening.

First I was torn between beginning with the categories and removing the banner links. I decided to do the former one first and realized I had forgotten how to create blog categories. I had then to go to my friend’s site (http://focusideas.fgpng.com/) where I had learned to do it. Blogs being constantly updated sites, I spent about an hour trying to find the link and then it dawned on me that my friend’s site name and address had changed from focusmarketingroup to focusideas.fgpng. Had he taken down the post? I wondered and prayed hard that was not the case. Finally I decided to go into the blog archives and there I found the link:   http://focusideas.fgpng.com/2013/08/how-to-arrange-your-blogger-blog-into.html

Then it occurred to me I may not really need all the new categories I wanted to create. Why not take down the links, regroup them, repost them onto the site and then see what next to do? Simply a matter of not putting the cart before the horse.

I took down the banners and copied the links into word. But posting them nearly made me lose my mind. My internet connection from my 3G modem drive was exceptionally slow. Thinking a cybercafé would be better (it would not be crowded at such a time because people would be preparing to go to church or out to enjoy themselves.

Outside one couldn’t feel the festive atmosphere. A few people threw crackers which had all the same been banned. But like other Africans, Togolese were going through hard times despite the impressive economic gains being chalked up by the continent these last few years.

The café was completely empty and I thought there was no network. But I was wrong. However I spent 20 minutes before I could open a homepage. Is that why people had deserted the pub? How can one expect to embed banner links in such circumstances? Puffing and shaking my head, I plodded on. The café began to fill up. A few people cursed the network and left. I went back home too.

My lovely wife Viviane and adorable kids (Emmanuel, a fourth year student in agronomy and Christine, a twelfth grade student of science) were preparing to go to church. “Aren’t you going to church?” Viviane asked me. “At least this time.”

I vented all my anger on her with a chilling look.

“Okay,” she said amiably, “As you want.”

I waved impatiently to them to go. Then I tried in vain until midnight when I wanted to make a resolution but thought what the heck, we make these resolutions that we hardly give any thought to right from the next day until a year later when we make another one soon to be forgotten too. I’m making a plan for 2014 and that was enough. What I needed was a prayer and an affirmation.

Quickly (maybe, too quickly) I thanked God for the past year and for this new one and recited my positive affirmation which I want to produce once gain for your appreciation:

I effortlessly, easily and seamlessly attract leaders, affiliates and entrepreneurs into my team and have a massive, solid residual income flowing ceaselessly into my bank account every month on autopilot enabling me to become who I want to become, to do what I want to do and to have what I wish to have and thus live the lifestyle of my dreams since the world responds so positively to my endless faith in its promises and I thank the heavenly father for that.

I was still reclining in my chair, eyes closed and head held, waiting for an embedded page to load. I straightened up only on hearing crackers pop (mostly from neighbouring Ghana only about 350 metres away) to welcome the New Year at midnight. The brevity of the noisy celebration compared to previous years’ was another indication of economic hardships facing all.

The next thing to wake me out of my stupor were my family’s footsteps. It was 12.38 am.

“Oh!” Viviane cried, “are you still here and not asleep yet?” She tittered.

I didn’t answer. Viviane had always been a carefree woman even in the face of the most crippling adversities. My family wished me happy New Year and I felt bad for not answering as I should, so mad had the impossible internet connection made me!

An hour later, after going round yahoo and other sites reading news, I abandoned the project for the next day.

I was up after 7 this morning and wondered if the alarm clock of my new mobile phone had rung at all at 5 am, my usual time for waking up.

I have made some progress this morning even with people coming in to wish me a happy new year. It was when the connection got bad again that I decided to fill in the time by writing this blog post. Now that I am almost at the end I will go to the blog again and finish the task at hand. Then I will also go to people and wish them happy New Year and also answer many of the New Year messages on my phone, many from my secretarial students (executive and bilingual commercial).

I will be right back.

The bad connection forced me to have a nap, one of the things most loved here but which I hardly did. The evening was enveloping Lome when I woke up groggy out of my crumpled bed and I can hear a few crackers popping in the distance.

I got down to business and by deciding to attach the links one by one and not all at once, succeeded in doing it. But the Affiliate network banners 1 still seem to have problems. But I will give myself some break now. You don’t have to eat all the cow to know that beef is delicious.

Now, what?

Yeah, now that it’s all almost over, why don’t you take some little time and tell me what you think about the changes? Have they changed your surfing experience here? Are there still hindrances? Please let me know in the comments column down here. Thank you and a Happy New Year!

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