AskPat Episode 137 Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 137 of AskPat, super stoked you're here with me today. As always I'm here to help you by answering you're online business questions, five days a week.
Today's sponsor is Flippa.com. Flippa, if you don't know what is it, it's a site that people go to to sell and or buy websites. I've used it in the past before. It's pretty incredible, I mean even just to search around, but you know I've actually bought a couple of sites in the past, and I haven't talked about it much because I haven't put enough time and effort into it. But it's really cool because I know a lot of people who have purchased sites who've taken them to the next level, gave them the love they needed, and are doing really well with them now. So if you want to check out what's going on at Flippa, go to Flippa.com/pat, and you can start from wherever they're starting off, so check it out Flippa.com/pat.
Now let's get to today's question from Alex.
Alex: Hi there, this is Alex from Slovenia. I am a great fan of your show. I do work in Vienna. I live in Plesko, so I'm traveling everyday for about an hour in the car, so this matches perfect with the length of your podcasts. My question is, first, could it be possible that changing a theme could result in a break down of traffic, or could it have a bad influence on my site if I change my themes too often? And the second question is, what would be better? Is it better to have one page as a static page, and all the other content will be published in post? Or is it better to have a post and have all the other content published on pages? Thank you again, and bye bye.
Pat Flynn: Alex! Thank you so much for your question today, and I appreciate you being a fan thank you so much. Now to answer your first question, can changing your WordPress theme have an affect on your traffic? It can, it absolutely can, and I've seen it before, and I've seen it both ways. It can have a positive affect on your traffic. Perhaps when you make changes, you are better focused on social sharing. It just looks better, so people might share it more often, and it might have an impact on Google. Google often reacts to WordPress theme changes positive or negative, and you have to understand as far as that's concerned, you know, your search engine rankings you might to a change on your site, and it might make the rankings of your site disappear, which is scary. Oftentimes that does happen. I've seen it happen with a lot of my websites in the past.
However, don't freak out. Give it a week or two. It will start to balance out to where it should be again, and oftentimes it goes back to where it was, and if you've paid attention to what's going on and you've optimized for search engine optimization and focus on that in your re-design or in your new theme, then if you upgrade to a basic theme to one that has SEO optimization, or you've really put some attention and time into the SEO plugin by Yoast or the all-in_one SEO plugin, or maybe you're using a theme or framework like Thesis or Genesis that has SEO capabilities built in, you might eventually see that even though it might drop off at the beginning. And you're like, “What the heck?” Give it some time, and you'll see that it might potentially climb higher.
Now there's obviously a lot of other factors involved, but that is generally what happens. Now this might change in the future, so don't think that could be permanent as far as that particular situation or scenario, but that's sort of the trend I've been noticing, but there's a lot of other things that can affect your traffic as well. If you change your theme, and maybe you have a social sharing plugin that just isn't compatible with your new theme, or you forgot about it because there's so many things to think about when you change your theme, you might see your traffic go down that way. A lot of times if you change your theme, it doesn't look as good, or it's just . . . maybe for some reason, it's hard for people to get all the way down to the bottom on the page, or you start to implement stuff that interrupts people in the middle or reading, like pop ups and things like that, which I don't like but oftentimes people . . . So that because they want to grow their list, that can affect traffic as well.
Now you could see it the other way. Maybe it helps your traffic, and I've seen this in the past before as well, especially with the re-design of the Smart Passive Income blog that I did last year, or actually earlier this year, or was it last year? I can't even remember, but I remember that it did affect my traffic. Now if you have an audience already, and you make any changes to your design, note that people are going to come over because they want to see what the changes look like, so don't immediately think that just because you changed the site that you're getting more traffic. Because the first two days to a week, you see a bump in traffic. Now oftentimes that happens because people want to see what the new design is like, and they explore and they look around and they click around to see what's new. So give it a week before you start to make any conclusions about the theme and how it's doing.
I think it's really important to not change it so often that you just confuse people, especially when you start to make these major WordPress changes, although if you know something's not working because of that change, make a change. Like I remember when I did a custom theme, and I tried to get rid of as much overwhelm as possible. I actually took away an easy route to my podcasting page, which decreased the number of people listening to the show by half! Now I'm actually really glad that happened because that showed me a lot of people listen to your podcast on your website, which I didn't know was the case until that happened, so it was actually a blessing in disguise and actually lead to the development of the Smart Podcast Player, which you can find at SmartPodcastPlayer.com. If you're a podcaster you should check that out. But point being, we changed it back to the old way as far as getting to the podcast page because my team and I . . . we just saw that it was having dramatic affects in a negative way.
So always pay attention to your stats, always pay attention to . . . even pay attention to the top populated or the top trafficked articles on your site, the ones that you know are really important, that are either driving the most traffic to your site or giving you the most customers. Make sure you pay attention to those sites when you make the changes to see if they're changing one way or another. So that's the WordPress answer for you. Yes, it will have an affect, typically, one way or another, and then as far as search engine rankings, it could have an affect on that too, but you got to give it some time.
Now you don't want to make changes all the time. I think that was the second part of your first question. Is it okay to make changes all the time? The thing I'm going to say about that, Alex, is there is no such thing as the perfect design. I think this is a great tip for everybody because you can work forever to make your site better, and it's good to make your site better and optimize it and so on and so forth, but you can do that too much, and you got to get to a point for where you just got to let the site be how it is for a while, and focus on the content. Focus on delivering, and focus on producing new products or whatever. It's important to understand that design. You got to let it sit there for a while, and then over time make notes of the things you want to change. I have a whole shopping list or grocery list of things I want to change on Smart Passive Income right now, but I also know what's important and what my priorities are, so keep that in mind.
Now the second question, Alex. Sorry, you've confused me a little bit. I think you asked is it better to have a page, then write your posts. If you're delivering content, write posts, or have a post, then write all your content on pages. I think pages and posts are meant for specific types of things. You've got to think of a post that's delivered to people who are following your site. If anybody who subscribed via RSS, or maybe your email news letter, they get those updates for when new content comes out. But your pages, I feel, are sites, are pieces of your site. Pages are pages on your site that are going to be more timeless, I would say. These are things like your contact page, or your About Me page, or your Getting Started page, and all of those pages I like to post from those pages. So pages are timeless and are meant to be over-arching things that I want people to land on that aren't going to change, from the About page to even Thank You pages, to the Confirmation page. After people subscribe and they go to a page that says, “Hey you're going to get an email that wants you to confirm that you're human,” and things like that. Those are pages.
And I also have pages on my site that rank very well. For example, if you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com under where it says “Let's see what works,” where it says “Affiliate marketing,” “Smart blogging,” and those things, those are actually links to resource pages, not posts, but pages that are . . . For example, the affiliate marketing one lists all of the posts I've ever written about affiliate marketing, and those are placed in there manually, and I change it over time, but that resource page which is all about links to other parts of my site involving affiliate marketing. That ranks really well. I believe if you go to Google and look up affiliate marketing that that resource page . . . again, it's a page, not a post, but a page which links to posts it ranks really high. So that's the difference there. I'm not sure if maybe this is what you meant, but a lot of people have a question on, “Is it better that your home page is a static page or one that shows the chronological list of your blog posts.”
I don't feel one is better than the other. I think it depends on your audience and what you're trying to do. I like the static page because then, I can determine where my new visitor is going. I've had experiences in the past with the other way showing my last 10 blog posts on a home page, and I've found through research and just talking to my audience that that is a little bit overwhelming, so that's why I switched to the static page. I also have a static page on SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com and also GreenExamAcademy.com that just direct new people where to go, because when there's 10 pages there, they're not necessarily pages or posts. Excuse me . . . going back and forth between the two for this part of the question. But I apologize, but when there are 10 posts on the front page, should they be read in chronological order? You have to understand, what's the first thing you want your new visitor to read or do? And make it incredibly easy to do that, and it's just easier to do that on a static page. Of course it's easier to set up a home page that shows the last 10, or however many you want, blog posts, but I prefer the static page. But I don't feel one is better than the other. You just have to test and see what works, and that's usually the answer for everything.
So Alex, I hope that answers your questions, and I hope that was useful for everybody I hope that was useful for everybody. I maybe answered more questions that were asked, but hopefully that was helpful. Thank you so much, and an AskPat t-shirt is heading your way. I appreciate the question. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there from that website using your internal mic, or any microphone you have, right on that page.
Of course I want to thank today's sponsor, Flippa. If you go to Flippa.com/pat, you can check out the sites that are for sale, or you can even sell your own site as well. I know a lot of people who have purchased sites from Flippa and have taken them to the next level. I know a lot of people who start their online business on Flippa. Just make sure you do your due diligence before you make any purchases. That's the best tip I can give you. And also make sure it's a site that aligns with one of your passions or interests. I think that would be a great way for you to take some knowledge you have and use an existing site and take it to the next level. People from across the world turn to Flippa to purchase websites that'll generate extra cash, and you can give it a shot at Flippa.com/pat.
Thanks so much, and as always, I end it with a quote, and this quote is by Chris Garrett. He says, “When it gets difficult is often right before you succeed.”
Totally. Cheers, thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
Buy and sell websites with Flippa.