Photo credits: Paul likes pics
Many of you might be confused by the title and the term “smart”. To me a “smart” blog is a blog that behaves differently depending on its visitors’ behavior and characteristics.
Let’s take a look on the 9 points Thaya collected. I won’t copy paste the points just summarize them and/or make observations.
1. Personalized welcome elements
By displaying different textual and design elements to your visitors depending how they get to you blog, it’s easier to make goal conversions. Requesting to subscribe to your feed, welcoming Googlers, asking to Digg, Stumble, etc your post, and so on …
2. Visitors behavior
Displaying a list of related posts is good. The reason is simple: readers tend to visit interesting articles that are semantically similar. There are two methods to generate the related posts block: either use algorithmic approach or human behavior based statistical link ranking.
In the first case, related posts are selected based on a selection algorithm (by keywords, tags, categories, etc) that selects a few articles that might be similar. The second approach look how other visitors behave in such a situation and generates a few links to articles that were also visited by other visitors.
3. Guess what your visitor is looking for
This is a special case of the first point, personalized welcome elements. In this case, you already detected that the reader had come from a search engine, for example: from Google. Such readers are probably looking for something specific, so you may commute the related posts with other links to your posts that are based on search keywords.
4. Say Thank you for commentators
One thing about blogging and generally about socialized web is that people interact. For this reason you may somehow broadcast a kind of thank giving for your visitor, especially interacting, parties. There are several ways to do this. The best two ways for this is to thank new commentators taking the time to do that and to display a list of top contributors in the sidebar.
5. Anti AdBlock manifesto
This is where I agree partially. If the visitor has installed advertisement blocking software to prevent being flooded by popup ads, it’s a choice not to blame/take observation for. What you can do is to announce the reader that you are not using popup/popunder ads so he can add your URL to trust list. By this the visitor is suggested in a discreet way of letting you display ads in a fair way.
6. Advertisement display filtering
As Thaya states it too, new visitors more often click on ads than returning visitors. Moreover, advertisers pay more for clicks if your click through rate is higher. If you display ads for new visitors only it helps you earn more money online and helps your returning visitors to feel better reading your blog.
Plugin you can realize this: Who Sees Ads?
7. Are you an egoist?
Many bloggers have About boxes in various parts of their blog (header, footer, sidebar, etc). This is good for new visitors. It helps them to know what and who they are reading. But this is useless for returning visitors. You must hide this about boxes (if they occupy important parts of your blog, i.e. header, top of sidebar) from the sight of returning visitors. To do this, you can use the Who Sees Ads? plugin, or some of the plugins enlisted at the first point.
Donations are a common way in use to support your blog in a financial way. To sum up what Thaya said: display ads for new visitors, display donation request for regular visitors. This can be implemented simply by mutually commutating the two types of banners with the Who Sees Ads? plugin.
9. Out on Vacation alerts
The last tip is to display notifications when you are not checking/updating your blogs life. This may or may not to be useful. Neither case is a big deal.
In my opinion, if you leave your blog for a longer period you may put a notification in the header that you are away. In the other hand, being away for just a few days doesn’t need such an act. Changing your design/structure (especially contextual ones) affects search engines. Placing and removing I’m gone notifications can lead to search engine ranking degradation.
I must thank Thaya Kareeson for his brilliant ideas! As a RSS subscriber of WeblogToolsCollection, I strongly recommend you to subscribe to their feed too! It merits!