Your Article Page is Your Advertisment

Our host today is Derek Jensen. If you're interested in getting in front of the readers of Site Sketch 101, check out our guest posting invitation here.


Think about all the links you have on the web.  Most if not all of these links are ones consisting of your specific articles.

Don’t spend too much time designing your homepage if your article page is lacking the quality your homepage has currently.  Think about what is all on your homepage that might be lacking on your article page.

Once you have attracted an audience they will come back to the homepage, which is where you would like them to be comfortable and know they are at your home.  So, you need to capture this same feeling from any non-current visitor or reader. Do this through your article page, because this is the first page they will most likely see.

Time to make sure your article page is your advertisement.

Standout Truthful Content

First and foremost, does your content easily stand out and the main focus?

You don’t want any visitors to be wondering where the content is that they chose to click on. Additionally, you don’t want readers to be irrelevant to what you initially ‘advertised’ the content to be.

No tricks should be played to grasp peoples attention unless that is your site or blog’s true purpose.  Besides knowing that you need to correctly ‘advertise’ your content, you need to think about the length and overall layout of the actual content.

If you have an article that is around 300 words you are probably not fully utilizing the scrolling power that might draw attention to your sidebar(s).

Remember that your sidebars are where most ‘advertising’ of your site will be done.

So there is not point in having short content that will not capture all the ‘goodies’ on the sidebar. On the other hand if you do not have a immense sidebar, which I recommend to keep your sidebar busyness at a minimum, there’s no need to write 600 word articles that just go far past your sidebar.

Noticeable Purpose or Mission

Of course throughout your content we need to have our voice and/or mission be present.  If we don’t have this, then we first need to rework our writing.

Whenever there are visitors, we want them to know what we are about immediately and really should not have to visit the about page.  Think of all the clues a visitor would gain from seeing your homepage without seeing the about page.  Would these same things be transparent in your article pages?

If there is no noticeable purpose or mission that can be easily acknowledged from our article pages, then these visitors will only be a one-time visitor.

We need to make sure we are taking into consideration our purpose through design.

Featured Areas

Specifically, these featured areas or special features are the specific areas along your sidebar(s).  When looking at Site Sketch 101, you will notice that the featured areas are:

Search bar, Nick’s upcoming book “Blogging to the Third Power” sign up form, Recently popular articles, Latest Tweets

Now if you were to go to the homepage of this site take a look at what is below the content and along the sidebar.

On the sidebar there is the following:

Search bar, Nick’s upcoming book “Blogging to the Third Power” sign up form, Latest Tweets, Blogging Authorities

Then, directly below the most recent article is the following:

Popular Articles, Articles for Beginners, Nick’s Favorites, Weekly Video, Recent Posts

Of course there is more on the homepage, but Nick has obviously found the current featured areas on the sidebar for each article page to be the most important for his blog.  Additionally, the order of these featured areas are very important and you should think about what is most crucial to the image of your site.

Bringing It All Together

Your site or blog design all determines the effectiveness of any visitor’s experience.  We want this effectiveness to be high just like when making advertisements.  If you make an advertisement that is lacking any core element that you are striving to get across it will not be effective.

We always hear that content is king.  But, content is not king when your blog is lacking transparent design. Making this transparency will be easier when thinking of your article pages has advertisement for visitors.

Group Reflection

What goes through your mind when brought to an article page besides just reading the specific content?

We can have a blog with lots of great articles, but our design supports our content. And in reaching new readers, we have to make everything that we want to be revealed to visitors as effective as possible. How are you making sure this is happening on your blog?


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13 Lively Comments

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  1. March 28, 2010

    ed said:

    True That! Your site design is so important…making your visitors comfortable and wanting to come back for me…I’m so comfortable being on this site, I know when something has changed…like today, I notice right away that Nic’s SUBSCRIBERS: is not working…I’m relaxed and comfortable on this site and that should be the goal for all site designs…
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Player Spotlight – Q&A with Kim Fearnbach =-.

    • March 28, 2010

      Derek Jensen said:


      You’re correct in that anyone coming to your site needs to feel comfortable and wanting to return. I will say though that if you make any site design changes that they be minor or that you come out with a totally new design all at once over night.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The 5 Online Communities to Adapt to Your Life =-.

  2. March 28, 2010

    Kevin Muldoon said:

    Design is definitely an important aspect of any website, regardless of the content.

    Though I really don’t that you need to worry about your articles going past your sidebar.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: WP Mods Video Theme =-.

    • March 28, 2010

      Derek Jensen said:


      I will say that worrying about your article going past your sidebar is not a big deal. But, I will say that if your sidebar is so big that you have to scroll past the end of your article just to read the whole sidebar, then either make longer articles or erase/ shorten some of your sidebar.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The 5 Online Communities to Adapt to Your Life =-.

  3. March 28, 2010

    Dennis Edell said:

    You re-raised two questions I’ve had for sometime.

    1. What do you think of a static homepage designed for navigation.

    2. What do you think of one article, full length, on he home page.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… =-.

    • March 28, 2010

      Derek Jensen said:


      Those are two very good questions. For the first one, I believe that would be a great idea with a section ‘latest from the blog’ and strive for easy / super-b navigation.

      Are you thinking something like the homepage of

      Then for question 2, I feel that you cannot do this until you have built such a wide audience and that audience and anyone new coming to your blog will know exactly what sorts of things your will write about. The comfort level has to be very high.

      The main blog I see with full length articles on the homepage is Seth Godin’s blog. He has such an online presence that I feel he can get away with people scrolling and reading full length articles on the homepage. But see he doesn’t have just one.

      Point is that when you just have one full length article on the homepage you are taking a chance on whether they will like it or not and you are not allowing them to have a simple ‘exploration’ of other topics you cover. So, I would say you need to make the most of your homepage and one full length article is not going to do it.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The 5 Online Communities to Adapt to Your Life =-.

  4. March 28, 2010

    Ron Leyba said:

    Design and good content must always come into one package. From Nick’s past blog post, he discusses the importance of having both of this, why? its because, you can’t make your readers come back (return visitors) if you fail one of those areas; both design and content.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Webthesurfi Rugs Webdesign =-.

    • March 29, 2010

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Ron Leyba » I certainly am an advocate of having both. I completely agree with that.

  5. April 23, 2010

    mary rodowicz said:

    follower on twitter as “alongcamemary1″…ty for the chance to win your great giveaway..Mary 🙂