The Importance of Tweaking

There are those who say that a blog making over $40,000 a month doesn’t need any tweaks. Fortunately, I am not one of them. Just because you have achieved an income level that you never thought possible does not mean you can relax in the sun all day long.

There Is Always Room for Improvement

No matter how big your blog gets or how much money it makes, there is always room for improvement and this is where tweaking comes in. You will be amazed by what even a small adjustment can do. Sometimes the tweaks don’t work but you’ll never know until you try it. Let me show you a real life example on how I tweak my blog.

Case Study – Aweber Lightbox

Aweber recently introduced a new web form generator tool that allows anyone with no design skills to easily set up and create an email signup form for their blog. The tool is very easy to use and one more reason why I love Aweber so much. I used the form generator tool to create the following Lightbox Hover signup form.

Aweber Lightbox

While the new Lightbox looked way better than the old one, it didn’t perform as well. I thought about switching back to the original Lightbox but decided to work with the new Lightbox to see if I can tweak to the point where it would match or outperform the old one. Going back to the Aweber web form generator, I fool around with the text, color, layout and came up with this.

Aweber Lightbox

The new Lightbox performed much better and was able to matched the sign up rate of the original Lightbox. At this point, I could have left it but I decided to keep tweaking. I moved the photo of the eBook to the right and that increased sign up a bit more. Then I played around with the wording. The final Lightbox looked like this.

Aweber Lightbox

Every time I made a change I would test it for 24 hours to see the results. A nice feature of Aweber is the built in stats that allows you to track the sign up rate. After making a change, I would reset the stats to zero and let it run for 24 hours. If it shows an improvement, I would keep the change the tweak something else. It it shows a decrease, I would undo the change and tweak something else. I even test the delay time for the Lightbox to fade in and found that eight seconds produced the highest sign up rate.

Tweak And Keep Tweaking – Never Settle

The take away from all this is to never settle for what you got. There is always something you can do to improve things. To get the most out of your tweaking, keep the following in mind.

  • Have a clear goal on what you want to achieve
  • Tweak one thing at a time
  • Give time for your tweaks to take effect
  • Track the tweak with hard stats, don’t guess
  • Have fun with it

So far, I’ve managed to increase my newsletter sign up rate by 50% over the original Lightbox. I’m not done yet. Next, I’ll be split testing two Lightboxes to see which one performs better. Once you start tweaking, you just can’t seem to stop.


53 thoughts on “The Importance of Tweaking”

  1. Rob says:

    Tweaking can have insane effects on your site, even minor ones. I just posted one on how I got rid of the word subscribe by my feed link.

    1. yeah, agree. I once did minor tweaking and the result really great.

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        I recently made some tweaking as well just wait for results…

        1. Even if a small tweak brings you an extra one sign up a day, thats 365 extra a year. There’s always something you can be testing.

  2. Kajanova says:

    Yeah, tweaking your website can be important.. but sometimes you get obsessed with tweaking the little things and stop focusing on building content, which is a lot more important imo.

    1. James M. says:

      Yeah, that happens to me everytime I go deep in my blog’s innards. I come back up for a breath and I realize I have spent more time than I wanted to.

      Hey, the tweaking of that one sign-up form right there is fantastic in that the mere move of an image and the re-arrangement of wordings can make a huge difference.

      1. Honestly speaking I do not like those websites which do too much tweaking and in every week.

        If you change something than that should be there at least for one or two months.

  3. S Ahsan says:

    Tweaking took one of my blog to the next level!

    1. What exactly you did

      1. Benjamin Cip says:

        I’m also interested to know how you did

        1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

          Tweaking could take blog to the next level? I’m interested to know the technique too.

          1. Yes I saw Lee’s blog and I must say that his tweaking was one of the best tweaking I saw on thesis theme.

  4. Kajanova, I agree. I spent so long tweaking the look of my site that I lost myself. There’s no point tweaking anything until you have created enough decent content and traffic to make any sort of comparisons.

    Tweaking is great and completely neccessary but do make sure you concentrate on upping your traffic levels first!

    1. Well said Ben. Life of any blog is contents and traffic, but yes good looking blog can leave positive impression as well.

  5. Greg Ellison says:

    I like the last form the best. It looks really great. Greg Ellison

    1. Fixing eBook image from left from right can be important

  6. Yeah, blogging surely is never ending tweaking. You should always tweak so the result always optimum.

    And, it seems that aweber really support this tweaking process.

    1. Hey Dana …

      What is the definition of always.according to you. I would prefer once in a three month will be good enough.

      But many people do once in a week and hence could not leave positive and steady impression on visitors.

  7. Kevin Pasco says:

    Couldn’t agree more John. Tweaking can almost become an obsession because of its rewards.

  8. furacoua says:

    Tweaking is important but don´t forget to focus on other things too. But I like what you say, theres always room for improvement.

  9. How much tweaking can you do on a blog that makes $40k a month? Think you have $10k left in it?

  10. Welcome to the world of website optimizing. Even more important in the “real world of selling”, than in blogging. If you are running affiliate programs or selling your own products online, tweaking landing pages can mean a world of difference in your sales.

    1. But I think sometime tweaking can bring negative impression as well.

      To avoid this ask your readers and than take the necessary steps.

  11. I am always tweeking something on my blog. Every part of my blog needs to be converting more!

    1. Kevin Pasco says:

      That’s the spirit!

  12. What are your personal success tips on Tweaking?

  13. John, I agree entirely and I must say the new light box looks so much better then the old one! I am also continuously tweaking my site (just updated my theme’s version) but most of the tweaks I do now are related to on page seo (to increase search engine traffic) and better use of adspace (to increase income). SY

  14. videostar says:

    It is necessary to be balanced in tweaking the site as well.

    1. Yes if you want to get balanced growth than perfect combination of tweaking and your content is essential.

  15. This seems like a really cool plug in. How has this influenced your subscriber count thus far?

  16. Mladen says:

    Tweakting is important… But I think there are many different ways to promote your site

    Thanx
    Mladen

    1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      John Chow is expert in promoting his blog though, the followers and subscribers he has is the proof. No doubt, tweaking might be important too.

  17. CredFollow says:

    There Is Always need and Room for Improvement

  18. I love to tweak my blog design here and there every three weeks, and yes it dose look like yours.

    1. Three weeks … that means you change once in a month.

      Thats really too often, time consuming as well.

  19. Gold Party says:

    Thanks so much for the helpful advice; I am new to the whole blog thing and I am trying to soak up as much information/helpful hints as possible…

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      welcome to the blogosphere!

  20. Nick says:

    yeah, agree. tweaking can help your blog convert more, but do make sure you concentrate on building your site traffic.

  21. Great post, John – I think that “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is probably the worst advice I’ve ever heard. If your blog’s doing well, that seems to me to be all the more reason to use it to sell even more products by “tweaking” and improving it.

    I think that what you say about making one tweak at a time is important – there’s no other way to know if your tweaks are effective.

  22. Make money says:

    Tweaking and testing are a key success to make money or better make more money.At some point some notes say keep up what works and dump what is not!
    Internet Business.

  23. fas says:

    Continuous tweaking is a good way to prevent readers from getting bored of stuff.

  24. Trial and error is the way humans (and other critters) learn and internalise their lessons…..tweaking is what trialling and learning from your errors is all about, whether you’re tuning a racecar or a landing page.

    When we stop fiddling, we stop growing, that is pretty much it…..

    1. Yes Jacques you are the perfect person to tell about this as you always keep trying about this so that you can have customer’s satisfied smile.

      How many times do you think a website should change in a year ?

  25. My site is still new and I am in major tweaking right now. I know I will always betweaking enen in a couple years from now when my site is making good money. Times change and the internet changes, so tweaking is not just advantageous, its also necessary.

  26. John Gaddis says:

    I am just begging to build my blog. But thanks to bloggers like John we all can learn how to improve and make our own personal blogs better.

  27. videostar says:

    There is always room for improvement.I absolutely share this idea.

    1. But however when you once satisfied with the look and about everything than you should keep it for few days or months.

      People would love to see changes but changes should not be done everyday.

  28. Sparrow says:

    I have been tweaking and tweaking and still tweak. I especially tweak advertisers (quality & quantity), layout and asthetics.
    Thanks John.

    1. chester says:

      I agree. It’s a never ending process. We’re relaunching our new blog in the next couple of weeks and a lot of it is thanks to John Chow.

  29. Before go for major changes I think you should ask your readers. Their thoughts and opinion is also quite important.

    I personally take advice from those readers who are frequent and regular come.

  30. oes tsetnoc says:

    Tweaking took one of my blog to the next level!

  31. I agree with Tweaking to make things better, but how do you know when you have taken it too far? I think that a lot of sites, including Facebook have over tweaked and sometimes interfacing suffers. I find some of the older formatting of certain sites better than others; how do you objectively measure your progress?

  32. Jack says:

    Lol! All the druggies out there can attest to the last sentence of your post. Well said John.

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