Today I took a day off working on websites that actually make money and wrote a long article for Everything Asterix, my biggest website creation fail. (Update: it still doesn't make money, though sometimes it sells a t-shirt. More insight at the bottom.)

While writing the post I noticed a couple of ways to improve the site. A lot of the decisions I made with that site were 18 months ago, so I thought I'd chronicle some of the changes I made and why. After all, I made nearly 2,000 dollars from websites last month, so it seems I've learned a thing or two in the meantime.

Made the Text Bigger

The site uses Squarespace, who make those hipsterish adverts you see during the Superbowl. They certainly know more about fonts than me, so I've never changed the defaults ... until now.

I made a new Squarespace site recently where I tweaked the text to be quite a bit bigger. It seems to work (ease of use and conversion rate) so I made the same change on Everything Asterix (and on andrewgirardin.com, too). It's just easier to read now, even if it looks a bit less sexy.

Made the Links Pop

The links were a bit subdued, a bit subtle. They were just a slightly different shade of greeny grey to the main text, so sometimes even I didn't realise there was a link in an article. So I turned them to a clearly visible red.

Fixed Headings Tags

This heading that says 'headings tags' is h3. The one at the top that says 'Comic Book Website Case Study Part 3' is h1. What I had on almost every Asterix article was the main title (automatically set to h1, of course) and another h1 heading (set by me).

It used to look like this:

multiple h1 tags

Now the same screen looks like this:

after changing to h2

The title is h1, and the 'book 18' is h2. (I also removed the space between that heading and the start of the text. It didn't need to be there and made the screen look empty, like an empty ocean.)

From what I understand, Google doesn't like pages that have lots of different h1 headings. It makes sense: How is it supposed to know which one is the main one? If I get more traffic in the weeks to come, this change is likely to be the most important one.

Improved the Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer

The last thing I want is to get my Amazon account banned, especially over a site that makes 3 dollars a month in t-shirt commission, so I'm erring on the side of caution with these disclaimers.

I already had the disclaimer in a clearly visible page (linked in the footer so it's accessible on all parts of the site). But I added it to the Merchandise page, too, just in case.

I also added the following phrase, which I only recently learned should be on all Amazon affiliate sites:

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

That seems to be needed on sites where you'd use that orange 'shop on Amazon' button to send people to Amazon. My site doesn't have those buttons but like I said, I don't want to take the slightest risk.

Reordered the Home Page Content

I found some stray h1 tags on the front page, which I changed to h2. God, so many h1 headings! Anyway, some of the things that started life as an afterthought (the World Cup of Asterix) became a bit more important, so I made those more prominent at the expense of underdeveloped ideas.


General Site Update

I sometimes see that someone has bought an Asterix mug or t-shirt, but the site still runs mostly at a loss. It only costs 8 dollars a month to host, so I won't go broke keeping it alive.

Despite me not adding much in the way of new content, there's the slightest upward trend in visitor numbers:

everything asterix site stats

That big bump in July was from two posts going slightly viral on Reddit. But it's all still quite on the low side. Let's see if the tweaks I made to the site today make any difference.