Whether you're using it as the main draw for an audience or as a peripheral component of your marketing campaign, your blog has the potential to be a major money-maker. It will bring you new traffic, improve your brand's reputation, secure you more conversions, and increase your customer retention - if you're blogging properly.
As Neil Patel outlines in his guide to building a profitable blog, successful blogs start with focused, well-written content; but what about how you present that content to your users?
Imagine the perfect film. It's writing, acting, cinematography, score, and plot are all flawless; but when you go to see it in the theater, the screen is cracked, the sound is distorted, and the picture appears blurry. Would you stick around to see it?
This analogy demonstrates why design is important to your blog. Even though your content may be phenomenal, if it isn't easy to access and aesthetically pleasing, it won't matter.
Fortunately, you can instantly make the design of your blog better by avoiding these fatal flaws:
The entire point of a blog is to present content to potential readers. If you end up obscuring that content, you'll turn readers away. There are many ways to obscure your content, and not all of them are obvious; for example, if you use pop-up mechanisms to encourage signups or conversions too egregiously, you could leave a bad taste in readers' mouths. If you break up your article into multiple pages to force users to click through, you could also test your readers' patience. Give them content upfront and in the clear, as much as you can.
White space is one of the most effective tools in your web design arsenal. Though it seems like the most efficient use of space is to cram as much as possible into every square inch, it's easier on the eyes to pursue a more minimalistic approach. Leaving too much clutter in your blog can distract users from your content, and leave them confused about the main point of your site.
This is a technical issue as much as it is a design issue, but it's a vital one; make sure your site is designed specifically to perform on all manner of devices and browsers. If your site is too hard to read or access on a mobile device, you'll turn away the majority of your incoming traffic. According to SimilarWeb, as much as 60 percent of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices.
Again, people are here to read your content, so your content needs to be easy to read. If your design choices make it hard to read your text, people won't have much patience for you. Be sure your text stands out in a bold, contrasting color that's easy on the eyes, and choose a font that's big enough to be legible and designed in a readable way.
You have full control over how the images of your blogs get posted, so place them tastefully and in a way that doesn't interfere with the rest of your content. If your images take up too much space or aren't formatted properly, they could ruin an otherwise appealing blog experience. Preview all your posts before publishing them in a live format.
When people access your blog for the first time, they may want to see more, but if your organization is out of whack, they won't have the opportunity. Be sure you're categorizing your blog posts as much as possible, assigning each post to at least one category and tagging each post with identifiable topic markers. You'll also want to call out your authors and feature your blog prominently onsite, such as in your main header or in the footer.
Finally, you'll need to make it easy for users to navigate and search throughout your blog. Rely on interlinking to keep users informed and clicking through to the other articles on your site, and include a search bar to make it easier to find what they're looking for. It's relatively easy to add a search function to any blog, so there's no excuse not to have one.
There's both an art and a science to successfully designing a blog, but a lot of it is up to your subjective opinions (and the sentiments of your target audience). These mistakes represent a rare and narrow segment of "absolutes" in web design.
Avoiding them isn't the only consideration you'll need to bear in mind, but it will put you on a fantastic start to a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, well-presented blog.
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