When it comes to your blog, if you are creating something that you want people to love and that you want to make profit from, your top focus should be on creating a beautiful user experience.
This is made up of three key things – Design, Usability and Content
Here are some simple tips that encompass these key elements that you can easily implement on your blog and your readers will love you for it!
1 Develop a consistent and clear brand
Having a consistent brand design is a key factor in creating a memorable brand that sticks with your readers. When they discover you on social media, land on your blog page, see your images pop up or hear your words, having a clearly defined brand in terms of logo design, colour, personality, typography and vision will do you a world of good in building a solid memorable brand.
+ To do – if you are a DIY blog designer, create a mood board with your key colours, image styles, fonts, and logo variations so you can easily refer to it each time you are creating something new. If you have a professional design, get this info from your designer and stick with the same elements when you are creating new content for all elements on your online presence. Here are some tips on using fonts on your blog and some guidelines for choosing a colour scheme.
2 Invest in a clean and simple design
These days there are millions of blogs vying for attention so creating something that is pretty but not actually functional can work against you.
When you are designing something always keep your audience in mind and even though a clever unusual design could look amazing, if it confuses people and they have difficulty navigating your site they will no doubt end up leaving.
There is nothing wrong with a simple blog design – blog roll, header, sidebar and footer. There are many ways that you can make your design unique and memorable whist keeping it clean to navigate.
You certainly don’t have to spend a fortune to start a blog, and you don’t need a custom designed blog to start with. There are some beautiful and affordable themes you can buy and you can always get things up and running yourself.
+ To do – If you are starting out, check out these beautiful, clean and affordable WordPresss themes or Blogger templates and here is a guide to starting a blog yourselfif that’s the path you want to take.
If you already have a blog, assess your design and see if a new theme may be the way to go. Get feedback from other bloggers and ask your readers what they think.
3 Have a great blog header and clear tagline or purpose visible
When you land on a blog, the header is the first thing you see. It gives you an immediate impression of the blog and what it’s all about, the feel, personality and hopefully what you can expect if you choose to explore the blog further.
There are many great variations out there from very eye-catching vivid headers full of colour and imagery and also very simple clean headers that work in beautifully with the overall blog design. It’s totally up to you, which way you go, check out these great examples that differ greatly but all convey a clear message and personality – Adventuring Home, Blog Society, The Beetle Shack, Lady Melbourne, Sugar & Cloth and The Luminous Kitchen.
Another tip is to have a tagline in your header or a clear message or blog vision visible near the top of the page or in your imagery so that when someone lands on your page they know what you are all about after a quick glance. If they have to search around and can’t work out what it is you offer and can do for them, they may end up leaving.
+ People love niche blogs and discovering something that they find useful so always keep that in mind and create some clear goals for you blog and how it can serve your readers needs and wants.
4 Make navigating your site super simple
Make navigating through your site super simple for anyone that lands on your blog. People should be able to get to where they want, search for what they need and discover things they might love with very minimal fuss.
+ To achieve this here are some elements that are great to have on your blog:
- A navigation bar that sits up the top and is easy to click through
- A search box in your sidebar
- A list of all your key categories / top categories
- Labels on your blog posts so that people can click through to related posts with the same label
- A related post plugin / widget so it’s easy for people to navigate to similar blog articles they may like
- An archive page
- Breadcrumbs for people to follow
5 Give your new readers a place to start
Personally I love landing on blogs who have ‘start here’ or ‘new readers’ section as it always gives great overview of the key things the blog offers and helps me discover quickly what it is I am after. This works really well on DIY, fashion, craft and cooking blogs where people may be searching for very specific types of content.
Most people will land on your home page so gently leading them into your site and showing them what you can offer them is a great feature to have on your blog.
There are three main ways that I see most bloggers doing this –
- Having a most popular posts / key blog posts section like Pretty Providence (top ten most loved by readers section in the sidebar) or
- Having a more in depth full category style contents page like A Beautiful Messor
- A bio page that talks about what the site offers for new readers like The Weigands
6 Make your contact info easy to find
It’s amazing the number of bloggers who don’t actually have any contact information listed on their blogs, or it’s buried away someone almost impossible to find. If you want to make it easy for your readers to connect with you and better still, for brands to be able to contact you if they are interested in working together – create a contact page with your contact details and make it part of your navigation bar or in a prominent area on your sidebar.
7 Create a killer About Me page stamped with personality
People want to know the person sitting behind the computer. If they like your blog, they will naturally want to find out more about you, who your are, what you love, why you blog ect. You can make it as personal and in-depth or as discreet as you like. Here is an amazing guide to get you started on creating an about page that with resinate and speak to your readers.
If you need some inspiration for your about page check out these great ones – Love Taza, In Spaces Between, Ish and Chi and Pink Ronnie
8 Have a profile photo and a few quick words about you displayed
When someone lands on your blog, create a more memorable impression by showing them who you are and a quick snippet of what you are all about. Simply include a pic you love of yourself and a few lines about why you do what you do. Link this through to your about page so people can easily click through to read more.
9 Have prominent social media icons so people can easily follow you
Let readers easily connect and follow you on your social media channels by displaying these prominently on your blog.
+ Get them to open in a new page so that people are not taken away from your blog when they click on a link.
10 Make subscribing to your site super easy
If people love your site, they will want to be able to follow you and bookmark your site for the future.
You can offer this in a few ways –
- Have your social media icons prominent and include an RSS follow button or a Bloglovin follow button, which is a great blog reading tool.
- Have an email subscription section so people can subscribe to all your posts as they are written.
- Have an opt in email subscription box that people sign up for to join your email list and receive all your email newsletters. Mail Chimp and Aweber are great email newsletter tools to check out.
11 Have a great commenting system and get rid of captcha!
Engaging with your readers is one of the best parts of blogging. Hearing what they have to say, questions, comments and thoughts is always great.
Make it easy for people to comment on your blog. There are many different options depending on the blogging platform you are using such as the default WordPress and Blogger commenting systems, Disqus and an array of others like these.
+ Tip – turn off captcha as it often makes commenting so difficult and people will just give up, I know I do! Just implement a good spam filter system. Also always check out what the commenting system looks like on a mobile phone and a tablet as it may look great on your computer but be very hard to use on a hand held device so find what works best for your blog.
12 Make sharing and saving your posts simple
If someone loves your blog post or does not have time to read it straight away, they most likely will want to bookmark it for later or share it with their own followers.
+To do – Create pinnable images for your blog posts so people can easily pin your post and come back to it later. Here is a great guide to all things Pinterest. Add social sharing buttons to your blog posts so that people can easily share and bookmark for later on. Here are some great free sharing tools you can use, personally i love Share This and Add This.