Blog – Blogging is beyond effective at driving more traffic to your website, and this is a well-known fact. But did you know that around 6 million blog posts are written every day?
The competition is definitely there, but there are ways for you to stand out.
Naturally, the first step would be to have a beautifully designed website. If you’re a creative soul, you can use WordPress to do it yourself. If not, you can hire a freelancer or have an NYC website design company do it for you.
Now, before you move on to posting content, there are a couple of visual features your blog should have if you want to maximize its success.
1. Pay attention to the blog structure.
The first thing people see when they come to your blog is how it looks. Your content can be award-winning, but nobody will take time to notice that if your blog looks messy.
Make sure you have enough white space since it helps you guide users to the desired part of the page.
All blogs have a similar structure. There’s usually a header with the menu or navigation bar at the top of the page. Then you have the main content area, which is the area where blog posts appear.
Contact pages, privacy policies, and relevant links are all found in the footer, while a sidebar displays favorite entries and social profiles.
2. Organize content into categories.
When new users come across your blog, they usually scan through it to find the information they’re looking for. If they have to spend too much time on that, they’ll most likely give up and abandon your blog.
This is where categories come to the rescue. Sorting the content and putting it into categories will allow users to find the desired content quickly and return to your website whenever they want to find something new.
The number of categories and what they’re about greatly depends on your blogging niche. For example, if you run a travel blog, your categories could be the different continents you’ve traveled to. If you’re unsure of your niche, ask yourself the following questions:
- What topics do you cover?
- Are there any sub-topics that should be a separate category?
- What does your audience want?
Since different categories must have different names, we strongly advise against using names that make no logical sense. It’s best if you use keywords as category names.
Similar to this, you can also include a search box. A search box will let your users find the content they’re looking for even more easily by typing in the keywords. The important thing here is to optimize your posts if you want your search engine to find them and sort them easily.
3. Easy-to-use navigation menu.
A well-thought-out navigation menu allows users to easily move from one page to another. It’s a list of useful links leading to other pages on your blog.
Here are some common characteristics that make the navigation menu easy-to-use:
- Responsive. The functionality of the navigation menu shouldn’t be impacted by different devices. Visitors should be able to find and use it easily across all devices, especially mobile phones.
- Consistent. The navigation menu should stay in the same place, instead of being moved up and down the page.
- Simple. It’s best not to include too many options if you don’t want to confuse the users. Some state it’s best to have up to seven items in the navigation menu.
As for the order of the menu items, we advise putting the most important ones at the top and the least important ones in the middle.
4. Create the commenting section.
The purpose of the blog is to engage the audience make them interact with your content, especially comment on it. Comments also help you improve your content since you’ll get a better idea of what users like and dislike.
Some blogs have a built-in feature that allows users to comment on the blog posts. If yours does not, don’t worry too much. There are numerous third-party commenting systems you can implement, such as Disqus, Livefyre, Intense Debate, or Jetpack.
Some of them automatically post comments without filtering them, while others allow you to choose which comments you want to be posted and which ones you don’t.
5. Ensure spam protection and a security system.
Spamming is very a common practice in the comments section of a blog.
Some people post comments completely unrelated to the blog topic. Others abuse the comment section by link-spamming, as they try to get a better ranking in the search results.
Either way, it is not only annoying, but it can also damage your blog’s reputation and decrease your blog’s visibility. Google looks down on this practice and predicts pretty harsh consequences. For that reason, it’s important to include spam protection.
There are several options you have:
Turn on comment moderation.
As previously mentioned, this feature allows you to review the comments and choose if you want them to go public. This will improve the user experience. The downside to this is that reviewing comments may take a lot of your time if there’s a large number of people commenting on your post.
Use anti-spam tools.
This is a great option if you don’t have enough time to manually check the comments before their publication. These tools check the comment section and any other form of submission, such as contact forms.
Blacklist the users and IP address the spam comes from.
Once you find out where the spamming comes from and who’s posting it, you can blacklist the users and their IP addresses.
Turn off the comment section:
And lastly, you can always turn off the comment section entirely. However, this should be your last resort, as the comment section is something we advise you to keep and work on.
After you’re done with designing, you should start posting content on your blog. We have some tips for you regarding the blog content as well, so keep on reading.
1. Make the headlines interesting.
Once the user reaches your blog, the first thing they see is the headline. Now, imagine what happens if the headlines are boring or unclear – they will leave.
So, you should always come up with an interesting headline that will grab the users’ attention and make them want to continue reading and browsing through your blog.
2. The quality of the content comes first.
While it’s nice to have a pretty blog to look at, that’s not why people come to your website. They expect to read something original, useful, informative, and relevant. Depending on your niche and your tone, it may be an instructional post, a news post, or an opinion piece.
Either way, if you want to achieve that, you should be prepared to do some thorough research on the topic you’re writing about. You won’t believe how easy it is to lose readers if you prove to be an unreliable source of information.
3. Add a personal touch.
Before the modern-day blog became what it is today, it used to be an online diary where people would write about their day-to-day lives.
While most blogs nowadays are not diary entries or personal stories about their writers, the “personal” component has stuck around. For that reason, readers expect to connect with the blog posts and their author.
You can incorporate some short personal stories in your pieces or write in the first person. It’s all about finding a way to connect with your audience.
4. Use internal link building.
Link building, especially internal, is commonly found in blog posts. This technique allows users to easily find more information on the information mentioned in your blog post.
Google also uses this to assess the value of your blog posts. The more links you have in your newer blog post, the better your chances of improving your ranking are. However, it’s important to note that the links should be placed naturally and should be related to your topic. Otherwise, it’s just annoying, and it won’t do you any good.
Now that you’re fully equipped, we believe you’re ready to go and create the blog you’ve always wanted and dreamed of. It’s just as Anne Lamott said: “Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”