Designing the Perfect Blog for Your Readers

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

Bloggers Are Now the Third Most Trustworthy Source of Information

Who do you trust when you want to learn more about a particular topic? Well, bloggers of course! According to a U.K. survey, bloggers are the third most trustworthy source of information, following friends and family. This means that bloggers are more trusted than celebrities, journalists, brands and politicians (okay, maybe no surprise on that last one).

It’s no surprise why bloggers are so trusted. They are everyday people like you and I, and they have a passion for reporting on a variety of topics within a particular niche. Bloggers work hard to research, read reviews, take polls and capture images to deliver honest, valuable information to their readers. But how do you get people to fall in love with your blog and genuinely trust what you have to say?

Much of this lies in the design of your blog.

First, think of your homepage as the portal to your company blog. If it’s not doing its job at attracting people, it’s going to be difficult to get people to start reading your posts. And if they don’t read your posts, they probably won’t subscribe to your blog. Design has a lot to do with how popular your blog is and how many people check out your posts on a regular basis. It’s not the whole bag of course, but it’s still important.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to design the perfect blog for your readers. They deserve it after all. They think you’re the best!

Maintain a Clean Design

Colors play a huge role in how easy your content is to read and how it makes people feel. Make sure you select your colors carefully. For instance, yellow is optimistic and youthful; red creates a sense of urgency; and blue instills trust and security. Learn more about color psychology in this post.

Aside from the colors you choose, keep your design simple by creating as much white space as possible, and always use black font. It’s easier to read and shows up well on mobile devices.

Use the Right Size Font

Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar, wrote a blog post about how text size affects readability. What he found was that bigger font sizes boost readability. Doing a test on 13 blogs, Patel found that by increasing the font from 8 to 9, readers spent 13 extra seconds on the page.

There was another 8 second increase when the font went to size 10, and another 6 seconds when the font went to size 11. These larger sizes work best for simple fonts like Arial or Times. When in doubt, use a large, clear font.

Add Appealing Images

Images are important. If you use a nice image, you’ll almost always see better results than if your post had no image at all. It’s up to you as to the types of images you want to use. If you’re on a time crunch, you can use stock photography. It may not be as unique as custom photography, but you can find some great stuff quickly and for a low cost.

Of course, if you have the means to get custom images done, it’s nice to use some. This way, you know that no other blog has the image you do.

Show Email Subscription Options

Collecting emails in exchange for content is one of the most effective ways to grow your traffic. You can use an opt-in feature at the top of your sidebar that users can choose on their own, or you can use a pop-up that is more aggressive. Offer a unique piece of content that has high value such as an ebook, free course or secret guide.

Also, ask for limited information. You can improve opt-in rates just by asking for an email rather than a name and email. When you have collected a good number of emails, you can start building a subscriber list that you can notify when you post a new blog.

Install a Most Popular Widget

If you want to see more engagement from your users, install a sidebar that showcases all of your recent and popular posts. A widget like this drives traffic to your blogs and also helps SEO because of the cross-linking opportunities. Not to mention, your readers will appreciate the recommendations for more blog posts based on their interests.

Install Scrolling Social Buttons

There are all types of social buttons, but scrolling ones tend to outperform others, particularly WordPress plugins Sharebar and Flare. Scrolling social buttons encourage readers to share your blog with their friends on social media in one easy click. It’s best to use just a few options rather than a bunch. Stick to your most popular social networks, which will probably be Facebook, Twitter and perhaps LinkedIn or Google+.

Use Threaded Comments

You probably already know that there are all types of commenting systems out there, but it’s highly recommended to use threaded comments. Threaded comments will often increase the number of comments you receive for each post, and the more comments you get, the more text you have on that page. This is good for SEO because you’ll have more long-tail keywords.

There’s nothing wrong with other commenting systems necessarily. But if you have an active Facebook community, for instance, Facebook owns the content, so the comments from readers won’t help you get more search engine traffic.

Conclusion

Designing a great blog isn’t hard to do, but there are certain features you want to keep in mind because they can make a huge difference in the number of readers you get. When you apply the tips above and contribute valuable, relevant content to your blog, there’s no doubt that the traffic will come. Also, when you consider that you are in the role of being a trusted source, you can feel confident that you are set up for success. So what are you waiting for? You have readers who are counting on you!

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About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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