As a blogger, your blog is pretty much everything to you. It’s like a digital baby that you cherish and help blossom into something you’re proud of. The blogging domain is very saturated and competitive, which means you have to do all that you can to stand out. Plenty of things come into consideration here, but your blog design is perhaps the most important.
Why does blog design matter?
Firstly, what is blog design? Most people assume it’s the way your site visually looks, but it’s more than that. While looks are extremely important, a considerable chunk of the design should also focus on functionality.
Both of these things are vital if you want to take your blog to the next level. Effectively, a well-designed blog will appeal to your audience more than one that’s lagging behind. It’s all about creating a great experience for people on your site. If they like what they see, and they find it easy to use your site, then they’re more likely to stick around.
Obviously, you don’t need to be a genius to figure out that this provides lots of added benefits as well. When people stay on your site for longer, they’re more likely to start reading your posts and sharing them, etc. This helps you make more money and grow your audience. Good web design can also lead to SEO improvements, giving you a better search engine presence and allowing you to draw in new readers.
Overall, a lot of good comes from your blog design, and there is no downside to improving it. If you feel like your design is a bit lacklustre – or you’re struggling to grow or sustain an audience – then perhaps it’s time you changed something. It’s easier than you think, and here are some simple steps to follow:
Think about the user
The first step is to get yourself into the mind of people visiting your blog. Consider what they want to see from a blog, what design features appeal to them, and so on. This is considered user research as you’re trying to figure out what users will enjoy the most from your blog design. In essence, this will fuel the rest of your decisions. There are loads of ways to conduct this research, and it’s well worth exploring them all. You can never have too much information or feedback from your target audience. The more you know about them, the better!
Functionality and responsiveness are key
As mentioned before, the way your blog functions is just as important as how it looks. This means that it needs to be designed in such a way that it provides excellent functionality. What does this mean? Well, it links into the idea of responsive web design. If your blog is responsive, that it naturally conforms to the device a user is using. For example, it works perfectly on desktop devices, then instantly moulds itself into a mobile-friendly site for mobile devices. This makes your website highly functional, as anyone can use it on any device.
Similarly, functionality looks at simple things like buttons working properly. Do people have to click on a menu button over and over again to get a response? Is it hard for users to scroll down your pages? A good blog needs to work correctly and allow the user to complete all their desired actions. If elements of the blog aren’t functioning well, then people will just leave.
Similarly, responsive web design is crucial to capture a mobile audience. Think about how many people read blog posts on their phone or tablet! If your design doesn’t respond to these devices, then you’ll miss out on a huge chunk of your audience.
How fast is your website? If you don’t already know, then you can use a website speed test tool to find out. These tools will show you lots of different stats and come up with suggestions to help you speed up your website – which can be very useful. Ideally, you need your site to load within 3 seconds. So, if the speed test shows that you’re above that, then you’re falling into the ‘slow’ category.
Why does this matter? Research suggests that there’s a 57% chance people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load up. This applies to any page on a site as well. Essentially, if your site loads up in 4 seconds, then you miss out on over half of your potential traffic. For a small blogger that’s trying to grow an audience, this is ridiculously significant!
Speed up your site, and more people will come to it. Page speed is also a key SEO ranking factor, so you can boost your ranking by making your blog faster. Aim for 3 seconds minimum, but you really can’t be too fast.
Navigation is vital for blogs
On all websites, having a good form of navigation is critical. It allows users to find their way around a site with ease. But, for blogs, this takes on more significance. You will have lots of posts on your site, sometimes in different categories. Some users may be looking for specific posts from certain categories. A great navigation system makes it easy for people to find the exact posts they want.
Consider using menus to display the different categories on your blog. However, the absolute most important factor is an internal search engine. This gives uses the ability to type in keywords and find blog posts relating to them. It boosts the user experience and increases the chances of people staying on your site and reading multiple posts.
Think about it, if someone visits your blog and wants to find a specific post, they can do so with ease thanks to your good navigation system. So, they stick around and read your content. Conversely, imagine it’s hard for them to find what they’re after. They’ll assume you don’t cater to their needs and will find another blog!
All things considered, these are the key points when improving your blog design. Looks are important, but they’re also more subjective. Realistically, it’s all about designing a blog that appeals to your target audience.
Until next time,