“Good design is good business.”
-Thomas J.Watson Jr.
The relation between design and business was best articulated by the former president of IBM – who led the company and the USA into the computer age. While no one in the present digital age will disagree, it helps to understand exactly why and how design can help your blogging business.
In this blog, we’ll cover :
- How great design can help your blogging business
- Some great blog designs to inspire you
Some definitions – When I say ‘Design’, I’m referring to everything that your Web Design agency or your website team does – including the visual design, the ‘cutting’ or development, interaction design and any installations on choice of infrastructure, plugins etc.
Let’s first list a few questions that are necessary to have answers to when considering blog design :
(Q.) What are the goals of your blog?
(Q.) Who is your target audience?
(Q.) What makes your blog unique?
(Q.) What should visitors do once they land on your blog?
(Q.) Do you know what metrics you will use to measure the success of your blog?
How can good design help your blogging business?
1) Improve SEO:
Good user experience is also good SEO. To ensure your content is accessible to your target audience, your blog should be optimized for SEO and its design plays a very important role. Some tips include :
- using H1 tags for titles
- using main keywords in your blog structure
- optimizing images by adding alt and title tags to ensure search engines find and display them in search results.
2) Increase site speed:
Your site’s design (visual and architectural) can have an impact on its speed which correlates directly with the number of visitors you get, the amount of time they spend on your website and also your SEO ranking. Here are some ways better design can speed up your blog include:
- Optimizing images on your website
- Splitting large, content-heavy web pages into smaller ones
- The quality of your Web Host – For example, if you are using WordPress, pick a WordPress Hosting solution with managed support
- Design and development optimization i.e when your design and development techniques have been geared towards creating websites that have zero-lag, attract high traffic and increased conversions.
3) Increase Conversions:
- Create a great first impression
The top reason for great, thoughtful design is to create a great first impression with your web visitors. It can take just a few seconds for web visitors to decide whether to stay on your website or leave. A good metric to look at is your website’s bounce rate. It indicates how engaging your website is to your traffic. A blog that is well-designed will not only have your visitors stay on your blog longer but also keep coming back for more.
- Help navigation
Once a visitor lands on your blog, she/he shouldn’t have to think too much to figure out where to navigate to. While it’s great to experiment to stand out from the crowd and make an impact, sticking to some design conventions-like standard and consistent placement of sidebars, headers,etc will be useful.
4) Attract mobile users:
An unresponsive site can mean a loss in traffic from mobile users-which today make up a higher percentage of website traffic. This will also affect your blog’s ranking as Google penalizes unresponsive websites.
5) Be more accessible to all users:
Another way to increase visitors and thereby increase conversions is a blog that is designed to cater to every kind of web user. Here we refer to users who may be differently-abled and may have some visual,sensory, auditory or other impairment. Optimizing your blog for accessibility will also help your SEO ranking. Click here for more details on how to make your blog more accessible.
6) Increase brand retention:
Branding will help establish an unique impact with your customers and help them recognize and recall your brand image and products.
Other Tips :
- Blog banners:
If your revenue model involves affiliate tie-ups, make sure you think about this during the design phase of your blog. How many banners would you want added to a page on your blog? Where would you want these banners placed? Blogs with too many banners can take the focus off your content and look unprofessional to your visitors.
If it is absolutely necessary to add a lot of banners, a good tip is to add a close script like Gizmodo (which also happens to be among the top 10 blogs that earn the highest revenue-Forbes, 2017.). If the banners are too distracting, the user can click the close button to have a few banners disappear.
Smashing Magazine keeps their affiliate banners in a consistent location
- Affiliate links:
A few more good dos for adding affiliate links in your blog can include:
- Adding a few clickable product images linked to the product page your blog is talking about will hook your readers better.
- While adding affiliate links in the midst of written content is more common, other ways you can choose to present this is by adding;
- Links/banners on the sidebar
- A video with a shout out about the product/service
A rule of thumb in web design is to stick to not more than 3 main colours and fonts for your blog. Also, use contrasting colours for headlines, call-to-action elements like buttons,etc. This can help keep your blog simple, uncluttered and professional.
If you have used a theme for your blog, resist the temptation to change it too often. Your visitors might get put off by the frequent changes to structure and navigation that they were once familiar with.
Once you’ve finalised on the right theme for your blog, customizing the design it to make it unique will be a great way to stand out in the crowd. Popular blog themes today can be shared by hundreds or even thousands of users making several blog sites look quite similar.
- Plugins or widgets:
If a plugin or widget is not necessary, take it off your page. This keeps your site less cluttered and distracting to your readers and helps them focus squarely on your content.
- Content presentation:
Internet users tend to scan or skim through content. Capturing their attention on your blog can therefore be crucial. Present your content with headings, bullet points,shorter paragraphs, images and videos to hook your visitors.
Another tip is to keep your best content above the fold to encourage visitors to scroll through the rest of the page.
Inspirational blog designs :
This blog is a simple,clean site with headings that stand out and a very prominent call-to-action.
Webydo’s blog design is innovative, beautiful,easy-to-navigate and goal-driven.
There main two call-to-actions are stationary while the rest of their content is scrollable. Their long menu is opened-up by default and selection of their hamburger menu, opens up a large main menu (below) with their most useful content large and bold.There’s no way to miss it.
It is also wonderfully responsive.
One look at this blog tells you that this was definitely designed keeping mobile views in mind. The best elements of this blog are fun and the easy-to-use navigation and the strong focus on content.
While the content blocks on tutplus’s first fold are large and colourful, some textual content is lost on the background images.
If you do decide that design isn’t really your forte, you could always use the many CMS themes available to design and build your blog. WordPress is easily the most popular option in the market today with over 60 million users worldwide and a great place to check for a vast collection of WordPress themes is Mojo Marketplace. ResellerClub’s WordPress Hosting package comes equipped with a QuickInstall tool powered by Mojo Marketplace which allows for a fast, easy installation of WordPress.
For your blogging business to grow you need to be able to focus on what you do best – networking, writing, researching etc. which means your hosting should be fully managed by experts. I recommend using a service like ResellerClub’s WordPress hosting which takes care of installations, email, backup, security etc. and allows me complete peace of mind.
We hope you found this post helpful. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.