Blogging is one of the easiest ways to market your business. Whether you use a free blogging platform like Blogger or you have your own domain with a website & WordPress blog…blogging is a smart move to make.
It increases your online presence & helps to establish you as an authority in your niche. It becomes an online home of sorts to those who want to keep up with you & your business. A place where they can find out about your latest business updates & learn valuable things from you.
Blogging can be rewarding, but at the same time very frustrating. You want to get more readers or subscribers, you want more comments & engagement from your followers, you want more people buying from you, etc. etc. There are many different strategies you can use to work on each of the above areas, but one of the most important, the most “in your face” area, is going to be without a doubt the look & feel of your blog.
Have you ever been to a blog or website where everything looks like a mess? There’s so much writing all over the place, buttons, images, & graphics litter the sidebars, & the categories section is a mile long. Who knows where to even begin?
Then there are those blogs where everything seems to flow. Everything looks great, like it all relates to each other. You know exactly what the blog has to offer & if it’s for you or not. The posts are easy to spot because they include great photos & they’re easy to scan. The sidebars are clean & you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Which is more appealing to you? Which one would you want to stick around longer?
You blog is the perfect place to incorporate your business’s brand & to share it with those who are following you there. You can tackle the look of your blog all on your own or you can work with a graphic designer. It all depends on where you are in your business & what you want to accomplish, but it’s worth it.
Today I want to talk about 6 important areas of your blog that affect its “look”. This is all about looks & yes, for your blog, looks do matter. There’s a big difference between the two blogs I described above & I’d encourage you to be the later one if you want people to keep hanging around.
Let’s go from top to bottom in no special order.
Your header is the first thing people see. It sets the mood or feel of your blog based on your colors, fonts, & graphics & it lets people know right off the bat what your about…especially if you’re using a tagline.
2. Navigation Bar
This is where you’re going to direct people to important areas of your blog besides the posts. Be sure to include an “About Me & Contact” page & a page that links to your shop or somewhere people can buy your products. Other than that you can include a press page, a FAQ page, a tutorial or freebies page, advertising or wholesale information pages, etc. It all depends on what you’re wanting to do with your blog.
Remember to keep your page names short, sweet, & to the point. You want people to know exactly what you’re talking about when they see it.
This is the biggest section of your blog & what people are going to be spending the most time looking at. Make your posts easy to read & scannable.
Start off with a headline that draws them in. Copyblogger is an excellent resource for learning how to master the art of writing headlines! Next make sure you’ve formatted your post using subheads, short paragraphs, bold/italic/colored lettering, & images to make it easier to read.
The goal is to get people to start reading, keep them reading, leave you a comment & share your post, then come back for more!
4. Newsletter Opt-in Form
Having a newsletter is another one of those great marketing strategies because it keeps you in front of your audience on a regular basis. People are busy & they forget to check in on their favorite blogs, but if they hear from you in their inbox consistently, you remain on their minds.
First, if you’re going to have an opt-in form it needs to be above the fold. That means that readers should be able to see it in your sidebar without having to scroll. Typically it’s at the very top of your right sidebar. Next, it needs to be eye catching. You want to draw readers attention to it & entice them to subscribe. Don’t forget to offer them a goodie for signing up! Lastly, it needs to be easy to use. You don’t want to make subscribing a huge obstacle. All you really need is their first name, their email address, & a “subscribe” button. Simple & easy.
This one is easy. Keep It Simple! Don’t overload your sidebar & fill it from top to bottom full of stuff. People aren’t going to search through it. They’re going to ignore it! Your giving them way to much info & it’s overwhelming.
Whatever you decide to include…social networking buttons, search bar, categories, ads, etc…keep it to a minimum. Everything should flow from one thing to the next. Most important at the top to least important at the bottom.
Here…same as your sidebar. Keep it simple, clean, & everything should be relevant to your blog. It’s definitely best not to put you most important info here because people aren’t going to be hanging around here too often.
Now…go check out your blog & see how you’re doing. Are your looks appealing to your readers…especially those first time visitors? How can you make things clearer or better direct people where you want them to go? Sketch out how you want your blog to look & don’t be afraid to talk with a designer if you think you need one.
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Be sure to check out Meagan’s 7 day creative business marketing course.