What does it take to run a successful blog?
Needless to say, quality content is the number one priority – but it won’t be enough on its own in order for a blog to reach a wide following. Naturally, it’s important that a blogger is consistent with the content they create and post, keeping a regular pace and ensuring they’re not overwhelming the blog in short surges or letting it go dormant for periods of time. Blog marketing is another point of successful blogging that we’re now used to seeing in a matter-of-fact kind of way – for example, any blogger will dedicate their time and effort to marketing their blog on at least one social media platform (and that’s just a piece of the marketing puzzle).
All of these points are directed at content creation, but the question arises: if design is so important for websites, shouldn’t it be important for blogs as well? Considering the emphasis on content, design seems to be further down the list of priorities on many blogs, as bloggers usually opt for generic layouts and themes. But the exceptions – beautifully designed blogs – show us that any blog can greatly benefit from effective and innovative web design. Read on to see just how great website design can contribute to blogging success.
Branding is important for blogs as much as it is for business websites, and successful branding calls for using design to your advantage – in order to define your blog’s identity and convey a message without using words. After all, first-time visitors will get a feel for your blog’s identity, style, and values from first glance while skimming over the content. This first impression can encourage or discourage them to stay on your blog and fully dedicate their attention to your posts.
From choosing the right color scheme to designing an impactful logo and placing it effectively on the webpage, web design is what will essentially help you showcase your authenticity and establish a relationship with your audience at first contact.
Readability and effortless navigation
Readers come to your blog for useful and interesting content. No matter how beautiful the design is, content is the only thing that will keep them coming back as well. But this doesn’t suggest that website design plays no role whatsoever in this aspect – in fact, its role is significant and helpful in engaging the readers, but only if the design is unobtrusive.
Good website design ensures that the content is emphasized and easy to read and that there are no hiccups in the blog navigation that can potentially cause a visitor to abandon the blog in frustration. This entails:
- A neat, uncluttered layout and tasteful use of white space that brings attention to the content and encourages visitors to explore the options on the blog
- Efficient categorizing
- Proper formatting so that blog posts grasps the reader’s attention visually and make reading effortless
- Carefully choosing fonts and font sizes to improve readability
- Strategic ad placement so that it can resonate with visitors and does not hinder the importance of content
Maintaining a fresh appearance
Here’s the thing: blogs have much more repeat traffic than traditional websites (as the point is to establish a wide base of subscribers), and the visitors are expected to stay on the pages longer as they read the content. When a blog has a reader base that follows the posts regularly, design plays an important role in keeping things fresh. Many bloggers change the themes often so that the blog doesn’t look stale and stagnant to the people who visit it regularly.
Regardless where the blog is hosted, changing themes allows bloggers to keep up with the latest website designs, learn from them, constantly improve their design, and keep things interesting both for the readers and themselves. WordPress, for example, offers a wide array of themes, many of which are free, which allows bloggers to experiment and stay updated on trends.
The modern web changes and operates at an amazing pace, and standards are simply higher than ever. Visitors can turn to something better, faster, more effective with just a single click, and that very first point of contact plays a crucial role. Research shows that visitors expect webpages to load within 3 seconds: anything more than that, and you’re risking high bounce rates and a low SEO ranking. Not only that, but fast-loading websites help build trust and reach organic traffic.
That’s why bloggers and website owners seek help for optimizing web pages for fast loading, where web design will have a decisive role (or loading time will have a decisive role for design choices – whichever way you choose to look at it). For example, things such as steering clear of clutter and avoiding the overuse of heavy images per page are where popular website design and loading time optimization intertwine.
Encourage social media sharing
All bloggers aspire to have their posts shared on social media to help them gain visibility and reach relevant audiences. The success of a blog largely depends on the shareability of its posts and how much engagement they encourage. Considering that this is a big goal on the path to blogging success, it’s important that the blog is provided with all the necessary tools to achieve it. That’s where web design comes in: it’s necessary to integrate social media sharing buttons and widgets, but also to place them strategically to encourage their use. A well-designed blog will have these buttons standing out clearly but in good taste, usually at the top of a post or at the very bottom so that it suggests to the readers to share the post the moment they’ve finished reading.
Search engine optimization is an important tool for a successful blog, as higher search engine rankings will help gain visibility and improve traffic. Quality of content is crucial for SEO rankings, and so is the website design – from the design’s navigation, to formatting the content, to redirecting things properly and keeping up with evolving SEO guidelines.
Essentially, website design is in service of the blog’s content, but it can bring much more to the table. When done right, it helps the ultimate goal, and when done wrong, it’s likely to turn visitors away in frustration or present you in a bad light. Great design and great content go hand-in-hand – and constantly improving and evolving will lead the way to a successful blog.
Meaghan Yorke is a content writer for designrush.com, specializing in website design. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.