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Does your audience find your blog engaging?
You know why having great content on your blog is absolutely essential – it gives readers a reason to engage with your brand, sets you up as a thought leader and builds trust with your prospects. But even if you have all the amazing content in the world, having an ugly blog can undermine your efforts. Luckily, there are some relatively easy ways to give your blog a fresh coat of paint, even if you don’t have time to renovate the whole thing. Here are three easy design tips to bring your blog into 2015 and increase engagement.
Maximize Your Front Page Real Estate
On the home page of your blog, your goal is to tempt a reader visiting for the first time to read as many blog posts as possible. This mission becomes a lot easier if you can show your reader more blog posts. Layouts with simple vertical arrangements of blog posts or scroll bars don’t help you show off your tantalizing content. Consider using a masonry theme which arranges posts in a grid to maximize the number of articles visible per square inch. Grid themes that include space for a featured photo and a short preview of the post content can be especially effective at drawing readers in.
Here’s another benefit of grid themes: they can easily be translated to the smaller screens of your readers’ mobile devices. The importance of using a responsive theme can’t be overestimated — American consumers now spend more time consuming media on smartphones and other mobile devices than on a computer.
Show Off Those Share & Subscribe Buttons
If readers like your content, you want to make it easy for them to share it with friends or sign up to continue receiving more. You can encourage readers to share blog articles with their preferred social networks by prominently placing social sharing buttons. You can place them at the end of an article, so viewers who read the whole thing and enjoyed it will easily be able to forward it on to others. You can also think about placing them on a floating banner, so they’re always visible to readers.
To gain contacts and leads, encourage readers to subscribe to your blog. This is a great way to build an engaged audience, since readers who ask to receive new articles and updates in their inbox are likely to continue interacting with your blog. A floating banner is a great place to put a subscribe button, as well as in a sidebar. Make it easy for readers to hand over their contact info – don’t ask for any unnecessary info. It may help to include a bit of information near the subscription box to let them know what they’re signing up for and what they can expect to receive from you. Then, follow through on your promise. Send them what they signed up for – nothing more, nothing less. Although these new contacts can eventually become leads, be careful what you send them if they’ve only expressed an interest in reading more of your content.
Up Your Photography Game
Using gorgeous pictures on your blog is a home-run for engagement. Great featured photos give visitors an itch to click through to continue reading a post. Awesome pictures can spark curiosity and keep readers clicking through to new articles. If you use stock photography, make sure that your images are visually arresting and relevant to the article at hand. If you can afford it, hire a professional photographer to capture specific photos of your business to use in posts. You can use the extra photos they take elsewhere in your marketing and website.
These three tips will help you get your blog looking awesome fast, but if you know you need a complete overhaul, now’s the time to be honest. Don’t keep missing out on opportunities to engage with new readers by leaving your blog in aesthetic limbo. For more in-depth tips to help you pull off a total blog makeover, check out ONTRAPORT’s free guide, Makeover Your Blog: The Ultimate Guide to a Better Blog. You’ll learn how to tackle a blog redesign from the ground up, find resources to build a visually engaging blog and get valuable insight from the team that revamped ONTRAPORT’s own blog.
Download ONTRAPORT’s free guide, Makeover Your Blog: The Ultimate Guide to a Better Blog, and learn design strategies that will make your blog irresistible to readers.