So once you’ve chosen the right blogging platform for your business. Now it’s now time to design your ideal blog. Your blog design is incredibly important to driving traffic and getting people to your blog and getting them to stay on your blog. So, number one, you want to make your blog extremely visual.
1# Make Your Blog Visual
We live in a visual world. And great visuals are what’s going to attract attention to the different posts within your blog. Long gone are the days where simply a blog was just various headlines in a text format.
Now companies are getting really innovative in how they design their blogs to have visuals really be the front and centre. Now, this means you have to take a lot of time and effort to determine what the best photos are for each blog post. However, to have a visual look and feel to your blog is a great way to attract attention. As an example, here is the blog home page from a company called Uberflip.
As you can see, their blog page is very visual. It features imagery from each of the top blog posts as well as just a headline.
They also have some calls to action put in here as well that are also visual. But all in all, instead of having just a list of the different blog posts, Uberflip is using visual tiles to get that intrigue. And then they also have a large visual tile to showcase the featured post. So, this is a great way to start thinking about your blog, and especially if it’s B-to-B, it really is reminiscent to some of those B-to-C blogs out there, like Mashable or TechCrunch or some of those more popular B-to-C blogs.
You do want your B-to-B blog to kind of follow suit in that type of visual trend.
2# Have Clear Conversion Goals
So, number two, have clear conversion goals. So, what do I mean by conversion goals?
These are places on your website where people will either put their information in or take an action like go to another page on your website. You must think about lead generation and conversion as you’re creating your company blog because you do want areas where people can convert and add your information.
So, here’s a few examples on here from the Marketo blog. So, on the left-hand side, we have a popout for people to sign up for email updates. So, this is our subscription area. People can put in their email address and sign up for either our B-to-B or our consumer blog roll. On the bottom right we actually have a shadow box that pops up to welcome people to the blog and to also ask them to sign up for email updates, another way to generate leads and have people convert. And then at the bottom of every blog post, we have a section called related resources.
And this is a listing of other assets on a resources sections, so most likely ebooks or infographics that have similar topics to the blog that a person is currently reading. The idea behind this is once a person is finished reading your blog, that they’ll see the related resources on the bottom and click on one that really applies to what their interests are. By having clear conversion goals throughout your blogs, you can not only generate leads, but you also can tell your readers what you want them to do next.
3# Have Multiple Paths to Social
So, number three is to make sure that you have multiple paths to social. So, by that, I mean to have multiple places for people to follow you on social and to share your blog content. Your blog content is going to be a really important way that you’re engaging on social media. Most likely your blogs are gonna be what your social manager is going to share on all of your different platforms. So, you want to make sure to allow people and readers to share those blog posts directly on your blog. So, here’s an example from the Content Marketing Institute on different ways that they entice their customers to share once they come to their blog.
On the left-hand side, we have a large contact with us. And this is on their blog home page. By connecting with us you’re asking people to subscribe as well as follow you on all of the various social networks. Content Marketing Institute prompts people to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube, as well as Slideshare. So, they really are trying to cover the entire gamut. And for a little bit of social validation, to show people just how many followers and subscribers they have, you can see their varying numbers.
So that somebody who wants to subscribe to their blog can see that, hey, Content Marketing Institute has 124,510 subscribers. And likewise, if a person wants to follow them on Facebook, they can see that the Content Marketing Institute has over 70,000 followers on Facebook. This prompts people to actually follow you. So the other type of important social interaction that you want to have is you want to give the ability for your readers to share the individual posts. So, you want to give social sharing options directly on that home page of that particular post.
So as you can see on the right-hand side, the Content Marketing Institute gives readers the chance to share their blogs on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. And some companies will even actually have prepopulated social messaging that comes up when somebody clicks on one of these Share buttons. That makes it completely foolproof, and it really entices people to share further.
4# Offer Pre-Populated Tweets
So, number four is to offer prepopulated tweets throughout. So, this is an example of what we do at Marketo. We have a prepopulated Tweet this! that we show on the right-hand side of each blog post.
We take each post and create these prepopulated tweets, so it really takes all of the guesswork out of social sharing. And this could be as simple as a WordPress plugin if you’re using WordPress. You can have these customized tweets appear within the blog post itself as well as externally. And most of the different blog platforms will offer functionality like this. But we found this to be a really great way to get people to share. If people don’t even have to craft their tweets and all they have to do is click really quickly, most people will take that opportunity to share on social. And this is a great way to get your blog out there.
5# Provide a Mobile-Optimized Experience
So number five is to provide a mobile-optimized experience. Your customers are multi-device. And it’s extremely important to make sure that your blog is optimized for all different sizes, whether it’s a tablet or mobile. So here’s an example from the company Captora. On the left-hand side, you can see their blog on a regular size screen, either a laptop or a desktop. On the right-hand side is what their blog looks like on a mobile phone.
So, as you can see, the blog will be condensed for the mobile phone. The menu gets condensed. And it’s just great user experience. The user can very quickly scroll through and read the blog post. What you don’t want is for your blog not to be mobile optimized and for people to have to move around and make it smaller to try to read your content.
6# Add Personality with Author Bios
And number six, add personality with author bios. This is something that I don’t see a lot of companies do. However, I think it’s really important.
Besides just having just the name and a link for your different authors, why not include an author bio either under the blog post or on the upper right-hand side? Our author bio at Marketo includes a headshot, it includes a short bio. You can get an RSS feed to each of the author’s blog posts. You can follow the author on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus. This is a great way to not only show the human side of your blog but also to showcase your authors and get them more followers for their own personal brand.
Your blog design is a critical part of your blog success. Go over the suggested options and choose the right ones for your business.