From giving reviews about a product or service to commenting about political beliefs, blogging is a profound part of the Internet. It has become so integrated in society that many large corporations produce a blog to engage consumers and fans.
Regardless of why people start a blog, there is always one absolute truth behind it: to attract an audience.
However, attracting visitors is only part of the process. Site owners also need to know how to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Below are some of the most important sections of the blog when it comes to connecting with the audience.
A lot of beginner developers don’t put a lot of consideration in the navigation menu when they start a blog. This area of the site plays a big role in functionality as well as appearance.
Adding too much to the navigation bar can be overwhelming to visitors. This is especially true if the menu is too large in mobile devices. Not only is responsive design important for this navigation, but keeping it simple can be of great benefit to users. This is why many experts believe in only providing links that are absolutely necessary in this section.
On the other hand, adding too little can also take away from user experience. Simply having nothing more than a link to the homepage doesn’t give people anything to explore. How will they find important content if it’s not readily available?
Correct Use of the Footer
A footer should include things like social links, support information, tools users might need or other vital information about the blog that doesn’t necessarily belong in the navigation menu. Also keep in mind that many mobile users may not even see the very bottom of a blog post. If something is that important, placing it near the top may be more productive.
Categories in the Sidebar
Listing categories in the sidebar is an excellent method to show visitors what kind of content is available. Unfortunately, some bloggers have an exceptionally long list of categories because of the amount of content covered in the website. This can all be condensed by using sub-categories.
Because the sidebar is often moved to below the post on mobile devices, bloggers need to understand that a long list of categories may be unattractive or annoying to those on smartphones or tablets. Keeping the content as succinct as possible is greatly beneficial for everyone regardless what devices they use.
One of the most important parts to building proper categories is making sure the content fits. A blog post needs to relate to the category in order for it to make sense. It’s all about delivering a logical flow that doesn’t confuse the reader.
Image use on a blog is a very important aspect to consider. Not only does it play a part in the speed of a website, but too much can be distracting to actual text. Of course, this also depends on the type of blog that is being developed in the first place. One that centers around photography would want additional images.
Here are a few considerations when choosing graphics and imagery:
- Upload the exact size of the image needed.
- Use some kind of lazy loading to improve site performance.
- Refrain from pulling images from a third-party website as it will cause the blog to be slower.
Because not all mobile devices are using the same download speeds, keeping images to a minimum makes the site faster. The last thing a blogger wants is someone on a smartphone to spend a long time downloading and rendering the homepage.
Social media plays a prominent role in society. Thanks to sites like Facebook and Google+ giving separate pages for branding, site owners don’t have to use personal accounts to promote the blog. Using these elements is a great marketing platform while keeping the experience professional.
Adding the social element to the blog also encourages interaction. The more people feel engaged with a site or brand, the more likely they will become fans and followers.
A few methods to include a social section are:
- Adding social share buttons to posts.
- Adding post feeds to the sidebar.
- Promoting new posts to social media when they are published.
Sharing valuable resources with visitors helps boost popularity as well as reputation. These can be tools that are used on the blog itself or links to other sites visitors may find valuable.
For example, a blog about writing may add a link to the free publishing site Wattpad.com as a resource for authors to try. However, bloggers may want to refrain from adding competing sites to the list. If a visitor feels the information on the other blog is more valuable, he or she may not come back.
Call to Action
Calls to action essentially inspire visitors to act. Whether it’s to buy something or to leave a comment, this text is an important part for any blog post. In fact, it’s often a part of creating everything from ads to videos.
Studies show that a call to action increases the chances that a visitor will follow the instruction. For instance, asking to follow the blog on Facebook results in more people doing just that. This is especially true if the Facebook follow link is easily accessible.
A call to action shouldn’t sound like the blogger is begging for attention. Rather, it should be introduced as a more casual interaction. For instance, one could put a question at the end of the blog with a suggestion to leave a comment as the answer. This gets people talking and creating a kind of bond with the blogger.
There are several elements that need to be in place to start a blog with the intention of being popular. Anyone can simply throw some content into systems like WordPress and call it a website. However, a successful site will be designed to give the user a unique and pleasurable experience. After all, it’s the experience factor that will play a role in whether the person will return in the future or not.