How to design a successful blog

How to Design a Successful Blog

Today, it's relatively easy to start a #blog using open source cms programs like WordPress or Joomla however, making it look different than others, is not an easy task. You really need to put in a lot of effort to make your blog attract readers and build a wide fan base.

Here are a few tips to help you understand the basics of How to Design a Successful Blog

1. Make it Look Awesome

When it comes to getting your blog up really fast, there is no such thing as a completely original template. Most themes are built by making changes to existing themes so you do not have to start from scratch.

If you're going to hire a professional, then work with him to find a template that comes closest to your vision of the site. Then discuss with him clearly about the kind of customizations that can be done, before starting the project.

Don't just think about your website banner; the feature to change that is built into almost all existing themes. There are several other (usually overlooked) changes to consider e.g. link colors, menu & footer colors, any other special features you wish to have on individual web pages or posts.

Ask your designer about all this before hiring him; because if you don't, it can lead to problems later on when he cannot make the changes you envisioned & require.

2. Clearly state the purpose of your blog

Make sure your blog header has a title and subtitle - or may be an image banner that makes it clear what your site is about to make it easy for first-timers. Is it a blog? Is it a business? Do you offer any services? Are you selling products? Go ahead and tell your visitors about it instantly. Don't keep them guessing.

3. Navigation menu

If your theme doesn't already have one, make sure you can add a navigation menu as far up on the page as possible and make it consistent across all your site pages. Here you can provide links to all your pages other e.g. About me, FAQ, contact etc.

You want to make this look clean and user-friendly because research shows it's usually the area of the site that gets most clicks. I know mine does. You can use SumoMe's Heatmaps app to find out what area of your webpage attracts maximum clicks.

4. Make commenting easy

Blogging is all about conversation. Make it very easy for your readers to add their comment or share their views on the article you have published. I use Disqus commenting system myself but there are several options out there like - Jetpack Comments, Livefyre and of course the default Wordpress commenting.

Related: Why I switched from Disqus to Jetpack Comments And then Back.

I think this article will help you decide on a system that works for you.

5. Additional Content

As the reader goes through your post, try to display a teaser of other posts that may interest him/her when they're done with this one - Something like a recent or popular posts section works well. This not only helps your SEO but also helps your reader discover related content available on your site for further reading.

6. Pop up

It will also help to have a welcome popup on the site that prompts your visitors to connect with you on the social network that you're most active on. Alternatively, you can also use the pop-up to display a form to have your readers join your mailing list for latest posts.

7. Start a Newsletter

If a reader really likes what you're offering, he/she might be interested in joining your mailing list so they can receive regular updates. So add a Newsletter sign up box either in your sidebar or at the end of your posts.

8. Free Images

No matter what you're blogging about, you'll need awesome images to grab the readers' attention however you don't want to get into any copyright issues. My favorite site offering free-for-commercial use photos is Free For Commercial Use. Check it out.

9. Place important information "above the fold."

Put important information such as more about you, your e-mail, sign in/log in links, search functions, RSS feed subscription link social media links, and any calls to action in the top half of your blog page, so that your readers will be able to see it as soon as the page loads without having to scroll down.