Ah, yes, blogging. How meta. It’s a buzzword in the business and marketing space because it’s a tried-and-true tactic that has been used for decades. Get people to your blog, they said, and the traffic and engagement will follow, they said. Well—not always. In order to reap *all* the benefits of a high-converting blog, it needs a few extra key elements. This post will explore how to design your blog for maximum engagement.
But first things first, let me address an important FAQ.
“Is blogging dead? Will blogging help my business?”
I know, I know. In this video content world, the concept of blogging might seem truly archaic. And while I don’t think many people are consuming blogs for pure enjoyment anymore, they ARE still searching on Google for the answers to their questions—something you can easily do on a blog.
I had this same question about a year ago, so I committed to answering it for myself with a little bit of experimentation.
Blogging Helps SEO
Over the span of the last 12 months, I ended up publishing 42 blogs. (Pretty good, if I do say so myself!) Of those 42, 11 of them rank amongst the 16 most-visited (via Google) pages on my website. And the very top spot belongs to this blog post, which is one of the first ones I published.
Over the course of the year, my blog posts alone helped drive an average of 97 visitors/mo.—that’s 1,164 organic visitors a year, organically. That’s 1,164 random people on the Internet who had a question about something, typed it into Google, found my blog, and (hopefully) found their answer—and I did this without spending any money on ads.
Blogging Establishes You As An Expert
Apart from the obvious traffic ROI, blogging can help establish you as an expert in your field. When I started blogging, I was able to progressively raise my prices (and confidence) because people were able to read & reference content that showed them that I know what the hell I’m doing.
It also gave me tons of content to share for my weekly newsletter, which helped drive even more traffic to my website & services.
Not to mention, people tell me all the time how helpful they find my blog content, which always feels amazing because that’s obviously the whole point.
This is the Year You Start Your Blog, Bestie
Free traffic? Check. Building trust with your audience? Check.
There’s never been a better time to start. So now that I’ve explained why you absolutely, definitely need to start blogging, let’s talk about all the design choices you might make to maximize your blog ROI even further. Here’s how to design your blog for maximum engagement.
How to Design a Blog Layout: My Best Tips & Tricks
The cool thing about design is that there’s no one-size-fits-all advice. Your brand’s blog might look a lot different than another brand’s blog—and it should! However, when I’m designing a blog for a business, there’s a few “rules of thumb” that I like to abide by (or at least consider).
Utilize Headings and Subheadings to Easily Discern Information
This goes for every page of your website, but especially blogs. As a good rule, try to keep all your Titles in one font style and Categories in another font style. This helps the viewer organize the info in their brain and makes your content easier to digest. And on that note….
Categories are like little topic folders that you organize your blog posts into. For example, since this blog post (the one you’re reading!) talks about web design, SEO, and marketing, I’ve categorized it accordingly. That way, if someone comes to my blog and is looking specifically for SEO advice, they can select the SEO category and find this post.
Keep Your Layout Minimal
Blog pages generally have so much content and imagery that it’s best to keep the actual layout as minimal as possible. That way, your posts, titles, categories, and images become the star of the show, not the page design. Less is way more on a blog page!
Use On-Brand, High Quality Images
If your brand colors are red and orange and pink, don’t use blue and purple stock imagery. (If you have a brand moodboard, reference that for choosing on-brand images.) Also on this note, it’s fun to use brand photos for blog posts, but you might wanna mix in some usage of stock imagery to give it a little variation. It’ll be more visually interesting!
Drive People to Explore Other Content
If someone’s curious enough to scroll to the bottom of your blog posts, then there’s a good chance they’re curious about your business in general. Don’t waste that opportunity by forgetting to include a link to your email list, or to your services, or to other free resources that they might benefit from. Always include a few CTA’s!
No matter what kind of business you run—personal brand, freelance, or a whole ass team—you should always put a “mini about” on your blog. Those 1,164 randoms on the internet who encountered my blog last year might have been like “who’s even writing this?”, but thankfully they didn’t even have to ask, because I had a mini about section that gave them more context for who I am. Stalk mine here! And on that note…
Utilize a Sidebar
If you scroll to the top of this page and look to the side, you’ll see what’s called a “sidebar”. This ensures that no matter who lands here (hey, random person!) they get a sense for who I am and what I do.
How to Design Your Blog—An Exercise in Repetition
When you’re laying this all out, you might feel like you’re repeating yourself a lot. You might start to feel like “okay, okay, they get it, it’s too many links”. Let me assure you, it’s never too many links. Studies show that it takes someone 7 times to see something new in order to truly remember it/take it in, and most of the time, people are skimming your blog anyway.
Give us everything you’ve got, and watch your traffic soar!
And—if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all these rules of thumb and are looking for an expert to design your blog instead, I’d love to help. Check out all the ways we can work together here!
Hey, I'm Sarah Kleist.
Brand builder, website designer, and performing artist on a mission to help creatives and business owners step into their digital spotlight.
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