Sunday, January 8, 2017

Design Is Important, But Content is Still King

While you’re making changes to the design of your blog, take a few extra hours to go through your content and make sure that it’s…

·         Still relevant – you’d be surprised how your focus and voice can change over the years. If you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s worth looking at those older posts just to make sure they still resonate with you and your readers.

·         Well laid out – over the course of a few redesigns, you’ll find that older posts and pages no longer fit with the current theme. You may find some images are too wide to fit on the page, or that your choice of image borders no longer work. These things can be a real turn off to new visitors, so it pays to double-check.

·         Calls to action – While you’re reading through your old posts, take a look at your calls to action to be sure they’re still applicable.  

In addition, now is a good time to go through your posts to make sure they are:

Visually appealing - use an image in every post. Not only does an image spice up plain text, but it also gives readers the opportunity (as long as you have this option available - and you should!) to share your content via Pinterest, one of the hottest social media platforms out there.  

Skimmable - Most people are skimmers so it's important to make sure that your content is broken up in bite sized chunks through the use of headings and images. This also goes along with being visually appealing.

Compelling and interesting - even if you do everything mentioned to make your content skimmable and easy on the eyes, if it's boring people aren't going to read it. Light a 'fire' and write about something controversial. Or share something that touched you. For example, maybe you volunteer at a homeless shelter and something someone said or did touched you. There are a lot of different ways to provide your readers with compelling and interesting content. It's a matter of finding what works for you and fits with your audience.

Appealing to the search engines - don't write for SEO purposes or your post will end up sounding robotic or like you did exactly what you're not supposed to do - keyword stuffing. You want to use SEO but it has to be done in a natural way so it fits with the content and isn't overkill.

Focused - many people ask 'how long should a blog post be?' But the truth is it needs to be as long as it needs to be. There is no magic number. However, it should be focused on one specific idea or topic. Blog posts that ramble will lose readers. Blog posts that dig deep into a topic and cover it in depth will bring traffic in, even if they’re 2,000 words long.

Of course, you don’t have to go back and read and revise every single blog post you’ve ever written. Try to do that, and you’ll never get your redesign launched. But do take a look at your analytics and touch up those that get the greatest number of visitors.

Are you ready to give yourself a blog makeover? Remember, you’ll need:

  • A new theme – both free and paid work, just be sure to choose one based primarily on layout rather than color.
  • A new header – outsource this if you’re not comfortable creating your own. It’s the first thing visitors will see, so don’t be afraid to spend a little money on it.
  • A plan for your site navigation and sidebars – be careful to keep it simple for your readers.
  • A way to prevent others from peeking at your site before you’re ready – you can go techy or super simple, the choice is yours.
Most of all, remember to have fun with it! Like redecorating your home, giving your blog a makeover is your chance to let your personality shine through.

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