Image: Jonathan Pendleton via unsplash.com
Last week I talked about my blog as my personal space, and I asked myself a series of questions to help me find out what I wanted to get out of blogging. I discovered I wanted to focus more on me and my writing, and since making that decision I have felt much better about my blog, because it’s now something I’m doing for myself. It’s all about me.
You can read the post HERE and download the free worksheet to help you get your blog back on track.
However, I also want my blog to be a space for others. I want to expand my personal space, and invite you to come in and have a look around.
In order to do this, my blog needs to be a place where people will want to come. Sounds pretty simple, right? I’m not so sure. I’ve thought about it long and hard, asking myself what I like from the blogs I read regularly, and I’ve come up with this:
Easy to read: The typeface and size of the text has to be comfortable to read. If it’s hard work, I don’t want to stick around. Usually online a sans serif face works well. My blog is set in Calibri at 16 point. Also consider background colour. Black or grey text on white is far easier on the eye than white text on black.
Nice to look at: I’m a graphic designer, so I’m constantly looking at how things are designed. I often pull them apart in my head and put them back together again. If the blog I’m looking at is designed nicely, then I’m more likely to stay a while.
Easy to navigate: Blogs have come so far in that they aren’t just a blog anymore. We can have several pages to our websites that contain a limitless amount of content. Finding this content needs to be clear and simple, and this is something I’m constantly working on.
My suggestions are:
- Use a few key tags or labels as opposed to too many (something else I’m working on)
- Have the main navigation clear at the top of the blog
- Make your blog archive easily accessible
- Use eye-catching graphics in the sidebar for extra interest and easy content click through.
Interesting content: By now the blog has sucked me in with its prettiness and ease of reading, but what I’m reading needs to keep me interested. This could be anything from the way the blogger writes, to the topic they’re writing about. It’s a very personal thing, and what holds my attention on one blog may not hold yours. I do believe though that if you’re writing on a topic you’re passionate about, this will shine through your words and make the post interesting.
Informative: As well as being interesting, the content should aim to inform on a certain topic. Whatever topic you’ve chosen, blog posts need some direction, otherwise they risk becoming boring. There should be a clear movement from introduction, to the presentation of information, to the conclusion. Much like a story has a beginning, middle, and end.
Something of value: For me this is an important key point. Sometimes the value is in the information. If I come away from reading a post knowing something I didn’t know before, then I’m satisfied. If the post has made me think, or encouraged me to engage with the writer, then their job is done. Other times value can be found in aspects such as free downloads or samples. The idea is to leave the reader with the sense that they received something from your blog post.
Regular: If a blog I like doesn’t post content on a regular basis, I tend to forget about them. Because I’m so busy, usually I’ve signed up to follow them so I won’t actively seek out new blog posts. They have to land in my inbox. If this happens on a regular basis I’m more inclined to stay for a while after I’ve read the new post. Your posts don’t have to be frequent, but they should be regular so the reader knows when to expect a new post (something else I’m working on yet again).
Download my free worksheet to help you structure an effective blog post.
When I decided to move away from promoting other authors and to focus my blog on me and my writing, it didn’t mean I wanted to stop helping others. Through sharing my own experiences, thoughts, and knowledge, it is my hope that what I have to offer from this point forward is something the online community will find helpful.