If you’re starting a blog, you must design a layout that functions at its highest potential and provides an enjoyable reading experience.
Get it wrong, and your blog could fail to engage.
While words build your blog’s narrative, and great content is hugely important (take it from a writer), they alone are no longer enough!
Now other elements play equally important roles.
Ones that engage your audience and leave them wanting more.
I’m going to tell you what they are and the essential practices and layouts used to create a highly engaging post.
And most of all, how to design your blog layout like a pro.
Keep It Clean – Avoid Confusion
How you present your content is as important as the content itself because we now live in a world where readers scan before reading, and if your blog’s confusing, viewers won’t give it a second glance.
Images, infographics, subheadings, clean text, links, and CTAs must all flow in a way that draws the reader in, each one naturally leading onto the next and ensuring they don’t abandon your content. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice creativity; if anything, it enhances it and increases your blog’s functionality.
The cleaner your design, the higher the chance people will read, like, share, and hopefully subscribe to your blog. So, keep it lean and clean, and it will function to its highest potential.
I’ll use some of the strategies in this post; let’s see if I can keep you reading all the way through!
Easy Navigation Is the Key
Navigation is all about organizing your blog’s layout, so it’s easy to access. And if you get it right, readers will be more inclined to stick around; here’s why.
First-time visitors to your blog won’t intuitively know its layout, nor will they spend much time figuring it out. You must guide them, so they don’t miss out on all of the great content you’ve written.
This is where a table of content and a summary box come into play:
- Table of content: A list of the subheadings in your post, best placed beneath your intro, and it can also be in a scrolling sidebar. And you can link each subheading to its correlating section, making it easier for your readers to navigate. Trust me; they’ll love you for it.
- Summary box: Found at the beginning of an article, where you provide short answers to the larger questions your post is answering. It’s an excellent way of ensuring when people scan; they’re left knowing your blog has what they need.
Brand Your Blog
Search engines favor branded content. Might sound unfair, but they’re not the only ones, users do too, and statistics show that people are 6 times more willing to trust a brand they know, meaning if you have one, they’re far more likely to click through from a listing, a social post, or an advertisement.
You might think you’re just a blog, not a brand. If so, that’s a mistake. All online content is a brand one way or another, and branded content consistently rises to the top.
Branding will set you apart from the competition, create recognition across numerous mediums, engage with audiences, and build trust.
When designing your blog’s layout, make your own logo, and create cohesion by using it throughout. Pick a theme that suits your blog’s personality, choose colors that fit your niche, and most of all, use high-quality design.
Visuals Connect More Than Words
You encourage people to read your blog from start to finish by making it scannable and easily digestible. Visuals, like pictures, infographics, and video, achieve that by breaking up the written word. And you can highlight essential takeaways so viewers can scan and still get the whole picture.
And while words build your narrative, visuals are what makes a blog compelling, and in turn, drive up engagement rates.
A good practice is to embed visuals every 400 words, use ones relative to your content, and highlight any important text you want your readers to consume.
Stop Thumbs from Scrolling Past Your Content!
Online writing is unlike any other style.
Readable, scannable, quick, easy, answers, visuals, and now subheads are all used to give the reader what they want, instant information.
By now, you’re getting the picture, yeah?
However, subheadings are particularly important for grabbing your reader’s attention. And by giving them a little, but not a lot, you create curiosity. That (along with visuals) stops people from scrolling past your content.
Don’t be too vague, or they’ll ignore them, but they won’t bother reading your content if you tell them too much. It’s worth your while learning a little more about subheadings, and I recommend you look here, as not only do they grab attention, they’re also vitally important for scanning.
Readability Is Essential
Choosing the right fonts also play a crucial role in your blog’s success, as not everyone’s blessed with 20/20 vision, and if they struggle to read it, they’ll bounce.
Only use fonts that are easily readable and versatile, meaning they’re just as legible on a smartphone as they are on a desktop.
Use larger bold fonts 24px – 28px for your heading, 18px – 22 px for your subheadings, and 15px-17px for your body of content.
The size you choose also depends upon the font you choose, so always test before you post.
Use These Tactics to Increase Engagements
If your content fails to engage your audience, your blogs toast.
But there are ways of ensuring it doesn’t happen.
Make your readers part of the journey by encouraging interaction.
- Show Your Comment Count: Put it at the top of your layout becausewhen readers see other people are commenting, they’re more likely to leave one.
- Choose the most popular comment system in your niche: Why? Because it’s what your audience knows, and familiarization encourages interaction.
- Back up your words with data: People prefer to share content from a reliable source (well, most of them)!
- Display a “Like” Button in your layout: People like to let their feelings known; allow them.
- Include Social Share Buttons: Encourage readers to share your content by including social media share buttons.
- Ask for engagement: Simple but effective – Askreaders if they found your content helpful.
Keep Your CTAs Above the Fold
No matter what your blogs about, it has a reason for being, what’s yours?
Whatever it is, a CTA (call to action) motivates your readers to buy into it.
It turns leads into conversions. Perhaps for you, that’s a subscription, a donation, signing up for your newsletter, or directing them to another one of your posts.
But that can’t happen unless your CTA’s where they can see it.
That’s what above the fold means:
Placing your CTA within your layout, so visitors see it immediately upon landing on your blog without scrolling down. It’s a powerful tactic, one that increases your percentage of engagements and conversions.
Page Loading Times – Should You Be Concerned?
I’ve left the most important till last, because yes, you should.
3 seconds, that’s all your blog has to load before 53% of visitors bounce. After that, it increases by the second!
So, there’s no point in applying any of the strategies in this post if you have a slow-loading blog.
Oh, it also damages your blog’s SEO profile, which means if you’re slow to load, you’ll drop down the listings like a stone.
OVER TO YOU
Congratulations, you’ve made it.
But would you have if my post had been a rambling 4000 words long? Void of subheadings, links, and data?
Maybe, but I’ll let you decide.
Oh, good luck with your blog, by the way!