In this post, we are going to take a step back and look at a few essentials to making a blog or website look its best. There are a few things when you go to your website and look at it through your reader’s eyes. The things that you do to your website to make it catch the reader’s eye is going to help bring them back again. The information that you offer and how you offer that content is what will bring your audience back over and over. We’ve already discussed how to start a new blog and how to develop a blog. Now we are going to get into how to customize a blog.
There are several things you will want to consider when customizing your site:
Is the appearance of your blog appealing?
Does your website catch the eye of your audience?
Is your site interactive?
Does your site have any outlets or sharing capabilities?
Is the Appearance of Your Blog Appealing?
Appearance: The appearance of your site is something you want to consider when you step back to look at it. The overall design and style can be a deal-breaker for a lot of people. If they come to your site and it’s glaring at them with too many colors, color scheme combinations that really don’t really match or it’s really dark they may just click away.
No one wants to strain their eyes trying to read your content. You need to make your site appealing.
Keep it simple. Most readers like simple instead of overly complicated.
Structure: Look at the structure or the layout of your site.
Is there a navigation bar at the top of the page or is there a menu bar on the side of your screen? Can you easily navigate around the site?
You want your readers to be able to move around your site and read other posts. Readers may want to reference something they read on a previous visit or if they see something else that catches their eye they can easily maneuver over to that area.
The visitors to your site should be able to move easily through your site and not be scrolling endlessly trying to find their way around to find what they are looking for. This may discourage readers and they will leave the site.
If you are using WordPress it is an easy thing to do. Go to the back end of your website and choose appearance and click on menus, go over and add the title of your tab and save.
The style and design of your site should match your personality but also leave a great impression on your readers.
Does Your Website Catch the Eye of Your Audience?
Images: Images can make a striking difference in your presentation. They add variety, color, and act as visual aids.
Your readers are going to love images. Adding a few images here and there can really spruce up your posts.
They can help the reader understand what you are writing about.
Images can spark happiness or laughter, depending on the topic and the image. Make sure to use images that are relevant to your content.
Don’t put an image of a wet cat if you’re talking about a beautiful, brown Golden Retriever. I think you get the idea.
Images can be very effective after all don’t forget – “a picture paints a thousand words.”
Is Your Site Interactive?
Engagement: Is your site engaging? Do you ask your readers questions? Do you give them an area to leave comments on your site?
When a reader visits your website they may want to let you know how they felt about your subject or your imagery. Your readers may want to make a suggestion or congratulate you on a great piece. Make sure you have a place for your readers to do that. You can set this up so that when a reader leaves a comment you have the option to preview the comment and put your stamp of approval on it.
Don’t let someone make rude, suggestive, spamming comments on your site. You are in control of your site. You should allow a mixture of positive and negative comments to your site. It adds credibility and validity to your site. You may also leave a response to the reader’s comment making it even more interactive and engaging.
Videos: Videos are a great way to convey the message you are trying to get across to your readers. You can do videos on just about anything.
You can post how-to videos on how to cook, play a musical instrument, take care of an animal, paint a dog house, etc. You can upload a music video of yourself playing something or doing a review of a product. You could do an introduction video introducing yourself to your readers. The list goes on and on. It’s up to your imagination.
Does Your Site Have Any Plugins?
Plugins: There are several “plugins” I’m referring to here. Does your site have social media plugins?
There should be a way for your readers to share an article they enjoyed with their friends.
If you have social media plugins at the bottom of your posts your readers will have the option to share with their Facebook page or Twitter feed. This is a good thing for you. It will help drive more traffic to your site.
Depending on the type of site you have you may want to have a calendar where your reader can make an appointment with you to discuss your product or service.
You may want to have affiliate links so that your visitors can order a book or magazine that you just shared with them.
When adding a social media plugin or another link to your website make sure to always click the option for the new link to open in a new screen.
Your readers will appreciate the opportunity to move seamlessly from your site and back. They will appreciate the fact that you kept them in mind and gave them good relevant information and then a way to go purchase that book, mixer, or doggy toothbrush, etc.
Take your time and study your site. Take your time to improve it as you go. It’s okay to insert some of your personality without going over-the-top.
Make your website pleasing to the eye and the structure simple. Include relevant content that will be informative and helpful and you’ll have visitors coming back for more.
If you are ready to move forward on your blogging journey and you’d like to learn a little about earning money with your website, read the next post “How to Monetize Your Blog.”