by Suzie Eller
A writing friend asked me to visit her blog. I was excited because I loved her writing.
When I clicked on the URL she sent, I was surprised to find a series of long blog posts written in blocks of text. For a few moments, I wasn’t certain I was at the right place. Her name was nowhere to be found. There was no tag line. It was difficult to determine what this blog was about, or for whom it was written.
Yet when I started reading, I found my friend. She is a great writer. I loved her content. It was compelling in all the right ways. Concise. Witty. Insightful. Deep.
Later, she asked me if I visited her blog.
When I told her that I had, she said, “I know I’m writing words that make a difference, but my blog isn’t growing and I don’t know what to do.”
Maybe you are experiencing the same thing. You are writing your heart out, but you watch as other blogs flourish.
In today’s Tuesday Tip, we’ll share why a successful blog is a combination of compelling content and design.
In a time when people make a decision to stay or leave any Internet site in less than 10 seconds, it’s key that we capture both the eye and the heart of our reader.
We have trained our eyes to (unconsciously) assess who, what, why a site is before reading the content.
Of course, writing is primary. Great content posted consistently will build your community, but you have to draw them in with your formatting and design.
Let’s look at a few tips to do just that!
Choose an eye-catching, non-distracting font.
As a browsing culture, our eyes are weary. We won’t give 3 seconds to a site that is busy, too hard to read, or distracting. To avoid that, use one of the top four fonts used by blog designers:
- Lucida Sans Unicode
Break up your text.
A blog is not a book. Readers don’t have highlighters poised to underline. They are looking for quick encouragement, teaching, or connectivity. Break up your text into short paragraphs. Use bold sticky statements. Be you, but be concise. Use headings to highlight your main points.
Use images to highlight your sticky statement, scripture, or main point.
Images are a beautiful accessory that bring a message to life. You may not be a designer, but free programs such as Canva.com or Picmonkey.com make it easy to add a message to an image. You can pay for images within those programs, use photos that you have taken, or choose images from free, non-royalty sources such as Unsplash.com or Pixabay.com.
As you update your blog, keep these in mind:
- Allow sufficient whitespace.
- Your overall design should reflect you, as well as your message.
- Your name and tag line should be prominent, without overwhelming the space.
- Make it easy for your community to interact. For example: Some make it really hard for a person to comment, with sign-ins and hoops to jump over before they can just say, “I really love this blog.”
Should you hire a blog designer?
If you are a skilled designer, there are great themes you can choose in WordPress and other hosting sites that are easy to upload and beautiful. This is a great option, especially if you are still deciding who you are as a blogger.
However, a great designer can create a presence for you that will compliment your content and message. They can add plug-ins and options that make your site professional and inviting, and even commerce-friendly. To find a designer, check out a handful of your favorite bloggers. The name of the designer is normally at the bottom of the page. Click that link to inquire about availability, as well as pricing. Check several, as prices vary.
Share your thoughts on the COMPEL blog about the changes you plan on making to your blog based on Suzie’s tips. Take a critical look at your blog: does it look and sound like you? Can your audience automatically determine this is your space? Don’t forget to post a link of a blog you think got it right in the design department!
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