Do you want to have a blog that pops! One that makes a great first impressions? An impression that is lasting?
In an instant, your blog needs to project a visual impression that captures your visitor attention and has them stay reading your content, commenting and sharing. You want your visitor to move from paragraph to paragraph as you build curiosity, fascination and provide valuable information.
General Blog Structure:
As per Dr. Jakob Neilson in a publication of What’s Working Now, people search a web page for information in an F-shaped pattern.
First, our eyes flow across the top of the page, reading the headlines and the first paragraph. If the first paragraph is well written and grabs our attention chances are it will be read in it’s entirety. Second, our eyes move down the left side of a page. Scanning and stopping to read if something grabs our attention.
Third, our eyes move across the page just above the mid-line. Again we scan and read parts of the second paragraph. Fourth, our eyes skim to the bottom of the first page.
Taking the above research into consideration, and with my own study of an effective blog layout, there are 9 Blog Structure Essentials that you need to implement when creating your web site so that it’s easy on the eyes, easy to navigate and draws the visitor in all at the same time.
The 9 Blog Structure Essentials:
- Choose colors that complement one another. Photos images should be crisp. Keep plenty of empty open spaces so your visitors eyes can travel around your blog easily. Remove the Tag Cloud if you have one, too distracting.
- List your blog topics in a side bar in alphabetical order, by category or make a list of latest blogs. Be sure to have a search field. Make it easy for your visitor to search your content.
- Call To Actions: Create many opportunities for your visitor to “Opt-In” on your blog. The best place to have an “Opt In” form is upper right spot of your side bar. The top is where the eyes scan first! I see way too many Opt Ins only at the bottom.
- Use images, graphics or videos that are eye catching. They should be crisp and compliment your content. Position the first image at the top left corner of your post. Again at the top! If you post is long, break it up visually with several eye catching images, again place them on the left side of post.
- Make sure all of your links work properly and are highlighted and that your pages load quickly.
- Pingdon is a free page test tool which is absolutely fabulous.
Your Blog should include multiple pages that your visitor can access from your menu. At the very least have:
- About Me
- Contact Me
- Other: Tools, Resources, Blogs, Work with Me, Events…..
4. Font Size and Style
- Its recommended that we can use up to 3-4 different font sizes throughout your blog. More than that and it looks funky.
- When choosing a font style, keep it simple and avoid the fancy fonts. Personally I do not like script writing. I find it hard to read.
- Choose fonts that are considered “Web Font Safe”.
- My number one critique to most bloggers is break up your paragraphs.
- Paragraph shouldn’t be longer than 3-4 sentences tops. This makes it much easier for your visitor to read and want to read.
- All headings should be in BOLD. Place your headline on the left side of your blog…..this will support the results from the study on F-shaped pattern eye tracking.
- Use multiple subheadings to break up each section of your blog material and again this makes it easier to scan, stop and read.
- Use lists or bullets wherever possible. This fits into Dr Neilson’s study. Lists line the back of the letter F –so if our eyes track downward (the back of F), we scan a list quickly and are more apt to find something of interest to stop and read.
- Keep your lists short. No one is going to read a list of the “54 Best Whatever for X.”
- If you have more than 15 items in a list, break your list down by category with an underlined subheading for each. Or break up your material in multiple blog posts, i.e. Part I, Part II, Part III.
8. Column Width
- The narrower the width of the reading area, the better. Newspapers and magazines have adhered to this rule forever. Our eyes track faster in smaller spaces and can read more without wandering off.
- When selecting a theme design, choose the two or three columns design with the sidebar on the right. This creates a smaller reading area on your posts. Remember, narrow is better!
9. Social Sharing and Follow Me Buttons
- Make it easy for your visitor to share your content with their network with social sharing buttons. I like to limit the social channels to ones that I connect with on a daily basis.
- Follow me buttons are different than the above. This allows your visitor to follow your content through the social channel they choose from your buttons.
- They are so many choices out there. Plus you now can display these buttons just about anywhere on your site. Floating social sharing buttons seems to be most popular at the moment.
Here’s to Blogging!!! Dallas
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