Just like most bloggers, when I first started online my blog did not exactly look professional. In fact I was using a free WordPress theme that was black and red and the only widget I used was the blogroll. However after a few weeks I started to pay attention to the design blogs the blogs that I read a lot and started to notice trends in the way that they looked and worked. After that I went away and invested in a premium WordPress theme customized it to how I wanted users to interact with my blog.
Content is king when blogging, however the layout and design of your blog is equally important and can make a big difference. When blogging you want to be perceived as an expert in your niche, someone who people will want to follow and look up to and you can reflect this in the design of your blog. Furthermore you also want to see certain results from your blog, for example you want readers to sign up to your mailing list and keep returning to your blog. In this post I am going to share some methods I use to make my blog look more professional and get the results I am looking for.
Responsive web design is on nearly all major websites and blogs these days so what is responsive web design ? Well responsive web design is simply design that can fit any size of screen. After taking a look at my traffic logs i noticed that a lot of people were viewing my blog from mostly mobile devices, specifically iPhone’s. Therefore I decided that I need to find a WordPress theme that has a responsive web design. Try taking a look at your blog from a mobile device and ask yourself how easy is it to read and navigate around and if it does not look great on a mobile device then you need to change your blogs design or WordPress theme. There are a load of places that you can find responsive WordPress themes online now and most themes actually use responsive web design. I personally like the themes on ThemeForest as they are a good price and look professional. When you do change your theme a lot of people forget that you will have to put all your widgets on your sidebar again and make sure that everything is working correctly with your new theme so do not make the mistake and not leave enough time to sort your theme out and have to leave it how it is until you have time. This will just make your blog look even more unprofessional and then readers will be less likely to come back.
Hide your post dates
When I first started blogging I had a schedule where I would post content on my blog everyday, but just like a lot of other bloggers I did not manage to keep this up for long as I decided to write longer posts but not as often. The problem with that is that I was writing posts that were not time bound and were aimed at being viewed months and years from the post dates. What people want when they visit your blog is up to date content and if they can see that your post was written a long time a go then they may believe that it is out dated and could be put off reading it. For WordPress I used the WP-Date Remover plugin.
Have a subscription option
Go and check out some of the blogs that you read on a regular basis and you will notice that they all have one thing in common. All of them have a subscription option where readers can enter their email address. When readers come to your blog and enjoy reading your content then they expect to be able to subscribe to your blog so that they can keep up to date with all of your latest posts and I often see a lot of new bloggers that have not yet added this feature to their blog.
Getting your mailing list set-up is something that you want to do on day one of your blog. By adding a subscription feature to the sidebar of your blog your users can easily enter their email address. There are a load of different subscription tools that you can use with your blog. Feed Burner is probably the most popular and I personally use the subscription feature in the Jet Pack WordPress plugin.
Information about yourself
When blogging you want o be seen as an expert and someone who your readers can look up to and therefore you need to have information about yourself and a picture as well. By doing this is builds readers confidence in you as they know who has written the post that they are reading and are more likely to want to read other posts that you have written.
There are two ways that you can put information about yourself on your blog and they both work with each other. The first way is to have an about page. This should contain a picture of yourself and some information about yourself including interests and how you started your blog. Furthermore you may also want to add information about your blog itself including what your blog focuses on. The second thing you want to do is to add a picture and a small description of yourself in the sidebar of your blog. From here, your readers can click to go to your about page.
Be seen social networking
Every big blog uses social networks for the simple face that they can drive large amounts of traffic to their blog and that readers can keep up to date with all of their latest posts.If you take a look on most blogs these days then you will see that nearly all of them are on Twitter and Facebook and you want to be doing the same. By integrating both of these into your blog then readers can follow you right from your blog. For WordPress users there are a load of widgets that can be placed in your sidebar for both Facebook and Twitter.