Many authors and publishers are using blogs these days, but there are many who are not fully utilizing the design elements (and not maximizing traffic). I want to give you two critical design elements that you can improve right away - there are certain aspects of a blog that give it an advantage over the regular website. If you are able to utilize these features then your readership, traffic and revenue should increase.
One of the key features of a blog is customization (regardless of which platform you use). Remember, you can structure and personalize the content of the blog. As we all know "content is king" and ensuring that you give your readers the best content is a top priority. For this reason, I recommend designing your blog by positioning the best quality "most read" content at the top of the page. Rather than having a large graphic that consumes the top of the page, add links to your most read articles. Also, ensure that you title the link accordingly (people are always interested in what other people found so interesting). This instantly has readers engaging with your blog, rather than just scrolling and then leaving the page. You could also have a short introduction to the articles at the top of the page. From here, you can then link to the rest of it. This is a good way to pique curiosity with your reader right away.
Take a look at how this works with the Featured Articles on our niche blogs:
Ideally, you want your readers to move through your blog, reading and connecting with your content. This is the best way to have them sign up to your newsletter.
And while you're at it, ensure that you have the blog comments prominently positioned. Why? Because this creates a lot of social proof. As a result of seeing the reader comments, other visitors will engage and leave their own opinions. Have a large "Comment Here" box on the page,
and encourage interaction, as more and more people will re-visit your blog (just to see what's going on).
Of course, there are more elements to a blog than mentioned here, but taking the time to focus on the elements mentioned here will reap long-term rewards.
Tip offered by Susan Gilbert, AME's Search Engine Marketing Expert and Web 2.0 company owner, http://www.joomlajump.com/content/view/406/81/, which provides Social Networking websites and services.
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