The primary purpose of any website is to attract visitors and keep them coming back for more. There is a lot of competition for the attention of the average Internet user. Because of this, it’s vital the website delivers a quality experience.
Marketing the blog can come in many ways. Although not all methods work for every site, there are a few that are universally exceptional.
Here is how anyone can start a blog and develop the site to be engaging. The better the experience for the visitor, the more likely he or she will return or even share posts with others. Following these six steps will make a big difference in visitor satisfaction.
Step 1: Focus on Primary Site Topic
One of the easiest ways to keep an audience engaged is by sticking to topic. For instance, a blog about writing wouldn’t randomly add a post about the best way to fish out of the Colorado River. Not only does this help keep a strong audience, but it’s also good for search engine optimization.
Individual posts need to stay on topic as well. Developers want to avoid filler content, also known as “fluff.” This is when a writer simply adds a random sentence for the sake of making the post appear longer than it is.
It’s all about keeping the material relevant if a creator wants to score well in sites like Google and Bing. Because most of the visiting traffic is more than likely going to come from search engines, developers need to make sure the site adheres to current SEO practices.
Step 2: Be Unique
As there are thousands of blogs covering virtually any topic one can think of, it’s important to be unique. Otherwise, there is nothing that separates one blog from another. Many will use personal experiences or add opinions within the content to give it more of a conversational tone.
Offering unique material can be quite difficult depending on the topic. There is only so many ways the same facts can be spun. This may be exceptionally hard for those creating a news source.
Be imaginative when delivering information. However, try to stay clear of being confusing. It is easy to let the imagination run wild when developing content to the point where visitors simply cannot follow the logic. It also helps to know the target audience and what they may view as acceptable, especially when it comes to language and vulgarity.
Step 3: Keep the Layout Clean
Since the primary focus of the blog is to engage the visitors, having a site cluttered with advertisements can easily take away from the experience. Although many bloggers create the site for the purpose of making money, there is such a thing as too many ads and banners.
An excessive use of imagery can also take away from the experience of visitors. This was apparent at the start of the 2000s when so many people used flashing GIFs that had potential to cause an epileptic seizure. Images are good, but not when it covers or distracts from the content.
Keeping the layout clean will also improve SEO. Speed is vital to any website, especially today when most users will leave a slow site to visit a faster one.
Step 4: Cite Data or Studies
One of the most rampant problems online is the use of “facts” that have no basis in reality. Citing facts from reputable sources will not just make the site look more professional, but it too will contribute to optimization. Linking to authoritative sources impacts how your site is categorized in engines like Google.
Keep in mind that most users will visit the blog in order to learn something new. Supporting claims and showing data gives those individuals what they want most: facts. All users should leave the blog feeling they have greater knowledge or at least feel entertained, depending on the purpose of the blog.
It’s also vastly important to make sure the data is accurate. Too many sites on the Internet are loaded with false claims or misinterpretations of information. While this will require a bit of research to verify the facts, the end results are worth the effort. It’s better to start a blog with a reputation of being factual.
Step 5: Add the Social Element
Because social media plays such an important role in society, adding it to the blog affects sharing and marketing. This is because nearly 80 percent of the population in the United States has at least one social profile of some kind.
Things like sharing buttons, profile feeds and more add an element of activity that engages visitors. For example, a blogger’s Twitter feed on the website can synchronize with posts made on the social media hub. This means Tweets are delivered to the blog as they happen.
Including a call to action at the end of the post to interact on social media also has potential to engage visitors in conversation. This will add a connection with the site and can easily create fans and followers. For example, end the post with a question to the visitor or suggestion to leave a comment regarding the blog’s topic.
Step 6: Include Imagery
Like the saying goes, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” One or two relevant images in a post have been found to keep readers engaged in the content. However, this doesn’t mean that any graphic will do. Remember, it’s all about being relevant to the content.
If the blog post is about caring for cats, an image of the Eagle Nebula wouldn’t make much sense. Instead of engaging the visitor, it will confuse him or her. Make sure the images are a mirror of what the text is trying to convey.
It’s also important developers practice optimization for images. If a 150 by 150 pixel thumbnail is needed in the post, don’t upload a 3000 pixel wide graphic and use code to shrink it. The system will still render the entire graphic as a whole, which will result in slower speeds. Use correct image sizes from the beginning.
The nature of the Internet ensures there will be competition for almost any niche a developer can think of. As a result, a blogger needs to make sure his or her site is separate from the rest. It takes more than awesome content to start a blog with the intent of engaging the audience. Everything from layout to color schemes can be influential.