I love to read discussions about what’s important in your blog design.
You need a professionally designed logo!
You need a premium theme!
You need, you need, you need!
As far as I’m concerned there are only two key elements of your blog design and layout you really need to focus on: Your content and the reader’s experience.
When those are perfect you can move on to all that other stuff.
Let’s Focus On Your Content
Your content is what brings people to your blog, it’s what keeps them on the page, and it’s what keeps them coming back for more. On the flip side of the coin, if your content sucks, even the prettiest background and theme will not pull in the traffic, and even the coolest Twitter widget or flashing banner will not keep those visitors on your blog.
But it’s not enough just to provide information. Searchers can find all the facts they want all over the Web. The content you provide should be unique and it should provide value for your readers. But what does that really mean?
What Is Unique Content?
Many bloggers think that the only thing it takes to provide unique content is to take something that someone else wrote and rewrite it in their own words. But that’s not unique at all. You’re still saying the same thing that other blogger said, you’ve just changed the words.
To make your content unique you need to take those basic facts and put them into context that interests your specific readers – you need to make it relevant.
For example, all over the web you’ll find blogs in a variety of niches that all talk about the importance of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. One blog stresses the benefits for children, another stresses the benefits for people who want to lose weight and another focuses on the benefits for people suffering from arthritis. Each blog talks about different benefits for different groups of people but they’re all talking about the same foods, they’ve just made the content relevant and valuable for their specific readers.
Let’s Focus On The Reader’s Experience
The quality and uniqueness of your content goes a long way toward providing a pleasing experience for your reader. But it’s important to remember that your visitors will often have more than one question, which means they’re going to need to see more of your content.
Is your blog easy to navigate? You may think so, but it’s your blog. Of course you know where everything is. Imagine you’ve never seen your blog before and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your pages clearly labeled and visible in your navigation bar?
- Are your categories labeled with keywords and clearly visible in your sidebar?
- Are your more recent posts highlighted?
- Is your key content highlighted for new visitors?
- Are you using links inside your content to lead visitors to relevant content inside your blog?
- Are you using a related articles plug-in at the end of posts to lead readers to more information?
- Have you set up and highlighted a special category for beginners and first-time visitors?
- Do you have an About page and a Contact page and are they clearly visible?
Your content and your readers’ ability to access your content are the tow most important elements of your blog design and layout. Without them, nothing else matters. Focus on these two elements first and worry about finding the perfect theme later. Who knows? If your content is awesome and your readers are happy, your theme might not even matter.