10 Tips for Building an Effective Blog

The digital world is small – especially in higher ed. Robert Wyllie, my younger cousin, found me through the interwebs while researching how to improve his new blog: http://thesweepblog.com/ . Rob is incredibly brilliant, and I was humbled when he reached out for help. I greatly enjoy creating solutions that provide content in ways that users enjoy – so I happily replied with a couple of suggestions.

Consider these ideas when building your new blog:

1. Color

Color can have a significant impact in provoking customer reactions. Studies have shown that a product’s color influences 60-80% of a customer’s purchasing decision – which means color can make or break your product.

2. Layout

A page’s layout can make or break user engagement. Your content should be easily scanned, visually interesting, and make the user want more.

3. Authors

Who is writing can be just as important as what they’re writing. Users want to know who’s telling the story – otherwise it feels stale and corporate. Providing a list of authors and allowing visitors to search by author will help build those relationships that are critical for user loyalty and engagement.

4. Engagement

Show off all of the ways you’re connected online and make use of the open space in the page layout. Provide links to your social media connections, examples of recent tweets, etc. to illustrate how effective consumer engagement can be.

5. Tags & Categories

Make it easier for users to scan your content by setting up tags that define the content type and to find associated posts. Categories are excellent navigation elements and tags help complement the overarching category. This will also help you determine what types of content your users are most interested in.

6. Language

Users are more likely to read the whole article if they read the first 3-4 sentences, so make sure that the opening is compelling and straight forward. Web content should typically be at a 5th grade level so they can be scanned and shared quickly (even for higher ed). How does your website rank per http://read-able.com/?

7. Font

Blogs typically use a sans serif font to increase readability. Yes, they can be boring – but statistics show they help. Plus, a good font will help increase website accessibility.

8. Google Analytics

Set it up if you haven’t already. Now. Hundreds of blogs make money by proving their worth through Google Analytics. Plus, knowing how many of your users are returning, and also how many are using by a phone can help you determine strategic opportunities.

9. Responsive design

Studies show most people read blogs on their phones or tablets. There are some easy things you can do to make your site responsive so everyone can easily enjoy your content.

10. Post Daily

Blogs with daily posts get 5x more traffic than those that post weekly or less. I admit this is something that I need to work on.

I hope this helps. What other tips do you have?

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