Blog Design

  1. Five ways the right photo can increase readership and blog views:
    • Convey the overall feeling or emotion of your post
    • Illustrate a metaphor or analogy that is part of your main idea
    • Evoke surprise or curiosity
    • Complement your headline
    • Make your reader smile
  2. Review web analytics for the kinds of questions people type into search engines like Google or Bing that deliver visitors.
  3. Hierarchical structures reduce complexity (Simon’s Law): the better you manage to provide users with a sense of visual hierarchy, the easier your content will be to perceive. Build a Clickable Table of Contents on the right side.
  4. Make sure your subheadline flows smoothly into your body copy. Subheadlines are often the piece that clenches attention and gets the customer involved in your site.
  5. Long copy can work as long as it continually motivates the visitor to keep reading. Write tighter and edit out the side thoughts, anecdotes, tangents and other gunk.
  6. Break up long paragraphs into small, easily scanned “chunks”. It makes reading on screen easier (especially if you’re on a mobile phone!)
  7. Try making the first letter of your body text a drop cap. It helps fill in the gap between the headline and body copy.
  8. Five basic principles about heading structure in your Content:
    • The most important heading on the page should be the H1.
    • There is usually only one H1 on any page
    • Subheadings should be H2s, sub-subheadings should be H3s, etc.
    • Each heading should contain valuable keywords; if not, it’s a wasted heading
    • For longer pieces of content, a heading is what helps a reader skip to the parts that he/she finds interesting.
  9. With WordPress, Google Free Search and most ecommerce and content management platforms, there’s no reason not to have a search area on your site. Use analytics to monitor it.
  10. Make it simple for people to share a page with their friends on social networks or via email. Let them personalize the message.
  11. In-text links to landing pages, Sidebar/banner calls to action, Social sharing buttons, Call to action at the bottom
  12. Most search engines will use a maximum of 160 characters for your post description on their results pages. If you don’t create a meta-description (defined as a “…concise summary of your page’s content”), a search engine will often take the first 160 characters it finds on your page instead.
  13. Note too, that when you create a meta-description that is fewer than 160 characters, you’ll see the full description in the search engine. Otherwise it will be cut off.
  14. Add small content review features like
    • 1. Did this help you? Smily faces – Sad, OK and Happy
    • 2. Add a Thumbs up icon (not Thumbs up and Thumbs down) and ask – give us a thumbs up. Thanks.
  15. Certain elements on the page will add to a blog’s success:
    • Search box
    • RSS feed
    • Breadcrumbs (helping users navigate),
    • Flat site architecture by minimizing the number of clicks it takes to reach your content
    • Images
    • Keep your best content above the fold
    • Link to your best content
    • Don’t overdo links
    • Watch ad space
    • Encourage comments
    • Add sharing buttons
    • Test the blog for speed
    • Check your blog in different browsers
  16. Pick a powerhouse blogging platform (e.g., WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr)
    Names, Titles and Bio
  17. Not only are readers interested in the content in your blog post, they also want to know who wrote the post and their role at your organization.
  18. Sometimes you’ll come across a thoroughly researched and well-written post only to find an attribution of “admin.” Even if the blog is only written by you and you’re the administrator of the blog, be sure to include your name, title and a way for readers to contact you.
  19. Have someone not in your team or department read your copy. They aren’t attached to it and can make some interesting suggestions.

 

Content Design

  1. The user interface must keep in balance legibility, readability, typography, symbolism, multiple views, and color or texture in order to communicate successfully. Use max. 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes — a maximum of 18 words or 50-80 characters per line of text.
  2. Develop and present your content using an Inverted Pyramid. The inverted pyramid is a writing style where the summary of the article is presented at the beginning of the article. This approach makes use of the “waterfall effect” well-known in journalism where writers try to give their readers an instant idea about the topic they’re reporting. The article begins with a conclusion, followed by key points and finally the minor details such as background information. Since web users want instant gratification, the inverted pyramid style, as supported by Nielsen, is important for web writing and for better user experience.
  3. The first mistake people make is creating a site with fonts that are too small. Consider using:
    Body: 16 px
    Headline: 25 – 35 px
    Footer: 16 – 20 px
  4. The Baymard Institute published an article that says 50 to 60 characters per line is best, with up to 75 characters being acceptable.
  5. The reason line length is so important is that long lines of text are intimidating to read online. If the line length is too long, some people will not begin reading because it doesn’t look like very good reading experience.
  6. Write “evergreen” content. You may be surprised at how much traffic is still coming to your “old” pages. How can you freshen them up for today’s audiences?
  7. Sometimes the best converting headlines bring out a user’s “pain point” and forces them to acknowledge that pain and take action on it.
  8. Create content for 6 months ahead of schedule.

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