Your website design plays a huge part in your blogging adventure. Not only does it make a first impression for your brand, but it also can really define what your blog stands for and how your readers experience and engage with your online presence. Intentionally designing your website to work for you and your blogging goals means that on a daily basis your website does most of the hard work for you. Today I’m going to talk through some things to consider when building the best website for you and your blog, and if you’re a creative business owner this podcast from Being Boss on Your Website Is Your Most Valuable Employe is also a must listen.
What’s the core purpose of your website? Before you get started and even hit the drawing board, knowing the core purpose of your website is key. Is it to connect with your ideal readers? Establish your expertise? Sell your products and services? Grow your online presence and increase your reach? Know exactly what you want to do with your website before you start to build it. If content is your main focus, then make that the centre of the site. If on the other hand your business and shop is the core purpose, you can then let that take centre stage. Be intentional about it and have an overall aim with your web design. For most bloggers it will be to connect with your audience and attract new readers, so putting your content at the forefront in an engaging way is probably the best step for you.
What is the experience you want to create? Your blog is an experience. It’s way more than just pretty pictures and words on a screen, it’s a platform for you and your work and everything from your content, to your marketing copy, to your visuals, and navigation all work together to create your readers experience. Do you want your blog to be fun? Entertaining? Informative? Motivational? How do you want your readers to engage with your site? Do they just stop by and read each post, or are there other pages you want them to explore and consume? Know inside out exactly the experience you want to create and let that be the foundations you build your websites functionality on. Not only does this add tons of value to the reader experience, but it will also help your blog and brand stand out in the crowd.
What’s your call to action? I spoke about CTAs in my post on How To Create An About Page That Works For Your Blog, and they’re super important if you want to encourage your readers to act instead of just being passive traffic. Know exactly what your CTA is. Is it for them to follow on Bloglovin? Or sign up to your mailing list? Or visit your online shop or hire me page? A call to action not only brings some focus to your site but also some direction for your readers too. It opens up clear paths of engagement and next steps they can take if they really want to engage with your brand, and without one you’ll struggle to really achieve the results you’re working so hard towards. Don’t bombard your readers, have clear and focused CTAs on your site and be intentional about them.
Your Pages & Your Sidebar A huge mistake I made with my sidebar in my earlier blogging days was just filling it up with anything and everything instead of getting specific about what my website needed. Same with my pages, it’s only in recent months that I’ve been really intentional with them and now I can happily look at my website and know that everything exists in the purpose of working towards my bigger goals and aims.
For your pages, know exactly what information it is you want to share on your website. Build an awesome about page, if you’re a business with a blog then craft the perfect hire me page or ecommerce shop for you, and my biggest advice for bloggers is to have a super easy to navigate archive page for new and current readers. There’s nothing more frustrating than falling in love with a new blog but not having an easy way to devour their archives for the next hour or so, and it’s so important to remember that your blog is way more than just its latest post.
As for your sidebar, keep it focused, easy to browse, and fuss free. Too much and you’ll just confuse new readers, so only have on your sidebar exactly what it is you want to share. This is the perfect place to house a CTA, whether it’s social links or a mailing list sign up, and I’d recommend putting them nearer the top instead of hiding them at the bottom. A piece of advice I’ve been sharing with my coaching clients recently is that instead of sharing recent posts in your sidebar (which are easy enough to see already on your blogs home page), it can be more engaging to share popular past content or specific posts aimed at your ideal readers. My biggest advice for your pages and sidebar is to keep everything on brand, from your marketing copy to your visuals, keep it consistent throughout.
I'd love to know what you think? What's your experience so far of building a website that works for your blog? If you have any specific questions don't be afraid to let me know in the comments below!
Do you want one-on-one support to take your online presence to the next level? Let's work together to focus your blog and help you reach an engaged and active readership.
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