A blog is a great way to connect with customers and build loyalty. But the truth is, most company blogs could use some help with their user experience.
Maintaining a blog is more than just uploading a bunch of content and calling it a day. There are certain features every blog needs in order to be navigable and deliver information efficiently. The better your user experience, the better and more effective your blog will be.
Want to upgrade your blog’s UX? All it takes are a few steps. Here are nine ways you can get started:
1. Get Your Look Right
As great as your blog content might be, it’s the design that dictates whether visitors click away. People tend to judge a book by its cover, or in this case a blog by its homepage.
Appearance is everything with blogs, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Website builders like WordPress offer templates you can use to create a beautiful blog.
Templates are great starting points, but they shouldn’t be the end of your design. Look for ways to make your blog stand out. Everything from photos of team images to short GIFs of your users can personalize and beautify your blog.
When in doubt, look at what other companies do in your space. If you’re a tech startup, what do you see on Microsoft or Apple’s blog? Don’t be a copycat, but don’t be afraid to take inspiration from the leaders in your space.
2. Organize Your Posts
The homepage of your company’s blog will likely show the most recent posts first. This helps recurring visitors stay up-to-date with your company and ensures new ones meet the latest “you.”
However, not all visitors will be looking for the newest content. Use tags to help readers dive into specific topics without a lot of scrolling. For example, a calendar startup might use categories like “scheduling tips,” “efficiency hacks,” and “time management.”
3. Make it a Team Effort
Readers don’t want to see the same person drone on and on. While corporate wikis are internal-only content databases, they prove the point that blogs must be multi-author affairs.
No one member of your team knows everything. Make sure that the author byline reflects the content beneath it.
4. Connect Content to Elsewhere on Your Site
One of the key goals of your company blog is to boost traffic to your site, particularly its conversion-oriented pages. Use your blog to point readers to shopping areas and product pages they might find valuable.
Use a navigation bar on top of your blog that follows visitors about the page. When these pages are just a click away, readers are more likely to visit them. Making users re-enter URLs or backtrack out of the blog will turn many customers away.
5. Enable Searches
When a visitor hits your site’s blog, they’re looking for something specific. Whether it’s a tutorial on how to use your product or general tips about the industry you work in, the content they seek should be easy to locate. If it’s not, visitors may become frustrated and leave the site to look someplace else.
Adding a search bar to your blog makes it easy for readers to find exactly what they’re looking for. It quickly takes them to the articles most relevant to their interests based on the keywords they use.
6. Use External Links Judiciously
It’s true: External links cause readers to leave your site. With that said, they also benefit your blog by giving it a sense of authority.
When external content really is the best resource on a topic, point your readers to it. Use keywords that closely describe the content you’re pointing to.
How do you bring those readers back to your blog? By ensuring the rest of the post is so solid that users want to finish the post.
External links are also important for SEO. Google’s algorithms look for an organic profile of high-authority backlinks when deciding how to rank blogs. Avoid linking out to spammy sites, or too frequently to any one site.
7. Strategize Ad Placements
Ads on your blog are a win-win: You can collect some extra revenue, while your customers get product suggestions relevant to their interests. The keyword, of course, is relevance.
Even too many relevant ads, however, can drive users away. Avoid more than two ads per page, and make sure they’re placed in ways that are obvious but don’t obscure the content. Feel free to charge more for ads immediately on top of or beside your content, where they’re likely to get the most clicks.
8. Include Rich Media
Most people associate blogs with text articles. While most blogs do include text content, they shouldn’t be only text. Adding images and videos to your blog content makes it more engaging while helping readers visualize the concepts you’re talking about.
The more types of media you can include, the better. You can embed audio clips from podcasts, screenshots from your website, or videos made by your content team. Experiment to find out what resonates with your audience.
9. Sweat the Details
Certain content features add a lot to your UX without much effort on your end. Many platforms, like WordPress, allow you to include these simply by installing a plugin.
A good example is an estimated reading time. Someone looking for a more in-depth read might prefer a higher reading time. Those who want a quick answer to their question will prefer blog articles that take only a few minutes to read.
Another detail you can add is when the blog post was last updated. Readers want to know if the information is up to date. Noting each post’s last update can also benefit your content team by identifying posts that could use a fresh perspective.
The better your blog’s user experience, the more value it’ll provide your reader and, by extension, your company. Engaged readers tend to be engaged customers. When in doubt, build it out.