Brilliant or boring blog? October 24, 2006Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Trends.
Separate your blog from the masses of text out there.
Tip 1: Keep the Banner/Header Small in Height
A banner gives a site “pop” and creates its look-and-feel. But what’s the purpose of a banner that’s 600 pixels long? Remember, you have menus, white space, blog name, date, and other items that push the content further down.
A person who surfs blogs wants to get in, read, and get out. Show readers what you’ve got and ensure your fresh content appears “above the fold”—in the area of the screen that requires no scrolling to see.
Tip 2: Make Content Readable
You’re busy and there’s plenty of information out there, so you want tips fast. Readability refers to font size, bold headings, white space, short paragraphs, and anything else that can facilitate easy scanning and reading with no squinting.
Studies show most users scan content, as opposed to reading word-for-word. Use bold headers, short paragraphs, large-sized text, white space. Go easy on italics because italicized paragraphs are hard to read. Instead, enclose quotes in quotation marks.
Tip 3: Write Short Entries
Aim for 500 words or fewer. Our regular duties, meetings and other web sites are fighting for our time. Users could see a long blog post and not bother to start reading it because it’ll take too much time.
When you post a long entry, consider posting an excerpt on the blog’s main page with a link to the rest of the content. That way, no one is scared away, and users can scan past that entry for older entries.
Tip 4: Post Often
Readers can tell how consistent and frequent a blog is, just by scanning the dates. Some won’t bother when they see that the posts are old or there’s a long break between posts. Three to five posts a week should satisfy your readers’ thirst.
Tip 5: Let There Be No Sound
Unless you’re in the music business, having sound start playing when a visitor arrives on your site is more likely to annoy than impress. Let users get familiar with your site without audio disruptions. Simply add a link and a speaker icon so readers can decide if they want to listen to audio.
Tip 6: Include an About Page
For business blogs, include an “About Us” page. Just write a summary about the company and what it strives to do for its customers, and include biographies of the people behind the company.
Tip 7: State What Your Blog Is About
Have a tagline that describes your blog. Someone who has never visited your blog and arrives on a day when you’re talking about something outside the norm may mistake your basic blog topic for something else. The blog title or blog tagline solves this problem.
Tip 8: Make Your Contact Information Easy to Find
Blogging is about accessibility—connecting with users or customers. Your contact information shouldn’t play hide-and-seek with visitors. The potential customer may want to contact you about doing business or ask questions that could later lead to business.
Tip 9: Add Photos
A business blog may have multiple bloggers or a lone blogger. The ABOUT page humanizes the company, and photos help in that effort. If the blogger doesn’t belong in the About page, consider having information and a photo about the blogger somewhere on the blog, without making the reader search for those details.
Tip 10: Get Involved with the Blogosphere
Even if you don’t have a blog yet, you can participate in conversations by reading and commenting where appropriate. Use Technorati, PubSub, or a similar site to track conversations. When you come across blog entries and comments about your blog, write a thoughtful comment quickly. Readers will be pleasantly surprised that you listened.
Allow comments in your blog to send the message that you’re willing to listen. Engage in conversations about your industry and beliefs. This establishes your expertise as a thought-leader. As people discover your comments, they’ll want to click the link to your blog and learn more about you. You may soon find that you’ve won another reader or customer.