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The Ultimate Guide to Design the Perfect Blog

September 25, 2016


Creating a well-written blog needs a lot of effort. It needs to be perfect, for the maximum impact. This guide aims to give some actionable tips to achieve a better blogging experience, to create a substantial influence. Let’s jump right into the process and generate that perfect blog post:

1. Choose a CMS

CMS is an abbreviation for Content Management System. It is a software that simplifies publishing of various types of content like text, images, video, contact forms etc. for online pages.

It has a front-end that is visible to the visitor and a back-end where the publisher can add/modify design themes, text, images, video content, social media plugins, buttons and plenty more options, based on the CMS you choose.

A quick depiction of how CMS works is shown below:

How cms workImage Source: www.wooblog.s3.amazonaws.com

 

Usability of CMSs differ with your needs but focus your research on the following questions:

  • How user-friendly is the CMS? How much technical specialization does it need? WordPress is the easiest open source CMS with a huge developer community and over 140 million downloads
  • How customizable is the CMS? Does it support structured content and design templates? Both Joomla and Drupal are very malleable. They have high customization features and if you give some time to learn it, they may work wonders for your website.
  • How are permissions for editing web design handled? How to keep a tab on admin activity on CMS? Editors can be easily added and switched in Joomla and Drupal. These editors can change website content with different levels of permission. WordPress also allows for multiple authors and admins which can edit content on the website.
  • How many plugins does it have? What is the frequency of CMS update? Joomla is updated frequently however, the WordPress community is huge. It has a huge library of plugins and extensions.
  • How does it maintain large traffic? Does it offer resources like free hosting?Joomla performs exceptionally well when it comes to handling large chunks of traffic. It offers better hosting service than WordPress.

Most popular CMS:

  • WordPress
  • Magento
  • Drupal
  • Joomla!
  • Tumblr
  • PrestaShop

    2. Choose a Color Scheme and Template

When choosing a color scheme for your blog, the possibilities are endless. Inspiring visuals around every corner makes it difficult to narrow down the options. Fortunately, there are automated ways to choose color themes that won’t leave you gasping for thin air.

Let’s take a look at the top strategies for deciding an appealing color combination for your blog:

ShutterStock labs- Mood Board

  • Create a mood board based on inspiring images you love.
  • Choose colors that you love but won’t get tired of.
  • Consider color psychology.
  • Review the colors which are most commonly used in your niche, and mix it up with your own choices.

Adobe Photoshop CS6- Color Palette generator

  • To drop your photos into this template, just select one of the large rectangles (labeled Photo) and paste a photo (command/control-V).
  • You may need to move and resize the photo to fit it in the rectangle. Hold down the Shift key to keep the proportions correct.
  • When your template is visually optimized, press Enter.
  • To change the colors of the smaller rectangles, select a rectangle with the Move Tool and adjust the contrast, hue and other elements. To restructure it, use the shape tool.

 

Adobe photoshop shape tool

Image Source: www.theblogmarket.co

3. Use Infographics

Organic audience is the largest source of traffic for most websites. By getting links from large and relevant platforms, your SEO gets enhanced, which positions your blog in better SERPs.

The reason an infographic is great at content marketing, is because you can create one and post it on multiple websites without worrying about duplicity. It is impossible in the case of textual blogs, because if you post the same content on different websites, you get penalized by Google and suffer badly in SEO.

Make sure to add the following features in your infographic:

  • Impressive and appealing design
  • A solution to a problem
  • Educational and entertaining
  • Statistics and Sources

Some Tools for Bloggers to create Infographics:

Videos are a great way to enhance your blog posts. They help you to build more personal connections with your viewers. As Qudos Animation suggests, “an attractive story motivates the audience to listen and really engage with a message. Your business can benefit from a great storytelling. So why not use one to motivate your consumers?”

An interesting story about your business truly resonates with the audience and creates a tangible impact. Videos can be filled with emotions, music, feelings and the vibes, which is very difficult in other forms of communication.

  • If you want to upload and host video files on your blog, use Video Press, which comes with a WordPress Premium and WordPress Business plans.
  • You can also embed videos from many other online video hosting services on your blog, for free.
  • Use software to create and edit videos. It requires some technical skills with a lot of creativity.
  • You can also use unconventional approach and start a Vlog, make vines and ultra-short videos, and even turn your text into simple videos.
  • While videos from many popular services like YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Hulu, Instagram, Animoto,  will embed automatically by simply placing a link in your page, check your CMS’s features or contact your web developer, for more information.

    5. Use Title Generator

A good title is one which is optimized not just for readers, but also for search engines.”
The title of your blog post plays a major role in its success story. It is that palpable element, which compels users to make an effort, click and then actually try to read it. It also plays a significant role in a post’s search engine ranking.

Tips on Generating Blog Post Titles & Ideas:

  • Blog, Borrow, Steal- What headlines do you see that capture your interest? Steal that headline and tweak it for your own purposes.
  • Generate ideas with online tools- Some popular blog title generators are HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator, Portent’s Content Idea Generator and Build Your Own Blog’s Idea Generator.
  • Same but Different- You’ll find that, for the most part, the ideas spun by most of these topic generators are largely the same. These generators use formulas that work and apply them to your key themes. Use these generators to get an idea, make a similar title and evaluate it with coschedule.
  • Expand upon Generator Ideas- The “X Things you don’t know about ___________” is a standard blog topic. It’s overdone and overused, but it’s still a good idea because it works – it generates curiosity.

    6. Plan a Content Calendar

Planning content far into the future is a critical element of most marketing strategies, and the erstwhile content calendar—in its many shapes and forms—fits this role perfectly.

If you’re responsible for developing content within an organization, you need to plan it out for upcoming weeks, months and year. This helps build alignment between teams and also keep writers accountable for their work.

  •  Take a bird’s eye view of your content and fill gaps and voids.
  •  Plan and organize around key events, dates and launches.
  •  Ensure plenty of prep time to get content ready to publish.

Some examples of editorial calendars are Forbes, Time, Inc, Vogue, Buffer, etc.

7. Use Plug-ins and Widgets

This is probably the simplest (and most important) tweak you need to make to your blog. In the long run, it will grow your search engine traffic, by leaps and bounds.

If you are running a Word Press blog, download and install the Yoast SEO plugin, which helps you to create SEOed content, right when you are writing it. Some top Word Press plugins are Backup Buddy, W3 Total Cache, WPForms and OptinMonster.

However, if you are not using WordPress CMS, browse discussion forums and dig out gems for creating an awesome blog post. They’ll make your day-to-day blogging task easier and deliver a better experience for your users, as well.

Designing a blog that can boost your traffic isn’t that hard. All you have to do is follow the above-mentioned tips and gradually observe a substantial increase in your blog traffic.

 

 

 

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