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Is your blog engaging?

Does it keep readers coming back for more?

Readability, responsiveness and personalization are essential factors for a successful and highly viewed blog.

In this article I’ll share four ways to update your blog to improve the user experience.

a more engaging blog experience

Discover how to create a more engaging blog experience.

#1: Display Content With Cards

When you see the cards design, you probably think of Pinterest—bits of visual information at the reader’s fingertips. That’s why the card design is also effective for blogs to showcase multiple posts.

A card design helps marketers showcase multiple pieces of content in a visually appealing way. Instead of scrolling down a long list of blog ideas, it’s easy for readers to scan through the different cards, which makes it extremely user-friendly.

For example, Yoh’s blog features cards with different blog post topics. This allows the blog visitor to see a variety of options for content and decide what to click on next.

yoh blog

Yoh’s blog uses a card design to showcase content.

Readers discover new sites either through an interesting article posted on social media or because they searched for a specific topic online. Once they’re on the site, they’ll likely be engaged through easy access to multiple pieces of content.

#2: Implement Responsive Design

Many people read blog content on the go—during their commute on public transportation, while waiting for someone or just hanging around. They also click on blog links while checking social media accounts on their smartphone.

According to a Google study on mobile sites, 79% of users who don’t like what they find on a mobile site will look for the information they need on another site. Additionally, 52% of users said a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company. These stats alone justify the necessity of responsive blog design.

While some Social Media Examiner readers check out articles on their desktop computers, others read it on a mobile device. Whichever way users explore the site, they’ll have an easy way to navigate.

social media examiner blog on mobile

Social Media Examiner is easy to read on a mobile device.

When people visit SocialMediaExaminer.com on a mobile device, they can scroll up and down to see the content options instead of scrolling up, down, left and right. It may not sound that important, but it makes a huge difference in the user’s experience.

When your mobile site is responsive, readers will stay put. They don’t need to leave your site to go to a more user-friendly website with the same information.

#3: Serve Personalized Content

Personalization for blog content is becoming a necessity; it’s no longer something that’s just “nice to have.” This is especially important when you cater to multiple audiences, whether it’s different ages, specialties or roles within a company.

Show someone content that doesn’t relate to their interests, and they won’t spend much time on your website.

The first time readers arrive on the Sales Benchmark Index homepage, they’re asked to identify themselves.

social benchmark index blog homepage

Sales Benchmark Index homepage asks readers who they are, so they’re shown appropriate content.

After readers make their selection, they’re shown a list of appropriate blog articles, rather than seeing all of the available content.

social benchmark index blog post recommendations

Sales Benchmark Index blog content recommendations are different for each role.

Without asking visitors to fill out any forms, Sales Benchmark Index knows users’ roles at the company simply from their website design.

When you personalize your blog, it’s more than just a design benefit, although that certainly adds to the value. You give users a better experience by engaging them immediately and showing them targeted content.

Personalization gives marketers (and companies) more information about website visitors. This is great for testing and analytics, and allows them to segment interests and content even better.

#4: Include Interactive Storytelling

When evaluating your blog design, also consider the look of your actual blog posts. A typical written blog post doesn’t cut it anymore; it’s all about user experience.

Readers now look for interactive elements within the blog posts. Find ways to incorporate them into your blog post design, whether it’s GIFs or special graphics that add to the article, infographics to supplement the material or an actual interactive adventure.

In their announcement of the new game Project Spark, Microsoft created an interactive post on their stories platform, rather than write a long post that explains the game, how they built it and other background information. In the post they take the reader on a journey; they ask questions and show different content based on the interaction.

microsoft stories screenshot

Microsoft stories’ interactive blog post takes readers on an adventure.

After you choose a path, it continues the story. Note: Even if you say “no,” it gives you the option to change your mind.

microsoft stories adventure path screenshot

Readers are taken on a different path based on their answers.

The more you read, the more engaged and invested you are in the story. You learn about the game in a fun, interactive way. It’s a “choose your own adventure” blog post style.

microsoft stories adventure path choice screenshot

At every fork in the road, there’s always the option to answer no, complete your journey and download the game.

Microsoft constantly comes up with new ways to engage their audience and keep them coming back for more. It’s an excellent site for marketers to explore in hope of igniting ideas that will work for their brand or company.

Conclusion

If you haven’t evaluated your blog design in a while, it’s time to take a look. Find ways to incorporate these trends to make your blog easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, personalized and interactive. All of these elements will drive engagement with your content from your target audience.

A good website design could be the difference between gaining regular readers and only getting visitors when your blog appears in search results.

What do you think? How do you improve the blog experience for your readers? What elements do you include to improve your blog performance? What has been successful for you? Please share your recommendations and comments below.

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  • Marco Filipe Novo

    Hi Rachel, what a simple and insightful article. For me, 1st and 2nd tip are great, I mean, more accurate to my blog which in construction process! Nice graphics an responsive design seem a must have for a blog nowadays. But the other tips seem great too. Thanks for the great article!

  • Shannon Nicole

    I love all of these suggestions! I would have loved to see how these tips would impact engagement versus traditional methods. I love #1 and I’ve noticed that I have paid attention to content like that, but I only know that works because of the unmentioned 80-20 rule. Great article otherwise! Got to keep some of these in mind for the future!

  • aismarketing

    Are there ready-made tools that can help you with the design on a WordPress site to achieve these kinds of effects, such as the interactivity and personalization? Also, what widget would help with cards layout for a WordPress site?

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: The Future Of Content Marketing, Twitter To Launch Auto-Play Video Ads & More()

  • Hi Rachel, really appreciate your work here. I would recite everything Marco said, and add that I found the post fresh. Thank you writing about elements of blog construction that are trending / set to trend.

  • Ravi Namboori

    Great Tips….!

  • I’d be interested to know this too.

  • Beth Ellen Nash

    I’d really like to know the answer to this, too.

  • Beth Ellen Nash

    How does one create a choose-your-own adventure style blog post as recommended in #4? I can think of several uses for this in my business, but have no idea how to do it. I’m using WordPress and HubSpot.