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.
#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.
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.
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.
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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.
After readers make their selection, they're shown a list of appropriate blog articles, rather than seeing all of the available content.
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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.
After you choose a path, it continues the story. Note: Even if you say “no,” it gives you the option to change your mind.
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 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.
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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