Planning on starting a new blog soon ? Let’s see what are the first steps when creating a WordPress blog: choosing a theme, brainstorming the content, deciding on topics for blog posts and etc. Updating your website with good quality and timely content is only half of the work. What about blog visitors? It will take you much time, energy and efforts to obtain devoted visitors. So, focusing on your visitors on the earliest stages of the blog development might be the key to your blog success.
We will start with the two most important aspects of the website from the visitor’s viewpoint- its functionality and design. Good combination of both will not only improve user experience on your website but will also lead to higher ranks in search engines.
I suggest several strategies, that will help you to create a compelling and useful WordPress blog.
1.Use Categories/Subcategories and Widgets
This applies to every section of your website. If you have posts of various categories create submenus, which will allow users to easily navigate through your posts and find the required info without spending much time. If you are already blogging for a while and have a lot of content to offer,you’d better create categories or use widgets to display it in a more organized way. User Experience rules state, that the site visitor should proceed maximum 3 steps to get to the targeted content. In other words, keep it simple and straightforward to help your website visitors to get around on your site with minimal efforts..
2. Communicate With Your Visitors
Engaging in communication with website visitors is crucial.
Choose your method of communicating with your website visitors. This can be a blogger’s message to the readers or a comment box below the posts. And remember that comments, reviews and ratings should be managed- whenever you receive feedback, make sure to respond. If feedback includes suggestions related to the topics or content, don’t forget to take them into consideration and send a thank you note to the contributor . This will make your blog more active and trustworthy. In addition, you can also include social buttons (use one of the social sharing plugins here, e.g. ) which will allow your visitors to spread the word about your site to your potential visitors.
3. Use Colors Wisely
It’s completely up to you to choose the colors of your website according to your taste and needs. I know tastes differ, but don’t go overboard. The overuse of colors will do more harm than good to your website. When choosing colors for your website,make sure they are soft and mild not to distract readers. A rule of thumb for website colors is visual hierarchy. This term can be explained as the following: “use vivid colors with call to action buttons, active colors for important texts and neutral ones for additional details”.
4. Use a Slider to Showcase Featured Posts
Sometimes featured posts get lost among the large list of widgets.This is also applicable to blog style homepages where the posts appear in chronological order and thus the important posts get “lost”.My advice is to display them within a slider. A slider is probably the best way to showcase your most important content in a visible and attractive way. Try using a WordPress slider plugin. To avoid too much distraction you can add the slider only to homepage within the header.php. You can also display the post’s featured image and a sentence or two about it.
5. Avoid Misleading Headlines
The page and post titles are very important when it comes to generating readership. You will manage to get a large amount of “one-time” visitors, who’ll navigate to your website attracted by post titles. But if the post doesn’t reflect the assumable content, the user will be fast to click the back button. So keep your titles and content synchronized. Try to keep the track of the posts, which have received more user feedback and stick to the style, topic and etc.
6. Split the Content
Sometimes we have so much to share with our readers, that we just keep writing huge walls of texts.The problem is, large texts are very often frustrating, and readers usually don’t read such long texts. To avoid readers skipping your posts because of their length, make sure to split them into parts. This is an important and useful technique for increasing your posts’ readability. You can use two methods that perfectly fight against boredom on your site – styling and images.The styling can include subheadings, bold or italic words, highlighted text. You can also include multiple images within the text using them as separators. Visuals always seem to be a great addition to the text. As an alternative, you can also divide the text into different parts and add separate posts .
7. Use White Space
Margins, margins and margins again. Sometimes we assume that the content is important and want to display all of it on landing pages. But this will overwhelm your website visitors and they will look for more organized content somewhere else. In contrast, if you offer your visitors a well-spaced text with great font size (12-14pt), the visitors will be more satisfied. In addition it will give a more professional and clean look to your website..
These are my personal recommendations on starting a new blog. I used them myself, when I started blogging a few years ago, and all of them did help me to put the right foot forward. I share them with you, so that you know where to start and what to avoid. If you have any questions or think I missed something worth mentioning, you are more than welcomed to share your ideas, thoughts and experience with me and others as well. I’d really like to hear from you.