How to Start a Blog – Blogging Tips and Tricks
When you begin to consider how to start a blog, you should keep in mind that WordPress is known as the most versatile blogging platform available, and for good reason. With thousands of plugins available, a myriad of extremely attractive designs, and the most versatile and easy to use dashboard around, it’s the CMS to pick if you’re aiming to become a serious blogger. However, even with thousands of great themes to pick from, a lot of downright ugly ones seem to slip through the cracks. Some appear on major blogs while some appear on minor blogs but, wherever they are, they cause some serious annoyances.
Design is one thing, while usability is another. Almost all WordPress designs are attractive, but there are quite a few that simply are not pleasant to read. Whether it’s a poor layout or distracting navigation, things can get in the way and make it difficult to access the most important part of any blog – the information. Blog usability is absolutely essential for happy readers and high advertising earnings, and a focus on form and usable design will result in a healthy increase in both.
How to Start a Blog on WordPress
Blog content and advertising must be kept separate.
First, you need to clearly separate your content from your advertising areas. Sure, it might not be great for your click through rates, but it’s a great way to ensure that your blog is easy to read. People come to blogs for information first, and ads second, so structure your blog to ensure people read through content before clicking an advertisement. This isn’t necessarily an anti-money strategy either, as content can often be used to make a product a more attractive purchase. For an idea of content used as a selling tool, look at one of the thousands of Amazon Affiliates supported blogs out there.
Keep access to blog content simple.
Second, you should aim for the most minimal navigational system possible. Whether it’s a simple sidebar or a floating divider, your navigation should be focused on simplicity and usability above any flash design options. Add in all of your major categories, an archives feature, and most importantly, a search field. Your users will want to search for content, and a blog without a search feature can prove incredibly frustrating.
Do not detract from blog content.
Finally, you want to design your advertisement areas so that they’re reasonably appealing to visitors, but not so distracting that they draw people away from your content too quickly. To get an idea of what ratio is ideal, look at some of the leading blogs in your field and use elements of their advertising layout in your own blog. Remember, content can be a sales tool, so if you’re running an article that could be used as a sales piece, it’s smart to optimize the page design so that the reader moves from the article directly onto your advertising area.
How to Start a Blog, Conclusion
Usability is about more than just making sure people are happy when navigating your blog. If you have some strategies for your readers or ideal goals for your blog, incorporate them into the design and layout. Good navigation and usability means more visitors, which in turn means more blogging income. Keep writing, keep optimizing, and keep testing your blog for usability.