I originally wrote this post as a guest post for my friend Cassie’s blog, Sage. The readers of Sage know that Cassie is huge on fostering a sense of community; whether it be through her sponsorships, Twitter, or Instagram. I love that about her. Her approach to encouraging community got me to thinking. How can I make my blog a space where readers want to return to and at the same time, how can I make readers feel welcomed and valued? Today I thought I would share with you 10 ways to make your blog a welcoming space.
Your blog design says a lot about you and your taste and it’s the first impression your readers receive. It is and should be a reflection of your personality. Having said that though, you do not want your design to distract your readers from the content. Too many colors, too many fonts, type that is too light to read can all lead to a negative impression. If you are one that loves bold and bright colors perhaps think about choosing 2-3 and using them in your graphics. Try to keep your fonts in graphics to 2-3 as well. As for the body of your posts, use a font that is easy to read and dark enough for readers to see without squinting.
2. Introduce Yourself!
Most blogs have a photo of the blogger but I have come across a few that do not even list the bloggers name. In cases like that, I find myself scrolling down to the end of the post hoping to find a post signature or hitting their About page. Perhaps it’s just me, but I like to know who the blogger is behind the blog. Let your readers know who you are and you can even go a step further and give a short little intro of what you and your blog are about. I recently updated my intro picture so upon landing on my blog new readers have a feel for what Love the Here and Now is all about.
3. Update Your About Page
Your About page may one of the first places a new reader ventures to. Let your readers know more about you. I love finding bloggers that I can relate to and often find that I can see what I have in common with bloggers through their About pages.
4. Make Navigation Easy
When I get to a new blog I like to see that everything is laid out nicely. I love being able to navigate easily throughout a blogger’s pages. Many blog designs and themes come with the option to customize the site’s navigation.
Using a static navigation bar (one that stays at the top of the page as you scroll through the web page insures that your readers can quickly navigate from one page to another, no matter where they are on your blog.
Having categories on your blog is key. It lets your readers know what you often blog about. A search bar is also a must. It will save your readers from having to scroll through post after post trying to find a post that they want to reread.
5. Popular Posts
Having your top or popular posts readily available showcases you and your blog. Take advantage of this and share the posts that drove the most traffic to your site. Perhaps you would rather ignore the stats and just share the posts that mean the most to you. Either way is fine but dedicate a spot where readers can keep reading.
6. Link to Posts Within Your Posts
You want your readers to stay on your blog. Make it easier for them to do so by linking to other posts of yours. By doing this you will keep your readers engaged and present. Another great option is to add related posts to your blog’s footer. If a reader enjoys a post of yours and sees that there are other similar posts readily available with a click of the mouse they may click through the suggested posts and stay on your blog a bit longer.
7. Reply to Comments!
When a reader takes the time to comment on your blog it only seems fair that you reply and it shows them that you appreciate the time they took to comment. When I first started blogging on the Blogger platform I used their commenting system. A reader would comment and I would email them a reply. I have since added Disqus to my site and have never regretted that decision. I love Disqus for the sheer fact that it allows not only myself to respond to a comment but anyone can join in on a conversation. It’s a great way to encourage a sense of community and discussion. Responding to comments via email limits the conversation to two people only. Why not encourage others to chime in and share their thoughts?
Your brand allows your readers to recognize you and your blog. Incorporating your header or elements of your header (fonts or colors) across your social media platforms will help you stand out to your readers. Your branding will help readers easily recognize you and your blog. If done well and properly across the board your blog’s brand will readily come to mind. This is something that I am just starting to work on myself. I use the same font (if applicable) and the same color throughout social media.
My Twitter header:
My Facebook Header:
My Pinterest account:
9. Add Widgets to Your Blog
Adding a Pinterest and Instagram widget to your blog gives readers a deeper sense of what you are about. To me, Instagram is a glimpse into one’s daily life. Why not showcase that on your blog and give your readers a better sense of the blogger behind the blog? Adding Pinterest to your blog’s sidebar is also a great way to share interests of yours. Let your readers see your latest pins and perhaps they will follow you and it will be another way to engage your readers. Perhaps you share some common interests.
Tips 1-9 won’t mean much unless you keep providing your readers with content that engages them and interests them. Not every post will be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. I blog because I want to share my thoughts, opinions, and views. Perhaps you may not agree with a blogger on everything but if done well, it will engage your readers and create a respectful discussion. Cassie did that beautifully with this post. Your content should be authentic and genuine and shared because it is something you believe in, not because of numbers and stats only. If it’s not heartfelt and something that you enjoy sharing it will come across to your readers.
How do you engage readers on your blog? Any tips to share on how to make your blog a welcoming space?
Today, I’m linking up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday. I have such a sense of gratitude for those that read this blog of mine. We create these online “homes” for ourselves and welcome readers to them daily. I am grateful for the amount of support and encouragement that they bring me each time I post. As bloggers we crave the interaction that we get from our readers. We want to know that we are connecting with someone out there and that they can relate to us. So today I thank you and I hope that you find this space of mine to be welcoming.