WordPress has been around for a while now and is a powerful CMS capable of building just about any type of Website you would want. With that being said, WordPress started as a humble platform for blogging. The CMS has grown a tremendous amount since its inception, but you can see many of its early influences still are present. WordPress set out to make publishing good-looking content quick and easy for everyone and they still strive to meet that goal today.
While modern WordPress websites often contain blogs, they’re typically just a part of the WordPress site as whole. Blogs are added on so frequently that they are almost considered an afterthought when it comes time to put them in. While we strongly recommend a blog for most sites, we also want to caution people about using blogs improperly or slapping them together too hastily. The old adage “A failure to plan is a plan to fail” is incredibly appropriate when it comes to blogs and how they are treated. Below, we look at some blogging standards and tips to ensure your WordPress blog is a resource that people actually want to read.
Readability Determines Retention
When you look at a blog post, you can immediately tell if you’re going to read the entire article based on its ease of reading. Everyone has seen webpages that have font that is too small or overly cramped. Unless that content is absolutely amazing, we typically don’t stay on those pages for more than a few paragraphs, if that! When putting together your blog, it’s important to make sure your audience isn’t fighting your layout to read the article. Below are few tips to keep your blog legibility in order:
- Use larger fonts for website body text. Depending on your site, a size of 15-22 may be appropriate to maximize legibility.
- Use higher than default line spacing. Out of the box line spacing is set to 100% font height, but using 120% - 150% line spacing can reduce eye strain and make line breaks easier to follow.
- Text width matters. Aim to keep a line of text 45-90 characters long in your blog posts. This helps readers remain focused on text by reducing overall lateral eye movement while reading.
- Avoid distractions. The occasional ad is fine in a blog post, but more than a few ads in a single post can cause users to leave your site.
- Use common, easily readable fonts. There’s hot debate on how serif/san-serif fonts affect readability. For the most part, you could use either. But san-serif seems to be the more modern choice and gives a slight boost to legibility. Serif fonts are still widely used, but evidence seems to indicate that they are better suited for long form text.
- Moderation and sensibility are key. The previous tips are all guidelines and what works for your site may differ slightly. Having the maximum of each recommendation can sometimes look as bad as not considering them at all. Use your best judgement and ask yourself if these changes improve or hurt readability for your specific pages.
Fresh Content is Best
Now that you have readability down, you’re ready for a blog, right? Wrong! There’s one more critical and often overlooked step to consider before you even start penning your first article: your content schedule.
Time and time again, blogs fail to plan for the future. Many start out with the best intentions, but soon they realize that content doesn’t write itself. A blog is best if it’s fresh. Updates are what keep your readers coming back and help boost your search rankings. While no singular content strategy works for everyone, stagnation definitely hurts everyone.
Depending on your goals, it’s best to try to release blog posts on a fairly consistent basis. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly, it’s important to let your readers know when you update. If you plan on using your blog as one of the main draws for your site, a weekly frequency may not be enough. With a schedule in place, blog posts can quickly become a daunting task to be completed. Preparing for your topics or releasing a few articles in advance can help ease that burden dramatically.
Quality over Quantity
While having fresh content that comes out regularly is important, quality should be your number one goal. Make sure you’re writing something that people actually want to read and not just shouting out into the void. Quality content gets searched for, and if you write your content well, people will find and share your articles.
Whenever you’re in doubt about an articles quality, it’s important to take a step back and ask the logical question: Is this worth reading? If you can’t answer yes, then you should take it back to the drawing board. Useful content is what helps a blog gain traction, and usefulness is often a key factor in quality, even above writing style and grammar is some cases. Just make sure you’re aiming to make useful, clear, and elegant writing with each post.
Images and Engagement
With content written and ready to be published, there’s still a visual element you need to consider: Images. Images are a key component to modern blog pieces. While they are not technically a requirement, they do a lot of good work for your pieces. Choosing the right featured image can captivate your audience and pull them into your article. Adding images to longer content can help break it up visually and increase reader engagement. These are all things you need to consider when putting a blog post together in the first place.
Careful use of images can enhance a blog post well beyond its written content. When putting together longer articles, consider what visual aids you can use to help convey your message to your readers. On the other side of this, the wrong image can distract your readers or push them away from your content; make sure you’re considering how your images can be perceived. As a rule of thumb, be sure to use images that are relevant and informative so your readers get a full, cohesive experience.
Next steps: Making your Blog
Now that you know some basic strategies to make your blog better, you need to make it a reality. Start planning your content schedule and start writing your first blog post! If you don’t already have a blog in place on your site, don’t worry, we can help. Ameicaneagle.com can help you get a WordPress blog built with all the bells and whistles. Contact us and see how we can help you today!