Your business’ blog is often where new customers go seeking answers to questions they may have. It’s something you should pay great attention to since your blogs could be the deciding factor in whether or not a customer picks your business over a competitor to work with.
It’s not all about looking pretty, it’s about letting the content shine through and being really easy to read. The look and feel of your blog is your brand. If it’s easy to read, your customers will keep coming back.
According to Hubspot, businesses who prioritise their blog sections are 13x more likely to see a positive ROI, versus those who don’t. Businesses who invest in copywriters or have someone in-house to create their blog content are the ones who succeed. These are the people who get users reading their blogs.
Even though content is crucial to blogging, it’s not the be-all and end-all.
To help persuade your customers to actually read your blogs, you need to optimise the readability. This can be done through a blog design that entices customers to read headlines, perform conversions, and create a good impression leaving them satisfied, ultimately making you and your business money.
It may seem like a daunting task, but to help you, we’ve curated a list of the most important design components and practices to help optimise your blog and get your customers actually reading your blogs.
1. Narrow Your Layout
One of the quickest and easiest ways to get more of your customers and new ones to read your blogs is to narrow your page.
As humans, we find it difficult to read long lines of text. The longer the line, the less likely it is we’ll actually read the text.
Imagine you printed a blog article on a piece of A4 paper. At 14pt font size, it’s perfectly legible and a joy to read. However, now imagine you stretched the paper to double or triple its original width, what would happen?
It becomes more difficult to read the wider it gets. The article on the page might be the best thing to read since sliced bread and solve all of your customer’s problems, but the layout has ruined any chance of the customer reading it. This is why newspapers, especially broadsheets, use more narrow column formats. Instead of going the whole way across the page, broadsheets split their stories into narrow columns which makes it easier to read. This is the same idea for blogs. If your blog layout is too wide, it will create readability issues for your customers.
Having a wide blog creates issues for your customers around forgetting where on the page they are. If they lose their place and don’t want to have to re-read the entire article to find their place, they’ll leave and you may have lost a customer.
It also makes your content appear shorter and less detailed.
2. Legible Typography
Your customers all have different levels of vision. Some may have 20/20 vision, others may have difficulty reading sentences on a screen. You need to make it as easy as possible for all your customers to read your blog.
You want your font sizes on a blog to be the last thing your customers complain about. Even something as small as this could leave your customer feeling dissatisfied with your brand and leave a bad taste.
If you use a 12pt font size and wonder why nobody is reading your blog, you’ve just found the problem. Try bumping up the font size to 16pt and leave it for a month. Then take a look at your engagement analytics and see the difference.
Some people with eyesight problems such as difficulty focusing on things rely on the browser zoom button just to read what’s on the page. This may not seem like a big deal, but you’re effectively excluding these people just because your font size is not at a size they’re comfortable reading.
Making your content accessible to all your customers will help increase the number of customers who finish reading your blogs.
The whole point in writing blog articles is for them to get read. Whether you pay a writer or write it yourself, you want to make sure it gets read by your customers and isn’t hidden by a small font that makes the text difficult to read.
Most blog articles and the problems they solve could probably be answered in a sentence or two, instead of a 2000 word post.
However, writing lengthy but quality copy is exactly what Google wants you to do, and if you want to rank well for competitive keywords on Google, you need to play by their rules.
This presents a new problem. Writing lengthy blog articles just for Google Search doesn’t help customers who are looking for quick answers to things. For example, searching for “how to increase my conversion rate” will present me with a comprehensive list of guides and complicated articles, giving me everything you would want to know about increasing conversion rates.
But if you’re just looking for some simple tips on increasing conversion rates, skimming a 3000 word blog post might not be that appealing. Summary boxes will help solve this problem.
These summary boxes can be placed at the beginning of a blog article so that it’s the first thing a customer coming to the blog will see.
Google often uses the content in these summaries for their featured snippets. So as well as getting the customer the answer they want faster, Google will use your summary as the first post in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), which will increase the traffic to that blog.
4. Short and Descriptive Subheadings
Generally, people look out for number one. They won’t take notice of information unless it relates to them specifically. Customers will come to your blog articles with the intent of skimming them until they find useful to answer their questions. You need to make sure your headers are clear so that the customers know what’s in the section before reading it.
Descriptive headers allow your customers to make a judgement as to whether or not to read something. Your customers are busy (well, they certainly see themselves this way), they want to be able to quickly tell what the following information is about. They might read it, they might not, but at least they’ve made an informed choice.
Descriptive headings and subheadings work anywhere — in emails, reports, online, or in brochures. Use them and your readers will thank you for showing them the way and making it easier to ‘get’ your messages.
5. Accessibility on Different Devices
Nowadays, most web browsing is done on mobile devices. Around 66% of people browse the internet on their phones and tablets, so if your blog isn’t accessible on devices apart from desktop, you’re potentially losing customers to your competitors. You want to make sure your blog is using Responsive Design.
Responsive design is a practice which ensures that all aspects of a website, including blogs, are accessible on any device.
Non-responsive websites will kill your chances of people reading your blog, let alone your products or services pages. In 2020, responsive design is not optional.
You need to make sure your copy is readable on mobile devices. This will require some work but the results will make it worth it.
6. High Contrast
Your customers don’t read your website, they scan. They scan the page until they find something they think will help them. They rely on word and character shapes rather than looking at each letter in the order it appears (either left-to-right in western countries, or right-to-left in some middle-eastern countries).
By using high-contrast text, it makes those shapes easier to recognise, there’s less visual information so less strain required to read and engage with a website. Humans will find the path of least resistance, so if your blog article isn’t scannable and your customer can’t easily find what’s relevant to them, your customers will continue the search for answers to their questions on a competitor’s blog.
Even certain types of monitors can make the difference between a page being readable or not.
- If your customer is using a monitor from a wide angle, low-contrast text may not be visible at all.
- Low quality displays can reduce the contrast drastically, making already-low-contrast content barely visible.
Not everyone will have the latest iMacs and MacBooks which are praised for their colour accuracy. These tend to be the browsing tool of choice for business owners and website designers, who often don’t think of your customers who have low quality screens. That’s why high contrast text is important, so that as many of your customers as possible can read your blog.
What to do next
Now you know what it takes to get your customers to actually read your blog, make it happen! The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll begin seeing more traffic, higher engagement rates and higher conversion rates.
If you feel this has helped you, why delay? Use what you’ve learned to get ahead of your competitors and have a blog your customers want to read and look forward to your articles.
If you still need some guidance, consider a free consultation with the Fourteen Forty team. In 30 minutes, you’ll be one step closer to getting your customers actually reading your blogs.