Business Blog Design: Navigation & using your Content

Posted by The Blog Coach 8 March, 2007 -

Business Blog Design SeriesMaking it easy for readers to get around your blog is essential – it’s also very sensible. You put a lot of time and effort into writing your posts, so you want to make sure that they can be found easily and any associated information also highlighted to your blog readers.

If you have special elements – these could be promotions, services, products, giveaways etc. – that you are looking to highlight, then these should be positioned accordingly at the top of your blog, above the fold. This will make these elements easy to locate and additional variations to the blog, as they will no doubt vary over time as your business priorities change.

However, the rest of your content also needs to be shown off to best effect! The main methods will be via the individual categories and the archives and, from personal experience, the categories which will be most frequently used, so make sure that they are prominently positioned.

There are some other ways and means that you can include to help encourage people to explore your blog further and therefore allow you to gain maximum benefit from the time that you invested in your posts. Some that you might like to consider are:

Related posts

Link to other posts on your blog which contain information related to the post that they are currently reading – they are clearly interested in the topic, so help them find more details about it. In Wordpress, you can do this with a plug-in called Related Posts.

Links in your posts

Within your posts, reference other posts on your blog so that you make it easy for people to find them. Just as you should reference other people’s blogs in your posts as sources of additional information, there’s no harm in referencing your own as well.

Key posts

You probably have set of key posts (which I call Foundation posts) and which contain information that is key to your services and your business in general – so highlight them, perhaps by creating a list under the heading of “Key information”. If you can’t specifically identify ones, then check your stats package for the posts that attract the most hits or appear most prominently in the Search Engines and then highlight them.

Most Popular posts

Check which posts attract most comments or which have the most visitors (again a plug-in can help Wordpress users here) and make sure that they are highlighted so that more people can read and share them. The sidebar is a good place to create this list although you could alternatively make a special page.

Recent Posts

List your last 5 posts in the sidebar thus encouraging people to read your most recent (and possibly most relevant) offerings. You might avoid these on the main blog homepage as they will be visible but is great for individual post pages – a quick modification to your template will allow you to achieve this.

Recent Comments

With blogs being all about communication, show the last few comments in your sidebar so that people can read not only your initial posts but also the comments that your readers have taken the time to leave.

Show Categories in the Post headers

Include the names of the categories that the post appears in alongside the title or at the bottom of the post. It will help people to find other posts which are related and that you have categorised in the same way.

By using these methods, you are giving additional value to your readers by helping them find further information that is relevant to them – at the same time, you are of course promoting more of your own content and so helping the marketing of your blog. As an added bonus, you are also extending the internal linking within your blog which the Search Engines will be pleased to use and give you an extra “plus point” for.



Related posts:

  1. Business Blog Design: Profile and Contact Details
  2. A to Z of Business Blogging: A is for Archives
  3. Use Graphics: make people want to read your Blog

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Comments
March 11, 2007

Wonderful list you have here Mark, the use of some plugins certainly do help mould a better surfing experience for your readers, and it is especially helpful when you are doing a corporate blog.

However, one also has to respect the fundamentals of usability, like reducing the strain on memory by not having > 7 times in a list, appropriate colors, proper use of font sizes, etc.

Posted by Kian Ann -
March 16, 2007

Kian Ann – absolutely. The graphic side and general usability aspects of a blog, or any website come to that, are hugely important and ones that we ignore at our peril! Mix all of these together with the business requirements and you have something which will please – and attract – everyone.

Posted by The Blog Coach -
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