9 Common Characteristics of Great Business Blogs
Most blogs are unique in their origin, but some blogs are unique in their structure and design. There are some things that make those blogs more attractive and more successful than others. You can easily recognize those blogs because you visit them often. Blogs that capture your attention to visit them over and over again just to check out for any new and interesting content are those blogs - Great Business Blogs.
No matter how different these blogs may look in terms of structure, all these successful blogs share some common characteristics. Let’s look closely here at those characteristics.
1. Visual Impression - Text
When blog post only contains text, it is not good. Especially if your blog post has long paragraphs and long sentences. Readers need breaking points and eye resting places. School rules do not apply to blogging.
Make sure that your paragraphs and sentences within it are short. It gives readers the best review. It is also easier to remember and easier to understand the matter you are writing about.
Also, to make information easy to absorb and understand use lists - both bulleted and numbered. In this way the information is more viewable and also gives a rest to the reader’s eyes. Besides, lists are easier to remember than plain text.
Find a font that is easy for the eyes. At the same time, text should be large enough to be read easily on the screen. I suggest that you don’t use more than 2 different font families. If you use many different font families, it will have a negative impact on reader’s focus and concentration.
In the post “How to Make Your E-Book User Friendly”, you can find more tips on text formatting and how to make your post user friendly.
2. Visual Impression – Images
Again I will say - when blog post only contains text, it is not good. It is not good for readers, and it is not good for search engine ranking.
Images (graphs, diagrams, etc.) should be included in the blog post where needed. If a blog post is not one of a technical nature and doesn’t need visual presentation, at least one image should be displayed in the post.
The way you use images is important. Use images with a sense of purpose. Besides main post image, which is on the top of the post, other images are used to highlight some point, to present in graphical form the topic or segment of topic you are writing about, or to bring something to the attention from your post that you consider to be important for your readers.
When you add images to the post, make sure that image name (title) and ALT text contain a keyword or keyword phrase that you use in that post. You can also add image Description and Caption. Make sure that they also contain a keyword or keyword phrase that you use in that post. This is a part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
3. Blog Post Headline
The headline of your blog post is the first thing visitors will see, either on your blog or on search engine pages. They will evaluate headline to see if it is actually worth their time to read it.
The headline should be presented well, convincing enough and catchy so that visitors decide to read it. It is similar with email subject lines.
Even if you make catchy headline and get visitors attention, you must be aware of one very important rule. Rule - no cheating. Your headline must reflect exactly the content of the blog post.
Nobody will benefit if you cheat. If you put catchy headline and you get a visitor to the post, when he/she see that headline have nothing to do with the content, the visitor will lose his/her time, but you will lose your reputation and trust. So be careful and professional.
What is also important to say is that the headline should contain your keyword or keyword phrase that you use in that post. This is also a part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
4. Easy Access to Posts
Make your posts easy for people to find. Organize and categorize your posts, and make them easy to access. Display your latest and most popular posts in a sidebar. There you can also display blog’s archive, categories and tags, so that visitors can look for any related blog posts they are reading at that moment, or some other they are interested in.
Also, add a search bar on every page of your website, so that people can look for and access your archived posts. This option is very useful and fast. I don’t know what CMS platform you use, but this option can be set up in a minute.
It is advisable to have a call-to-action on every post of your blog. But there is a simple rule – do not overdo it. One thing is to place call-to-action (CTA) on your post, and another thing is to place it everywhere on a single post.
Editors of great business blogs learned this lesson, and that is one of the things that differentiate them from others and make their blogs - great business blogs. CTA has to be placed in such a way that it catches visitor's attention, but not in an intrusive way.
By placing your business' call-to-action (CTA) on your blog posts, you are transforming those pages into lead generation pages. Of course, you will need time to figure out design, form and position of your CTA on these pages until you achieve the desired results.
6. Read More... Option
A blog post can be brief, or can be lengthy. The minimum length of a post should be at least 300 words, according to SEO sources. Less words in blog post mean lower ranking by search engines. Usually, blog posts are 300-500 words long, but it is recommended to be 1000+ words.
The main page should not be overbooked with content. This page should be simple and transparent. That’s why it is recommended to display only a "preview" of blog post (1-3 sentences) on the main page so that visitors can easily browse the topics and choose one in which they are most interested.
When you make a preview of a post, use “Read More …” option and link your full post there.
7. Social Media Sharing Buttons
Every blog post should be accompanied by social sharing buttons. This is a great option that allows visitors to share your post with their social networks. This is also a good traffic source. But here, great business blogs also have a simple rule – do not overdo it.
It is good that people have the option to share content they like with their friends, but when they see too many social sharing buttons displayed at once, on a single page, they get distracted and overwhelmed and constrain themselves from sharing your blog post, no matter how good your post is.
The advice is to display only social sharing buttons of networks where you have the most followers and where you are most active. Anyway, those networks are actually ones that send traffic to your blog.
On the other hand, crowded post with buttons doesn’t look nice, doesn’t look professional, and you don’t have much, if any, use of marginally effective networks.
Don’t ask me how many buttons are optimal number - that I leave to you to decide.
8. Page Loading Time
Loading time of your web pages is a so important element of the whole process. People today are more impatient than ever. Who knows why, but it certainly has to do with fast changing business trends, shortened development time for new technologies, economic crisis and people are forced to work more to provide more for their families, etc.
So, the loading time of your web pages has to be as fast as possible, because, if not, many visitors will just lose patience and leave. In this scenario you might lose potential prospects.
Therefore, if you have a slow loading time of your pages, you need to do something about it. Optimize your blog, get rid of plug-ins that you don’t use, get rid of tools from your pages that you don’t use much, get rid of all marginally effective services, compress your images for web use, etc.
People tend to use sidebars as advertising panel. They put many ads there, most of which are useless or marginally effective. Besides, this undermines the overall image of the blog.
I recommend that you take a look at your sidebar(s) and ask yourself which of those items serve a real purpose or function, and which are useless or marginally effective. Here I am not talking just about ads, I am talking about all widgets that are there. Do some cleaning up.