How many times have you gone onto someone's blog - and just found that it made no sense? It could be something to do with the colours, or it could be the mismatch of material. If only they'd just made their blog more cohesive - you might have stayed a little longer. It begs the question then, how cohesive does your blog flow?
A little while ago - I did a post about the reasons why you might be losing readers on your blog, and I figured this would be a good as time as any to talk about the aesthetics of your blog.
So how do you make your blog more cohesive?
This is something I'm often very aware of when writing up an article. There's a lot of different things that make up the feel of your blog. Whether this is the pictures you use, or the font, or of course the content yourself. As a lifestyle blogger, I find it a bit tricky at times to really keep what I'm posting consistent, even if it's across a different range of topics. This doesn't mean that you can't have a cohesive look, but it's something to be mindful of.
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So what doesn't make a blog cohesive?
Having too many different articles
I realise this sounds counter-productive to what I just said above. You can absolutely have different themed articles, and variety can be a great thing. However, especially if you're just starting out, not having a solid voice throughout your site can be extremely distracting. I've come across some sites that just don't know what they're doing.
What is your current blog telling people when they're coming onto the site? Are they seeing a blog that focuses primarily on cooking? Fashion maybe? Something about cars? Mental health? If you are a lifestyle blog, do you have enough content in your different categories to support having those categories there on your front screen? Remember - on a general rule of thumb, your home screen should be showing the best of your work.
Your colour scheme is over the place
The photographer in me cringes whenever I see a million different clashing colours on someone's home screen. The number of times I've loaded up someone's blog, and seen this horrendous monstrosity of things that don't make sense is crazy. So let's talk a little about different colours for a moment.
Before we continue - I'm always happy to be proven wrong, and if you've got a colour we're about to talk about that features on your blog, please link it below and I'm happy to check it out and link to it if it's used AMAZINGLY.
Bright and bold colours are typically non-aesthetically pleasing to one's eyes when they're done in bulk. I was going to upload some examples I did a mock-up for using these colours, but they hurt my eyes that much that I won't subject you to them. However, there's a reason that very few companies choose to utilise yellow, red, and/or purple as their dominant colour scheme.
Can you use these colours at all? Absolutely. It's a free world, I'm not going to stop you, however. One of the things I'd be suggesting to look at is if you're going to be posting different types of images - how are they going to look against any colour your primarily focusing on? Your best bet is to find some consistency of what type of images you're posting and create a colour scheme you can repeat. Mine focuses generally on soft browns, and whites, and matte colours, although occasionally I will throw in a bright photo here or there. (It's what happens when you dye your hair red!)
You've got broken pages
How do you stop making your blog more cohesive in the matter of a click? Yep. A broken page, or a dead link. These often get looked over for a number of reasons. Namely, let's be honest. Who goes over their page every day to make sure that any slight changes have not impacted any of the internal articles they've linked to them? Or when you start a new blog and need to edit all of those original place holder links?
I know I've been caught out with this on a number of times and gotten the dreaded #404 - page not found error.
How do you fix this?
It honestly depends. Sometimes you're really lucky and there isn't anything you have to do. Sometimes, you're not so lucky. I'd recommend a few things:
- If you're using WordPress, and have just done a fresh install of a new theme, head into your pages tab, and check that each of your active pages has your blog link and not a placeholder.
- Keep an eye on what categories you're using, and if you decide that you're going to change them - that you update the posts you've already tagged them into the new one, or remove them.
- Ask a friend, family, heck, even a stranger on the internet that you kinda trust - to go through a few pages and make sure everything is linking up to where it's supposed to be.
Your tone of voice isn't consistent
I'd like to thank my ex-workplace for my introduction of Tone of Voice (TOV) a couple of years back. I will actually go into this further in a later article, because I believe it deserves more than just a paragraph here. In super basic terms - are your blog posts, images, and social channels - all promoting the same concept? For example, if someone heads to your blog and sees posts about fitness and exercise, and then they head to your Instagram page and see posts about what you did with your grant-aunt Daisy, it's not telling the same story.
The other example of this is how you're communicating with your readers. Will they have the same experience whether or not they engage with you on Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram? Is your email sign up and newsletters the same vibe? If it's not - you're likely to get confused readers, and they'll promptly not return, or unsubscribe.
You don't have anywhere for your reader to go next
This can be a tricky one when you're first starting out with your blog. What happens when you're reading gets to the end of your article, loves it, and then ... there's nothing? There are no further posts underneath for them to engage in. There's no call to action to sign up for your email list, or to follow you on social media. You can always have something more for your reader to do, even if it is a simple as "Have you checked out my Twitter here?" or "Click here to read more about me!"
For me, there's been nothing worse than having to try and find more things to do on peoples blogs. We're all admittedly a bit lazy - and I think we can all say that this is why YouTube, Wikipedia and Buzzfeed of all places suck us in so well. Because there's always a link to click on to take us somewhere. If you don't have this - you're hitting a metaphorical dead end on your blog.
WRAP UP TIME
Was there anything in here that you've had a bit of a "Ah ha!" moment over? Or that you think you may change on your blog going forward? Or even anything that you think I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below ♥