Blogging has become a key marketing tool to promote products and services. If you are an online or ‘brick and mortar’ business, using your online presence to create content and authority relevant to your offerings is a great way to reach your target audience.
Inside Left and the International Content Development Team at Lloyds Online Doctor, an online healthcare business, recently launched a ‘new look’ blog for the Irish Market. Built using WordPress and designed by the team at Explosive Brands the following 5 key features of the Lloyds Online Doctor blog can be applied to any WordPress blogging site for improved user experience for your blog.
1. Design for mobile, tablet and desktop
Almost half of the world’s internet users are using a mobile phone to surf the internet, so start with your mobile layout to ensure a good first impression for mobile visitors. Often WordPress themes will come complete with mobile, tablet and desktop responsive layout options embedded. Check to see how your selected theme responds on tablet and mobile and the available layout options for mobile devices such a sliders and sidebars. These can often be turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ for mobile application within a theme structure.
If you are not using a theme but seeking to apply a custom design to a WordPress framework, then prepare versions of your design for landscape and portrait views to make sure that HTML and CSS development will represent a layout for all screen types.
2. Keep navigation simple and relevant
Visitors to the Lloyds Online Doctor blog can find relevant content easily via site navigation that is linked to post categories. The beauty of WordPress is that you can set up your navigation via pages or categories. If you have a well thought-out category and tag structure this can be an excellent option for blogs aimed at specific audience segments. The Lloyds Online Doctor team have set up their menu navigation for Female & Male Health as well as other categories relevant to their offerings.
3. Create links to post content
Often visitors will arrive at your site via a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) as a result of a keyword enquiry. Sidebars and footers are great ‘real estate’ for helping visitors to find more content related to their search results. It’s also an effective tool for keeping visitors on your site for longer.
The Lloyds Online Doctor team wanted to ensure that visitors navigation on the site would display posts and tags related either to the post or the category selected via navigation. Therefore if a visitor’s search was specific to asthma, related posts would be displayed from that category.
4. Make your site fast loading
Nothing will make a visitor turn away more quickly than a slow loading site. Ideally a site should load in under 5 seconds. To test the speed of your website go to http://tools.pingdom.com/
Here are a few tips to increase the loading time of your site:
- Keep images sizes between 100K and 60K. Smaller images should be closer to 30K and lower. If your site is image heavy consider adopting new image formats like WebP and JPeg XR which can help improve performance without sacrificing quality.
- Cache your site. Caching reduces server lag as it stores versions of the site for return visitors.
- Minimise plugins. Evaluate plugins and remove plugins that you no longer use or are not supported.
If your site is still slow, check your hosting provider package. If you are on a shared server you may find that this isn’t the best solution for your site and you may need to consider a dedicated server package option.
5. Great content
It goes without saying that your blog needs content that will bring readers to your site. If you are a novice or an experienced writer the question always remains “Will anyone read this?” Writing for an audience is never easy but practice is the perfect remedy to finding your groove in the online space.
When considering your content, remember to write each post with a keyword or key-phase in mind. Drifting off on different tangents is not great for user experience nor is it great for SEO. Also remember to tag those images using the Alt Tag feature in WordPress as it helps to describe overall content as well as enables search engines to find your content.
The team responsible for online content at Lloyds Online Doctor are experts at writing engaging, relevant content for their audiences. Their subject matter is most often about serious health issues, but they use a relaxed, fun tone to convey their message. The blog also has the added functionality to run video via Vimeo and uTube which is another great way to convey a message.
Creating an online presence that will engage visitors and encourage them to return to your site, is the goal of any blog. Ensuring that your site is responsive, enhanced navigation that makes finding relevant content easy and a fast loading site is a great start to building traffic and business.