How To Start A Blog People Will Want To Read | Web Design Relief

How To Start A Blog People Will Want To Read | Web Design Relief

Even with the growth of social media, blogs are still very popular. Blogging will help grow your readership and is a great way to enhance your online author platform. But if you want to have a successful blog, it’s important to choose the best platform and the right topics in order to attract and build an audience. At Web Design Relief, our experts have smart tips and hacks to help you start a blog people will want to read and revisit again and again.

7 Steps To Start A Blog That’s A Must-Read

Choose a platform: Before you start a blog, you’ll need to know what platform you will use to build it. Our web design experts’ best recommendation is to build a blog directly on your author website. By having your blog as part of your author website, you create a central hub for all of your online content. However, if you don’t have a website yet, you can use one of these blogging sites or builders:

Decide what type of blog you want to write: Blogs can be broken down into two distinct types: personal or topic-based. Determine whether you want your blog to be about you or about a subject you know a lot about: gardening, fossil hunting, travel, writing (of course), miniature painting, etc. A personal blog is a great fit for writers who want to share stories about their life or personal creative process. A topic-based blog may be a better fit for writers interested in posting reviews, how-to instructions, or reliable advice.

Determine the style and appearance: While freeform blogs do exist, the most successful blogs have a dependable, consistent format. Decide if you want to give your posts titles and whether you’ll have a standard word length for each post. Choose a font that will be easy to read, and use it for every post.

Make a schedule and stick to it: Prepare a steady supply of ideas for your blog so you can post fresh content on a regular schedule. You can quickly lose your audience if you wait too long between posts. Readers will assume you’ve abandoned the blog, and they’ll stop returning. We recommend creating an editorial blog calendar to keep you on track.

Put on your marketing hat: We know many writers shudder at the idea of “selling,” but the truth is, you must promote your blog and think about marketing strategies if you want to reach more readers and grow your audience. Blogging entails more than typing out your thoughts and pressing the “publish” button. Successful blogs utilize elements such as keywords, images, and references.

Keywords will help boost your SEO and give your audience the takeaway points for each post. Images (preferably your own, but stock photos work too) provide visual interest for your readers. And links in your blog articles to external data and sources will help give you credibility—with both your audience and the searchbots that rank blogs.

Have a comment section: Enable the comment section so your readers can share their opinions and feedback on your posts. Ask questions to engage your audience and encourage comments. The blog posts with the highest engagement will reflect your audience’s interests, so be sure to create new content that addresses these topics and encourages return visits.

Promote your blog posts on social media: Make sure your followers know when you’ve published a new article on your blog! Always integrate social media into your blog so you can easily share your latest posts on all of your social platforms. You might consider using a mailing list to send new posts directly to your readers’ inboxes.

If you follow these steps, you’ll create a blog that engages your audience, encourages repeat visits, and builds your readership. For an author website that’s already complete with a stylized blog, check out our Socialite Package!

 

Question: Which author blog do you follow?

The One-Page Author Website: Is It Right For You? | Web Design Relief

The One-Page Author Website: Is It Right For You? | Web Design Relief

Move over, bulky websites! The latest trend in website design is the one-page website, also known as the scrolling design. At Web Design Relief, we know many authors are making the switch from multiple, crowded web pages to this sleek, minimalistic design where readers can easily scroll through the content. But before you jump on this web design bandwagon, check out the pros and cons to decide if a one-page author website is right for you.

One-Page Author Website: The Pros

Very Easy To Use: One-page websites are incredibly user-friendly. They eliminate the need for confusing navigation and prevent your important content from getting lost within countless pages.

Mobile-Friendly: The scrolling website was specially designed for mobile devices. A one-page author website displays your information in a way that’s perfect for a typical smartphone screen. It scraps clunky design elements like menu bars with an overabundance of submenus, endless rows of columns, and overlapping images and graphics—all things that don’t work well on a cell phone display.

Fast Load Time: Once your one-page website loads—that’s it! Your audience won’t have to wait for each page of your website to load, so your content is more accessible without any downtime, buffering, or lagging.

High Engagement: When all of your content can be found on one page, it’s more likely your readers will stick around to explore the entire website, rather than picking and choosing only some of the information. Plus, your author website will have its own narration, scrolling from one point to the next like a story. Your visitors will be more likely to follow your content from start to finish.

Simple To Maintain: With only one page to work with, you won’t have to put in the time and effort to update separate web pages individually. This can be especially daunting if you plan to update the design scheme of your website by changing your background and fonts on multiple pages! Single-page websites also allow for quick updates and fixes if technical issues should arise.

One-Page Author Websites: The Cons

Not Optimal For Long-Form Content: Single page websites are not the best choice if your content exceeds one or two paragraphs. Your website visitors won’t want to scroll endlessly through blocks of text in order to reach additional content like your contact form. If you want to feature full stories, excerpts, or poems on your author website, a one-page design might not work for you.

 

Lowers SEO: Your search engine optimization (SEO), or how high you rank on Google and Bing searches, will be lower with a one-page website. If you have multiple pages, people will have to click more often to access your content—and searchbots will read this activity as more traffic and thus rank the multi-page website higher. And unlike a multiple-page website, which allows you to track which content is engaging the most visitors, a one-page website lumps all of your different information together in one place.

No Adding, Only Replacing Content: Most single-page websites feature rigid design schemes that use a variety of colors within a scheme to indicate a new section. The sections are usually locked into a specific size in order to keep the site uniform. Unfortunately, these limitations mean you can’t really add new content to your design—you can only change the existing content.

No Blogging: Again, long-form content doesn’t work well on a one-page website, so a blog is also a no-go. If you had your heart set on having a blog, you might have to consider using a multi-page website.

Once you consider the pros and cons, you may decide that a one-page website is perfect for your online author presence—especially if you want to focus on mobile users. If you’re not sure if you should have a one-page website or a multi-page website, the design experts at Web Design Relief can help you make the right choice. Schedule a free consultation today!

 

Question: Do you prefer one-page websites or multi-page websites? Why?

14 Online Literary Journals That Are Eye-Catching Reads ∣ Web Design Relief

14 Online Literary Journals That Are Eye-Catching Reads ∣ Web Design Relief

As more and more people choose to do their reading on smartphones, tablets, and computers, literary journals are following the trend. Most of the established, reputable literary journals have either completely switched to online publication or added it as an option. Publishing online is more affordable, more accessible for readers, and better for the environment! At Web Design Relief, our techs constantly review websites to stay ahead of the design curve, so we know which online literary journals have websites that function well and look great. Take a look at these online literary journals that are also eye-catching reads—any writer would be thrilled to have their work featured here!

The Best-Looking, Most Readable Online Literary Journal Websites

Paper Darts

The Paper Darts website is fun and colorful without being overwhelming. Plus, the graphics and art used for the links to each new piece are totally awesome! We love that whatever writing they publish gets its own little space, art, and link on the homepage.

 

The Believer

The Believer website may be the coolest online literary journal we’ve seen. The artwork on the home page is fun and interesting without being campy. And the pages that are home to the actual writing—while keeping in the spirit of the overall site design—are still understated enough to not distract from the work itself. Definitely an impressive place to see your writing published!

 

PANK

Make no mistake: the PANK website is beautiful. The header alone is swoon-worthy (that art!), and we love the way the writers’ works are displayed. Bonus: PANK also features audio of some of the writers reading their work!

 

Zyzzyva

Zyzzyva is the last word in the dictionary—and this online journal is certainly the last word on clean, beautiful, easy-to-navigate websites. From the white background and simple design, to the striking menu bar, to the font choices, everything about this literary website is pleasing to the eye.

 

The Adroit Journal

Another online journal that focuses on simple and striking design, Adroit uses a beautiful, calming blue to highlight their menu bar so readers can give their attention to the artwork and images accompanying the writing. We love the rotating bar of links to older issues too—the movement makes the page dynamic and fun while still retaining an air of sophistication.

Waxwing

Waxwing does things a bit differently than most online literary journals—and it works. The home page is simple, but the layout is unique and we’re smitten with the seamless way readers can scroll down to look at the contents of the new issues. Each item is linked right in the table of contents, and easy access is always a big plus for visitors.

 

Hunger Mountain

The home page of Hunger Mountain features a big, fun, bright bar of past issue covers—and they move as you hover over them! At first you only see a sliver of each cover, but when you hover your mouse over each one, the entire cover is displayed. The effect is a bit like flipping through a stack of magazines. It’s so much fun to play with, and it’s definitely engaging to look at.

 

Oxford American

This online literary journal’s website is clean, bold, and classic. Oxford American knows what their brand is, and they present it properly and consistently. The header is iconic—it’s the same one that you’d see on the print issue in a bookstore. The page is easy to navigate, and every piece of writing looks absolutely amazing on their virtual pages.

 

Phoebe

The print covers for Phoebe are always eye-catching, so it’s no surprise that the art on their website is amazing too. The page design overall is pretty simple, which leaves room for a big, ever-changing display of graphics that lead to new posts.

 

The Pinch

Did we already say we have a favorite? If we did, well—now we’re adding another one. Every time we visit The Pinch online journal, it becomes our new favorite website. The landing page is always bold and striking, and we love looking at it! Once inside, the website doesn’t disappoint; the menu on the home page offers stunning, beautiful artwork, and the navigation presents the issues’ titles (in a great font) with read more buttons to get to the work itself.

The Sun

The Sun website is similar to Oxford American’s in that it’s completely classic and perfectly represents their brand. With the bold but simple black-and-white design featuring flashes of bright yellow, there’s no denying this online journal’s website is a looker!

 

Hobart

Hobart is a fun online journal website to visit. The graphics, the layout, the font choices—it’s all playful without going overboard, and readers will eagerly return again and again.

 

Frontier Poetry

The neutral colors in the header and the images at the top and bottom of this online journal are calming, and their rotation of links to new work in the middle of the page always offers superb artwork and images.

 

Shenandoah

Shenandoah knows how to do BIG and BOLD! This website has a gorgeous, color-blocked header right above the journal name, which is presented in a strong, effective font. We love how this website is simple and effortless without fading into the background.

 

Online Journal Website Design Honorable Mentions

Pretty Owl Poetry

diode

Rattle

Black Warrior Review

The Missouri Review

Winter Tangerine

Crack the Spine

Alaska Quarterly Review

Granta

Guernica

The Paris Review

Barrelhouse

 

Question: Which online journal website design is your favorite? Why?

 

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