Understanding Your Blog's Structure

blogging Sep 05, 2022
 

 If you’re the kind that skips on reading the user manual when buying a new piece of technology/appliance, you can just stare at that wireframe of the basic structure of a blog and skip the rest of this lesson.

On the other hand, if you want to learn all about the structure of a blog, keep reading.

Blog Structure 101

Okay, let’s talk about your blog’s structure.

The first thing a first-time visitor sees is the homepage.

There are two types of homepages:

1. Static. Just like any other page, its goal is to welcome first-time visitors, provide them with a bit of background into what your blog is about and offer them a few directions (towards the most relevant articles).

2. Dynamic. It changes depending on the articles you publish, updating itself as you publish new content. Also called a blog feed.

A static homepage gives you a chance to welcome first-time visitors and turn them into subscribers, while a dynamic one gives them the chance to dive right in.

The About Page

Now, let’s talk about your about page. Pun intended.

Your about page has to tell a story. It has to tell the story of you and why you’re doing this. Your about page has to let your readers know what they should expect to find on your blog, of what kind of value you add to their lives.

If you are not crystal clear on why your blog is worth paying attention to, no one else is going to figure it out for you.

Most about pages tend to be about the author, not about the blog. And most of the time, that’s where visitors will click away, never to be seen again, because they were provided with no compelling reason to ever come back.

A great about page must communicate clearly what the reader can learn and why it’s important to them.

In other words, your “about” page has to sell the blog before the blog can sell you.

The Contact Page

A close cousin of the about page is the contact page.

This is a simple page that should contain:

  1. A contact form
  2. Additional ways for readers to get in touch with you (social media platforms, a chat app, etc.)

The contact page encourages people to reach out to you, while also giving them a sense that you’re here to stay, that you’re serious enough about your blog, that you’re legitimate.

No matter your niche, no matter what types of content you share, these are the three basic elements of any blog:

a. The homepage, which can be either a static page or a feed of your latest articles.

b. The about page, which ensures that first-time visitors know who you are, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what exactly do you want them to do.

c. The contact page, allowing your readers to engage with you in a direct way, while also boosting trust in your blog.

The Elements of a Blog

Now, let’s talk about the three main elements of any online publication.

The Header

The header rests at the top of your blog. It not only serves as your blog’s main navigation but also provides for an opportunity to brand your blog and instantly share with first-time visitors what your blog is about.

There are three main elements to your blog’s header:

1. Logo or header image.

This gives you a chance to rapidly convey a short message about your blog.

And since your header is valuable real estate, and it shows up throughout your blog, it’s wise to make the most out of it by designing a logo that conveys at least one of the following:

a. Your blog’s title

b. Your blog’s main niche. (Think about our logo)

c. Your blog’s mission or vision.

2. Your blog’s title and subtitle/catchphrase.

Again, this is valuable real-estate we’re talking about, and you can use it to your advantage.

Most themes allow for a bit of customization, giving you the opportunity to also add a subtitle underneath your title, which you can similarly use to share a tagline that might entice your target audience.

 

For instance, on my main blog, back when I was launching one project after another, underneath the blog’s title, there’s a subtitle that reads, “launches a project every month.”

That’s what I did during the first part of 2021, launching a new no-code platform every single month.

This makes first-time visitors curious as to what is going on, and they will at least be curious to stick around for a while longer as they figure out what those projects are about.

3. Your blog’s main navigation.

When it comes to your navigation (or menu links), there are a few things you should keep in mind:

a. Don’t overdo it. It’s best to keep it at under 5 links, only choosing to add the most relevant to your main navigation. You can always add more links to your sidebar/footer.

b. Think of the user experience. Where do you want your readers to go? What is most important for them to see? What information can you link to in your main navigation that might turn them into subscribers? Think, newsletter sign up page, about page, contact page, a mission/vision page, or a page that offers them a free bonus for signing up to your blog.

c. Don’t add social media links, unless your theme allows for a distinct row for social media icons. Why? Because you are going to distract first-time visitors. If they click on one of your profiles, and you don’t convert them (get them to follow you), then you’ve probably lost them forever to the plethora of content that’s available on that specific social media page.

The Main Body

The main body rests underneath the header.

For your static pages, this can be anything you choose to add to those pages, from rich text content and media, to links, embeds, and so on.

As for your blog posts, the main body should contain:

1. Your blog post’s featured image.

2. Your blog posts’s headline.

3. Your blog post’s metadata (category, tags, author, number of comments, read time, etc.)

There’s not much else to say about your blog’s main body, as it changes dynamically throughout your blog depending on the page/blog post.

The Footer

Let’s talk about the footer now.

This, again, is valuable real-estate, especially if you do not turn on (or your theme does not support) infinite scrolling of articles on your blog feed.

Even so, your footer will most likely be visible at the bottom of your static pages (about page, contact page, etc.) and this means that there’s great potential for customization.

 

Truth be told, the sky is the limit here, as you can add images, buttons, and links to your blog’s footer.

A few rules to keep in mind, however:

a. First add the links that you haven’t added to your main navigation. Privacy policy, terms of use, etc.

b. Add a subscribe button to your email newsletter.

c. Use the footer to provide some social proof. Think in terms of, “how many people are following the blog.”

d. If space allows, you can add social media widgets and the like.

These are the basic building blocks of any blog, and while there's certainly a great deal of customization potential, there's one golden rule you should try to obey as much as possible:

Keep it simple!

This principle will ensure that you are intentional about the elements you do place on your blog, the way you present your blog's brand, and how you choose to spotlight your articles.

 


 

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