Design tips to convert blog visitors into subscribers & customers

March 21, 2022


So, you’re running a blog to try to make an income as a content creator or to support your small business, but you have a high bounce rate (how many people leave your page instead of checking out more of your website) and/or you’re not seeing any conversions from visitor to subscriber or customer. Your content is great, duh, your SEO game strong, and you’ve triple checked your spelling, yet still can’t find the problem. Hella frustrating.

Time to start considering some design tweaks—or overhauls—to start getting those conversions up and start bringing in the money you’ve been working your ass off to earn.

This post covers the most important things you need to think about when you’re DIY graphic designing your blog posts, all the essential pieces that need to be included, ideas for breaking up your content, and some other useful stuff you’re going to need. Plus, what you’re really here for, the designer tips, the little things professional graphic designers do that make a big difference.

  1. 3 most important things to keep in mind when designing your posts
  2. Blog post essentials
  3. Break up your content
  4. Ways to let your reader know what content is important
  5. Other considerations (these are just as significant as the rest, so don’t skip this part)
  6. Examples of well-designed blog posts

3 most important things to keep in mind when designing your posts

  • Hierarchy | Things like text size, boldness, and color give headers and content more priority, letting your audience know what’s most important on the page. It also plays a huge part in your articles scan-ability (see below).
  • Consistency | All of your blog posts and your website should look and feel the same. This includes using the same fonts, colors, button styles, layouts, design elements, and branding. It may seem tempting to add some “interest” by switching things up every now and again with a new font or color, but all you’re going to do is confuse your reader. Stick with your current visual branding.
  • Scan-ability | Most importantly, information needs to be scannable so that your audience can find exactly what their looking for right off the bat—they’ll leave—leading to a high bounce rate on your site. This is where headers and sub-headers become essential. If your reader cant’ find what their looking for in their first scroll through they’re gone.

Blog post essentials

These are the pieces that complete your blog post (outside of the content).

  • Clear Title | It needs to be at the top and needs to be the dominant text in your hierarchy. No one should be wondering what the title of the blog posts is.
  • Pin It | This is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a blogger—make your posts Pin-able. Not only will your audience be able to save the article for later if they like it, but it also helps get it out there in the Pinterest Universe where others can find it too. It’s a two for one! You can do this by adding a Pin It button with your other social share buttons, but also by include buttons on your images that allow people to pin those too. There are a number of plugins and such that will integrate this into your site for you.
  • Share | Pinterest isn’t the only way people will want to share your content. Make sure to include share buttons for all the different platforms, as well as one that allows them to email the content to friends/others who would want to read the content.

 

Designer Tip: Include all of your social share buttons at the top of the page with the title, where they will be super easy to find.

 

  • Header Image | I guess you could say this isn’t necessarily essential, but header images add interest and give your audience an idea of what your post is about, so I personally think it’s worth including.
  • CTA (Call To Action) | Unfortunately, audiences can’t read our minds, so you have to literally tell them what you want them to do next. This is where you have a chance to really make some conversions by suggesting that they subscribe or letting them know what products/services you offer that could fill the need they have related to the content you shared. Some important things to note with your CTA:
      • If you are asking your readers to subscribe, include a subscription form right in the graphic, making it as easy as possible for them to do so.
      • If you’re sharing your products or services, add a button to the graphic that takes them directly to the related destination (product page, shop, services page, etc.).
      • Include the audience benefit in the graphic. Tell them exactly why they want to follow the call to action. Just asking them to do it isn’t quite going to cut it.
  • Side bar | These are pretty standard for blogs and you’ll notice the content in them varies. At a minimum, include your blog categories and related posts for easy navigation. If someone likes your posts, you want to make it easy for them to find more. Keeping them on your site longer increases your chances of conversion.
  • Subscribe | If you aren’t already including a subscription form in your CTA, it’s still a good idea to include one somewhere else on the page for easy access. I like to put one in the footer of my website so that it’s accessible from any page, including my blog posts, but you can also stick one in the side bar too. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to convert a reader into a subscriber.

Break up your content

You could have to the most interesting and helpful content on the internet, but the sad truth is, if it looks overwhelming or boring on the page no one’s going to read it. This is where graphic design comes in handy.

  • Headers | These should be bold and easy to locate, making it easy to scan the article so the reader can find exactly what they’re looking for. On that same note though, they shouldn’t be bigger than your title—remember hierarchy.
  • Sub-headers | If there is a lot of content in your headers (more than a paragraph or two) don’t hesitate to break up the content with sub-headers
  • Images | Images are another great way to break up dense content and if your content is educational they can be useful in explaining your key points.
  • Pull quotes | Let your readers know what information is most important for them to know and add visual interest to your page at the same time.
  • Lists | I LOVE lists (don’t know if you notices..). Bullet point, checklists, numerical, all of them! They make information easy to scan and quick to digest. I highly recommend incorporating them into your content where you can, your readers will like them too.
  • Related Articles | I personally like to add a simple row of text that is highlighted in orange (one of my brand colors) so that it is obliviously separate from the surrounding content but doesn’t disrupt it either.
  • Infographics | Everyone loves an infographic! They’re an interesting and easy to digest way to share info, especially the kind that may have otherwise been kind of boring. If you have the design skills or have a little extra money to hire a graphic designer, I highly recommend using infographics whenever you can. They also make great graphics for sharing on Pinterest and Instagram.
Example 7 of a well designed blog post with annotations

Ways to let your reader know what content is important

  • Bold words and phrases
  • Italic words and phrase
  • Using different colors to highlight words, phrases, or sections
  • Underline words and phrases
  • Color blocks behind sections of content
  • Outlined box around content
  • Vertical or horizontal lines

Designer tip: Clickable elements, like links in your text, need to look clickable—they shouldn’t just look like more text. People need to know that they’re meant to click them to go to the next destination. I find it really helpful to use color and hover effects to differentiate these elements. It’s also important to double check all these links to make sure they actually go to the places they’re supposed to. It never fails, no matter how careful you are, there always seems to be one dead-link or misleading link that gets through.

Other considerations (these are just as significant as the rest, so don’t skip this part)

  • Let’s talk ads: ads help you build revenue from your blog, which is awesome—you absolutely should get paid for all the work it takes to put your content together. But, if there are too many ads in a post and they start to detract from your content and people are going to leave. Nothing makes me more crazy than when I am trying to look at a cooking recipe on a blog using my phone and I have to X-out of half a dozen ads before I can clearly read the damn recipe! Makes me nuts. Don’t do that to your readers.
  • If you have a lot of sections in the post it can be helpful to have a clickable table of contents at the top that brings your readers to the section that answers their question.
  • Consider using a lead magnet: a free, downloadable item like a checklist, template, sample, or coupon that a subscriber gets in exchange for their email address.
  • If you are using a subscription pop-up, make sure it’s easy to click out of. If your visitor wants to read your content first and they aren’t able to see it because of the pop-up, you can say goodbye to a potential subscriber or customer.
  • If you include links that take customers off your website (good SEO practice), have the new page open on a separate tab so that the reader can easily get back to your post.

Examples of well-designed blog posts

I got together a list blog posts that I thought served as quality examples of what I’ve described above so help give you an even better idea of what effective blog design looks like.

LH Agenda

If there are only two things you take away from this article to help you convert your visitors into new subscribers and customers remember this: 1. Break up your content with headings/sub-headings to make it easier for your readers to scan, and 2. Everything needs to be easy: easy to read, to subscribe, to digest, to scan, to navigate, etc. when in doubt, think about reasons you leave a website or things you appreciate when you read a blog post—you’re a visitor someone is trying to convert on their site too.