Jack Sarlo

"How To Design A Blog Your Audience Will Love Using 31 Easy Tricks!"

blog design tricks
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  • Build Your Sites

In the Info business, you need some sort of content website (more commonly known as a blog) so you can put high valuable content on it. 

That content is important in order to help your audience. In return, they’ll start to trust you. You’ll be seen as an authority and an “expert” within your chosen niche.

In this guide, you’ll discover 31 simple tricks and tips to build a professional blog that your audience will love.

It doesn’t matter whether you put articles or videos on your blog, these tactics will work fine for everybody.

Let’s begin…

Table of Contents

Branding Strategy

For this blog, I chose the color green because green is associated with money. 

If you’re doing business in the gardening niche green is also a good color, because it’s also associated with nature. 

Red is associated with power and energy. Yellow with kids and fun.

Here’s a good article revealing the meaning of colors.

Your prospects start to associate your chosen color with you.

So pick a color and keep using it. This does not mean you cannot use any other color – but try to incorporate your main color in as many things as you can e.g. in your product images, logo, headline color, background colors, etc. 

The more often you use it the quicker your visitors associate that color with your business. 

Your business will also be perceived as more professional if pick and always use the same color.

Who's Your Audience​

Your audience audience selectionconsists of those people who want and need your content and products to solve their problems.

You have to research and find all you can about your audience – so that you can create better content for them.

Try to figure out:

Are they married or single?

What do they do for a living?

What is their yearly salary?

What’s their age?

Where are they from?

Are they mostly male or female?

What are their problems/issues/needs and wants?

And more…

Forums are one great way to get to know what they’re talking about (their needs, problems, questions, etc). You can search Google for your keyword + forum. Join and see what they’re discussing.

The more you know about what they actually want or need the easier it will be to create content.

Use Testimonials To Build Trust! 

Your visitors are going to judge your level of expertise or how good you are in the first few seconds after they visit your website/blog. 

They want to know if you really know what you’re talking about.

They want to learn from a trusted “expert”.

You can put any sort of testimonial you’ve obtained on your blog. For example, if you have some testimonials for a product you sell you can put them also on your content site. 

They can be added in the footer section of your site, or perhaps the sidebar.

One easy way to collect testimonials is to visit forums and simply give away your product for free in exchange for a review or a testimonial.

Once you start getting more traffic and sales look at your blog comments or social page e.g. Facebook page for any positive comments about your products. 

Ask the commenter if they’re willing to write you a testimonial to put on your blog.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial if you see an opportunity and always ask them to provide you their photo. 

Testimonials without look kind of fake.

You can search Google for anyone talking about or reviewing your product. Perhaps a blogger posts a positive review. Contact them and ask if you can use their review as a “testimonial”.

You can set up a Google Alert to be notified when someone mentions you or your products.

Never use fake testimonials. You cannot build a long-lasting business if you use fake testimonials or other shady practices.

The key to a successful business is to build a positive, trustworthy relationship with your audience. If they trust you, they’ll buy from you.

No successful relationship, whether it’s romantic, friendship or business can be built with lies or any form of deceit.

Copy Is King

Everybody can learn how to write great copy. There are many tools and resources to help you, such as templates or swipe files – these make it even easier to write good copy!

Develop your copywriting skill and it will help you to write better article headlines and even the writing itself. I have a separate free guide on how to write great copy.

Simple Works Best

Whether you use Elementor, Thrive Architect or some other page building tool, they all come with website templates. Ideally, you want to pick a very simple design. 

A template with minimum features. Keep it simple and clean. You can add and improve it later on.

You’ll have a lot of different elements that you can use. For example the flip box, animated headline, media carousel, site rating, tabs, toggle…

elementor elements
Elementor Page Builder Features

For content websites (blogs) plain and simple will always work best. Your actual content, whether it’s articles, video, podcasts, etc., is what matters most to your visitors.

They don’t want to be distracted. They want easy to use websites. A confused visitor is highly likely to give up and leave your website. 

For example on the contact us page, you don’t need to ask for their phone number or their physical address if you’re not planning to use them.

On your optin form if all you really need is their name and email then use just two form fields – one for the name, one for the email.

The more difficult you make it the more likely they’ll abandon the process.

Mobile Version Website

mobile siteYou should strongly consider building a version of your website that looks good on tablets and mobile. Most page building tools allow you to create tablet/mobile versions quite easily.

This free tool shows you how your website looks on different devices: http://quirktools.com/screenfly

If your website template is simple in design with few elements as possible, then it would be easier to build the mobile version of your website.

Your page builder should allow you to create a ‘template’ for your articles/posts. This basically means you create a template, customizing it however you like so it looks the way you want it in all devices. 

Then when you want to create a new post you just load the template, you won’t have to create a brand new post all the time.

Thrive Architect’s video below explains how to do this:

Use A Logo

You can use freelancing websites to find designers that will design a logo for your business, or perhaps even Fiverr.

You can find ideas for your logo from websites you like within or outside of your niche. You can do a Google Image Search for “company logos” to find a lot of logos.

I got the idea for my own logo from a business coach, Dan Pena. Mine is very similar to his.

dan pena logo
Dan Pena Logo
Jack Sarlo Logo

A logo adds a professional touch to your business and it’s a form of branding.

Branding (whether it’s a logo, color, etc) has a positive impact on your audience because it sets you apart from your competitors – you have a unique way to be identified. It helps them remember your name and your business.

Favicons: A Quick And Easy
Way To Brand Yourself

Favicons are those small (16 by 16 or 32 by 32 pixel) images you see in your browser tabs and in bookmarks next to the website title. Here’s an example for Nasa, they’re using their logo as the favicon image:

Favicon Example
Favicon Example

It makes your website stand out in their bookmarks as well as when the user has many opened tabs. It also gives it that extra professional look. Previously we mentioned branding using color, your favicon image is another place you can use your main color.

Ideally, use your logo as a favicon.

How to create a favicon?

Once you have an image find one of the many favicon generators. You basically upload the image and they give you some Html code to put on your website.

To design a favicon you can hire someone from Fiverr.

Use Trust Seals

Trust seals are very small banners that are proven to give your website visitors a stronger sense of security.

Some, but not all Trust Seals scan your website to ensure you have no malware, viruses or other malicious activities. Some of these are free, the best ones cost money.

For example:

Trust Seal Example

I don’t recommend free web seals from unknown companies. It’s better to use nothing than a free one because any business can put up a free web seal.

I would suggest you use a paid web seal but only when your business is making some money. Otherwise, it will be an extra, unneeded expense. It’s good to have at least one web seal, but they’re not going to make a huge difference, they’re not indispensable.

Here are the links to get these trust seals:

TRUSTe

Better Business Bureau BBB

HONESTe Online

There could be more. I didn’t include or recommend seals from Norton or other “security seals”. Those are best suited for sales letters where security is important for the visitors because they’re going to use their credit card details.

Use between 1 to a maximum of 3 webseals per page. Ideally, place them in the footer/bottom section or sidebar.

Show Your Physical Address

Show your audience you’re a real person, not someone hiding behind a website. Even if you live in a cave just put the address. 

In addition, you can embed google maps on your website, it will display your actual street location. That has the added benefit that they can actually verify your address.

Photos and especially videos of yourself are additional ways to show them who you are and build that rapport that increases trust. Use them whenever you can.

Give More Valuable Content!

Do in-depth research to discover your prospect’s problems, wants, and needs so you can create content that helps them. You can use forums and social groups like Facebook groups to start this research.

The quality of your content is what will actually motivate your website visitors to subscribe to your email list and follow you. You can discover several content creation techniques in my other free guide.

One way to create great content is to teach a very specific subject in very high detail – and if possible include videos, screenshots, actual examples, etc.

If you find an article title on your competitors’ blogs, or with a tool like BuzzSumo you can create similar content but over deliver in value.

For example, if the article contains 700 words you can write on the same topic but make it better, more detailed, and it can end up with 2000 words.

Another way to discover content ideas is to use EzineArticles. Since I love cats let’s use the cat niche as an example. There are over 50,000 cat articles in that article directory.

EzineArticles.com Cat Articles
EzineArticles has over 50,000 cat articles

After a quick look at these articles, I discovered topics like: 

Overweight Cats
Aggression Between Cats
Recognizing Pain In Cats
Helping Cats Get Along With Each Other
Interior Decorating For Cats
Caring for Rehomed Cats
Cat Bad Breath
Understanding Cat Language

These could all be topics for new content (articles, videos, etc). You can also contact the top authors that have a lot of articles for a possible interview that you can then put on your blog. You’ll have a video and transcribe it to add the text too.

The 2 best ways to produce content is writing or video. If you’re going to write articles it’s recommended you post at least two very good articles a week (about 2,500 or more words). 

If you’ll make videos you can create many more than just two a week, since videos are actually shorter.

Use SSL (https://)

Consider switching your site to https:// – also known as SSL. This assures your prospects they’re on a secure website. 

Using SSL is becoming a norm, in fact, any website without SSL looks a bit unprofessional and perhaps even suspicious.

Website Using SSL
Website Using SSL

The process to switch your website to SSL is not free and a bit technical. If you have just one website it can be just $30 a year.

This is not an obligatory feature but do it as soon as possible. Your web hosting provider can help you do this. I got mine from NameCheap, which is my domain registrar.

Ask And You Shall Receive

survey your prospectsYou can gather valuable information from your website visitors by asking them questions.

You can do this by using surveys.

On your blog you can put a simple survey to understand what they need to learn – then you can create content to solve those exact problems they have. You can use Google Forms to create surveys. 

As an example, you can take a look at my survey

Keep the survey as short as possible, not more than 3 questions so they don’t get intimidated and bored. 

Ask them what they need to learn more about, what solutions or advice they require, etc.

Experiment with different questions, try them to find out what works best for you.

For example:

1) What are the toughest challenges you’re facing right now about _______

2) Is there anything, in particular, you’d like to learn more about?

3) Which topics would you like to learn more about? (Give them several options to choose from)

If you’re not getting enough answers you can try changing the questions a bit or promise them you’ll give them a freebie if they complete the survey. 

For example a simple but useful checklist, mindmap, video or something that you can do create quickly.

Start a Mini-Google

I’m referring to a simple search box. It’s very useful for the visitors of content websites like blogs. 

With page building tools like Thrive Architect or others, you can create these search boxes and customize the search results page quite easily.

You won’t have to install extra plugins…

Short And Sweet Domain Name

To be professional you need to buy a domain name (not use a free domain) and ideally use a .com.

Don’t make your domain name hard to remember by using a .net, .info or any other extension. People expect a .com.

Try to avoid using hyphens ( – ) e.g. healthy-diet.com  or some long words that are easy to misspell like ‘beautiful’.

Keep it as short as possible.

The domain name should be pronounced like a “name” so avoid words like the, at, on, in, as, if, etc.

Originally Facebook was called thefacebook.com, and dropping that useless ‘the’ was a great idea!

Avoid common words like better, good, big, small, deep, heavy, long, short… You can use a thesaurus and find alternative, cooler words like e.g. brave, homemade, elite, rare, expert, master, etc.

domain ideasYou can also ask for people’s opinions on forums or Q & A sites like Yahoo Answers or Quora. Ask them to help you suggest names, or to pick their favorite between those you plan to buy.

Tools like Bust a Name or DotoMator allows you to input words related to your product or service and it will generate domain name ideas and also tell you if the domains are available to register.

In the Info business, we need to be seen as a trusted advisor, an authority or an “expert”. Therefore your own name can also be used as the domain name. It’s another branding strategy.

Write The Way You Talk

What this means is that you should write using the same words you would use if you’re talking to a friend. Most people talk one way and then write another way.

It’s like they pick a new “persona” for writing.

If that’s you avoid doing it.

If you manage to write the way you speak your prospects will be able to read and understand your content easier.

Your writing will sound more natural as if you’re talking.

To start writing the way you speak imagine you’re talking to someone close to you like your uncle. Which words would you use to talk to him? Use those same words when writing.

If you use video or audio then there will be a noticeable consistency between how you talk and how you write. That consistency builds trust.

Use Caricatures To Be Entertaining

Your audience wants to be entertained and motivated just as much as they need valuable content.

Caricature

Caricatures are one way to be a bit more entertaining. A good location for a caricature or cartoon of your photo would be on your content site. 

I suggest you don’t make a caricature that’s extremely funny (e.g. with an extra large chin or super large eyes).

But you can be a bit creative. For example, create a caricature with arms wide open displaying superman’s outfit underneath your shirt if you think it’s appropriate for your business and you like it.

Fiverr is a good place to hire someone to make a caricature, just make sure to look at their previous work first to make sure you like it.

You can also use Caricatures By James if you want to make sure it’s really professional, but it will not be as cheap.

Use A Mascot

Mascots just like caricatures are used for entertaining, but also for branding purposes. People remember mascots. They make your website unique, original and a bit different than your competitors.

I suggest you use either a mascot or a logo, or else you’ll have too much going on which can be confusing.

Here are a few examples:

Keithcakes.com.au use this mascot:

Mascot #1

MailChimp.com use this mascot:

Mascot #2

Hostgator.com use this mascot:

Mascot #3

You can search for “mascot design” on Pinterest to find a lot of good mascot examples. Mascots usually look like animals or humans.

You can place your mascot anywhere you can think of not just on your blog – for example in the email signature, in ebooks, etc.

Ideally, you don’t want to modify or change your mascot over time (if it’s a frog you can make it look better but keep it a frog) because your audience will get used to it. They will associate your business with that mascot.

Motivate Them

Like I said your website visitors need entertainment and motivation just as much as they need valuable content.

Motivate and encourage them. Show them you understand their problems and situation. They want someone to do that.

One way I try to motivate prospects is by using quotes, which you can include in your articles, videos, etc.

You Can Think Positively or Negatively - Either Way It's Thinking So You Might As Well Choose Positive Thoughts!

Motivate and encourage them from time to time. Do it in whichever way is comfortable for you. Perhaps you can share a story of how you overcame a difficulty…

Use Free Space

There’s plenty of free space on your website that can be used better. This free space is located on any webpage with little or no content for example:

  • The page someone views if they unsubscribe from your list.
  • The page someone views after contacting you.
  • The page someone views after submitting any form.
  • The page someone views after taking a survey.
  • Thank You pages – the page someone sees after they subscribe to your list!
  • 404 Error pages – this is the page someone sees if they try to view a page on your website that does not exist.
  • Your website footer section – this is the bottom part of your website were you’ll usually have a bunch of links pointing to terms of service, privacy policy, etc.

On these pages, you can place a testimonial, promote a product, feature your latest blog post. And the best option is to add an optin box to build your list.

Share Your Story

People love stories. They help us connect with one another, which is something you definitely want to happen with your audience.

Science backs up that fact:

Humans are wired to recall stories.

Stories are critical to build relationships.

Discover the science in The Science of Storytelling: What Listening to a Story Does to Our Brains”.

The story you tell can be one that motivates them. For example, tell them how you’ve been where they are now (with their current problems) and what you’ve gone through to overcome your challenges and become successful.

If you have a lot of experience, your story can be a sort of autobiography. You can tell them where you’ve studied, the places you’ve worked, etc.

It may take a long time to create a really good story, but you can start with something basic and improve it over time. 

And remember this is optional if you don’t have a good story to tell yet, don’t write one.

You can create an About Me page and list your story there.

List Credentials

On the About Me page, you can also add any awards, certificates, trophies, competitions you’ve won, badges, and any other accomplishments, as proof of your expertise on a particular subject.

This will obviously help you to be identified as an “expert”.

For example, if I was teaching affiliate marketing I could tell them that I was a super affiliate and won a Flip Camera in an affiliate marketing contest. A super affiliate is one of the top affiliates for a company.

If you don’t have anything yet, you can search for websites in your niche that allow you to enter the chance to win an award. Type your niche keyword and the word awards, competition or tournament in Google.

For example, if you’re in the drawing niche, you can submit your work for a possible award at the Derwent Art Prize.

Consider entering real tournaments or competitions if you’re in a hobby niche like golf, table tennis, etc.

No Business Is Perfect

Nobody built a perfect business from scratch and nobody has a perfect business – everyone can improve and do something better.

My website was not always like this, in fact, even the domain name was different – it was StraightMoneyTalker.com but I realized it can be better, so I changed it.

It’s unlikely you hit bull’s eye immediately, but we can’t wait until we have a perfect site before we start publishing content.

It takes time for search engines to rank your content, so the faster you start publishing content the better!

 Sell Products You Can't Make Yourself

Your audience may need products that you don’t actually have (or want to make). 

For example, if you’re in the golf niche, no matter how good you are at teaching golf maybe you don’t want to build and sell your own golf clubs.

That does not mean you should not sell them. Give them what they need. 

You can become an affiliate with companies that sell those products. 

It is important to provide the most value and help your prospect succeed even if that means selling someone else’s product as an affiliate. 

Just make sure you review and recommend good products. 

You want to make sure your audience gets value when they purchase the products you recommend. 

If you promote lots of bad quality products they’ll start to lose your trust.

If there’s a good product for your audience but they don’t have an affiliate program you should still recommend it even though you won’t get paid commissions. 

Eventually, if your prospects receive enough value they’re going to seek your advice and recommendations again and again. You’ll build a positive relationship with them and you’ll earn money from other products you’ll promote.

Specialize

Sometimes if you’re in a very large and competitive niche (e.g. the Internet Marketing or the Health niche) specializing a must-do in order to succeed.

For instance, I don’t claim to be an Internet Marketing Expert. 

Internet Marketing is so vast, that it’s plain unrealistic and unbelievable to claim to be an expert on all subjects with that niche. You look like a know-it-all who knows nothing.

So I chose a subniche, I specialize in Information Marketing. Specializing shows you’re an “expert” on a specific topic or subniche. 

I help a specific audience within the much bigger Internet Marketing/Make Money Online niche. Specifically, those people who are interested in building an Information business.

You too should figure out a specific audience that you want to help, if your niche is very broad.

Your Signature

This adds a professional touch.

Write your signature on a piece of paper, scan the paper and save the picture on your computer in a common file format: .gif, .jpg, or .png.

You can use signatures to sign off your blog posts.

Example:

Signature

Website Loading Speed

The longer a webpage takes to load the more likely the visitor will leave. Some marketers say every second your website takes to load decreases your conversion rate by 7%.

You can use these tools to test your website speed:

PageSpeed Insight
PingDom 
GtMetrix

They will also give you information about why your website is slow. You can either fix the issues yourself or you can hire a freelancer.

Above The Fold

Your website visitors will scroll down and back up several times to view as much of a webpage as possible. They usually do this to try to find something interesting.

Yet it’s still important to give them a good first impression by providing something interesting in the ‘above the fold’ section! Something to immediately capture their attention.

This is the portion of the website that is visible without having to scroll down. 

In the above the fold section ideally you want to have a well written headline that mentions one or more benefits they’ll receive from your blog post. 

And you should have an optin box so they can optin to your list. I also like to place my photo (so they quickly connect with me).

Here are two examples (click images to see bigger screenshot):

Above The Fold Example #1
Above The Fold Example #2

In the first example, the optin form is underneath the headline. In the second example, the optin form is on the sidebar. Btw the headlines can be greatly improved for both websites.

Tools To Get More Subscribers

You want to capture the name/email of your website visitors, so you can add them to your list (your audience) and be able to communicate with them and build that relationship.

You can use several different optin forms on your blog to do that.

I recommend you use just one simple optin form (like I have in my sidebar, called an Inline form) per page. Later on, you can experiment with an exit intent popup or perhaps a welcome mat… Use whatever you like.

I personally use a WordPress plugin called Layered Popups.

Here are some other good tools to create any kind of “popup”:

Thrive Leads

Popup Domination – This tool has been around since about 2009. It has been updated several times…

Convert Pro

Ninja Popups

Elementor Popups – In 2019, Elementor launched their popup building tool that comes as a feature with their page building tool. I tried it but I didn’t find it good enough, it lacked important features, so I cannot recommend it.

Each tool provides the various types of “popups” that you can create.

HelloBar is another method to collect leads. 

That tool displays a horizontal bar at the top or bottom of the page with a call to action (such as asking visitors to optin to receive an ebook).

Here’s an example:

Example of hello bar at the top of the page

Some tests conclude it can increase your visitor to lead conversion rate by 41%.

New Business Name

Some people have easy to remember names, others not so much. Some names are cool but hard to remember or pronounce. 

If that’s your case like it is with my surname you can use a different name for your business. I’ve changed my first name to Jack. Jack is common in countries like the US and UK.

I find this name better when selling Internet Marketing related products than my actual real name, Karl.

My last name is ‘Sultana’ which is a feminine form of ‘Sultan’ (a ruler). In the UK it’s among the top 25 most ridiculed last names and there are stories of kids getting bullied because of it. And in the US it’s very uncommon.

So I decided to just change it to something else, a more normal and easy to pronounce surname. Many business owners do this and you can too.

You can also pick a first or last name that’s somehow related to your niche.

For example:

  • If you’re in the Internet Marketing niche you can use last names like Cash, Banks, Penny, Profit, Moneymaker and even Dollar. These are all real last names.
  • If your business is in the cat niche you can pick one that has the word ‘cat’, e.g. Catchell, Cate, Catall or names pronounced like cat, e.g. Katrina or Katy. You can also use a last name like Kitten, Hissinger or Paw which are all real last names.
  • Dating guru Eben Pagan used David DeAngelo, the last name can be associated with angels and love.
  • If you've seen Criss Angel, the magician on Youtube you'll know he's popular for his "levitation" trick. This could be why he chose Angel - his real last name is Sarantakos. He also uses a short, easier to remember version of his first name which is Christopher.
  • Dynamo is another magician. His real name is Stephen.

Using Kitten as the last name in a cat niche or using Dollar as the last name in the Internet Marketing niche may be overkill. Just do what feels most comfortable for you, a name you like.

You can use Google to find lists of first and last names and do your research to find a new one.

Photo With The Expert

If you’re seen with “experts” or popular people in your niche, in an audio or video interview or even if it’s just a photo you’re going to be perceived just like one of them, an “expert”.

Find offline events, groups, associations or memberships in your niche where you can meet influential people. Ask to take a photo with them and put it on your blog (perhaps in one of your articles).

Conferences, where leaders in your niche give presentations, are also other places to meet them face to face. For example, IAABC Conference may be one place to look if you’re in the cat niche.

Conclusion

I hope I gave you a lot to do and think about.

You should now be able to create a neat, professional-looking blog and start producing high-quality content to build a loyal audience!

So which if any, challenges are you facing while building your blog? Leave your answer in the comments.

About The Author

More than 7 years ago Jack made his first few sales online as an affiliate marketer. His site ranked on Google for dozens of keywords, so later on, he built courses and software to teach his SEO “secrets”.

He also won a Flip Camera in an affiliate contest.

Now he reveals all the insights he’s discovered throughout the years about Internet marketing, in his free guides and products!

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