Welcome to the one place where we can leave our mark on blogging and content marketing: The Hydrant. We wanted a name that wouldn’t be generic and boring. We wanted something a little risque. And we wanted to give readers a sense of our personality and our post content right from the start.
We hope you’re as jazzed to read it as we are to show it off.
If you’re thinking about redesigning your blog or simply starting a blog, here’s what we did.
Start With A Goal In Mind
On any project of this size, it helps to have a brief outlining objectives you want to address once the project ends. Since we already have an editorial calendar and regular blog meetings to address our content goals, we were able to use this redesign to focus on the functional goals within our blog.
Build a better conversion tool for downloadable content, site interaction, form submissions and sharing with sacrificing readability.
How we accomplished it:
We HATE the big popups that everyone seems to use now. There’s so much mixed research on the efficacy of these, it came down to the experience we wanted to give our readers. We wanted to improve the reading experience for customers (especially on mobile) in addition to creating more conversion opportunities.
Adding featured content:
We wanted a place where the really in-depth, time- or research-intensive posts would live on and be prominently featured. We create so much blog content that a great post gets buried relatively quickly. We solved this with a place to highlight our three best/featured blog posts of late (in addition to our latest post).
Stronger social call-to-action:
“Your mom says you should follow us.” And we put it above the fold. Need we say more?
More prominent post sharing:
We made sharing a post more prominent and look prettier (subjectively speaking). After talking a survey of the office about whether people share articles in site or simply copy and paste the link into their social media channel of choice, the results were 50/50. So we didn’t push the “Share this” stuff super hard. Everyone shares their content differently and we didn’t want to get obnoxious with the “Hey! Share this on all your social channels!” If our content’s good, people will share it.
Writer CTA (that can be updated and edited):
Within our featured post panel is a smaller callout to writer to “Write for us.” We blog on grammar and writing, so we get a lot of writer traffic. We wanted to capture and convert those interested in grammar to consider writing for us. The beauty of the HubSpot CMS: we can change that for a seasonal promotion, incentive, whatever. The nice thing is that we have it and can use it at our descretion.
Popup CTA and related articles:
This is how far we were willing to push the envelope on this whole “popup CTA” thing. We didn’t want one to completely cover the screen disrupting your reading experience. This is a lot more subtle with helpful, related articles and a more promotional piece. What’s more, we didn’t include this functionality on mobile as that would’ve completely disrupted the reading experience. When it came down to our readers vs. ourselves, we erred on the side of readers.
Sharing icons via mobile:
We added an easier way for mobile readers to share content. Again, the research on best practices here was mixed. We decided that most people will use sharing icons more often in mobile instead of on a desktop. Mobile, for all its improvements, still makes the social sharing experience clumsy.
CTA form at the bottom:
We didn’t want our readers to have to go to another page to download content or submit their information. We added an inline form at the bottom of every post.
Better designed newsletter subscription module:
We’ve seen our newsletter subscriptions grow despite a really strong CTA to subscribe. We pretty much post every day. This needed more love and we’ve since made the design more eye-catching and easier for readers to sign up.
Use the blog to personalize BlogMutt.
How we accomplished it:
When we launched our new site, blogmutt.com, we emphasized our service over the BlogMutt employees creating the service. We wanted the new blog to showcase the great folks at BlogMutt and the personality each brings to our blog and our service.
That’s the BIGGEST different between BlogMutt and other services out there. The people. The blog is a place for our people to share their interests with you so you can get to know them a little bit better.
We added more in-depth author bios. You can read about the blog writer and follow them on their social channels if so inclined. We didn’t include blog comments, but if you want to comment on a blog post, you can always start the conversation on social or reach out to the author via social directly.
Evergreen goals were things that we always wanted to keep an eye on in the development of the new blog. We wanted to update the look to something that aligns more with BlogMutt’s brand and personality. We wanted to make the reading experience better. We simplified navigation. And we built the blog for scale so that we didn’t paint ourselves in a corner programmatically.
We used our brand guide to inform the look and feel of the blog and came up with the blog name, “The Hydrant,” and the tagline “Leaving our mark on blogging and content marketing” as a team.
We hope you enjoy the new blog and find it a more pleasurable reading experience.