Is your business the same as every other business? Every trainer, consultant, and professional coach I work with would suggest it isn’t. They work in specific geographies, on specific topics for specific industries. So your blog shouldn’t look just like other blogs. Customize your layout to sync your blog with your website, social media, and/or email marketing.
The first objection I always hear to this is, “I don’t have a budget/expertise to custom develop a blog.” Customizing a layout isn’t about reinventing the technology. Use what’s available. Blogging platforms can be custom designed. You don’t even necessarily have to start from scratch with the layout. There are thousands of templates that can be installed on platforms like wordpress.
The caution is stopping there. Many people install a template, look it over, and say, “The blogs ready to roll.” That’s fine for a personal blog that’s unlikely to be seen by anyone but the author. It’s not up to professional standards for trainers, consultants, and professional coaches. You can use the template as a guide but shouldn’t leave it as your end design. At minimum your logo, photo, or identifying marks should be added. In most cases, design tweaks will need made to match the layout up with your other materials. Things like contact information and interlinking between your communication channels (social media) should be added.
In a perfect world, the blog is part of the website. It’s always much easier for users to find and use your blog if it’s integrated with the website. As an added bonus, it makes all the content of your website, including calls to action, immediately available to people that visit the blog.
If it’s not immediately feasible to host the blog directly on your website you can use a third party hosting platform (i.e. wordpress.com). This will allow you to do the required customization but won’t be integrated with the website. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be interlinked. If you have a blog hosted on a third party site then it requires more linking to communication channels (social media and the website) so that visitors have easy access to your information.
Your blog should look like it belongs to you. If you’re going to the trouble of creating the content, invest the time in getting full credit for it. Over time, the customized design provides a visual cue to readers that content with your layout are credible. It’s an old branding stand by but one that applies to the new digital world as well.