I wanted to point you to a great post about blogging – 11 Essential Elements of a Perfect Blog Design by Neil Patel over at QuickSprout.
Below are my comments about specific recommendations Neil makes about blogging.
#2 – Snippets. I used to put whole blog posts on my homepage, but I switched that up a long while ago. Reason? Your homepage should showcase what you have to offer overall in your blog. Note that first and foremost on my homepage is an opt-in box, but that opt-in serves more than just collecting emails: It gives you a small hint of what you can learn if you sign up.
#3 – Scrolling social buttons. I used to do this, and in a moment of “WTF?” (because the plugin went janky on me), I took it down. Time to put it back up. I'm looking for a replacement for Digg Digg. Got any suggestions for a nice, lightweight scrolling social plugin?
#5 – Sidebar on the right. When I first started building websites back when the dinosaurs roamed the land, any “menu” or “sidebar” was always on the left. Then blogging came along and turned my world upside-down. The best blogs almost always have a single sidebar on the right. There's a reason for that, and I agree with Patel on that point: Blogs are for reading. Therefore, put your content in the left-hand side, where people naturally begin reading. Put your sidebar (only one!) on the right, and fill it with the info that will keep your visitors on your site.
#9 – Yoast SEO plugin. This is a given. Even with Joost's focus now on paid plugin customers, the free version is still the best free SEO plugin out there.
#11 – Images! ALWAYS put an image at the top of each post and optimize it! Include your keywords (use variations!) in the file name, title, alt tag, and description. When it makes sense, put a call to action (CTA) right IN the image, too, and make the entire image clickable.
That's it. The OP is a good read. I suggest you give it some attention. Reply in the comments about your thoughts on these “essential elements of a perfect blog design”.