7 Simple Tips To Make Your Blog More User-Friendly For Your Readers
**This is a guest post from Blogging Coach David Boozer**
SEO or, search engine optimization is still important today. As a matter of fact, today we call a part of our best SEO practices making our blog more user-friendly.
The reason I mention SEO here is the fact that many of the most practiced user-friendly blogging strategies and practices are based on using good SEO.
Making your blog more user-friendly is a must today, period. If you don’t, well, you could be missing out on some great traffic, and conversion of that traffic!
Make your navigation simpler.
Like a ship on the sea, or a hiker in the woods of my beloved Pacific Northwest, good navigation can keep you alive, and bad navigation can get you hurt, or possibly worse.
Navigation matters, even on your blog. It can be the maker or breaker of your website and blog, your business and your brand.
How? Well, the main job of a good website and blog is to generate traffic and convert it. And how it does that is through building authority and trust. Without them, well, like I said above, it could kill your business here.
Navigation allows not only search engines to follow links to other pages, and other blog posts, navigation is for people first. It is here for me and you to get the information we want or need easier, simpler.
Besides my own simple navigation here on DavidBoozer.Com, here is Darren Rowes’ blog, notice how simple the navigation is?
No matter how much content you have, or currently do not have, plan for it, plan on it. Making your navigation simpler now will save you a massive headache later.
Besides the navigation bar, there are three other important aspects of WordPress that helps new and professional users of this platform narrow down and make it easier for our readers, new and old, find what they are looking for, and they are:
- Search box
Each is amazingly simple to use, and as far as categories and tags are concerned, it is good for search engine optimization as well.
Categories are like general subjects, multiple subjects that cover the main topics of your niche. Tags, of course, would be more specific in nature. A review of fly fishing rods may follow this simple set of best practices:
The main category for that kind of blog post would be “fly fishing equipment,” and tagged with “fly fishing rods.” This would be a simple, yet perfect example.
As for the search box, well, click here to see it on my sidebar, this helps people like you and me find specific information as well.
As far as the tags and categories are concerned, well, that is what the search box will inherently use to find the answers to those queries asked within your website and blog.
And if you are wondering, yes, you can use categories or tags in your navigation. Personally, I would not use a tag as much as I would consider a good category. Travel blogs, these types of niche blogging sites use categories within their navigation, and rightly so.
That is another tip, depending on your niche will depend upon if you need categories in your navigation bar in the first place. However, you need something, and the typical goto’s are; home, about, blog, mission statement or services page, and a call to action (landing page).
Fonts, font size, and your colors.
I hate white font on black background, and yes, unfortunately, we still see this today. Why? I have no idea, I guess some people think they are a bit more artsy-fartsy than others I suppose.
The problem with that whole thing is the fact it hurts our eyes!
Usability factors and having a user-friendly website and blog is part of the ranking factors for search engines today. And how can Google and other search engines tell if people are not thrilled with your blog? Easy, your bounce rate.
A higher bounce rate means your website and blog is not appealing, whether that is the content itself or the look and feel they cannot judge, but we can as the searchers, readers, content consumers, if you will.
One of the major reasons people come and go within seconds of being on a website is the readability factor.
On a personal note, I am a huge fan of StudioPress and Solo Pine as far as WordPress designed themes I like are concerned. I went with StudioPress for Blog By The Sea, however, I was not a fan of the original font color or type, so with a little CSS help from my friend Todd, well, we got it to where you would most like it, I know I do.
It was too light and too small for me, so I enlarged the font, and darkened it a shade, I am happy now. And guess what? Yes, I even ASKED people which font they liked the most, and what you see is what was most popular.
Readability is important, remember, I wear glasses and on my desktop, tablet, or phone, if your font size is too small or too light in color, well, I am gone, and I am guessing you’d be too.
No black backgrounds with white font, follow that one rule, and like those 9 rings in the movie, the rest of the rules will follow.
Loading time = good SEO = success.
3-6 seconds is great, 7-10 and you could be losing traffic and rankings. More than 10 and, well, you might as well hire me to fix the issues now before you make another move.
Load time is important, and you can get a great idea about how fast your site loads via your Google Analytics account or, Pingdom Tools Speed Tester.
Here are a few things you can do right now to better optimize your load time:
- Minimize HTTP Requests: According to Yahoo, 80% of a Web page’s load time is spent downloading the different pieces-parts of the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. An HTTP request is made for each one of these elements, so the more on-page components, the longer it takes for the page to render.
- Enable Browser Caching: When you visit a website, the elements on the page you visit are stored on your hard drive in a cache, or temporary storage, so the next time you visit the site, your browser can load the page without having to send another HTTP request to the server.
- Optimize Images: Oversized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Use image optimizing tools like Shush-It or Force Regenerate Thumbnails.
Yes, there are a few others that are rather important to pay attention to like minifying resources (code) or, reducing server response time, but these 3 above are usually the most common reasons for slow loading pages or blog posts.
Check your load time from time-to-time, never let up on best SEO practices, in the end, they could hurt you, and in a big way! Just look at the new Google Fred algorithm update
Maybe you need a better theme.
While this is always the last choice, it is, however, sometimes, the only choice for making your blog more user-friendly.
Over the last 3 years, we have seen many things change online. No, not the fact that you need a website and blog, or a full web presence period but, we have seen change what that overall presence looks and feels like.
Mobile-friendly themes, like those you can find on StudioPress, are a great answer to most any new website and blog update and overhaul or, redesign if you want the real definition behind it all.
But, when it comes down to most user-friendly issues, making your website and blog not so user-friendly, well, design can be an issue.
Calls to action too hard to find? Navigation bar too low or hidden below the fold? No sidebar when you need one? To minimal, or not minimal enough?
Figuring out if you need a better, more user-friendly theme, well, maybe you do. Just remember, theme redesign is usually not the issue.
Pop-ups, slideouts, and other calls to action.
Pop-ups, I used to hate them. Slideouts, they were annoying too. But, today, they are not only needed, but I have learned how awesome and powerful they can be over the last 2-3 years as a blogger and business owner online.
Keep it simple, do not go crazy with them. There are pro bloggers and marketers that I love to follow and read, and watch their content, but I have to say I am a little annoyed sometimes at the number of pop-ups and whatnot I have to sift through every time I am there.
Don’t do that, keep it simple, but never let me go without a good call to action.
One of the best places is a welcome mat, a scroll-up, and something awesome inside and below the content itself. Currently, I am still working on some regular call-to-action with my content here, and I will have it ready soon enough.
There is not enough to annoy you I hope, but enough that you know that you will get an awesome 7-part free video series from me that will help you get started on your money-making blogging lifestyle today.
See that? A great call to action in part of the blog post itself! Funny…
Cutting through the clutter (it’s a minimal life!)
I like a little minimalism in my life. I also like it within my blog and brand, gimme’ some whitespace and let those pics and text rule the page!
Now I am not a minimalist in life, I think a little clutter can be a good thing in one’s life, but when you are talking about your blog content, well, too much clutter can make things harder to parse through and read.
Keep some whitespace, and keep things as cleanly formatted as possible. No, it does not have to be perfect, nor does it have to be all that polished. However, you and I should be able to tell one paragraph from another and separate the different thoughts while scanning a post.
Clean means clear here, and clean and clear means user-friendly on any device when reading and consuming any type of content within a blog post.
Make your blog user-friendly, or else!
User-friendly today is not just about navigation and readable content, it is about being readable, scan-able, it is also about being all those on mobile today…!
Mobile-friendly blog posts are a part of good search engine optimization today, and if you forget this little but important SEO fact, you’ll miss out on the 65% of searches that are happening on mobile today.
Make your blog user-friendly by staying on subject with each post. Make your navigation simple and easily accessible. And, make sure to keep your formatting clean and easy to parse through on any device.
With that, here’s to your success…!
If you need a more “user-friendly” blog design to help keep visitors on your site longer, check out the WordPress themes offered at MOJO Marketplace [affiliate link]
Got a question about blog design or website user experience? Let us know in the comments.
David is a professional Internet Marketing Coach & Consultant who provides vital training for those looking to build, brand and manage their business successfully online over at davidboozer.com. He currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his lovely wife and five awesomely cool children. Oh, and Bigfoot lives in his backyard!
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