Saturday, October 18, 2008

Top 10 Easy Tips to Make Your Blog More User Friendly

When I first started blogging I read a good book about how to blog. I remember some of the ideas, but unfortunately have forgotten the title of the book. Some of the following are taken from that book, other ideas are from the Internet.

1.) Have an "About" page - Tell readers something about you. Make it short, to the point, but interesting. Tell them something that is different about you then most.

2.) Use readable fonts - Take a good look at your blog as if your seeing it for the first time. Can you read the font? Is it large enough? Are the colors in such a mixture that it can be read? Recently I saw a blog that had black font on cranberry colored background. I couldn't read it because of the color combination. My blog buddy LadyBanana found this cool tool so you can "test your blog in many browsers... If you are wondering if your blog looks good in all browsers check it out. It take a little while to work." - BrowserShots (Thanks LB!)

3.) Place Social Bookmarks on your blog.

4.) Page Load Speed - There are still a large number of Internet users that use slow dial-up connections. Even with high-speed connections some pages just don’t load very quickly. "Most of your visitors will be fairly impatient and pages that load slowly could chase them away...Factors that influence the load times of pages include the number and size of images, extra items like flash, the amount of excess code, and the size of your pages." It will be more user friendly to keep the number of post per page low. A good example of this is my blog buddy eastcoastlife. She keeps the number of her posts per page low, about 3. (Maximum should be 7.) As you can see her blog certainly doesn't suffer for it, just the opposite. She gets tons of visitors, and often 70, 80, 90 or more comments per post! Way to go eastcoastlife!

5.) Make sure your blog has an RSS feed - Some people may not read a blog simply because they don't have that option available.

6.) Post should be the length of an E-mail - Most posts should be brief, about 1 to 3 paragraphs long. I realize that some of us need to get things off our chests, but try to fit some short posts in too. Many readers have dozens of blogs to read, and may not comment on your blog if most of your posts are long.

7.) Reader focus - Present your posts in a way that speaks to your visitor's wants and needs. It's fine to have a personal blog about yourself, but write mostly posts that you think would be of particular interest to your readers.

8.) Typographical errors - Check both spelling and grammatical errors so that your blog looks more professional. Admittedly I'm not the best at this, but at least I make an attempt. Run it through spell check, and grammar check if you have it.

9.) Use tags - This will organize your posts, and help readers find a specific past post that may interest them.

10.) Read the source list below - It will give you many more ideas... Happy Blogging!



Sources -
9 (+1) Tips For Writing User-Friendly Content
10 Styling Tips to Make Your Business Blog More Uses Friendly...
4 Characteristics for User-Friendly Websites (#4 taken for here)
101 Blog Tips I learned in 2006
Blogging Tips for Beginners
So You Want to Be a Blogging Star? by NY Times
Blogging Tips - Hundreds of Resources For Finding Content...

25 comments:

LadyBanana said...

I am trying really hard - honest!lol

Seriously though, good tips :)

Tracy said...

Great tips Awake! At times i forget how long my posts are, or that i may have to many photos on my page. I will have to re look at my page.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Hugs.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi LadyBanana,

Great! I noticed the difference. Now it tooks 9 minutes to load instead of my usual 12 to 15. But your going in the right direction. ;o)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Tracy,

Thanks!

I plan on visiting your blog sometime today. I'm a bit behind, but see you soon. ;o)

meleah rebeccah said...

Great Tips. I know my blogs don't look right on Internet Explorer, but Im too lazy to fix that.

*I think everyone should use Firefox anyway!!*

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi meleah rebeccah,

I couldn't put a photo on my blog until I switched to Firefox. For some reason that did the trick.

may said...

i have issues with keeping it short sometimes. too many words, even when they don't really mean something sometimes . have to work on that :)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi may,

I have that problem too. I have to be more mindful of that. I think that Wordless Wednesdays are a good idea. I'm seeing more people do it.

dmarks said...

Another tip: no snap! A lot of times, blogs with Snap prevent people from clicking on the comments link (you can't get rid of the snap popup and it prevents you from clicking)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi dmarks,

Welcome!

Snap? I don't know what snap is. I guess that's why I kept it a basic list. ;o)

Vodka Mom said...

That was great advice! WHere were you in July???? It's never too late to learn good stuff, however! And, I'm sorry I completely forgot about the teddy tag. My bad.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Vodka Mom,

July? I'd be interested in hearing about it. I've only been blogging for about 8 months, and tying to learn more. As I learn I try to pass it on. ;o)

TEDDY!

meleah rebeccah said...

yanno, I used to have one of these plug-ins

3.) Place Social Bookmarks on your blog.


But Ive lost it somehow.

Must call my blog fairy to fix it for me.

Drowsey Monkey said...

all great ideas :)

I forget people have dial up. Firefox makes things a bit faster, I could never go back to Internet Explorer now.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi meleah rebeccah,

I got some with my template which was nice.

Tell the blog fairy that I need a new computer when you talk to her. OK? ;o)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Drowsey Monkey,

I have dial up and a very old computer. I've named her "my old lady." We can't visit some sites because she has trouble loading them.

S'onnie said...

Great tips thanks! I will try and keep them in mind when blogging :)

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi S'onnie,

Thanks!

Debo Hobo said...

There should also be a way for your readers to contact the author outside of the comment section.

Also, it was hard to post a comment because the 'Post Comment' text is in baby blue.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi Debo Hobo,

I like the constructive comments. It's good to get feedback. I'm still remodeling, and feedback is great so I know what people want. Thanks!

I have my e-mail addy in my header, and I believe it's in my profile too. Maybe I will get an e-mail icon, and put it on my blog to make it more visible.

Darn! I see the comments as baby blue too, but though it might appear dark to my readers. I will have to take another look at it, but I'm not good with HTML. It's Greek to me for the most part.

- A said...

loved your tips .. looked at my own blog and noticed I'm going against some of them, lol

Oh by the way .. I know who I'm voting for now! THANK YOU so much for those links by the way!!

They helped tremendously by looking over everything. Thanks again!!

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi -A,

I'm glad that you figured out who you want to vote for. Glad I could help.

dmarks said...

Here is an illegible blog that someone pointed me to. If I have to highlight the text to read it, why bother?

Another peeve of mine is when someone has 10 or 20 blogs in their profile as "their" blog, and you can't tell what the main one is. Some are nice enough to say "main blog". Otherwise, I end up fishing through a few blogs that have not been updated since 2006, and I stop after a few, and never get to the main one, if there is one.

Sassy Scrubs.com said...

All good comments. Thanks for sharing your experience, and the help!

By the way, we have a blog contest going on right now which might interest you. Win a $250 Gift Certificate for custom made Sassy Scrubs. We're located in Penn Yan, so you can think of us as "local"! Just post a link to us and you are eligible for the contest. You can read more about it on our blog.

We're going to talk about your ideas here, thanks again!

Karen

Awake In Rochester said...

Sassy Scrubs.com

Hi Karen,

Thanks! I'll take a look at your website soon. ;o)