Blogging is not just about writing great stuff and optimizing it for SEO etc . Blogging has a much more “Community” feel to it and hence requires you, the blogger, to make sure that your community is happy with your blog. People, regular readers are the heart of any blog, without them it is like Christmas without Santa, and it’s a role of a Blogger, to convert one time traffic into regular readers. No doubt, it’s your high quality content, that will make the most out of it, but there are many other things and elements which you need to take care of for offering a user friendly Website environment.
Design is one of the big reason of a Website popularity but just a heavily designed site with low quality article and 1 minute loading time, can never guarantee success of your site. A perfect user-friendly website is a mix of many Website elements, which form the great user experience by the end.
What are the steps to be taken?Here are some tips you can use to make sure that people love to visit your blog and contribute actively to the blog’s community -
Some easy to implement tips for creating user friendly Website:
Now, when ever we talk about creating a site which is loved by readers, we need to take care of each elements like Site navigation, subscription, site speed, sharing options and so on. You can be as creative as you could be, but make sure by the end you have a site with following elements for the best user friendly website experience. For affiliate sites, I suggest to read:
Simple and Easy Navigation
When I visit a blog, I would like it to be of a simple design with may be a single sidebar and a comparatively larger content area, with ease of navigation. I would like to see the main pages such as “Home”, “About” in easily find-able locations and well highlighted.I would like to see a good list of related articles which are not just vaguely related, but closely related, which is located near the article I am reading.I would like to see the category of the article mentioned clearly so that I can check out other topics in that category.So I thought if I expect all these things in a blog, then I should also implement them at my blog, so should you.
I know that every blog remains profitable only through ads, and ads are the driving force of the internet, but it is not necessary to have two or three ads in the content of the blog, like so many blogs do (even some popular ones).On top of that they also have ads in the sidebar and footer. When I see ad placements like that I usually think to myself, “Come on man, I am here to read your articles not see your ads, I can see those ads anywhere on the net if I wanted to“.
I feel that an optimal ad structure that would give a good source of revenue would be to have a blended ad in the content area and another one in the sidebar.Any more than this can start intruding with the readability of a blog, which is not good at all. I also recommend that you not use In-Text ads, as they are very annoying with their pop-ups and blocking text, I usually avoid websites which enable in-text ads. Also, avoid pop-up ads.
We have also seen in the recent Penguin Update that, if a blog has too many ads it may get penalized as well as in the Above The Fold Algo that too many ads above the fold is not good for SEO, so this is a second bad effect of having too many ads, other than irritating your audience. Another great feature would be to disable ads for regular visitors, I know that this may take out a great chunk of a bloggers revenue, but it is something that a blogger should keep in mind as a possibility.
Installing A Search Box
I have often found myself looking for certain content in a blog but not having the patience to go through many posts to see which one I wanted, a simple search box would have been useful then. So I recommend every blogger to install a search box in their blog to make it easier for readers to find particular content in a blog. You can use Adsense for search to create search box for your blog/Website and also make money out of it.
Install Effective Share Buttons
Share buttons can really help out readers, when a person likes a post a lot, they usually share it to social networks (which brings more traffic to your blog). It would be a cumbersome task if they have to copy the link of the post and paste it manually on a social network, hence you should have easy to use sharing buttons and they should also be conveniently placed so that your readers can find them without much effort. For WordPress, you can easily use Digg digg plugin to add Social share button.
Also, you should implement subscription options, which will help readers to subscribe to your updates. Email is one of the essential one, followed by Facebook and Twitter. You can see a complete list of must have subscription options for Bloggers.
This may seem pretty trivial, but readers love to see photos as-well while reading, it gives some relief to the eyes of the readers and also adds value to your article.But make sure that your pictures justify your content and do not end up describing what your photo means in your article.
Neat, Legible and Proper Writing
This is one of the most important things to ensure while trying to make your blog user friendly.You need to ensure that your articles and neat, legible and in proper English with proper grammar.I feel like going mad when I try to read a grammatically wrong and carelessly written article.It may result in a high bounce rate.
These are some of the above general tips which I believe every website should have but here are some more tips which you should consider integrating for a user friendly website experience.
More tips for creating more user-friendly Website
Page load time:
No body likes slow loading pages or pages which takes minutes or even few seconds to load. Make sure your page loading time is not high or implement necessary changes to boost loading time of your site. Also, Page load time is one of Google ranking factor.
Privacy and other TOS:
If you have a website which is selling something or have registration enabled, make sure you have set your privacy setting and other TOS and policy pages. If you are selling something, make sure you show the trusted sign logo and Payment options, which will hel buyer to make a decision quick and avoid any future hassles.
Mobile friendly site:
With the rise of smart-phones and tablets, mobile friendly site has become an essential element for any website. If you are using WordPress, you can use Responsive WordPress theme or use plugin like Wp touch to easily make your site mobile friendly. For other platform, you can use DNS method to redirect your site to a mobile friendly version of simply re-design your site in responsive design. You can use Gomo-meter to check if your site is mobile friendly or not.
Depending upon your blog and website type, a contact form or Feedback form is an important part of good website user experience. If you don’t prefer Email or phone number as contact pref, you can link to your social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook for getting feedback. Point is, you should give a medium from where reader or customer can connect to you.
Avoid Auto loading video:
How many tab you open a website in background tab, and you are disturbed by some audio/video running in background tab. If you are using videos on your website sidebar or anywhere, don’t make it auto-load as it gives a bad user experience. Though, there could be an exception in the case of service or product based website.
Here are another check-list for improving your Website usability and user experience:
- Take care of 404 pages
- Use short paragraph-bullets point.
- Make your content scanable
- Avoid broken links
- Add Favico
- 25 Website checklist for usability
- Usability tips for websites
- 10 Ways to make your website more user friendly
So I feel that these are some of the necessary things you need to do while trying to make a user friendly Website, if you have any other ways of making a blog more reader friendly then please let us know in the comments section.