Of the many blogs that pop into existence (at the rate, in fact, of one blog per second), the vast majority are a form of “personal space.” These intentionally personal blogs are a sort of online journal, more about having a sense of territory than of really developing a following. However, for those who care about having a truly successful blog, the focus must shift to accommodate one group, and one group only: the users.
There are plenty of things you can do to make your site better for visitors; you can get an online web design degree, look up everything you can find on successful blog designing, or better yet follow these five simple tips that will help improve user experience on your blog.
1. Streamline Everything
On most blogs, there are links, pictures, design elements, advertisements, and just about everything else you could imagine, all littering the site haphazardly. Not only is this unattractive, but it’s nearly impossible to navigate through.
Streamline everything you can. Make navigation clear and simple to read, eliminate unclear or unnecessary elements, pull advertisements out of places where they interfere with navigation, and otherwise streamline the site. At the end of the day, users should be able to look at your page and know where everything is without a second glance.
2. Make It Easy on the Eyes
While making your site clean and streamlined will give some benefit here, it’s also important that it’s attractive overall. However, the term “easy on the eyes” is being used intentionally. You shouldn’t improve your design at the expense of readability or ease of use, so always avoid big design elements above the fold and black backgrounds with light text for your main content.
3. Use Widgets
There are blog widgets that do just about everything, ranging from speeding up your blog’s load times to making it easier to leave comments. While you shouldn’t over-pack your site, there’s almost no blog that can’t benefit from at least a widget or two.
4. Be Useful
People come to blogs for the sake of one person: themselves. Help them by creating useful content, such as tips and tricks. Additionally, in “standard” content, be sure to link to appropriate sites when relevant, cite sources when they’re mentioned, and otherwise make further exploration easy.
5. Ask Your Visitors
If you really want to know the nit-picky details that would make your visitors feel more at home, ask them yourself. You can do this by posting questions on your blog, but remember that many people still won’t respond. One of your best solutions is to invest in online survey software. However, this option is also very tricky; a survey request that’s too brazen will irritate visitors to no end, while one that’s too subtle will be missed entirely. This is a wise investment in learning your audience, but be sure to approach with care.
By making your site attractive and easy to navigate, simple to use, filled with rich content, and adapted to the needs of your visitors, you’re sure to improve the overall user experience. This is no footnote on optional quality, either. Remember, a loyal user base is the foundation to any truly successful blog.