When the topic of usability comes up, it usually focuses on landing pages or your main website. But what about your blog’s usability? After all, if you want to build a solid base of loyal readers, you need to make sure your blog is user-friendly.
So, what goes into a usable blog? Here are a few characteristics of great blogs.
- Theme is Focused- If your blog is a mixed bag of different topics, you’ll have a difficult time keeping readers. Your readers want to know what to expect on a post to post basis. You can’t have one post be about gardening and another about high school football. Pick a topic, and stick with it. A focused blog attracts a highly targeted crowd that will be likelier to subscribe to your feed.
- Graphics Enhance the Content- A lot of bloggers seem to add images to their posts simply for the sake of doing so. While I think that graphics are useful in blogging, I believe they’re far more effective when they enhance the point of your post. Like the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Make your pictures count!
- Comments Are Moderated Actively- The reason blogging is such a popular source of information is because of the interactivity. Readers love being able to interact with the author and with one another. That’s why you need to make sure your comments are moderated regularly. Don’t let spam filter through, and don’t take forever to approve comments. Keep the conversation going.
- Design is Clean- When it comes to blog design, the most important thing is limiting the number of ads. Quite simply, I won’t read a blog that’s peppered with ads. It’s annoying; it looks spammy; and it brings down the quality of your content. If you insist on having ads on your blog, limit the number of them and keep them off to the side where they aren’t a distraction.
- Links are Relevant- Linking is an important part of blogging. When done properly, a link can enhance the user experience. Whether you’re linking to an old post on your blog or to another website, always make sure the link is relevant to the conversation. Think of your links as supplemental material to your readers. If you do a good job at linking, your readers will begin to see your blog as a resource for your niche.
- Subscribing is Easy- It seems like common sense, but it often gets ignored. If you want people to follow your blog, make it easy for them to subscribe. Place the subscribe button above the fold in a place that your readers can easily find it. And make subscribing a one-click process that doesn’t demand too much from your visitors.
- Long Posts are Hidden Behind “Read More” Tag- It’s no secret that online readers tend to scan content rather than fully read it. Another way to enhance the scannability of your blog is to hide long posts behind “read more” tags. This way, when a new visitor lands on your blog, they’ll be able to quickly scan through the first paragraphs of your last several posts to choose one that interests them.
What usability tips would you add to this list?