Easy Ways To Create A User-Friendly Blog Or Website
What does it even mean to be user-friendly? I am so glad you asked that, ok you really didn’t but just like every other time, I am gonna force the answers on you because this is the most important element of your blog. This shouldn’t be rocket science but if you look around the Internet or the blogging world, it sure seems like it.
The ultimate goal should always be securing an organic audience. Sure the audience that is filled with bloggers is great but that is only a quarter of the pie. So I did something a little different, I actually went to various sources and gathered data about what it means to them to be user-friendly by outright asking people, not in the blogosphere, their honest opinions.
I asked family, friends, and people from my second Facebook account their opinions on websites and blogs. I wasn’t general about it either, I asked specific questions like what irritates them and what motivates them to stay or leave a site. Here are some key things I found out that will either make you think or shake your head and say “Whatever Heidi”.
Ladies, Ladies, Ladies..now we love to pretty up our blogs but we may be going too far! While yes, a website should definitely be attractive, too cute and cluttered doesn’t win the day. To dig the knife even deeper I found out people just really don’t care how pretty a site looks. They care about functionality.
I, myself have only come around to this mode of user-friendly thinking and I realized one really important thing. I was thinking about what I wanted, not what was user-friendly. Cramming too much crap on your page can even stress out a user. They are basically there for the content period. While it is true people like visuals, you should keep it simple.
What is most appealing and inviting to organic users is a clean design, now this doesn’t always have to mean light colors, but they are easiest on the eyes. Easy to read font and dark print. A clean and minimal design with a great logo can really make the difference. Logos and branding can get expensive and that’s why I have bought a few at Fiverr
Ok, pop-ups annoy people, sorry but it’s the truth and if you have popup ads well forget it most people are going to leave it’s just a fact. This element alone was the one thing those I talked to found the most annoying and intrusive.
I know the truth is pop-ups still rate highest with conversions, meaning people are more likely to sign up because of its right there in their face. I have a suggestion: use it at the exit or the bottom of the content. I personally think the top bars are just as effective, but what do I know?
This is definitely one of my pet peeves and I’m not alone. Surprisingly, many big authority sites litter their pages with them. Pop-up ads and just too many. The ads that sit on the bottom of a page irritate me the most. What they also do is slow down your site and people just don’t want to wait for it to load.
Load time is definitely something that can cost you, viewers. In addition to too many ads there are many things that can affect your page loading time and if it takes more than 7 seconds you have a problem. Images and plugins will affect your load time. Even your sharing buttons can do this. It is suggested by experts that you only use plugins you actually need and be sure to check how much in the way of resources they use.
You should never have more than 20 plugins. Definitely get a cache plugin and an image compression plugin. Here is what I use:
This is way more important than you may think and should definitely be well thought out. I often will look at blog names and think to myself, what? I’m not trying to bust anyone down but the truth is, cute and catchy may be great for you but not your users. A website name should tell the world what the blog is about. It should also be relatively short. It is recommended that a domain name should be three words.
Another effective branding tool is your own name. Yes, it’s a great way to sell yourself and now maybe your saying but that doesn’t say what my site is about. It actually does, especially if you are knowledgeable and experienced in the field you are blogging about. I tried and couldn’t get my full name, dang it.
Another element is your tagline. And again it’s cool to have a catchy phrase but it’s even better to have words that are often searched, in addition to being a short explanation of the purpose of your blog. Two key elements services like Peek check for when doing site reviews is upon landing can we see what this blog is about and two, Navigation!
So we come to the final piece of the puzzle. Navigation, can users find more of your content easily? Lately, I have read much on blog design that says the menu bars displaying categories are out. Last year it was that you should have no more than six. So how do people find more? Let’s be honest the average reader spends no more than 2 minutes reading.
You want them to stay longer, am I right? So ask yourself if they can find what they are looking for or more to read? I am not against the menu bar, to be honest, I find it makes things easier and it’s right there but there are other ways too. Every site should have related posts at the bottom and I also like showing your top posts on the sidebar.
So there you have it, that is what people really think. Does this make you think about your own blog and what you can do to make it more user-friendly?