When it comes to blogging, content is king but it’s not the only thing that you need to be concerned about. There’s also the small matter of web design, something that many bloggers seem to have forgotten about. And by forgotten about, I mean that they have confused effective web design principles with simply choosing a cool WordPress theme.
Although, you need not be an expert in human computer interaction nor do you need to hire such an expert, successful blogging requires that you make some attempt at making your blog user friendly. After all, you want people to enjoy your blog, right? It’s not actually as difficult as it sounds and in fact, simply avoiding the following six incredibly common web design mistakes should keep you well ahead of the curve.
1). No Search Button
If you’re the disciplined type, you are likely to have amassed quite a large number of carefully crafted posts after just a few months. And when you’re blog has been online for over a year, there is likely to be quite a bit of content on there just waiting to be discovered by those who drop by. What many bloggers fail to realize however is that if you want people to check out your past posts, you need to make it easy for them to do so. And while almost all bloggers categorize their posts, a shockingly high amount fail to include a search feature.
2). Browser Compatibility Issues
This is a mistake that most bloggers only make once. You chose the perfect design long ago and you are certain that all of your readers love it. Then you happen to be at an internet cafe one day and upon checking out your own blog (self obsessed or what?), you discover that it looks terrible. A few refreshes/hours later, you discover the problem. Your blog is not compatible with all browsers and you’ve been making people curse your blog for many, many months.
3). Massive Blocks of Text
Regardless of how interesting your content is, when people browse the net they are often doing something else at the same time. Perhaps they have another eye on the television or simply on some hot girl. Your blog is not a book, you have nobodies undivided attention. Therefore you need to make it easy for people’s focus to come and go. When somebody looks away from one of your posts, how can you make it easy for them to dive straight back in? The answer is the opposite of long winding blocks of text. When it comes to blog posts, sub headings and bullet points are anything but optional.
4). Browser Manipulation
When blog owners attempt to manipulate visitors by manipulating their browser, visitors get angry and they don’t come back.
- Everyone likes the Back button, a fact illustrated by the fact that every browser out there has one in a prominent position. Don’t mess with it.
- The same applies to changing the size of the browser window. If your visitors want a full screen view of your blog, they will do it themselves.
- And if your visitors want to open a link in a new window, they can do so with a right click of their mouse.
5). Links that Look Like Text and Vice Versa
As you are undoubtedly aware, links are a pretty prominent member of any blog and therefore how you handle them can greatly increase (or decrease) the usability of your site.
- First off, if something is not a link, it should not look like one i.e. avoid text like this
- If something is a link, make it obvious with different colored font and a line as above.
- And if a visitor has already clicked on a link, let them know by ensuring that your links change color after they’ve been clicked.
6). Maze Like Navigation
An important element of making any website user friendly, is a well structured and intuitive navigation system.
- Drop down lists have no place on a blog. They may save you space but it’s more important for your readers to be able to see what you have to offer.
- When you mention another post, you should always link to it, don’t make your readers work for related content.
Almost all bloggers categorize their posts but some simply use the chronological categories that come as standard with WordPress. Do you really think your readers have a compulsive need to read your posts in the order that you wrote them?
While Vadim Kirichenko makes his living with sem, he is a passionate blogger. His experience with landing pages makes him look at web design from usability point of view and often finds blogs and blog themes lacking some of these basics.