6 Ways to Make Your Blog User-Friendly
As someone who is turning her blog into a business, I’ve been working hard at making my site as user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing as possible. I want a new visitor to not only read what I have worked hard to put together but also to click around and read more, follow me on a social media channel and leave a comment. That’s the dream, right?
Over the last year (and especially since I’ve done my rebrand) I’ve learned that there were a few things I was doing on my site that caused potential readers to turn away. Today, I want to share 8 ways you can make your blog more user-friendly so that you don’t make the mistakes that I did!
Now, keep in mind, these are just my suggestions! If you are doing something different and it’s working for you, that is OKAY! However, if you are looking for some new ideas on how to change things up on your site, or if you are looking for some tips on how to enhance your audience’s experience, I’ve got you covered below.
I get it, popups are proven to grow your leads/likes/lists or whatnot. However, as a new user to a blog, the last thing I want is to be slapped in the face with a big popup the second your site loads as I’m trying to get to the content I’m trying to read! I promise that if I want to connect with you, I will find a way to follow you; but it’s hard to click the “like” button when I haven’t even experienced your site. In all honesty, it can come off as a really inauthentic way to grow your channels.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have them, period! There are several amazing solutions to still using popups without ruining the reader experience.
- Relocate your popup to the corner of your blog instead of the center of it. That way it still draws the reader’s attention without getting in the way of the main content they are trying to get to. For WordPress users, the plugin Mail Munch can do this for you!
- Consider installing a Hello Bar at the top of your site that is “sticky.” This means that it will stay at the top of the site as the reader scrolls down
- If you still want to use a center popup, adjust the settings. You can make it so that the popup doesn’t arrive until the reader is navigating away from the site, or configure it so that it only pops up for that IP address once a month.
I think popups can be beneficial if they are used in the right way! But, if they come up the second you load the site, it can be very detrimental to the user experience!
Test for Mobile Friendliness
Did you know that over 52.7% of internet users are actually using mobile devices?! Having a site that is responsive (AKA, adjusts to be viewed on a variety of mobile screen sizes) is critical to the user experience because half of those users are going to be on their mobile devices! Another reason why your site should be responsive? Last April, Google started ranking sites based on their mobile-friendliness.
If you don’t know if your site is responsive, you can go to this site and type in your URL. Google will run a test and will let you know if your site is responsive or not!
If your site is not mobile-friendly, there are a few things you can do to fix it! If you are on WordPress, you can switch over to the Genesis framework, which will ensure that your site is responsive. If not, you can reach out to the designer and have them make changes.
If you are on blogger, I’ve read that there is a certain setting you have to turn on in order to make your site mobile friendly.
Regardless, this is one of the most important things you can do for your audience to make sure it is easy for them to access and read your blog!
I know that Captchas are there to protect your blog from spam, but as a reader, it is so hard to leave a comment with the captcha freaks out and says I’m a robot and deletes what I wrote (I know I’m not the only one who this has happened to!) Commenting is such an integral way to create community through your blog and to measure interest and engagement on your content and a Captcha could stand in the way of some of those connections!
Strive to make commenting as easy as possible so that your audience can connect with you! And, if you are on WordPress and are worried about spammy comments, install the Askimet plugin; I’ve never had a spam comment come through since using it!
Or just use the Disqus plugin. Because it’s the best. (#teamdisqus all the way)
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 10 Must-Have Plugins for WordPress
Make Use of your Footer
Are you a member of a bunch of awesome influencer sites and blogging programs that require you to have their badge on your site? Yeah? Me, too! But, I hated that all those badges were different sizes, colors and fonts and that they looked so cluttered on my sidebar. I felt like it was super distracting to my audience and to me, but wasn’t sure what else to do with them because they HAD to be on my site for traffic montioring purposes.
I honestly can’t remember where I read it (it may have been Summer’s blog) but a couple months ago I read the amazing suggestion to put all those badges in the footer of my blog! It’s very rare that someone scrolls all the way down to the very bottom of my blog, so it wouldn’t be distracting to the audience. But, the coding and badges still stay on the site so I can stay a member of those networks!
Condense your Menu
If you blog about a variety of topics (#lifestyleblogsmatter) and you have each topic in the top of your menu, it can be a little overwhelming to a first-time visitor to see so many options. It can also cause your menu to load differently on the mobile version of your site, which makes it even more confusing and cluttered.
By putting all your categories in a dropdown menu underneath “categories” on your main menu, you’ll be able to simplify your menu and still have all the important topics right there! This is how I created it for my menu on my site:
- On WordPress, you simply go to Appearance —> Menus.
- Under Custom Links, I typed in the text “Categories” and put the link to my home page for now (but plan on create a “start here/category page to link to in the future).
- Click “Add to Menu” and then drag all your categories to rest one indentation underneath the new Categories box!
Create Custom Category Buttons for your Sidebar
If you’re nervous about moving your categories to a drop down menu, I would highly suggest creating custom category buttons for your sidebar! Not only do they help carry your design and branding beyond your header/logo; they also look super stylish and help draw the user’s eye right to them! I love having my category buttons because I have 3 main topics I write about. If I have a visitor who is just interested in my beauty posts, they can easily find where to get to ALL of them by clicking on the image that says “beauty” on my sidebar.
Guess what? I made those buttons and installed them on my site ALL BY MYSELF! ME! Someone who has NO graphic design experience and who doesn’t even have photoshop anymore on her computer. So I know that you can all make them and install them, too!
And, to help you along, I created a FREE video tutorial showing you the EXACT steps to take to create your own custom category buttons. If you are interested, you can sign up below to get access to the tutorial AND the exact HTML coding (it’s super simple!) to put the button in your sidebar yourself.
If I can do it, you can do it. And I know that your audience and users will LOVE seeing those category buttons on your sidebar!
(Note: if you are already on my Blog Boss email list, you got this tutorial sent to you late last night!)
So, are you ready to take some time this weekend to improve your blog’s user-friendliness? Here’s what you can do:
- Check to see if your site is mobile friendly by going to this site and plugging in your URL.
- Condense your main menu
- Create some sidebar category buttons!
Let me know below: What things are you going to do to make your blog user-friendly this coming week? And what’s something you enjoy as a reader when you read a blog?
P.S. Love this post? I’d be so grateful if you shared it with your blog buds!