Creating a user-friendly blog will increase your traffic and encourage users to spend more time reading your posts. There are several things you can do to make your new or existing blog more user friendly. Follow these 10 steps to see an improvement in visitor metrics and get your content read by a wider audience.
1. Create a User Friendly Color Scheme
One of the easiest ways to make sure your blog is user friendly is to make it easy to read. Avoid using white or light font colors over dark backgrounds. Although such contrast may look good for a logo or menu button, having to read more than a few lines of text in this format can be straining on the eyes. When in doubt, stick with the classic plain white background and 12 or 14 pt black font. There’s not much point in straying from Arial, Times New Roman or Google fonts, as readability often suffers with the use of decorative fonts.
2. Remove Obtrusive Advertisements
Of course you may want to display ads on your blog to cover the cost of your WordPress hosting, or make a hefty profit from steady traffic, but don’t clutter your blog with too many ads. Users generally tolerate or even find useful, ads that sit quietly on the margins of your site or ads that are well defined, and easy to distinguish from your content.
3. Make Use of Media
Even though text posts are the bulk of many blogs, don’t forget to make use of web media to give your readers a variety. You should use a relevant image between every three of four hundred words in your blog posts, or anytime it would help illuminate something you’re describing. Consider embedding any video that your blog links to in order to keep users on your page and make it easier for them to come back to your post.
4. User Friendly Plugins
There are hundreds of WordPress plugins that can give your blog a more user-friendly look and feel. These range from tools like calendars and calculators, to buttons for quick and easy social media sharing. Make the most of your WordPress hosting by installing plugins that work for your specific blog.
5. Responsive Design
Blogs that don’t have responsive design are often difficult to view, especially on small mobile devices. Avoid putting your readers through any additional challenges, and install a responsive theme or template for your blog. Responsive themes adapt to any display size for maximum readability. Make sure your menus, plugins and other elements are responsive as well, if using a responsive theme.
6. Create a F.A.Q. Section and Contact Form
Readers often have questions that they’d prefer an immediate answer to. Frequently Asked Question sections aren’t just for online stores, they can add functionality to your blog and spare you some redundant emails along the way. If your blog is new consider having a friend read through it and see what kind of questions they come up with as a visitor. Link to your F.A.Q. section on your contact form page to further its efficiency. Make sure your contact form has fields for the user’s email, and preferred contact name.
7. Add a Search Function to Your Blog
If you have more than a few dozen posts, it’s a good idea to add a search function to your blog. It makes finding a specific post or topic much easier for your visitors. Don’t make your readers resort to using a web search to find your content, since such searches will include posts from competing blogs.
8. Errors and Broken Links
You should check all links on your blog for errors or removed content. External links are more prone to such changes, but internal links can contain erroneous tags or typos. There are even WordPress plugins you can install to check all your links automatically. Consider making custom forms and pages to display error pages such as 404 page not found and 403 forbidden displays. This will be easier to understand for many readers than the plain-text error messages usually displayed in browsers.
9. Install Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are hierarchal menus that show the reader where they are on your website or blog. They are named after the fairy-tale and perhaps real-life trope of leaving breadcrumbs where you walk to easily find your way back. Adding a breadcrumbs menu to your blog will prevent users from getting lost, and help them know which category or section of your blog they are on.
10. Use Heading and White Space for Increased Readability
Many web-browser people and blog readers skim through content at blazing speed. Help them get through your posts faster by inserting proper formatting such as headers, line breaks and margins. White space between each paragraph will make your blog easier on the eyes, and more skimmable for your more hurried readers. Using well-defined formatting will encourage your users to stay on your blog and read more posts, increasing your overall traffic.
After implementing these 10 tips for making your blog more user friendly, you should review your site’s analytics and compare your traffic. There should be increases in number of visits, and specifically time spent on each page and pages clicked per visitor. These are tried and true methods of making it easier to access your content and improving readability, so it’s not a stretch to expect quick, significant improvements in visitor metrics.