6 Ways to improve your blogs usability
Having spent a considerable amount of time compiling the top 100 UK blogs list it seems that most bloggers are lagging a long way behind “normal” websites in terms of usability.
The points below are a collection of the major problems I see on blogs every day. Remember that a blog doesn’t have to look any different to a major newspaper website, blogs are just platforms for people to publish content online. The sooner we start to embrace usability the quicker the rest of the world will want to read what we have to say.
You might have a list of 200 places you want people to look at but including more than 10 links in your menu is bad. Nobody will click your menu if it has a huge list of links.
Pick the most popular pages and categories on your site and use them to form the menu. If you want to link to more than a few pages from the menu break it up using sub headings.
Listing hundreds of sites in your blogroll doesn’t help you and it probably doesn’t help the sites you are linking to either. Google devalues sitewide links and might even think you’ve been selling links.
If you really like somebody then drop them a link every now and again from one of your posts. If you really have to create a blogroll create a separate page to avoid cluttering up your theme.
If you publish all your posts in full on your homepage the page becomes really really hard to read. Some blogs have homepages that are 25,000 pixels tall (thats 25 times the width of your PC screen). Should you expect people to read that far down your page?
Linking your titles
Readers expect the title of a blog post to be a link to the full page version of that particular post. Having a small “permalink” at the bottom isn’t a substitute.
Building feed subscribers
Those of you who are not building feed subscribers are missing a trick. Let your readers sign up by email and RSS and offer a nice post explaining how they can do it. Link to the post from next to your feed button.
Thanks to the email subscriptions offered by people like Feedburner even people who’ve never heard of RSS can sign up.
Although being featured in 15 different blog directories might have been important to you last year ask yourself if you really need to keep linking to them?
Do you want to devote valuable real estate in your navigation area to what boils down to a free advert for a web directory?
What are your blog usability pet hates?