Who does not want a blog that encourages readers to stay for a while, subscribe, click or share? Everyone wants it, but not everyone is getting it! Do you Want to Improve Your Blog? Be Human!
What’s the problem?
The problem is that we are not being what we are, Humans!
We think like bots, designers, and what-not, but not like normal human beings! (If you’re new to blogging, “bots” is short for “robots,” automated software that looks for content on the internet.)
I usually divide blogs into the following categories:
- Bot Optimized
- Designer’s Delight
Bot Optimized Blogs
When blog owners think only of SEO, this is the result, a blog optimized for bots.
These blogs try to put in every SEO trick.
They use a lot of internal links – not because they are related – but because they are good for SEO. They also use hundreds of tags because they are considered good for SEO.
With keyword-stuffed posts and all kinds of SEO bells and whistles, these blogs may be a visitor’s nightmare. He has no other choice but to leave!
What will a two-year-old child do if you give him a paper and some colors to play with? He will spill the colors all over the page (and some on the floor).
That’s exactly what these blogs are like. You will find every kind of widget in the sidebar, lots of ads and all other kinds of stuff.
A good sight for the eyes! These blogs look good with a lot of shine and polish and lots of attention to even minute details.
They also usually have good content. But if you use a slow connection, they may be a nightmare! For example, Smashing Magazine is a good blog with great content, but on slow connections, its 1 MB+ homepage takes a lot of time to load completely.
Simple and Elegant
These blogs have a simple design with a focus on only one thing: Content!
You may expect a lot of quality content on these blogs. Great examples are Daily Blog Tips and other blogs by Daniel Scocco. Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits and Write To Done are also great blogs with simple designs.
How to Stand Out
First, an excess of anything detracts from your blog. Avoid too many ads, images and such like.
- Set Your Priorities Straight. Have in mind what you want the reader to do, then design and write accordingly. Use a mind map or other brainstorming technique, take notes and avoid any distractions.
- Think Like a Reader. If you want to write for your readers, you have to think like them. Keep in mind how the article helps your readers. Do not write for bots!
- Provide Value. Do not provide what every second blog is blogging about; be unique. Develop your own identity and writing style.
- “How Does It Help the Reader?” When in doubt, ask yourself, “How does this help the reader?” This will help a lot when you can’t decide about posting an article or adding a widget.
Bottom line: If you think and work like a normal person, your blog will surely end up being more usable.
What methods do you suggest or use to improve your blog in terms of usability and content?