On March 18, 2010 by Anand Subramanian. · 6 comments so far
Having a well-organized blog can make a huge difference in the ability of your readers to navigate your site quickly and efficiently. Moreover, there are few who will likely disagree that keeping your readers happy is one of the best ways to keep them coming back to your blog. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to make your blog more efficient and better organized for your readers, here are some tips that could help you do so.
Use a page instead of a post for utility content that very rarely changes to help you stay better organised, otherwise it gets pushed down into the archives as you add more posts. Consider making pages for ‘About’, ‘Advertising’, ‘Contact’ or ‘Services’ and place links to them in your header, sidebar or footer so that they are always easily accessed by visitors.
Polish Your Home Page
You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘You only have one chance to make a first impression.’ Well, this can be the case with your blog as well. Your home page is likely where that first impression is made for many of your visitors. Making this space clean, crisp, informative, and attractive can give a great first impression and make it easier for your guests to navigate your site.
Write Descriptive Post Titles
Keeping your post titles clear, concise, and keyword rich can be eye-catching and better inform your readers as to what your posts pertain. Well written titles will also help your blog rank higher and therefore increase highly qualified traffic from search engines.
Don’t Rely on Archives
Don’t rely on monthly archives as your primary means of internal navigation. Monthly archives are useful only if you want to look at the news for a particular month, but if you are looking for posts on a particular subject then they are a usability nightmare.
Be Careful With Category Titles
To make the most of your older posts, consider placing them in categories that fit the subject and inform your readers of what type of posts each category contains. Using obscure category titles like ‘Best Of’, ‘My Favorites’, or ‘Great Stuff Here’ may not be enough to grab your reader’s attention.
Limit the Number of Categories
While categories are a great way to organize your posts, you should avoid having too many categories. A select number of categories can help your readers find what they need, but too many categories can detract from the work you have available to present. 400 categories for 400 titles probably won’t appeal to most readers and is bad usability. You can use tags to create more specific, keyword focussed groups of posts.
Author Names Help
This might seem trivial or could be more of a personal preference, but knowing who wrote an article may help put a reader at ease. A short description of the author’s background and history, even just a name or picture can help your readers and may catch a return visitor’s eye if he or she is searching for a particular author.
Link to Sources
Rather than clogging up your site with articles, posts, pictures, and information copied from other sites, consider linking to other blogs, websites, or other sources you may have cited instead. This can make it easier for visitors to get to areas they are interested in seeing and can be a great way for you to network with other blogs and websites as well.
Stuff the Stuff
Gadgets, widgets, polls, contests and all those little whatnots can be overwhelming and they tend to slow your blog down, which is bad for user experience. A few are fine, but too many can be annoying and distracting and may detract from your visitors easily finding what they need.
Keep it in Line
Again, this might be a personal preference, but I often find it nice to be able scan one side of a blog’s home page and find most of what I need to know about a site. From categories to archives, and from a list of recent posts to a brief blurb about the author or founder, some people just like their ducks in a row when it comes to how a blog is organized.