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Monday, January 15, 2007

Top 10 Sins of Blog Usability

Over at SiteProNews Linda Bustos just wrote an article about the Top 10 Sins of Blog Usability. In the article she gives tips for improves and some do's and don'ts for blogging. As I am always looking to improve my blogs I really appreciated this article and thought I would share it.

10. Sending Mixed Signals

The main purpose of your blog should be decided from the very beginning and should be evident in every post there after. Linda and many other writing about how to make professional blogs success have stated that random or personal entry blogs don't make for very successful blogs. Now I realize this is exactly what this blog is, but that what this blogs purpose is. I have some other blogs (Random Games and Random Super Heroes) that have a distinct purpose and so this mainly applies for those blogs.

9. Making it Hard to Subscribe

Asking for a subscription is ok to do. A lot of people don't know how to use an RSS feed so offer email options as well. Linda says that subscribers are very important to a blogs success.

8. Inconsistent Posting

Once you have some loyal subscribers (and probably some that aren't so loyal) you'll need to be consistently updating your website. Your readers want to hear from you, so give them what they want. You should stick to a schedule that is realistic with the amount of time you have to give. Linda gives a tip for those times that you don't have anything to post about. "Blog about someone else's posts related to your topic and include a link back to that post." It won't hurt you if you link to someone else's site and your reader go check it out. The owner of the website will appreciate the link and your reader will appreciate some more useful content provided by you.

7. No Contact Info.

Let your readers contact you. Don't be an anonymous blogger. Trust is gain by your readers if they feel they know who is behind the blog and they feel they know you a little. I like to have my email address on my blog so my readers feel they can contact me at any time, as well as through monitoring my comments. Which leads into...

6. Not Moderating Comments

Spammers would love to come and corrupt the comments on your blog, make sure to monitor your comments and take care of these problems as they arise. Spam will annoy not only the author of the blog but it's readers as well.

5. Excessive Advertising

Make sure your ads and/or affiliate links don't over shadow your useful content. Monetizing a blog is fine as long as the ads don't get in the way or interrupt the content your readers are trying to feast on. Linda, and others, recommend new blogs waiting a while until some good useful posts are up before running ads.

4. Not Linking to Posts

Whenever I talk about another site, or an article I found somewhere I also put a link to it. This is appropriate in order to let your readers check it out for themselves, get their own take on the story and get some background info on the article. It is also a compliment to the author of the website with whom you are referring. This kind of generosity will be noticed and perhaps reciprocated.

3. Dark Background, Light Text

I struggle with my color choices. The colors I seen to like, are not colors everyone else likes. I found this out from multiple comments from my readers asking for color changes. I appreciated the feedback. you don't want to have your readers straining their eyes to read your posts. The hard to read colors for instants are white text on a dark background, or blocks of red. Stick to easy to read colors. Black text on a white backdrop is always a safe bet.

2. No Search Box

Readers may not remember exactly where a post is that they enjoyed, or perhaps they want to follow up on comments they left. Having a search box some easy to find place on your blog is a good way for people to easily find what they are looking for.

1. Hiding Navigation

Easy navigation is very important for your readers sanity. Don't make your reader scroll down very far before they find your archives, or listed posts or labels. Labeling your posts is a great idea to make things easier on your readers, as well as for search engines. Tagging your posts are also a key way of receiving traffic, especially from huge sites like Technorati. Linda also points out that the easier to navigate the better, and with tagging and labeling perhaps "less is more."

I hope this article help you reevaluate some things about your blog or website and help make it a little better. As we begin 2007 I know my goal is to continually improve Random Encounters of We as well as the other blogs I've listed above. Any comments about this article are very much welcome.

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4 Comments:

Linda Bustos said...

Hi,

This is Linda Bustos, thanks for posting my article but could you include the byline as well with a link to Image X Media www.imagexmedia.com. Thanks.

Linda said...

Hi it's Linda again, sorry about the last comment, I didn't realize you had written your own responses on first blush. But you might want to edit the link to sitepronews because in 2 days another article will be up there, this is the archive link:
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2007/jan/15.html

Thanks,
Linda

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