I have only been running this blog for a short time – I made my first ever post on 3rd March 2007. During this time however, I have learnt a lot – both as a writer and as a blog reader.
I have found myself becoming increasingly frustrated of late with usability issues on some blogs that can so easily be corrected, and I want to share these today.
I am hoping that if you find your blog doesn’t comply with these tips you will be inspired to make the necessary changes to enhance its usability.
1) Ensure your logo links to your home page
It is pretty much a standard convention now that your site’s logo should link to your home page. Almost every visitor to your website will click on your logo and expect to be taken to your site’s index. Don’t frustrate them by not following this convention.
2) Place the link to your comments form at the end of your articles
I seem to be coming across an ever increasing number of blogs that have the link to their comment form at the beginning of an article. This makes absolutely no sense – why would I comment on an article before reading it? The natural process of blog reading dictates that someone will read an article first, then decide if they want to submit a comment.
At this time, they will be at the end of your article. If the link to the comment form is not there, most will not bother looking for it let alone scroll to the beginning of the article on the off-chance it is there instead.
I often find that blogs with a low number of comments (particularly for their traffic levels) fail to have a link to their comment form at the end of their articles. Don’t make the same mistake!
3) Moderate comments quickly
If you have set your blog comments to ‘Moderate all’ then ensure you approve them quickly. Contributors do not want to see their time being wasted – if they submit a comment and it doesn’t appear to get published on the blog, the chances are they will not try a second time.
4) Respond to your comments
Comments are there to add value to your articles. It is in your best interests to foster a sense of community at your blog. You can do this by replying to comments left by contributors.
If you receive a huge number of comments on a daily basis, you shouldn’t feel obliged to respond to each and every one but you should take the time to reply to any questions or specific queries.
5) Make your ‘tab order’ logical
A lot of people fill in forms solely using their keyboards. These users will move between each input form by using the ‘Tab’ key – make things easy for these people by ensuring your forms (particularly the comment form) have a logical tab order.
Once the first input box is selected, every press of the Tab key should move the cursor to the very next box in the form – not two boxes down, or away from the form completely!
Does your blog satisfy my usability tips? What importance do you place on the points I have raised in this post? What are your own blog usability tips? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.