7 New year’s resolutions to make your blog more user-friendly

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You’ve done all the celebrating, the world is slowly getting back to normal and the Easter eggs are already crowding the shelves of the supermarket (yes, really). Many New Year’s resolutions have already been broken, slightly bent or put off till after the weekend… but there are a few easy ones that you can implement that will make your blog far more user-friendly… you could check off one per day for the next week. Once done, they take care of themselves and help readers make the most of your site.

1. Name
I love the social side of the blogosphere… I love being on first-name terms with people and being able to share a few moments… except, there are a good many bloggers who give neither a name, nor any reasonable substitute. There are a good many people who choose to remain anonymous in their writings, for any number of excellent reasons… but give something that people can call you by! It feels just a tad awkward writing “Dear Ilovemypinkcaddillac…” in the comments…

2. About
The About page is a first port of call when visiting a new blog. It is a good place to tell a little about yourself…including that elusive name… so that people can know who they are speaking to when they write. If you have one already, it may have been there some time…it is worth revisiting your About page and updating it occasionally too… and I’ll cry mea culpa on this one… I have to update mine too.

3. Gravatar
Your Gravatar is the little icon that represents you when you comment on blogs. It is also a good place to address that name issue… When you like a post or leave a comment, it leaves a link to your own blog. Quite often, these lead to defunct sites and pages; if you haven’t added a link to your blog on your Gravatar page, no-one can follow the link back to your site …and if you have moved your blog or changed its address, make sure to update your Gravatar or the redirect will end on a deleted page.

4. Search facility
Honestly, if there is no search facility for readers on your blog, do consider adding one. While there is a good argument against doing so when you have a new blog with little content, established blogs really need one.

5. Sharing
Add a range of sharing buttons to your posts so that they can be shared across social media. You can add all the ones in the WordPress armoury to which you would like to see your posts shared…or just choose a couple on which you prefer to share. Go to Admin>Sharing and follow the instructions. Don’t forget that authors can add their blog to post directly to a variety of other social media sites like Facebook, but also Goodreads and Amazon.com too.

6. Contact
You can add a contact page with a contact form quite simply from the ‘create pages’ menu. You do not have to give out your email address, but it is a good way to allow people to get in touch…and without one, you never know what opportunities might be missed! You can also add your social media accounts, either on the Contact or About pages, so that friends and readers can connect with you there.

7. Follow
Wordpress.com blogs have a little ‘follow’ button that comes up in the bottom left corner of the screen…if you scroll up slightly, the oft-disappearing button will reappear. This allows readers to follow your blog by sending posts to the Reader facility. I like to follow a lot of my favourite blogs by email too, so I do not miss a post. It is a simple addition… go to the Appearance>Widgets menu and find the one that allows people to sign up to follow by email.

Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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116 Responses to 7 New year’s resolutions to make your blog more user-friendly

  1. OneDizzyBee says:

    It always makes me happy when I read posts like this and discover that I mostly seem to be on the right path! Thanks for the suggestions. Will be retweeting this one!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wonderful tips, Sue. I think I’ve to work upon my “About Me” a little… Thanks for the reminder…

    And, I completely agree with the “Dear Ilovemypinkcaddillac” part… 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dale says:

    I cannot agree more! I don’t know how often I’ve gone to he “About Me” page to find a blogger’s name so I could address them properly… alas, some choose to remain incognito. Their choice, I guess.
    Ever since I responded to a blogger who’s comment box brought me to Facebook, I’ve had issues! My Facebook is now supposedly “malwared” Cannot fix it and dare not click on the box that says “do let us take care of it for you”! Ugh.
    That said, I better go and see if my ducks are in a row too! 🙂

    Like

  4. Deborah says:

    I have one possible addition: Adjust your fonts so they aren’t too hard on the eyes. Make your blog easy to follow visually. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Rosie Amber says:

    Oow thanks Sue, I’ve never thought about having a search button, what a good idea, I’ve added one now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TanGental says:

    Never had a contact me button or page. I should look into this. Thanks for the prompt Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Margaretha says:

    Noted. I need a search facility and links to social media on my contact and about pages. Off to sort it out. Thanks, Sue!

    Like

  8. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Points 1, 2, 3 and 5 are pet dislikes of mine – I love learning more about people who call over and ‘like’ or comment on the posts and, like Sue, I want to be able to call you something other than ‘thecatwhogotthecream’ type name.
    If you’re a blogger, you WILL lose followers for your blog!
    If you’re an author, you WILL lose potential readers for your books.
    Even I tell you my name, even though I use a logo type avatar!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. J.C. Wolfe says:

    Great tips, Sue! I’m pretty sure I got almost all of these down when I started my blog a few years ago, but it’s always good to recheck the list now and then (especially updating the About page)! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very informative but how do you add a Search button?

    Like

  11. Judy Martin says:

    Thanks Sue, These are all great tips. I have, over time, added most of these things, but it wouldn’t hurt to update my ‘about’ page 🙂

    Like

  12. Any kind of menu or list that helps navigate, especially in established blogs like yours and mine. There’s so much content … I have a “best of” list that changes every few days (automatically), as well as a “most recent” list to help people who don’t want to go digging!

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I like the ‘related posts’ function that puts a selection of so-called related posts at the end of each article… though sometimes working out how they are related would take a degree in genealogy!
      I also have a ‘recent posts’ list. The lists are useful for exploring blogs.

      Like

  13. Solid ideas. “About” pages are pretty important – if there isn’t one, I usually will not subscribe to a blog. Having a font that is easy to read is something to consider, too
    Hope the new year is bringing you lots of smiles

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I like black text on white as a rule… much easier on the eye… and a decent size. I agree with you about the ‘about’ pages. I don’t need every detail of a writer’s life, but I like to get an idea of who they are.

      Like

  14. JackieP says:

    I’ve been trying to keep my ‘about’ page updated every year I have been blogging. Thanks for the reminder of doing it this year. 🙂

    Like

  15. Thanks that’s really helpful, I need to add a n contact page and a search functions, I should also update my about page.

    Like

  16. KL Caley says:

    Reblogged this on new2writing and commented:
    Another Great Post by Sue to start the new year of with a WP Blog spruce up!
    I must admit I hadn’t realised you can add a search bar in your own page – great tip I will be looking into.

    Like

  17. jenanita01 says:

    Reblogged this on Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie and commented:
    I’m off to check…

    Like

  18. KL Caley says:

    Great Post and great tips Sue! I think I needed the prompt to do a bit of sprucing up 🙂 I must admit I don’t think I have changed the blog for ages and hadn’t quite realised how many options there are for things to add, will look into it more :). My real name is Kerri-Leigh, double-barrelled with both Kerri and Leigh often spelt incorrectly so KL is much easier for me even if it is cheating a little 🙂 ❤ KL

    Like

  19. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Sue Vincent with some New Year Resolutions for your blog. Make it easy for us to share your posts and also welcome you to the community. As with any good party it helps if you have a name to work with.. it might not be your own if you wish to remain anonymous but any will do. Thanks Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. kimwrtr says:

    Reblogged this on Kim's Author Support Blog and commented:
    Thank you, Sue, for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. jjspina says:

    Great suggestions, Sue. So important to make yourself known to readers and encourage followers. Thank you for sharing! Hugs ❤️

    Like

  22. Great tips, Sue. Thanks! 🙂

    Like

  23. blondieaka says:

    Hi Sue …thanx for the tips, my biggest pet hate is your No 3 drives me crazy when I can’t find someone….Search button … I never thought about but good idea methinks and shoud maybe look at my about page every now and again. Happy New Year, Carol 🙂

    Like

  24. Ali Isaac says:

    The one which really winds me up is no name! As you say, it doesn’t have to be your real one, if you want to be private, but something we can identify a blogger with. If I can’t find one, I don’t leave a comment anymore. No point in trying to be sociable with an unsociable person!

    Like

  25. Thank you, Sue, for a very informative blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. adeleulnais says:

    Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    i need to do this so much. i havnt checked my about me page since I started.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. adeleulnais says:

    Thanks Sue, I have reblogged this as it is essential reading and ehrm, I will check my about me page and add Gravitar. thank you again.

    Like

  28. olganm says:

    Thanks, Sue. I’m working through my new blog and trying to remember the basics. Must make sure I have a search button (although I realised not all my posts were transferred so not that much content). I’ve also discovered that if you move the blog to wordpress.org the follow button you refer to is not available there (and posts will not appear on the reader) so it’s ever more important to have the button for people to subscribe via e-mail. Happy New Year!

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Happy New Year, Olga. That’s one of the reasons I have stayed put on .com… the .org sites are so much more professional, but for the community feel, .com makes it so much easier.

      Like

  29. Very clearly spelled out. I didn’t know about no.6, I’m going to add that, thanks.

    Like

  30. Great tips, Sue. I would add that you should also always ensure your ‘About me’ page is easy too find. If I can’t find the page within a few seconds then I move on.
    Also, I think it’s a very good idea to check that all the links on our blogs work and, of course, ensure you backup your blog content often.

    Like

  31. macjam47 says:

    It seems you’ve hit all the important ones.

    Like

  32. jazzfeathers says:

    Hey, nice to see that I have all of those checked 😉

    The thing that really annoys me is when there is no contact listed in the blog anywhere. I’m suprised that there are still places on the blogosphere (and internet in general) where this still happens. Why would anyone do that?
    And would you believe it? I’m a bookseller. Happens everyday that I have to look up a publisher on the net and it happens even with them: sometimes, there is no way to contact them. Or I have to spend half an hour googling everywhere to find a contact. It’s just crazy…

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I can understand personal blogs not having direct contact details, though an anonymous contact form is still good and protects both sender and recipient, but not businesses…or writers! It seems rather silly…

      Liked by 1 person

  33. dgkaye says:

    Fantastic article Sue. I’ll be reblogging it next week! Simple steps that help a lot, especially the ‘no name’. 🙂

    Like

  34. Eliza Waters says:

    A good list, Sue. I esp. agree with #1. You and I obviously don’t have a problem putting our names out there (!), but there are folks I have exchanged comments with for months and still don’t know their names. It feels funny asking at this point.

    Like

  35. stuartaken says:

    Reblogged this on Stuart Aken and commented:
    Good advice from this useful blog. If you’re a writer who blogs, it’s worth following this advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Mick Canning says:

    Yay! Seven out of seven for yours truly!

    Like

  37. saharafoley says:

    I amazes me how many bloggers do not list share buttons. And thank you for the heads up on the Contact Page. That’s one I’m remiss on. Great post. 🙂

    Like

  38. saharafoley says:

    Reblogged this on Readers' Junction and commented:
    Some great advice. Please, add the share buttons on your blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Excellent advice. Navigation is really key. Sometimes I want to read more on a blog and can’t figure out how to get anywhere. 🙂

    Like

  40. livingincyn says:

    Great tips, for sure! I think the About page is the one that gives me the most grief. So much to say, so little time/space!! 🙂

    Like

  41. Diane Tibert says:

    Yes, yes and yes. Yes to all of these. It took me about six months of blogging before I had all these items in place. I’m sure my blog is not perfect, but I’ve tried to make it easy to navigate. I have my email address in the margin and on my About page. I know people worry about spam with your email advertised like that, but I’ve never had an issue in the five years I’ve been blogging.

    Names: I’m with you on this. Dear fairy645, Hello 78UIwx, Hello IWantToWriteABook…I can’t bring myself to call the person by these tags. Perhaps they don’t realise this is what comes up for us.

    Thank you for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks, Diane. They are all little things that only experience highlights… it took me months too! I think it makes it even more awkward now when sites designed to be optimally displayed and usable are being viewed…minus sidebar… on mobile devices. That’s where the about page comes into its own.

      Like

  42. I agree completely, Sue. Have a terrific Tuesday. Hugs.

    Like

  43. Yes, yes and yes, plus four more. 🙂 ❤

    Like

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