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The aspects of user experience on your website are more important than you might think to your blog’s success.
For example, according to Google, the best practice for the time it takes a website to load is under three seconds.
And something as seemingly harmless as a five-second load time increases the probability of visitors bouncing – to a staggering 90%.
The point? There’s more to a good blog than simply providing good content.
While the quality of your content is incredibly important, if you want your blog to succeed, you need to create an entire user experience that encourages your audience to immerse themselves.
Any time spent simply sitting there tapping the screen in frustration as they watch their web browser slowly load your site is a sure way to lose your audience fast.
Here are a few of the best ways you can go about cleaning up your blog in order to improve the user experience and, consequently, retain a larger audience.
Design Really Does Matter
As already hinted at, one of the classic struggles for any website is whether to prioritize content or design.
After all, if you don’t have meaningful, purpose-driven content for your blog, chances are you won’t be able to keep an audience no matter how well laid out your site might be.
On the other hand, if you do have good content, you’re still going to need to present it with a purposeful design that doesn’t inhibit readers from finding the information they’re looking for.
In other words, once you have the content end of the deal sorted out, the next step up the blogging ladder of success comes in the form of creating a good user experience for your readers.
One of the key components of a friendly user experience is designing your site with ease of use in mind. When a new reader arrives on your blog, they begin forming an opinion of what you have to offer within one-tenth of a second.
On top of that, by the end of a single minute, upwards of 10,000 visual cues can be absorbed, all of which build towards the one crucial decision: should they stay and keep reading or not?
With that all-important question in mind, let’s break down some of the factors that go into a well-designed site:
Wielding color schemes to your advantage can be difficult. While it’s easy to look up a trending color palette, the hard part is finding one that exemplifies your unique take on things.
The above statistic on how quickly and easily an opinion about a blog can be formed is already intense. But an even greater surprise is how much color can play a role in that opinion.
In fact, as much as 90% of an initial impression can be influenced by colors alone.
Having a strategy beyond simply picking colors you like and sticking with them is key. You want to choose a scheme that reinforces your blog’s message and focus.
If you’re looking to create a sense of trust and security, you may want to work with blue.
If you’re trying to grab your readers’ attention and get people’s hearts racing, instead, you may want to angle for more of a red or orange.
The point is, do your research and choose a color scheme that will grab attention, retain readers, and help promote your particular brand and message.
Clean Versus Cumbersome User Experience
A cluttered website is one of the best ways to lose readers. No matter how much you have to say, it’s important that you take the time to present it in a clean and orderly manner.
Here are a few ways to clean up your site:
- Maximize the use of white and empty spaces in order to point readers towards the meat: your content.
- Don’t have unnecessary colors, pictures, or words floating around and distracting from the focus of each page.
- Try to use a grid approach that helps the site feel organized and that can facilitate customers flowing from one page to the next.
- If you have interactive elements like forms to fill out, make sure they’re streamlined and simple to both use and understand in the first place.
Another valuable part of a good user experience is a site that is optimized and laid out with the user in mind. If a site feels like nothing more than a disjointed holding cell for your thoughts, it’s unlikely to succeed.
While we already went over a few ways to create a clean and tidy site design, here are a few other ways to make sure your site is structured to retain readers and communicate your message with peak efficiency.
Treat Each Page as Its Own Site
No, this isn’t a call to overly complicate your website. However, it’s important that bloggers take the time to properly flesh out each part of their site.
Treat each page, not just as an extension of your homepage, but as a potential landing page in and of itself.
This is especially important in the modern day. For search engines, link building, and other best SEO practices often lead to direct links that send readers deep into your site without their ever seeing the homepage.
When that happens, you want them to land on a page worthy of their time and attention.
Organize With a Purpose
Another critical factor to retaining your readership is to have an organized site with consistent, user-friendly navigation, menus, article structure, and presentation, etc.
For example, this can be facilitated by picking a font and ticking with it. It can also be helpful to avoid changing your article structure or use of headers on a regular basis.
When laying out your menus, remember to keep the end user in mind as well. Is it easy to find your way from one page to the next? How organized are your articles?
If someone is looking for a particular subject or topic, will they be searching for a needle in a haystack? Or do you have search functions and organized sub-menus and tags easily available for them to use?
Make It Mobile-Friendly
With the ever-growing popularity of mobile devices, making your site mobile friendly is one of the best ways to increase traffic and retention. A mobile-friendly site is also more likely to cater to younger users.
Make sure that you’re using a responsive web design that can adjust to either mobile devices or desktops. This will ascertain that it remains optimized and mobile-friendly over the long term.
Utilize Those You Trust
Here’s a final suggestion. So you have a color scheme and design that you approve of in place and your site has been cleaned up, organized, and optimized for mobile users.
Now it’s time to make sure to show it to someone you trust for some honest feedback.
Ask them to use your site on a desktop as well as a mobile device. Ask for feedback regarding the use of color, layout, utilization of white space, and ease of navigation.
Basically, use them as a sort of “focus group” to assess the most important asset you own: your blog!
Content Versus Design and Wrapping Up
The ongoing tug-of-war between content and design isn’t going to go away any time soon.
Humans are humans, after all. They will always be just as influenced by things like color and user experience, as by the content that a blog contains.
That’s why it’s essential that you consider that all-important user experience.
In doing so, you will equip your blog with a competitive edge that will help it stand out from the pack and allow you to retain a larger portion of your readers for the long haul.
Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t researching at hyperspeed, Noah likes to search for the best burger in town and enjoy a history podcast.