Your blog is your house. And your visitors ring the doorbell with one question in mind: “Will I find what I need here?”
Your content can be incredible, but it won’t be read unless you have set up the basics to get your users from point A to point B. Your visitors want clean, simple, easy-to-use. If the experience is clunky, complicated or cumbersome, you can bet they won’t be back—even if your posts are astounding.
5 interior design tips to make your WordPress blog user-friendly:
1. The Foundation
Your theme provides the framework for your blog. It is your foundation— the house within which everything fits. Theme design is a huge factor in usability. Shop around. Look around at other sites. If you have a certain look in mind, be aware that usually means customized, which equates to more time and money. Consider looking at premium themes out there and imagine your content fitting into one of them, nice and tidy, with no wasted space and no expensive remodels.
2. The Front Door
Ever visited a house in your home buying days and the front door was all chipped with paint peeling off and the weatherstripping coming loose? It didn’t matter what was inside because your experience had already been ruined. Well your blog’s header is like that front door.
I’m going to use that tiresome 5-letter word: Brand. Yes, make sure your header reflects your brand. If you are a business, use your logos and colors. If it’s a blog about you, let’s see your face in the header.
If your blog is about gardening, well, you get the point. I find so many blogs that use a default photo that came with the theme. If you are talking marketing, and your header image is a picture of a stream in the woods, what does that tell me about what’s inside your house? Nothing.
3. The Main Rooms
Your top navigation bar will take me to your blog’s main pages: the ‘rooms.’ Don’t clutter it up with too many buttons because I may get lost. Make good use of your sub-navigation menu. And make it easy to read with clean simple fonts, and enough contrast between the background and font color, so I don’t have to strain my eyes to figure out what it says.
Because I may have to go to the bathroom and that could get kind of tense.
4. The Garage
Your blog’s sidebar has all the tools your user needs, kind of like a garage. Some themes, and even plugins, allow you to create custom sidebars for each page. That means that the most important content for each page is on the side of the page.
For instance, on your homepage, put the sidebar widgets people will most need when they first land on your blog. On your about page, you might include widgets like social media connection buttons, your latest tweets, or even a few testimonials. On your products page, consider affiliate links that showcase and complement the product. Think in terms of what logically fits in that sidebar, how it blends with your page’s content, and whether it is a distraction, which you definitely don’t want.
5. The Front Porch
This may be the most important place of all. It’s where people will want to hang out with you, put their feet up, get to know you better. Make sure it is easy for your readers to connect with you on other social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Just one word of caution: Be sure you are active on these platforms and aren’t putting them there just because they look great or your best friend has them. There is nothing more frustrating than clicking on a Twitter account that hasn’t been updated for two months.
How about you?
Which part of your ‘house’ has been the most challenging?
Which of these five have you had the most fun with?