4 Ultimate Ways To Make Your Blog ‘Super User Friendly’ In 2014

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4-Ultimate-Ways-To-Make-Your-Blog-Super-User-Friendly-In-2014

So 2014 is well and truly here, and yes I will admit there’s a certain element of excitement when it comes to setting up new goals and creating New Years resolutions, especially for many bloggers and entrepreneurs out there.

Anyways, firstly I’d like to thank Matt for allowing me to guest post on his awesome blog.  Today I want to dive straight in and share with you 5 super cool ways to make your blog super user friendly in 2014, it’s all about your audience and giving your site users the best experience ever each time they visit your blog.

Let’s face it; owning a blog that is ‘blinged to the eyeballs’ with colourful ads and banners, widgets and gimmick pop-up features of all sorts is no longer the trend.  Nope, instead the web is favouring more towards a cleaner and clutter free environment; it’s all about making your content stand out and providing value.

Also as it happens, if you want to remain good friends with Google, and you’re still holding onto that dated WordPress theme, then you’d better clean up your act, because these days Google prefers sites that are much cleaner, faster to load, less spammy looking and most importantly sites take responsive design seriously, we’ll talk about achieving all those things below.

OK enough of me ranting, let’s dive straight in.

To make this post a little more interesting, just open up a new tab in your web browser right now and bring up your blog’s home page.

Now we’re ready…

1. Optimize Blog Loading Speed and Site Performance

Right, do a little test, head over to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and check your blog’s homepage loading speed insights.

This is a very useful free tool and it will show you where you’ll need to make crucial improvements to improve page speed insight score; the score is given out of a possible 100, each for mobile and desktop.

In the results you’ll also be shown how many rules have been passed for your site, if you look at the results for Online Income Teacher for example, the site has a page speed score of 83/100 on desktop which is pretty good. See image below.

OIT-PageSpeed-Insights

OK, so let’s say your site isn’t scoring too well in the page speed insight test; don’t worry as you’ll be given some suggestions on what to do to improve this, in addition here are a few other things you can do right now to improve your blog’s performance on the web.

If you’re new to all this and are wondering why page speed is so important, think about this carefully, say you were browsing the web and you came across a website that took forever to load, would you hang around waiting or would you hop to another site?  I think I know what your answer would be.  Your blog visitors won’t wait either, and slow loading sites do not provide a good user experience.

OK so here’s what you can do.

  1. Use a reliable web host, or consider upgrading your current service if you believe your current plan isn’t up to scratch.
  2. If you’re using WordPress, minimize the number of plugins you have installed and active on your blog.
  3. Optimize your images by shrinking the image files.
  4. Use a well coded and optimized WordPress theme with HTML5 markup.
  5. Minimize the number of scripts you have embedded in your blog’s header, footer and sidebar.
  6. If you’re using WordPress again, install a reliable cache plugin like WP Super Cache.
  7. Use a reliable content delivery network such as MaxCDN.
  8. Minify JS and CSS, by installing the Better WP Minify plugin.
  9. Use the Better Delete Revision plugin for WordPress to delete all post and page revisions.

2. Declutterize Your Blog

Yes I know the word “declutterize” probably doesn’t exist in the dictionary, but what I mean by this is remove as many distractive items as possible from your blog, give your blog a spring clean if you like.

Think about the things you have in your header, sidebar and footer and even in your content.

If you firmly believe that your content is that valuable, then why hide it amongst all the clutter?

Here are some suggestions for spring cleaning your blog and making it super user friendly.

Disclosure: These are just some recommendations or suggestions to consider based on my experience with declutterization, I’m not ordering you to do all of these things.

Consider getting rid of any annoying pop-ups (e.g. ads, opt-in forms, special offers etc, you don’t need them).  Let your blog visitors enjoy exploring your site and reading through your awesome content before shoving an email opt-in form in their face.  If they decide to signup because they like what they’ve read, they can do so by using the opt-in form in your sidebar, which brings me to my next suggestion.

Get rid of any other ‘conversion killing’ distractions in your sidebar.  If you’re as passionate as I am about building an audience for your blog (list building), consider getting rid of any needless distractions and gimmick features in your sidebar, things that could potentially be killing your opt-in conversion rate.

AdSense makes NoSense, just Cents.  That’s my motto when it comes to making your blog content the centre of attention.

Think about it, do you want your visitors to read your awesome content, love it, share it and even consider signing up for future updates?

Or do you want to send them away to another site, maybe even your competitor’s site, for the sake of a few cents, by allowing them to click on an AdSense ad?  Or maybe even put them off altogether.

If you really have to display ads on your blog, keep in mind your ad to content ratio, or even consider substituting AdSense ads for more targeted and profitable affiliate banner ads.

Have an effective internal linking structure – Check how your content is linked together and have a better linking structure to provide better user experience.  A good linking structure can encourage visitors to explore more pages on your blog and have them spend a little longer consuming your awesome content.

3. Improve Your Content and Readability

Now we get to the actual content and readability.  Ensure that your content is easy to read.  Use larger fonts and wider line spacing between texts and paragraphs.

The font colour is essential too so avoid using font colours that clash with your site’s background, for example using yellow text against a white background is a certain no, no.

Also make your navigational buttons larger.

4. Refresh Your Blog Theme Design and Layout

We finally we get to the design and layout of your blog.  We briefly talked about parting with that old expired WordPress theme you’ve been holding onto for the last 5 years or so, if there ever was a better time to do this, now is that time.

These days web browsers access and consume content not just from their desktop computers, but also their mobile devices, we’re talking about smartphones, laptops and of course tablet PC’s, and the number of people doing this will certainly increase throughout 2014 and beyond.

This means it’s time for you to think about getting a brand new blog theme that takes into consideration the following key features:

  • Responsive design
  • HTML5 markup (the new web standard compliant coding)
  • Flat clean modern design elements
  • SEO friendly
  • Social sharing features
  • Multiple page layout and styles
  • Automatic upgrade and support
  • HD and retina display ready
  • Security

So there you have it folks, 4 very effective ways to make your blog more user friendly in 2014 and beyond, now if you think you can improve your blog using these tips and suggestions, go and make a start today.

Share Your Own Tips and Ideas

If you have your own tips and suggestions you’d like to add to this post, please feel free to leave a comment below to share, I look forward in engaging with you here on Online Income Teacher.

Over and out for now.

About Fabrizio Van Marciano

Farbizio Van Marciano is a professional blogger, podcaster and an online business strategist. He is the founder and chief editor at Magnet4Marketing where he enjoys sharing tips and strategies on small business blogging and internet marketing.

  • Mary

    Thank you for the post. But I have to admit that I don’t understand a lot of it.
    I have a slow site
    I did check it on the site you recommended but didn’t understand the tips for increasing speed. I did try the cache plug in once but it interfered with other important plugins.
    Do you have any suggestions to getting this done when you don’t understand? Is there any training on how to understand it? On odesk would that be a website developer that could help?
    I know it is important. thanks again, Mary

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Mary,

      I have to admit that the Google Page Insights (and similar sites) aren’t as user friendly with their advice as they should be. That said, these issues aren’t always straight forward to fix.

      The best advice I can give is to follow Fabrizio’s advice and look to streamline everything on your site. Get rid of as much “stuff” as you can from your sidebar, excess plugins, images, etc. that you don’t NEED. That in itself can help speed up your site straight away.

      Next, take a look at my guide to speed up your site: http://onlineincometeacher.com/tips/speed-up-your-website/

      This will help guide you through some steps that you can take to actively speed up your site. Just start from the beginning and work your way through them. I’m here to help if you need it.

      You could hire a web developer to help you, but in all honesty, you are probably better off doing it yourself. Not only because you can make a BIG difference by implementing some simple steps (my guide), but also it helps to learn about this kind of thing yourself. When I first started building and running websites there was a lot to get my head round, but the more you learn, the more you understand how everything works together.

    • http://www.magnet4marketing.net/ Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Hey Mary, thanks for your comment and question. I have to agree with Matt on your last question, you’re better off learning how to do these things yourself, so that you know what to do in the future.

      The thing is you need to identify what’s slowing your site down, I know the insight reports can be a little confusing if you’re not too savvy.

      When I started to look at ways to increase blog my loading time, I first looked at my scripts and plugins installed. I used the P3 (plugin performance profiler) plugin for WordPress to help me identify which plugins were slowing down my blog heavily, the ones that were really causing havoc on page loading I could then remove.

      As Matt and I suggests that the sidebar can get very crowded and be one of the major reasons for slow loading website, so my advice here would be the same as Matt, to remove as much fluff and only have the essentials in your sidebar.

      Each time you make some improvements on your site, test and test again until you’re happy with your page score.

      Best of luck

  • Mary

    Thank you Matt and Fabrizio for your replies. They are so appreciated.
    I did read the article you recommended Matt. That was crazy informative, I will have to come back to it.
    I also, just installed the P3 and my security plugin was a huge percentage. I hated to delete it, but it made a big difference, Also, seo all in one pack is a culprit!
    Yes, doing it myself is good, I want to be completely involved in my business. I was just thinking that it would entail changing code in the editor after I saw the report.
    Thanks for all the great work and both of you writing on such an important subject! mary.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      No problem Mary. Will be here if you have any further questions :)