5 More Ways to Build a Better Blog by Jenny LanctotI previously posted my 7 Ways to Build a Better Blog, and it turns out I’m pretty opinionated … so here are some more!

1.  Don’t Make Your Reader Work So Hard

If your readers have to search high and low through all the clutter on your sidebars for a way to follow or subscribe to your blog, they will simply stop looking.  Clear out the sidebar, leaving only the essentials – a link to your “About” page; your search bar; a follow button or subscribe window; archived posts and/or tags; and THEN all the clutter you want.  If they want to look at it that badly, they will find it.

(The same thing applies to your social media sharing buttons – if I can’t find them I’m not going to use them).

Also – I have noticed recently that there are a lot of blogs out there that simply have no way to subscribe by email.  I’m not sure why that is – but don’t follow in their footsteps.  A lot of readers like that option.  I have pretty close to the same number of email subscribers as those who are using Feedly.

2.  This Should Not Feel Like a Bad Acid Trip

When you choose your theme, ensure that your background image doesn’t conflict with your content.  Busy designs, florals, or anything that moves is just not going to work.  If I get seasick after 10 seconds on your blog, it’s not very likely that I’m going to stick around to hear what you have to say.

The same goes for annoying color schemes.  Using blue text on a black or red background … that’s the stuff of nightmares.  Not sure?  If it resembles an optical illusion, change it.  Still not sure?  Turn off all the lights and try to read it yourself.  If you don’t throw up, it might be okay.

If you just have to use that cute photo or the drawing your 4-year-old did, put your blog posts on a solid-colored opaque (or mostly opaque) background in front of the picture so it doesn’t interfere with the text.

3.  Why Can’t I See This on My Smartphone?

When you are choosing a theme, make sure that it is “responsive.”  This means it is designed to be viewed on a computer screen OR on a mobile device.  There is nothing more frustrating than having some free time while waiting for a bus, a train, a doctor, etc. and not being able to catch up on your blog reading because the blog you want to read requires a magnifying glass or is too gigantic to read more than one word at a time.

4.  A Font is a Font is a Font, Right? Wrong!

This goes back to making things easier for your readers, not harder.  If I want to decipher or translate a blog post, I’ll go read one that’s written entirely in hieroglyphics.  When people read yours, they probably just want to be able to read without any extra work.  Curly-Q and frou-frou fonts are good for party invitations and mother’s day cards, but not on a blog.

Also – once you find a font that works – STICK WITH IT!  Don’t change your font eight times in one blog post.  Don’t worry, you can still bold, underline, italicize to your heart’s content … but if every other sentence looks like a headline or a footnote, your reader is going to be confused.

5.  Anyone Home?

If you are going to be away from your blog for an extended period of time (even if it’s just because you’re bored or whatever) let your readers know!  I just deleted over 100 blogs from Feedly because they hadn’t been touched in over 4 months and there was no “I’ll be back” post to keep me around.

Like I said, I’m pretty opinionated.  I can’t promise there won’t be another post like this in the future.

Do you have anything to add to this list?


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5 MORE Ways to Build a Better Blog — 12 Comments

  1. I hope you Leave me a NoTe or Comment to let me know you stopped by! on my Blog. That was Gruesome and so True! By the Way. I added follow by email…..Duh!

    Great Blog Post!

  2. In my opinion, it’s good to be opinionated, especially when your opinions make so much sense, Jenny. I agree wholeheartedly.

    I don’t have a smartphone and can’t test my own blog’s readability but I know blogger has the option to make it mobile-friendly on the dashboard under Template.

    I hope plenty of bloggers read this post and make changes if necessary.

  3. With regards to your #4, about fonts, I think blog writers get into trouble when they copy and paste text from somewhere else and don’t realize that the formatting has carried over. It’s helpful to learn some basic html and occasionally take a look at the html view of their blog to see that the formatting is consistent.

    Thanks for the reminders.

    • I think you’re right, Elizabeth. I’m glad you mentioned it. Fortunately, with Blogger and/or WordPress, you don’t really need to know HTML … all you need to click is one button that removes all formatting, which makes it a LOT easier.

    • Dana, I like the look of your blog! It’s clean and uncluttered. Your writing style is conversational and doesn’t feel “forced.” The only thing I would recommend is that you also put some buttons on your blog for your readers to follow you on your various social media outlets, not just share your posts (if you aren’t already on a social media platform – especially Facebook, Google+, and Twitter – you might want to start now). Nice work!

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