I’ve been blogsurfing a bit lately, looking for new friends and as always, I notice what I’m doing and figure that it’s probably what most people do when they’re looking at sites. For me, it goes like this.
- A link on a site, a google search, a blog listing, your Facebook or twitter feed or a comment on my or someone else’s blog catches my interest with a name or an idea and I decide to check it out.
- Once there, I look for
- What kind of thing are they writing about?
- Does it interest you?
- Do you want to comment? If so, can you?
- Who is this person?
- Do you want to bookmark the site or follow it in some way. If so what options are you given?
- After commenting, or checking out earlier posts, you might want to get back to the home page but can you?
You’ve probably heard people say that good content is the most important thing in a blog, and that’s true, but it’s not enough. Anyone who visits your blog needs clear navigation tools to make finding the above things easy, and some of them are vital if people are to keep coming back. Here’s what you need.
- A little blurb about the purpose of the blog
- A list of your most recent posts – so we know what topics you’re writing about. A category drop down box is good too. A dated archive list isn’t very helpful because it doesn’t show topics just dates. A list of top posts is ok too, but I like to know what the author has been writing about recently more than which ones people like the most.
- Posts of less than 800 words – so we don’t scan your posts and think, I don’t have time to read all that.
- A way to comment. I’ve spent ages on some sites looking for the comment button only to find that there isn’t one. This amazes me – surely the point of a blog is to interact with people. I go back to sites because I think the author and I have things we can talk about, so if we can’t converse, why go back?
- Make commenting easy – don’t make people register and have to sign in, it’s a clear way to stop people commenting.
- Easy to find info about you
- Ways to follow the blog. This is vital if you want people to come back and you’d be amazed how many people don’t have any options at all, or they don’t have the option I want, and or what options they do have doesn’t work (RSS feeds are unreliable). For people with few bookmarks, a bookmark will possibly be enough, but I rarely get to go through my bookmarks. If your site is good, I’ll want the options of an RSS feed, email subscription, twitter and/or Facebook.
- A page labelled home, so I can always get back to your latest post.
Do you look for the same things in a blog? If you have a blog does it have these things?