As you consider all the cool blog design ideas you want to implement—because they look cool, because they’ll make it easier to post adds and push sales, because they’ll make upkeep easier, because whatever—you need to always, always keep in mind a single trait which matters more than any else: user-friendliness. The most magnificent blog in the world, with the greatest content and the greatest monetization schemes ever concocted won’t make a dime for you if your site is miserable to navigate. So before you enact any of your big ideas, take a long moment and consider these three tips for making a user-first experience.
1. Always Think In Terms Of The User Experience
This is a pretty basic tip, but it goes a very long way towards improving blog design. Put all your ideas through this filter before you go any further with them, considering the simple question of “What it will be like to visit my blog, navigate for useful content, make purchases or sign up for things?”
If your answer isn’t “Pleasant, simple, and efficient” then take a step back and figure out what needs to change to maintain your idea’s benefits and keep your site user-friendly. There aren’t many features out there which are inherently antagonistic to the user experience, you just need to take your time and work out the best way to implement them.
Remember, if it loads slow, if getting to content you want to see isn’t intuitive, anything that annoys you for even a moment, that’s all bad. It doesn’t take long for these little frustrations to build into a perception that your blog is a frustrating mess to browse. Optimize user-friendliness in the extreme, and you won’t have to worry about it.
2. Design With A Purpose
Most user-unfriendly blogs arise from a lack of vision—a failure to decide before the design process what you want your site to do. A blog designed, for example, as part of a marketing sales funnel knows what it is for, and every page, template, sidebar, and header can be directed to that end goal. But a blog with more than one ambition can quickly lead to a muddled, messy knot of code, contradictory systems, and headaches for everyone involved.
So even if you want to do multiple things with your site, commit to a singular vision that encompasses those things, to guide you in developing your design. The way users navigate, read, watch, contact, sign-up, these are all best informed by your goals as a site. And to make that work, you need to know those goals and how to achieve them.
3. Don’t Device-Limit Your Site
There may once have been a time where you could make your blog without much concern for how anything other than a Windows desktop PC would access it, but that time has long since passed. Today, you need a site which operates on Windows and Mac iOS and Android; desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. If your blog design ideas cut out any of these segments of the web-browsing population, you’re not losing a fringe—you’re losing a significant amount of traffic.
So make compatibility with all the various devices a priority. For a while, this meant ‘have a mobile site’ to many web design specialists, but this is less than optimal for a lot of reasons; it’s bad for your SEO, it still creates gaps where neither version of your site operates well for certain devices, etc. Google developers, and a host of design gurus, now recommend that websites work towards so-called scalable web design; building a site such that it rearranges itself to operate at different resolutions and sizes without much impact on function. This can be tricky for an amateur, but it’s an incredible benefit to your site when you full it off with style.
A Few Final Thoughts
Don’t forget that simplest of tools in your belt for designing a user-friendly experience: asking users, and potential users, to give your site a test ride and tell you what they think. Keeping an open door of communication with your blog’s guests will go a long way towards helping you improve your blog design ideas, alleviating frustrations when something does turn out to be a pain, and giving you insight into potential features and designs for future endeavors.
Sometimes the best thing a blog can do, for any business, is give them not someplace to talk but someplace to listen. And listening is perhaps the ultimate user-friendly feature.