Yesterday, we talked about achieving your own goals through your blog’s design. Of course, you won’t achieve anything if you’re putting your visitors off. The key is to balance your goals with your reader’s goals.

What do they want from your blog?

There is more to it than simply reading the current page. A reader may want to do a whole host of things on your site. Most blogs are very similar though, so what a reader wants to do on one blog is usually the same thing they’d want to do on any other blog.

I would consider the following to be a bare bones version of the usual priority list for a blog reader. The bolded words are the actions, and beneath them are some of the questions that a reader might ask at that point. Your job is to make those questions as easy to answer as possible.

User Priority Flowchart

How Can Your Design Help Them?

  • Well formatted posts. Good post formatting will stop posts from appearing as walls of text, instead letting them appear more manageable and friendly.
  • Logical order. Article title, then post content, then discussion, then comments form. That order makes sense for laying out the elements of a post. In a similar fashion, find the logical order for the rest of your design.
  • Give the information they need. What is the blog about? What is it called? What is this article called? All are questions that need answered on a first impression.
  • Uncluttered design. If they are looking for your subscription options, make them easy for them to find. Go through your sidebar, and assess whether things like the monthly archives are really necessary.

There are many ways that a design can be used to help out your readers. Listing them all would take days, and I haven’t even begun to touch on accessibility! What aspect of your design would you describe as being user-friendly?

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