How can I Improve my Blog for Readers ?

This blog post is part of my blogging series “Ask Hacknovations”. This is our weekly series where you ask questions and I answer them. To submit your question, head over to this page.

Due to how easy they are, blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger are heavily used by bloggers. Although these platforms have a lot of differences; but there is one thing common – widget areas!

WordPress and blogger themes provide a bunch of widget areas – sidebar, below the post, footer and much more. Because of how easy it is to add a widget, bloggers clutter these areas with dozens of widgets.

This is only one way how bloggers reduce the readability of their blog. But this isn’t the only way. There are much more ways. Below mentioned are some ways you can improve your blog for readers.

1. Pick a good theme

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Start by picking a good theme that has a lot of “breathing space“.

Breathing space is the white or the empty area on your blog. Although heavily ignored by newbies, white space is quite an essential element of your blog. This is the place where your reader’s eyes rest while they read your content.

White space makes sure that your reader’s eyes don’t get tired while reading.

If your theme is clogged and full of data ( text and images ) everywhere, your reader’s eye would be tired quickly and they’ll be rushing to close your website tab. When more and more readers close your website tab quickly, your bounce rate would hike up dramatically. More bounce rate means decreased rankings.

You can customize your theme to make it reader-friendly, but it’s better to simply start with a good theme. A good theme ensures that half of the work is done. There are tons of themes out there which makes the selection process difficult.

You can check out our free WordPress theme archives to pick out a free theme, or read our WordPress theme reviews to get a paid theme for your blog. Paid themes offer much more customization compared to free ones.

2. Don’t fill up your widget areas

As I explained, it is very easy for bloggers to fill widget areas up.

Over-filling your widget areas harms your blog in two ways – 1. reduces your blog’s loading time and 2. reduces the readability of your blog.

a. Reducing your blog’s loading time

One of the most frequently added widgets is “Popular Posts” or  “New Posts“. If you use WordPress, these widgets make a “query” to your database every single time a page/post is loaded. More queries mean reduced loading speed. It’s better to either use static widgets or use fewer widgets.

b. Reduces readability of your blog

If your sidebar has gif ads, videos, or a ton of data, it will cause a distraction. Also, some widget areas are sensitive, like the header widget areas. The header widget area is fit for a search bar or a leaderboard advertisement at maximum. But adding a popular post widget won’t be a good option here.

You can also use a “no-sidebar” theme, but in that case, you need to work very hard on getting readers to click and visit other pages of your blog.

3. Optimize your blog for Speed

If your blog is based on minimal appearance, has no distracting widget, has adequate white space, and has everything in place, but it takes more than 4-5 seconds to load, you’d lose a lot of readers!

We’re living in the age of information overload. Human attention span is short. You need your blog to load quickly. A couple more seconds and you lose a reader.

This is why I say that you should focus on getting a good theme and setting it properly.

There are tons of ways you can improve your blog’s loading speed.

  • By optimizing your blog images via an image optimization plugin
  • Using a caching plugin like W3 total cache
  • Using a CDN ( content delivery network ) for enhanced delivery
  • and not overloading your widget areas.

4. Format your content properly

Not everything is up to your theme layout and sidebar. A lot is up to the actual blog post body. You need to format your blog post properly to make the overall feel of your blog consistent.

I mean, if your theme’s color scheme is green, it would be a good idea to tone your featured images in a green shade.

Keeping the color scheme consistent would help you create single tone all over your blog.

I don’t like when blogs don’t have a consistent tone. For example, here is the screenshot of the blog of award-winning Internet marketer Mathew Woodward.

blog screenshot

Here is a screenshot of his SEO agency’s website.

website screenshot

I adore his marketing skills. His main blog theme is brilliant, but the same doesn’t apply to his SEO agency website. There’s a lot of content on this page and very less white space. I suggest keeping the design minimal and consistent.

Conclusion

It’s good that you’re working towards making your blog easy to read for your readers. Follow the tips above. Another tip that I’d recommend is getting two or three co-bloggers or friends and asking them to point out mistakes in your blog.

Rachit
 

Rachit Singh is the think tank & editor of Hacknovations. He is the author of two crime fiction books, founder of a content marketing agency ( Scribbify ) and a passionate marketer. He contributes and has been featured in several publications.

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