Friday, January 11

Blogging Essentials: 3 Things To Make Your Blog More User-Friendly & Accessible | Guest Post Miss Drifted Snow White

The first few #bblogger chat topics on Twitter were always along similar lines – how to improve your blog to get more readers, etc. As a former web designer, developer and consultant, I thought I put a little guide together of what I think bloggers should do to make their website better accessible and more user-friendly.
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1. Mobile Template – faster loading times, less data.
Whether you're on Blogger or Wordpress, you can see from your stats that a large proportion of visitors views your blog on their mobile devices, so on 3G. Which means blogs take ages to load. If you then don't enable mobile templates so that instead of loading a 'lite' version the entire blog is being loaded, it eats your reader's data as well as their time. Which is counterproductive, since people who access websites on their mobile devices are CLEARLY on the go. Yes, there is of course the issue of look & feel of the blog in mobile view, BUT firstly, if you enable mobile view and your readers don't like it, they can always manually themselves change it to the full view, and secondly, people who access your blog on the go surely don't wanna see the advertisement – they come for the content, your articles, and they are displayed perfectly fine.

2. Resizing Images – faster loading times, more storage.
We all know that good photography has a great impact – readers want to see fresh and pretty pictures. But what most people forget is that their cameras take pictures that are individually 3MB big (sometimes more, sometimes less). They edit the pictures and upload them straight away. So each visitor has to download those 3MB per picture. Imagine you include 5 images, that's 15MB to download which even on broadband takes time, and on mobile devices even more! So make sure to resize your images – I resize my images to about 700px wide. That's more than enough! Unless you want someone else to be able to PRINT your images onto an A4 format, you don't need to upload it bigger than your text-area is. Plus, this saves you A LOT of storage on Blogger. 1 picture of 3MB or 15 pictures of 200KB. Makes a difference, doesn't it? Loads a lot faster too if your 5 images are suddenly only 200KB rather than 3MB. I use Photoscape (which is free) that allows batch-resizing.

3. Font Style & Contrast – easier readable
There are a lot of blogs that require me to squint my eyes or zoom into their text to be able to read what they've written. Make your font size a good size, the font itself not too fancy (ask yourself whether you'd enjoy reading a book in the font that you want to choose) and most importantly in the right colour. If you have a light background, you want a dark font colour, if you have a dark background you want a light colour. There's a great tool online where you can enter the colours you want to pick and see whether they will work or not.

I hope you found this guide helpful. There are a few more blog posts on my blog about how to improve your blog photography, etc.

Maria Herchenbach // Miss drifted Snow White

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