There is an extensive post about categories and tags for you to read, but because blog organization is very close to my heart, today I am partially revisiting that, and also sharing more tips on how to make your blog more user friendly.
Why have a proper blog organization?
In the past month or so I visited a couple of new blogs, because I saw links on social media, or a comment on a fellow bloggers website, which made me curious to know more about the person who left the comment, and their blog. Of the four blogs I visited, I’m only still reading one.
Why? Two blogs were not really my cup of tea, and the third just had no way to get to older posts. Literally no way. There was just no blog organization at all, no menu, no sidebar, nothing. Only the one post.
It’s essential that you make it easy for your readers to navigate around your site; to make sure you have a user-friendly site. One way to do it is by using categories and tags, but there are more.
A quick recap on categories and tags
Categories and tags are necessary to organize the posts on your website. When your blog is still young, it’s quite easy for your readers to find what they are looking for. However, the more content you have on there, the harder it will become to find more about a specific subject, unless you have your blog organization in order.
Adding categories (chapters) and tags (subheadings) to your posts, so your readers can click on those and it will take them to more of the same content. Remember, you always have a limited number of categories, and opposed to that you can have an unlimited number of tags.
If you want to read more about how to use categories and tags on your blog, please visit this post.
Other ways to make your site user-friendly
Besides categories and tags, there are a couple of other ways to make sure you engage your (new) visitors.
Every theme out there allows at least one navigation menu, mostly as a bar just above your content. Some themes have an additional top bar menu (above the logo and site title (as you can see on our site), of a menu in the footer and it is always possible to create your own custom menu in the sidebar. At the bare minimum you have to make sure your menu lead to the main sections of your blog, such as:
- Blog page
- About page
- Contact page
Showing your archives in the sidebar of your blog, is one of the easiest and simplest ways to allow your visitors to browse through older content. Just add the sidebar widget called ‘Archives’, give it any title you want, and choose to leave it as is or display it as a dropdown. If your blog is older than six months, I will recommend do display it as a dropdown, as you otherwise eventually have this enormously tall widget in your sidebar through which your visitors have to scroll. What I also like is to show the post count, and to be honest, this I do more for myself than for my visitors, as it quickly shows me how many posts I have added in that month. Yes, I frequently use my archives to search my own content!
Category drop-down and tag cloud
Another widget you can add is the ‘Categories’ widget. It works in the exact same way as the ‘Archives’ widget, and allows your visitors to see all the subjects you write about in one place. Using this widget allows your visitors to scroll through your subjects like running a finger down the table of contents in a book.
You can also choose to add a category cloud in your sidebar or footer. This shows all the tags you have used, and the more you used a tag, the bigger the font of the word(s) will be. To be honest, I am not really a fan of the category cloud, as you can’t limit the number of tags it shows, and I don’t really like the different font sizes, but it definitely is a way to show your visitors around your site.
Maybe one of the most essential parts of ANY website is a search button. Seriously, your site just has to have one! Say for instance your visitor remembers reading something on your blog and the want to find it back, but they can’t remember the date or the category, but they do remember one or two key words of the post. How can they find it? By entering that word in the search field. Please always make sure your site has a search button!
Navigation to older/newer posts
If a visitor reads a single post, and they want to read more, they might be looking for buttons at the bottom of your post to go to older or newer posts. These buttons don’t exist in all memes, but there are several plugins out there you can download to have these buttons added.
Another way to keep your visitors attention is to show related posts under your single posts. If you use Jetpack (you should!), you can use the Related posts function that comes with it. It definitely adds to a professional look of your website.
Final note on blog organization
Remember the one site I mentioned that had no way to get to older posts? I was amazed when I got to the site, as it had no menu, no sidebar, and clicking on the post on the front page showed no navigation possibilities at the bottom. I left the site in pure frustration, because I liked what I read in that only posts I could see.
Make sure you make it easy for your visitors to navigate through your site by having a proper blog organization!
Image from Pixabay