10 Tips to Improve User Experience on Your Blog

January 8, 2017 41 thoughts
Bous the cat overlooking the stunning New York City skyline from the apartment. And glancing at Blogging From Paradise. From a distance.

 

The breathtaking, million dollar view of the New York skyline.

 

The doorman.

 

The peace and quiet, being 18 stories above Manhattan.

 

The green carpet and weather-insulating canopy treatment.

 

ATM beside the tastefully designed, always spot shine clean, inviting lobby.

 

Any type of food you could ever dream of within 20 minutes.

 

Greenwich Village, Battery Park, NYU and Midtown Manhattan all within walking distance.

 

A kick ass, one of a kind user experience.

 

Kelli and I just wrapped up a glam house sit at a luxe Manhattan apartment. We had a blast watching a cute little cat name Bous (like, “couscous”) while enjoying stunning views of the Freedom Tower in a peaceful, phenomenal New York City neighborhood.

 

It was a fabulous experience because a great deal of thought went into the design and location of the apartment.

 

More than that, the individuals who built the apartment obviously put themselves in the shoes of a would be renter: What would appeal to them? What views would wow β€˜em? How about the location? The local neighborhood? The service at the front door?

 

Which is exactly how you should be thinking if you want to create a brilliant experience for your readers.

 

Developments Here

 

Recently I had a new bespoke theme designed for my blog by the talented Phillip Dews. I bought a CDN. I designed a clearer, cleaner sidebar. I created 2 more online courses for you. I migrated comments from my somewhat buggy (not the code, but the spam plugin’s interaction with the code) old comment system to clean, clear, quick Disqus.

 

I added a simple Contact page.

 

I upload 1-3 images – or more – for every post.

 

I released a new Blogging From Paradise eBook every Friday.

 

I have converted some of my eBooks to audio books on iTunes for your listening pleasure.

 

If you need help with your blog, I can coach you.

 

If you need content for your blog, I can write for you (email me: [email protected]).

 

I have been having fun, spreading the love and putting myself in your shoes to create a delightful, enjoyable, enriching environment to help you with your blog.

 

So far, so good.

 

Making a visit to your blog enjoyable, helpful and seamless encourages return visits and helps you find new raving, rabid, “I will sprint through a brick wall to read your latest post” type fans.

 

Use these 10 tips to improve user experience.

 

1: Upgrade Your Theme

 

The masterful Phillip D created a bespoke theme for me a while back.

 

The bespoke Paradise Reloaded theme:

 

  • sped up my blog
  • jazzed up my blog
  • made my blog sizzle
  • boosted my branding potential
  • gave readers a mountain of eye candy to feast on, creating cyber carb spikes and crashes around the globe

 

A theme upgrade may be in order for you.

 

Think clean, simple, lightweight, mobile responsive, and align it with your blogging brand.

 

Ominous looking snap of rice terraces in the fog, Bali.

 

Give your loyal readers an entertaining, visually-appealing experience.

 

2: Write Short Paragraphs

 

Readers like snippets. So….snip it (fewer kids, fewer run on paragraphs).

 

Write short, concise paragraphs to please your visitors. 1 sentence, 2 sentei (no idea why I pluralized like that) or 3 or 4 works nicely.

 

Imagine readers following the movement of a typewriter. Left to right. PING. Next line.

 

Go vertical. Think up-down. Like the way real estate works in New York City.

 

3: Use Headers

 

Headers break up blog posts.

 

Breaking up blog posts makes your blog more readable. And scannable.

 

Scroll up. Scroll down. ‘Nuff said.

 

4: Invest in a CDN

 

I invested some smackers in a CDN a few months ago.

 

Night-day blog speed difference.

 

A CDN speeds up your site by hosting images far, far away from your blog. Β Lightens the blog load.

 

CDNs can run from $5 to $10 or more but are well worth any investment.

 

Most readers who aren’t Buddhist monks are speed demons, wondering why your blog didn’t load at the speed of light. Please this lot.

 

5: Upgrade Your Comment System

 

My readers persistently sent me emails from when my new theme went live. They had problems commenting on my blog.

 

Code was solid. But my spam plug ins never agreed with my theme.

 

I switched over to Disqus last week. Bingo! My readers can comment easily, quickly and with no problems.

 

Using Disqus has also sped up my blog – and the commenting process – significantly.

 

Upgrade your commenting system if your current system is slow, bulky or faulty.

 

6: Eye Candy (Use it)

 

Pictures speak 34 million words. Seriously.

 

Look at the images I use. In posts. On my sidebar.

 

If I explain how I went to Phuket, Thailand, you may think, “Wow.”

 

If I post a picture of Kelli and I in Phuket’s crystal clear waters (on my sidebar) you will say: “Wow!!!”

 

Kelli and I in Phuket, 2013.

 

Pictures improve reader experience. Use ’em.

 

7: Plant Chocolate Chips on Your Sidebar

 

Go ahead. Look around (lowers my bounce rate).

 

8: Tidy Up Your Sidebar

 

Tight, sweet and neat. Your sidebar Holy Trinity.

 

Cut the bloat. Or thy blog, thy sidebar shall smote.

 

Seriously. A crappy-looking sidebar kills your blog.

 

Look at my SB. Orderly and clean. Like a Salad Bar. Without the healthy food (have you found the chocolate yet?).

 

Trim da fat. Cut the crap. Weed out anything not aligned with your blog and brand.

 

Leave only what enhances your blog.

 

9: Go Heavy on White Space

 

White space makes your content pop.

 

Giving readers ample white space creates an “easy on the eyes” experience.

 

Giving readers little white space creates a “I want to tear out my eyes” assault on the senses.

 

Use plenty of white space. Don’t goad readers to go all Oedipus after attempting to read your blog.

 

10: Have Freaking Fun!

 

You are missing the point if blogging feels as pleasant as filling your underwear with enraged fire ants.

 

Have fun blogging. That fun-loving energy will bleed through your blog. Leading to colorful tales. Funny stories. Entertainment. Happy readers.

 

My blog is more Netflix than networking resource. More Broadway than blog.

 

Have fun.

 

Your users will feel your fun energy. Which’ll improve their experience.

 

Your Turn

 

How are you improving your reader experience?

 

What tips can you add?

 

Do you need to improve any of the above 10 aspects of your blog?

 

Coaching

 

I love helping people a lot. I also know how this blogging thing can be confusing at times. So I offer coaching services.

 

I get questions from Quora to Qarth (ASOIAF) about how to build a successful blog so if you need help with your blog peep my services:

 

Blog Coaching

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Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who's been featured on Richard Branson's Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog with the 11 Fundamentals of Successful Blogging Audio Course.
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41 Comments

  1. Hi Sam,

    You betcha they are πŸ˜‰ Get those 2 aspects down and things should come together nicely.

    Ryan

  2. sam Says:

    Theme and images are important one in blog.

  3. Hi Lewis,

    Aha the Baht Butt Bandits LOL! It’s been too long πŸ™‚

    As for the CDN it won’t usually be set up for your site by default, per your developer.

    Oh yes; that’s exactly what a CDN is for: speeding up your site by storing all those images offsite. Or, on a server separate from your site hosting. You can include a high volume of images – and heavy/non-shaved ones at that (that sounds like a fetish) – because the images themselves are not bogging down your blog server.

    I observed a night-day difference with my blog speed after spending some dough on a CDN. I just went with my host, who offered the service, but https://www.maxcdn.com/ is another fabulous service too.

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment!

    Ryan

  4. I’m wondering if a CDN has been set up for my site?

    I’ll look into it.

    I love including pics in my pieces but I’m also hesitant to do so because I know they slow down the loading time. So unless I’m in a IDGAF mood, I’ll just include one at the top and call it good.

    The other thing I’m hoping a CDN can help with is freeing me from have to cheat the quality of the images I use. I hate shaving pixels and cheating the effect I wanted to have with the picture.

    I never even knew what a CDN was until today and I’m glad I stopped by today to get all learned up by the homie Ryan. Thanks for the tip!

    PS. Speaking of tips, the Bhat Butt Bandits are missing you! Hahaha

  5. Who Julie! That’s a lotta links!

    With the ease of Disqus – a few weeks in – I cannot see myself ever using another platform. Only because it is so darn easy.

    Happy Comment System Hunting πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  6. Aaah talk about broken links I have spent an hour cleaning them out over 500 what! So I am seriously considering disqus too!

  7. Hi Julie,

    Glad to see you’re resolving that tech glitch per our Facebook chat.

    I myself had some weird stuff going on with my blog theme, between comments and my theme because no spam plug in seemed to work. Changed to Disqus, no probs since.

    I am happy you enjoyed the chocolate chips. Finally, somebody found them!

    Ryan

  8. Hey Ryan,

    Another smackeroo. Yes I love the clean cut Blog you have not. πŸ™‚ I noticed immediately. SO I was gonna ask. You answered the question perfectly thanks a bunch.

    Remember when I asked about Blog themes last summer/ I changes Themes and I wish I hadn’t! While it looks the beesnees, white spaces and all. There is something not quite right with it.
    Also I lost my Google analytics…cant seem to get em back…So I need some technical help on that front. Would appreciate a FB Inbox.

    Love the Choc chip, and The Fruit n veg on the side πŸ™‚
    Keep serving up a Michelin star menu Ryan!

    Julie Syl

  9. Always my pleasure πŸ™‚

  10. Tamal Anwar Says:

    You too! And thanks a lot for dropping by at my new blog πŸ˜€

  11. [ Smiles ] Ryan, I was pleasantly surprised when I encountered the Disqus Commenting system on your blog (You probably know by now that I love Disqus).

    Well, I plan on improving the reader experience by continuing to providing them with the type of blog posts that they love.

    Keep blogging, my friend!

  12. Hi Jayce,

    No doubt. Glad Phillip Dews knows that stuff. Because I am lost in that area πŸ˜‰ Loading & using Disqus, smart add buddy πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  13. Hi Tamal,

    Oh OK, cool. Again, thanks for noting the 400 KB, that’s huge LOL! Now I know to trim those suckers I nab from IG to improve load times.

    Have a fab weekend bro πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  14. Tamal Anwar Says:

    Hi Ryan, that particular day the connection was a bit low. But where I am from, this speed is still a godsend πŸ˜€

    Every other image loaded nicely, but the cat one took forever, that’s when I knew something was not right. So I downloaded it and examined it to find it 400+ KB size.

  15. Jayce Ooi Says:

    Speed up blog helps a lot. And using DISQUS is great to filter all the SPAM comments. Using it too. πŸ™‚

  16. Hi Rohan,

    Happy you dug it bro. White space provides readers with the perfect contrast; amazing how such a simple, seemingly little change makes all the difference in the world when it comes to enhancing user experience.

    Likewise πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  17. Changes made Tamal, thanks again for the 411. Now I know to convert those PNG files to JPG if I snag some sweet Instagram photogs from my feed πŸ˜‰

  18. Hi Tamal,

    Hmmmm…strange buddy. Because I have an image compressor installed. And I also resize all images to 650 X 450, or in that area. What connection speed do you have? May be time for an upgrade πŸ˜‰

    Now that I think of it, I cut this image from my Instagram account. Making it a PNG. Because all of my other images are in the 50 to 80 K areas. Must be it.

    Thanks for the heads up πŸ™‚ I’ll convert the image now. And you can get your connection speed upgrade LOL.

    Ryan

  19. Hi Ash,

    Hunt away my friend πŸ˜‰ You can stalk me here and on Instagram; that’s where I am easy prey LOL.

    I really love Disqus. Genuinely. And it’s funny because I resisted it for so long because I felt I was not giving commentors enough love by going to Disqus because they did not get the direct link in, like native WordPress.

    However, Don Purdum said it best: sometimes, having the native, direct-link style commenting system can attract the wrong commentors (link builders, etc) and you can have a headache on your hands with all the broken links too.

    Thanks a bunch, as always.

    Ryan

  20. fetchprofits Says:

    Makes me want to think to Switch to discuss, in the sense that it might be a good way to overhaul the commenting system.

    Right now, it’s just as dry as the native WordPress thing can get.

    I need to work on the white space, clearing clutter, making the design pop, and all those things you list. This is in addition to trying to hunt you down while you are on some paradise? Eh, Ryan?

    Ash

  21. Tamal Anwar Says:

    That cat image on top took forever to load on my connection. Looks like it was a freaking .png image which is 430KB, you could have made it under 50K if you had used jpg as compression. Talking about UX, that image load hurts a lot.

  22. Ryan…Much needed post.

    I am glad – I switched by theme to Genesis a while back and am putting the white space thing for real.

    For me, I don’t need to worry about comment as I have made the comment availability only for 7 days.

    Hope you are having a wonderful start for the year. Stay blessed. πŸ™‚

  23. Phill did that….;) Although I make offerings to the mobile Gods regularly too πŸ™‚

  24. Hi Ryan,

    I am loving the “new look” of your blog. I like the way you are using your sidebar….Smart!

    This screams you…and that’s the point isn’t it? Why put a bunch of stuff on the sidebar that is not branding you.Inc?

    Indeed, we are all speed demons and need to have our stuff loading lightning fast….yours does. And what about your MOZ score? A whopping 46….that is proof of the pudding that you are doing so well.

    -Donna

  25. Phillip Dews Says:

    Hmmmm, who developed the theme Ryan?

  26. Phillip Dews Says:

    Glad you like it Ryan, Still could do with a lot more improvements though fella, Worth sending in a support ticket to Krystal as I mentioned above!
    Check out my own speed test below and compare! That’s what you could have buddy!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b4f6e1650b99bab59b84a7214bc65e2b2d42ed777b0ccb8886fbd2a76e20d5ff.png

  27. It looks like lightning now dude, awesome πŸ™‚

    RB

  28. Hi Lisa,

    That’s a helpful note with the sidebar; have to think about it. Because even though I check it on mobile sometimes – like now, after your comment πŸ˜‰ – I spend 99.99999% of my time on the Chromebook.

    Neat-ly enough, my share buttons scroll across the bottom/end of the post on my Samsung. Have no clue in hell if Phill did that or I am aligned with the mobile Gods LOL.

    Love the look of your site. Seems to be working for ya but your intuition always wins out so trust any nudge and you will be OK.

    Thanks Lisa πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  29. Could be. So far I’ve been very happy with traditional WordPress commenting system, bundled with akismet spam blocker. Only very rarely does it block a legit comment, and had yet to let a spammer through. Ah well, to each his own.

  30. Hi Don,

    Your UI is dazzling!

    Love the changes you have made. Because before it rocked to begin with but I noticed how clearer and clearer you are getting on your overall brand.

    Awesome to see you are being approached too, for contributions and chats, by the Big Dawgs. This is a true sign you are clear on your user experience because when the biggies reach out to you, you are doing things right.

    Well done! Thanks as always for the comment and Happy New Year to you and your family πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  31. Hi Dan,

    Is it a cookies issue? Any time I checked from my mobile, if I log in, I stay logged in and can comment. Or could just be a deal with a bug between Disqus and phone.

    Oh well, I tried LOL. This is my first Disqus issue compared to a slew of issues with my old blog commenting system and interaction with spam plug in. The perfect comment system eludes us πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the heads up and for reading πŸ™‚

    Ryan

  32. I find it interesting that Disqus actually encourages comments. Maybe its because my phone is screwy, but for whatever reason, when I try and leave a comment on disqus in my phone browser, I almost always have to re-log in to disqus. Not worth the effort, so I almost always just exit the page (and leave the blog completely). I happened to be reading this post on my laptop, or I would have done the same thing. Otherwise, great tips!

  33. Don Purdum Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Kudos to your site! It’s looking great and I couldn’t agree more about the user experience.

    I’ve used DISQUS for years. I briefly experimented with CommentLuv and found that I didn’t like it nearly as much and it attracted the wrong audience.

    The last few months we put a premium on our site layout, colors and look/feel. We made the message come through clearer. For example, on the home page we added “Unleash the Untapped Potential of Your Digital Marketing… and Discover How to Make Your Brand Irresistible!”

    The sidebar on the blog is clean but powerful… there is a link to a resource guide (which is a massive hit), webinars and how to get our weekly content exclusively via email.

    In the blog itself we are focusing monthly on massive articles (4,000 – 6,000 words) with a variety of formats designed to attract influencers. This months infographic and article have earned 550 shares to date (and growing daily) and we are being approached to contribute to SEMrush and Moz, as well as several other large sites.

    Plus, we have been approached by several businesses to hold live Twitter chats with them. We have one coming up in a few weeks with Express Writers.

    I think it’s important to state that your message is partly embedded in the way a site communicates, looks and feels.

    Love what you’re doing here as always Ryan!

    Happy New Year!

    ~ Don

  34. Lisa Sicard Says:

    HI Ryan, looe the new look. I’ve been thinking of making my white spacee white, it’s a blue right now anad has been for years. I’m always leary of making too many changes and causing any SEO changes with it. I did my sidebar over last year and love the simplicity of it. I”m not sure if I like your share buttons on the side, I know on mobile they tend to cover the text and make it hard to comment, I’ll check yours on mobile later today. I would add large typeface. I still come across pieces in tiny text that I just cannot read or take the time to squint. Great info Ryan, thanks! And I can’t believe an eBook every Friday!!!! Wow.

  35. Phillip Dews Says:

    OK So I have done a little, Well tell a Lie actually quite a bit of Housekeeping on the theme fella as GTMetrix was showing some really bad scores. In fact both were showing F for scores and was about 8 – 10 seconds.
    There is one thing I cannot do and that is the origin URL for your CDN is bloggingfromparadise.com and now http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com which is causing plugin redirect issues and the site is advising this…. Remove the following redirect chain if possible:
    It may be worth sending in a support ticket to Krystal fella and asking them to change the origin url to www.
    Here is some info on the situation that you have fella…
    https://wordpress.org/support/topic/gtmetrix-remove-redirect-chains/

    Got the site down to under 5second https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d1ed263e088d4a4cb69ac99fe52c724b081ea2086e0ee8198bb85f57a08257f.png s though dude….

  36. Phillip Dews Says:

    Fair enough dude. your blog anyway fella!

  37. No need PD, only because they already have the sidebar scroll πŸ˜‰ Thanks though!

  38. Phillip Dews Says:

    Just a thought, and to make the UX that little bit better for your readers. Can I slightly modify the theme fella and add a scroll to top button, just makes things that little easier for you readers and makes it a little bit more professional.
    Will keep it the same green as above!

  39. Hi PD,

    Thanks a bunch brother for all you do.

    As for the BloggerAuthority post I do not have admin rights. You can @reply the Twitter account though to let Tony know; he’s an awesome guy and responsive:

    https://twitter.com/BloggerAuthorty

    As for the book that sounds awesome dude. Maybe some readers will catch this and shout ya some feedback.

    Thanks as always!

    Ryan

  40. Phillip Dews Says:

    Hey Dude, thanks for the link back fella, I had left a huge comment on the BloggerAuthority post you wrote a few days back but my comment is still not showing up as yet! Still there is a tonne of info on that post!
    I may have to write a book on speeding up and securing wordpress site’s. In the meantime I am trying to figure out why
    if(password_verify($p, $db_pass_str)){
    // Create session and cookies
    } else {
    // Login failed
    } is not working for me on my little project. WordPress is great and is my main earner but you cannot learn a lot from it and it’s very restrictive trying to build a social network from scratch hey!
    Hopefully one of your readers will have an idea!
    All the best buddy, great post as usual fella!

  41. I left a thought. Another key to improving user experience. Leaving thoughts.

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