Bloggers sometimes tend to overlook the navigation of their blog when it comes to assessing how easy it is for your visitors to find their way around your blog but it’s hugely important. We’ve all been in situations where we have been standing in a shop and we don’t know where to find the product we want. What do we do? We ask a sales assistant or we leave. When people visit your website, they are likely to leave if they can’t find what they want. It’s up to you to ensure that the navigation makes it easy for them to contact you or purchase from your website.
What are the important aspects of a blog’s navigation?
1. About Us page
It may sound obvious but visitors to your blog are more than likely going to want to find out more information about you if they enjoy your blog or have found it useful. If they are considering doing business with you, then they are definitely going to want to know more information such as your location, your background, your pricing, services and products. They will also want to get a sense of who YOU are, if they feel they might like to do business with you so a friendly approach with a nice photograph of you (plus the team if relevant) are important.
I really like the Herbi & Carni About Us page – it tells of how two people with very different diets can eat from the same menus – simply by adding or taking away ingredients or altering the recipe in some way. It’s no mean feat for a herbivore with severe allergies and a carnivore but Tony and Marion smile their way through it and now share that learning experience with other families.
2. Contact Us
Again, this may seem another obvious one but while organising the Blog Awards, it has become apparent that many bloggers make their contact details very difficult to find, with some even withholding that information completely. If you have a business, you must be easy to contact. Apart from potential customers, imagine if a popular blogger or a journalist from a widely read publication wants to interview you. Ensure that your contact information is either available in a designated page listed on the navigation bar or visible on the sidebar. Some businesses limit their contact details to a contact form, I’d recommend adding your email address, postal address and telephone number.
3. Layout of Posts
Make it easy for new visitors to your website to see the selection of topics and content in your blog with a snapshot of your most recent blog posts. All they need to see are the title, thumbnail photo and part of the first paragraph in order to entice them to delve in and start reading their favourite from those available.
The Saucepan Kids blog is a nice example – lovely photographs and a brief excerpt to draw you in.
4. Easily Accessible Archives
Visitors to your website may have particular questions they are asking when they arrive at your blog post. They might find that the blog post they are reading doesn’t quite answer their questions but they are interested in finding out more about your product or service or they need more information. Make it easy for them to find related material by adding a Related Posts plugin to your blog posts – see how this post has suggestions for related material at the end.
It’s also a good idea to have your archives of posts available – usually in the sidebar of the blog. Having a search box is also important. I like the way One Fab Day invites readers to search amongst their archives using the search box.
Categories are crucial to the organisation of a blog. Remember that readers will differ in their needs and requirements, they won’t want to wade through all of your posts. Make it easier for them to find the material they want by having your categories listed in the sidebar or elsewhere as in this example on the Teddy & Alex blog where the archives are located in the sidebar.
Gobblefunked have their blog posts listed under various categories on the home page which makes it so much easier for parents and children to find material in the relevant sections.
Categorising your posts also improves the SEO of your blog and ensures that relevant content is rewarded with higher rankings on the search engines.
6. Call to Action
If a reader has read an entire blog post, it is likely that they like your content and want to read more or they wish to book your service or buy the product you blogged about. As mentioned above, the Related Posts plug in will help them to find related material. A call to action at the end of the blog post with a link to the relevant page will make it easy for them to find that product. See how the end of this blog post on One Fab Day provides stockist details for various wedding accessories and providers featured in the post.
Many business bloggers will include a call to action for a comment, to like their facebook page, sign up to their email newsletter or purchase their product, somewhat like I have done below with a link across to our online courses.
The best way to assess the navigation of your blog is to give a friend a list of things to find on your blog and watch them navigate it. Are they finding it easy or difficult? Have you any other tips to share with regard to improving the navigation of your blog?
Our online blogging courses over at We Teach Social start with a beginners blogging course on 15th September,a business blogging course starting on 27th October and a 2 week course focusing on getting more blog readers on 24th November.