People take to blogging the moment they hear about one of those thousands of success stories of ordinary people becoming millionaires on the internet just by blogging. Most of these people have very little or, no knowledge about blogging and their blogs become a disaster.
Even more disappointing is the fact that there are thousands of blogs out there on the internet which do well in terms of their search engine rankings and pageranks. But these blogs offer little or, no reader experience.
What could be the problem with these blogs?
The problem is that they are not reader-optimized.
What is Reader Optimization?
This is what I call “reader optimization” -
A blog that is optimized to provide the reader a smooth navigation through its pages giving them a systematic flow of information through the content is one that can be called “reader optimized”.
It is extremely important that your blogs maintains a systematic flow of information. You would come across a lot of blogs that has a lot of information in it, but you are left clueless as to where to go and how to go to the information that you are looking for.
I am of the opinion that if you have to click more than thrice to reach a point where you actually wanted to reach, then the blog is not reader optimized.
One of the most important aspects to consider when you are optimizing your blog for the readers is the pages that you create and the way it is displayed.
Pages you blog should have to be reader optimized
There are 5 pages which essentially every blog should have if it is to be optimized for the reader. These are as follows:
- Archives page – You do not often see an “archives” page on blogs. If you are to see the archives from the blogs, either you have to scroll through the sidebar for older posts or, keep clicking on the link at the bottom of each page saying “older posts” to reach a point where you find the content you were looking for. It is an extremely bitter experience for me as a reader. Hence it is important to have an “archives” page where you have neatly laid out your older posts year-wise, month-wise and date-wise.
- About Page – You wouldn’t want your reader to be a one time reader. You would want him to come back to your blog again and again. But this is possible only if you connect with him. The “about” page is what can create this connection. This page should have a detailed story about yourself and the objective of your blog. Your story is what can help your readers identify themselves with you. They will know that you are not here to joke around.
- Contact Page – WordPress gives you a thousand options to create contact forms on your blog. A contact form solves 2 purposes. Firstly, you don’t have to publish your email address anywhere on your blog and give away an open invitation to the spammers to spam you. Secondly, it gives your readers an option to contact you. They will have a lot of queries and questions which they would want to get answers for. It would be a wonderful experience if they can simple enter this information on a contact form and send it out to you instead of opening up their emails to write an email to you.
- Subscribe Page – One of your objectives with blogging is to build your list – a list of dedicated readers and customers. You want your readers to be long term associated with you. You build this long term association by asking them to subscribe to your newsletter and feeds. Will displaying a feed ICON somewhere on your blog solve this purpose. NO, it will not. You have to explain it to your readers. You have to tell them about the benefits of subscribing to your blog. This can be done on a “subscribe” page.
- Advertise Page – You are into blogging to make money (not at the cost of your readers, of course ). Advertisement is one of the primary forms of income from any blog. Though there are a lot of blogs out there that still manage to do without advertisements, I would always recommend any blogger who has established themselves, that you should invite advertisements on your blog. The way of inviting advertisements is by putting up an “advertise” page on your blog.
It is also very important that you lay down these pages clearly in your tabs so that you readers have easy access to it and they can browse thorough the different pages.