I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the obvious things a site should have. Honestly, there are a number of things that could added to this list but I’m not trying to write a book here. 🙂 Let’s do this…
Yes, we are 9rules, the home of beautiful designs. Mike does a wonderful job designing but we don’t expect everyone else to be designers. A beautiful design will not blind us from content that lacks quality. We aggregate content so this means we’re basically recommending blogs to our readers. When someone goes to a site the design shouldn’t be so bright it burns the cornea of their eyes or the print so small it is unreadable. Browser compatibility is very important.
Your readers shouldn’t have to struggle to move around your site. If they click on an inside page they should be able, no matter where they are on the site, to click back to the front page. Topics should be easy to find, along with archived articles. Speaking of archives, we like dates on articles. There are some bloggers that do not put a date on articles so it is less clear how often the site is updated. When we spot this, we move on to the next site. If you use tags or categories on your articles list them some place. Very simple but key things a site should have to help the reader browse your site.
Don’t Widget People to Death
I’m not talking about built in WordPress abilities (or other content management systems). I’m actually talking about 3rd party content you’re integrating to your site. Keep in mind that when you add content hosted elsewhere to your site it slows it down and for some viewers (depending on their internet connection) the slow down can be considerable. It makes perfect sense if you host your pictures on Flickr and integrate them on your site. If you host your videos on Blip, to embed them into your site. You created quality content, hosted it elsewhere and you are adding it to your site.
MyBlogLog, you know that community you haven’t visited in months, on your site is one of those that makes me scratch my head. Especially since the majority of the people I interact with detest the widget. Why? Let’s say you just visited a site just checking it out and it sucks, royally. You don’t like it at all, but your face is plastered on it until more people visit the site. Snap is another irritating one that people can’t stand but web site owners just love to use. We don’t recommend irritating things to our readers.
My point? Make some decisions on the content you add to your site. Is it relevant? Is the user benefiting from that content? No? Remove it.
How Do I Contact You?
An amazing amount of blogs do not have contact information. For some blogs that is fine, but we are aggregating information, meaning, the goal is for people to read the content. This is the social media (I really hate that term) era and people enjoy talking to one another. A reader might want more information on an article, want to request an interview, want to hire you for something…the reasons are very diverse. Don’t make readers jump through hoops.
Who ARE you?
Who are you? What is your site about? You don’t have to tell your life story but your name (or your anonymous nick name), perhaps the state you are in, some information about the site, your goals for the site…something. You’ll be surprised how many people look for this information and, if unable to find it, leave with a negative impression (lower credibility).
I Know, I Said I Wasn’t Writing a Book
These are common things people might overlook when taking an objective look at their site. It’s good to do that, or even better, ask a complete stranger to look at your site and see their expression. I’m serious. I’ve gone to the library and asked random people to view a site just to see their reaction (that is always educational). If you’re looking for more tips, you can find previous articles I’ve written here.