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A few weeks ago we discussed the importance of giving your blog a bit of style and starting to make it your own. In doing that and in growing your blog you may come to find out that a blogs have a lot of extra components: widgets, and badges, and buttons, and so much more. Things can get cluttered REALLY quick and there is nothing worse than an overly cluttered blog for 2 main reasons:

 

1) If readers can't find what they are looking for chances are they will leave

 

2) If readers feel overwhelmed chances are they will leave

 

So this weeks goal is to make your blog user friendly, organized, and uncluttered.

 

Here are a the main aspects to keep in mind when organizing your blog:

 

1) Keep like objects together:

  • Options for following you: Twitter, facebook, etc.... should be next to your GFC/follower widget and your subscribe options!
  • Navigation: Blog archive, labels, and search options should be kept together. This allows readers many options to find what they are looking for without spending a great deal amount of time searching. It makes it very convenient and readers like convenient.
  • Blogs you follow: If you keep a list of buttons of blogs you follow, keep these together. Having them scattered all over your sidebar is confusing and overwhelming. An even better idea is to find a scrolling image widget or keep all buttons on a page dedicated to blogs you love.

2) Use a navigation bar. A navigation bar is great if your blog has a lot of content, it allows readers to find the most important areas of your blog right away without having to search!

 

3) Use labels. Labels are one of the best organizational tools you can use on your blog. Take full advantage of them, they are easy to use and so helpful. For more info on using labels check out: Labels: An Organized Bloggers Best Tool!

 

4) Make it easy for readers to contact you. You can make a page for a contact form if you do not want to offer your email address. Contact forms are most often free and very easy to use. I use EmailmeForm and also Foxyform. Both have worked great! They will give you the code to place in the html section of a page or post and you are all set! Make sure you link to your contact form from the homepage of your blog. A good place is in your navigation bar or next to your social media icons.

 

5) Center your images. Centering you sidebar images can make a huge difference in the look of your blog, it tends to give a more clan look. Many bloggers ask me how to get their sidebar images centered. It is quite simple but does require a small bit of html code, nothing scary at all. Here is a quick tutorial.

 

6) Make sure you have a way for readers to follow you. If one of your goals as a blogger is to gain followers and readers then it is a must that you have a way for readers to follow you. If you use blogger, there is a followers widget you can add through your "Page Layout" just click on "Add Widget" and look for the followers widget. OR you can use GFC.

 

7) Don't let images hang off the sides of your sidebars. Make sure your images fit within your sidebars and do not extend beyond the edges of your sidebar.

 

8) Try to keep your sidebar section and post section close in length. When you have 20 blog posts on your front page and the scroll button goes on forever it can get a bit discouraging. Limit posts on the front page to equal out with your sidebar length. Depending on post length I suggest 5 at most. If readers want more they will click the more posts button. Same with sidebar length, if your sidebar content extends down far below your post section increase the number of posts you show on the front page.

 

9) Equal out your sidebars. If you have a three column blog divide the content between both sidebars so they are close as equal as you can get them in length. 

 

10) Do not overdo/ overpower/ overkill with extras. I have mentioned before too much is too much. When you have a reader who shows up to flashing buttons, falling objects, loud music, pop up adds, and dancing illustrations all at once they are sure to leave just as quickly as they came in. Nothing scrams unorganized and cluttered like the combination of those extras. Don't get me wrong, extras are great in moderation. Choose what is important you and what works with your blog. Keep in mind simple and organized can make a powerful statement as well just on a calmer level.

 

Here is an example of an organized layout. Your taste may differ in where you would like objects placed but take a look at the objects that are together as they do look and work best when grouped together.

 

Do you have any organizational tips you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment with any organizational ideas for blogging!

 

Check out the entire Blog Talk series!

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Comment by Patricia Kemp Blackmon on August 28, 2011 at 10:46am
Great advice! Keep it coming!

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