Blog Usability: Navigation Elements

As I promised in my previous post I will be listing down ways you can make it easier for readers to look for the information they need in your blog. The truth is that this is all you need to do is give readers several options to navigate through your blog. This is very easy nowadays since most blog tools (Blogger, WordPress, etc.) automatically generate the code for you. All you need to do is drag and drop and of course specify some fields. Some of the most common and useful ways to help your readers find the information they need include allowing them to search via…

1. categories/labels – Always categorize or label your blog post and make sure that you have categories/labels on your sidebar. Some bloggers do label their entries but fail to place a category menu on the sidebar. What happens then is that readers can still search via label but only by clicking on the label immediately after the post. What this means is that if you do not have a recent post on a certain category your reader might not realize that you have entries information on topic falling under that category.

2. search box – Again always place a search box in your blog. You can place it on the sidebar or on the top of the page. Place it in a prominent position. If you offer a choice between searching for results just on your blog or from the entire web make sure the default search results for your blog. Sure you want to be helpful to your readers but you also want to encourage them to look for information in your blog and not some other place.

3. similar posts – If you read this post entire post (and if you read this part you’re actually almost done) and look at the end of the entry you will see a list of similar entries (Related Articles). Giving a short list of similar entries is very helpful to readers since they can simply jump to another post with related information in case they found the post they have been reading useful. This will save them the effort of having to do another search or having to skim through posts categorically.