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Find Out If Your Blog Is Usable, Accessible or Simply Good

Tom Johnson has a list of twenty usability tips for your blog. Does your blog follow these principles that distinguish good blogs from poor ones? I believe that mine does. Here is why. My blog:

  • Has a tag line that clearly identifies the topic of the blog: News, views, tips and tricks on Oracle, ColdFusion and other fun stuff. Although, the focus has been mostly on Oracle.

  • Allows comments and does not require readers to register before commenting. At one time, I turned comment registration on. That was before I discovered this WordPress plugin: Math Comment Spam Protection.

  • Provides the option to be notified of follow-up comments via e-mail and RSS, thanks to Subscribe to Comments WordPress plugin.

  • Makes it easy to subscribe to the blog’s feed by placing an orange RSS button in a highly visible location (the menu bar at the top). Moreover, the Subscribe Me WordPress plugin adds site subscription links to popular RSS readers, and Feedburner Feed Replacement plugin forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner.

  • Offers an e-mail subscription to the latest posts.

  • Has an About page to tell the reader who I am.

  • Has a Contact page to give the reader the option to contact me offline, thanks to the WP Contact Form III plugin for WordPress.

  • Includes visuals (graphs, charts, photos, blockquotes, videos…) in blog posts. Here is an example.

  • Has mostly short blog posts. Unless they are extremely useful or interesting, I do not have time to read long posts on other blogs and I figure other people do not have the time to read my long posts either.

  • Has subheadings for long posts. Here is an example.

  • Is generous in linking to other blogs and websites. Here is an example.

  • Clearly describes posts’ content in the posts’ titles. You judge for yourself.

  • Archives posts by category.

  • Has a search feature and with the Google Sitemap Generator plugin for WordPress, Google visits my blog very frequently, quickly making it searchable on the net as well.

  • Has a list of related posts beneath each post, thanks to these WordPress plugins: Ultimate Tag Warrior and ST Add Related Posts to Feed.

  • Does not have confidential, overly-emotional, rude, or unprofessional posts. I’m not an emotional guy anyway and I’m nice overall.

  • Has a “top posts” section in the sidebar (or bottombar) thanks to WP-PostViews WordPress plugin.

  • Has a “recent posts” section in the sidebar (or bottombar).

  • Has a “top commentators” section in the sidebar (or bottombar), thanks to Show Top Commentators WordPress plugin.

  • Has a sitemap or index page, thanks to Sitemap Generator WordPress plugin.

  • Has a URL that nearly matches the title of the blog. The URL of my blog is awads.net/wp, the title of my blog is Eddie Awad’s blog. Close enough.

  • Is refreshed with new posts on a regular basis. I used to post at least 4 times a week, but with two kids, a full time job and project deadlines looming, I try to post at least once a week on average.

And here are some additional usability measures I think are also important and worth mentioning:

  • Has a white background color. To me, It’s just more readable having dark text on light background.

  • Makes it easy to share posts Web 2.0 style, thanks to the Share This WordPress plugin and FeedFlare.

  • Publishes a full-text feed instead of a truncated one. Here is why I switched to a full-text feed and here are more thoughts about this subject.

  • Has useful and interesting content (at least to me). After all, what’s a blog without good content?


Filed in Tips, WordPress on 26 Apr 07 | Tags: , ,


Reader's Comments

  1. |

    I would like to know how to promote blog.

  2. |

    Here is how.

  3. |

    White backgrounds are bad, bad, bad. Look up at comment 2. Much better looking than winky’s, merely from color alone.

    Of course, the best answer would be to allow each viewer to select their colors. Different monitors, different eyes, different eye usage, different desires. Too bad we can’t just set our browsers to favorites, eh?

    But yes, content uber alles.

  4. |

    Joel, I guess color is a matter of personal preference. So, I agree with your best answer. Allow for “customization” of CSS style sheets to manipulate colors and other stuff. I think however that dark text on light (not necessarily white) background looks more professional. For my eyes, the less contrast, the better.