Are you paying enough attention to User Experience? Maybe you are asking, “What is User Experience?” UX, as it’s frequently referred to, is what your customer feels when using your site. It’s not based on exactly what it looks like, but a combination of how it looks, how easy it is to use, how it is arranged, and what it tells you. There are a lot of factors and they are all important, but have you considered how your blog affects it? Here’s some of the UX factors influenced by blogging.
What, you don’t think Search Engine Optimization is a UX concern? Being able to find your domain, easily, on the first page of Google results, is the first step in your user’s experience. In order to be on that first page, you need to push for some SEO. What’s a great tool to influence your placement? A blog.
These are a large number of posts on your site which contain keywords related to your site’s purpose, have many visitors, and are frequently shared to other sites. Having a blog makes you easier to find when you are searching for information, products, or services you provide. Easy is a factor in UX.
Your blog acts as your site’s voice. Not the fast sales pitch or the preaching from on high, but the conversational advice from an expert. Each post is written to answer a question, provide information, or help with a problem. A pleasant conversation with an expert who is giving you advice or answering questions gives a positive user experience.
That pleasant conversation? It provides value. Answering questions? That’s valuable to a reader. So is good advice. So is help with a common problem. Users like getting things of value. It gives a purpose to visiting your site and a return on the investment of their time and attention. They get something back. And that’s a good user experience.
Have you ever been captivated by a well told story? Or even a good joke with the right delivery? People are made to enjoy stories. Their individual tastes may vary, but everyone enjoys one type of story or another. Blog posts are frequently told as stories and these stories improve the user experience.
Blog posts have to be written by someone and that someone can be a real person with real experience. They can even be a leader in their field. Users appreciate reading posts that feel real, authentic, and personal. And even more so if that real, authentic person is a recognized expert in the topic. Reading posts from actual people who are respected authorities is a great user experience.
A blog can improve the flow of a site by breaking up information into smaller packets. Each post in a blog is a single article about a topic defined in its headline. This acts to distribute information throughout the site, allowing the user to search for the specific topic they are interested in and read just the page related to it. That improvement in user experience comes naturally from the format of blogs.
Retaining, Converting, Satisfying
Well written blog articles keep users on your page, and returning to it, to get the information they’ve come to trust you to have. When they search your headlines, find one appropriate to their needs, and read it, they find it to be an article specific to that topic, without any misdirection. The trust this builds gives them a good reason to try your services again and to keep coming back for that reliable user experience.
Your blog gives you an opportunity to show your consistent brand identity, both online and off. Bloggers can hold or attend conferences and other live events. At these, users can see the bloggers hold to the standards set by their brand, enhancing the user’s confidence and their overall experience.
Calls to Action
Blog posts can be great opportunities to ask your users to do something for you. Whether that is to take some action, buy a product, or contact you for a service, the call to action can be embedded in every article.
Giving your readers a clear sign of what you want them to do, even if they aren’t interested in doing it at that precise moment, is a way to make sure they are not confused as they navigate your site, your pages, and your blog. Keeping your requests clear and focused makes the journey through your site a pleasant experience.
That’s just a sample of the ways your blog can enhance the user’s experience when visiting your site. Remember that every part of your site contributes to the experience and needs attention paid to how well it is fulfilling the goal of making that experience a pleasant, positive, and rewarding one.
Also remember your blog, while frequently treated as a minor extra added on to the main site, represents a large fraction of the total number of pages on your site. And that the fraction will continue to grow steadily as new posts are added.
Not only do you want all of those pages in your blog to individually provide a positive experience, you want them to contribute to the overall feel of the site, making the users not only want to return, but to want to recommend your site to others. These cheerleaders, flushed with their pleasant user experience, will draw even more traffic to your site, to create even more cheerleaders to attract even more users. Thus, contributing to the great circle of life on the web.