Core Principles Of Blog Function, Layout And Usability

What do usability layout and function all have in common? They are all about a blog fulfilling its owners purpose. If that is to make money by adding value to the Internet, then some usability and layout may have to be sacrificed for that funtion to be successful.

Core Principles Of Blog Function, Layout And Usability

For example, adding Google Adsense in a sidebar is probably less useful to your readers than linking to the other good sources of related content, which you found manually yourself, but that would undermine the function of the blog.

Not monetizing at at all flops you onto being charitable, which also undermines the function of the blog, unless its function is not to make money from advertising.

Core Principles

Function First.
The function determines the layout, which determines then the user experience. The function or purpose of the blog needs to be decided before anything else. If the function of the blog changes, the layout and usability needs to change too. Some common functions include 1 or more of these:

  • Making money from advertising
  • Building a readership to make money from later
  • Building a readership to launch a start-up from
  • Forming a reputation as an authority or entertainer
  • Having fun
  • Learning about a topic of interest
  • Expressing yourself
  • A motivational tool to achieve a goal (such as loosing weight by chronicling progress)

A Niche blogs‘ function is usually to make money from advertising, whereas flagship blogs often have many functions and as a result need more careful thought and planning

Making the most of the space you have means minimalism.
With all the free blog widgets its tempting to think, “It’s free, I might as well put it up to make use of the space“. This line if thought is very badly flawed for 2 main reasons.

1. Visitors to the blog have a very short attention span. Having too many options for them dilutes the attention away from what is important, the content and the monetization. It’s not just the the ad spots that loose value if you create more of them, every link on the blog looses value when an alternative is displayed.

2. It can result in readers not clicking anything at all because they dare not start scanning down a long list of links. People like choice, but not too much choice. This is why I have the option on Blogging Fingers for readers to add me as a friend on only Stumbleuponand Digg, because it just isn’t worth putting links to other profiles because they don’t bring such big benefits and each link added lowers the chances of being added on another.

Summing Up

With physiclal products, there isn’t usually the option to ‘throw another feature in’ for free, but with blogs there is. Define the function and build the blog to carry only that function.

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