On blog content arrangement

Part I

Have you ever seen a blog that you’ve wanted to see more of? You’ve tried to spend a minute or two trying to figure out how, been frustrated, and then moved on?

Haven’t you wondered sometimes how some bloggers put a lot of effort into writing a post, then select great pictures, put colourful badges, icons and a lot of other pretty things around the page and then put little thought into how the reader would navigate the blog?

In short, haven’t you come face to face with bloggers who are so into their own blogs, living and breathing it everyday, surrounded by it, that they’ve forgotten how to be an entertaining guide for a newcomer around their blog?

Why navigation is important

Compass
Compass (Photo credit: Roland Urbanek)

Thinking through how to arrange content on the blog is a very important consideration, not just in terms of the layout of material on the page but as a concept that needs some careful thought and strategizing. Navigation cues don’t just need to be functional–they can be presented such that they express the character of the blog and in the most beautifully done cases, be a part of the attraction of the tour in their own right.

I’ve often seen a great individual blog post shared by someone on social media or simply on my meanderings on the net that has seemed a dead end. I’ve seen a great clean design with a tiny link somewhere to a previous post. I’ve clicked. It’s been quite a task to find other posts. But what if I haven’t liked the previous post? How long could I keep clicking? What if there was a post five posts down that could’ve been of interest to me?

After spending a minute or two on the chronological trap, I’ve moved on. At other times, there have been posts randomly arranged on the sidebar with cryptic images and pictures. Cool but too cool, I’ve thought, unable to find another post that I could read and I’ve moved on.

Arranging the content would have been an easy step after writing such a great post. But no, the writer did not spend much time experimenting with arrangement.

Continued tomorrow: On reader-friendly arrangements

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40 thoughts on “On blog content arrangement”

  1. I saw you liked one of my posts, it is a continuation of a story that is Day 8. Now I am wondering how easy it would have been for you or others to find the other 7 days writing on the story. So, off to my blog to see about enhancing the ease of views for the different stories.

    Thank you so much for cruising by and take the time to like the post, now I am off to see if I can like the setup 😀

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  2. Interesting post. Before I check out the rest of your posts on this topic, let me share what this first post brought to mind. Here you touch on the navigation of the site/blog. I’m curious to see if the rest of your series will touch on the actual content focus of the site/blog. Often I find that blogs (including my primary blog at spudart.org) lack focus. Posts will range a variety of topics. Usually I like to follow people online for specific topic areas they cover.

    I wish that readers had the ability to subscribe to just specific topics that blogs cover. And not granular keywords, but broader topics. For instance if someone blogs about publishing, I would like to get all the posts about publishing which would include the keyword tags like kindle, syndication, distribution, libraries, etc. But if someone also blogs about their cats or places they visited, I wouldn’t want so much those posts.

    So really the navigation for me comes more in the subscription model a site offers rather than the navigation.

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  3. Wow look at all the comments. I thought I was the only one having problems, I am tryi g to rearrange my blog son this article will be beneficial. I even got a “picture” book on WordPress. This is nicely diagramed and will fit right in with your articles! Keep them coming!

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  4. Thank you for the timely post! For the first time in four months I’ve started to skulk around my dashboard to try to make my blog more navigable, more interesting. I’ve put it off because I didn’t want to bother with the hassle of learning about this, but it seems clear to me that unless I do, I could be wasting time posting great content!

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  5. I have problems leaving comments. It’s easy if it’s a wordpress blog, because I’m a word press blogger myself. It’s the BlogSpot and others that cause frustration. So much so that after a single try- if it doesn’t work, I move on.

    Smiles,

    Linda Joyce

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  6. I agree. I confess to spending hours on Word Press trying to figure out just how to arrange widgets, pages, and other odds and ends to a better looking page or blog, and is often frustrating to get it all down just right. Then I start thinking that maybe I am the one that is a little dense, and their design is straightforward and easier than it looks, at least to me. 🙂 But, I keep clicking around and learn it takes patience and perseverance, and I will get it all down in a somewhat order. 🙂

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  7. I have abandoned some blogs due to navigational issues. For example, I find it a hassle to navigate blogs that have the About page as the main page instead of the posts. I end up having to dig around to find the posts, and that’s just annoying to me.

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  8. Being a new blogger myself, i am struggling hard to come up with my template with different heads at top. You have pointed out some very important consideration. Do give ur suggestions if you pass by mine.

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  9. Thanks for the advice and a look at what you see…I’ve chosen a different template and so forth. I hope it’s more reader friendly. Thanks…I’ll be back to read more tomorrow.

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  10. I agree that navigation is important. With blogs that are new to me I do go back and read things that strike my interest, but especially the about page. Once I’m familiar I start at the most recent and navigate backwards to my last bookmark, which is a like. I don’t bother to read again if I don’t like the blog. I find it difficult to always find the previous link. Different themes put them in different places and call then different things. That time consuming.

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  11. Yeah – I’ve changed templates so often in the quest for a blog with widgets I want and good typography that I’m no longe sure what template I’m using. I went back and re-categorized each and everyone of my posts and offer a menu up top for supposedly easy navigation.

    I keep upgrading and improving while I wait for the crowds to come….

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  12. I am not sure how searchable my blog is, I am still trying to learn the ropes to blogger and wordpress and figuring out as I go along how to make both more useable to readers. It helps when people make comments on what they like or don’t like so I can adjust to what is being seen by others. Great post – reblogged

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  13. You raise a very good point. I’m still fairly new to blogging and I often wonder what other people think of my blog. I’m still learning about it, so thanks for posting this.

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  14. Interesting. This is a topic the bots liking my posts mostly write about.
    And although I really hate bots, it makes me think.
    How *do* I make my blog readable and searchable?

    I really don’t know. I’ll just keep trying, and hope for the best 🙂

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  15. oh, you’ve struck a sensitive chord for me! as i develop my blog, i keep worrying about how to make it easier to browse. like a poster above, i also think that an ‘about’ page is very important. when i visit a new blog, i always search for it and then decide whether i want to explore more of it or not.

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  16. I enjoyed reading this and look forward to the next installment…not sure if my own blog is up to snuff I am not the most computer literate and I’m still not sure what a widget is…I agree layout and navigability is important…I can only hope my blog is reader friendly

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  17. Well, often I’ve wondered if my blog is up to snuff. I’ve experimented with different layouts, and for now I am settled on the one I have because I have received compliments.

    That said, I am open to switching the template. In reading other people’s blogs I have noticed how much more well coordinated theirs are and I wish to emulate them, but not yet. I don’t want to be so finicky.

    I look forward to part II.

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  18. LOL! I feel the same way Tric does.

    I think the best way to know a blogger is read their About page. Also if I like someone’s blog I read the entire blog going years back! I have this one follower who will “like” something I wrote say, back in August and I always feel happy to see that because it shows that person is truly interested and not just trying to get someone to follow their blog. I do the same thing, I don’t “like” something unless I read it and really did like it. Some people press “like” “like” “like” — one after the other, I’m like, they can’t possibly be reading that fast! 🙂

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      1. I tend to read the newest post and then pick a random one from the past to get an idea of the type of content I should expect.

        And yes – an About page is a must. I do read those. The normal sequence is latest post, About page then some random post from the past.

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  19. Half afraid to like this article in case you come and tut tut at my site! I am relatively new and do find posts like this make me review my blog, so thank you.

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