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3 Must Have Basic Elements for more User-Friendly Blog

Have you ever been to a site and thought, “I wish that I could send this to my friends quickly, where’s the tweet button?” or “Oh, that link didn’t work. I  should tell the owner.” Can your readers easily do these things with the tools you have in place on your blog? Can they promote your post with the click of a button or shoot you an email about something on your site?

I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a site and wished that they had some very basic items to make it more user-friendly. Here are 3 things all sites need to have.

Contact Us Page

I don’t know where the trend started to drop the Contact Us (or Me) page from sites. Is it because blogs are more interactive or does the owner think this is an outdated convention? I don’t know about you, but if I find something wrong with the site such as a broken link or there is a problem with the layout, I don’t want to tell the world about it, just the owner. There is nothing more frustrating to be on a blog where I cannot send a private message or I have to go searching for a contact email. Readers have a limited attention span and more importantly limited time. Don’t make it hard for them to find you. That’s just frustrating and bad customer service. Put that contact page up there. After all, you want them to buy from you or use your services right?

Author Bio section

This isn’t found on a lot of sites, but it is gaining popularity. While an About Page usually goes into great detail about you and your company, adding a short sweet excerpt about you and your expertise at the end of each post is a nice reminder to a new reader or one that doesn’t want to read your About Us page. This is also very useful for Guest Bloggers too. Give them there own subscriber account where they can enter information about themselves. Then when they post, their author information is found at the bottom of the post. This gives you credibility and supports the author’s effort without a lot of work on your part.

TweetMeme Button

Now there are a lot of social icon buttons and sets out there that help promote a post. However, the TweetMeme button is bar far the most popular and easy to use. This is a great plugin that makes it easy for any reader to tweet your post without leaving your site. Not only can they promote the post, but it gives them an opportunity to add a comment in the tweet before being sent out to all their followers. This allows your readers to read, comment, and promote in the most efficient manner possible. If your reader has to switch over to HootSuite or Seesmic or some other Twitter application then odds are they won’t.

While nothing major will fail without these items and features, it may make your blog less user friendly and you may lose a few repeat readers because of it. The goal of your blog is to bring them in, show them around, and develop a new friendship. Blog owners that take the extra step to help their readers be more efficient in their already jam packed day will have more repeat visitors.

Photo by: S Migol

This post is part of our Guest Blogging contest, if you like it then why not sharing it with your friends by retweeting it? this will give credits to the author and a better chance to win one of our awesome prizes.  By the way.. you also can participate in our contest, it’s not late!

I am a content/niche and article writer who owns a freelance writing and design firm in Virginia Beach. I am experienced in several subjects ranging from IT to web design for a variety of different industries including Mortgages, Real Estate, Pharmaceuticals, and Technical Writing. Whether I am designing a site or creating unique content, I'm happy so long as my fingers are typing away and my clients are successful.

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{ 49 comments… add one }

  • Jason Jumat May 20, 2010, 11:42 am

    Sometimes there really are these very beautifully odd things that one can do that will be very appealing to the eye of the visitor. One always tend to think of far lying things to improve on our websites. I guess, just like in life situations were sometimes we get very frustrated or just panic when not getting things right: most of the times the solution whould right be amongst us! Thank you for these bright ideas. Also (always) love the pictures you guys use in your posts. Like this one saying: “email me” on a sweet. Very unique and again this attracts “quality” attention.

  • Ann/WritingJobResource.com March 30, 2010, 2:35 am

    The TweetMeme plugin is a godsend. Installed it a couple of weeks ago and my articles are getting tweeted more often. Haven’t had any problems with it thus far.

    On a personal note, I’m not a big fan of those short author bios at the end of articles. Sorry =( I just don’t pay attention to them.
    .-= Ann/WritingJobResource.com´s last blog ..AC Tutorials: All You Need to Know About Upfront Payments =-.

    • CJ March 30, 2010, 5:18 pm

      Ann — I wasn’t at first either, but when I find a new blog I find it easier and quicker to read those snippets versus the about me pages. I also think it helps with SEO. Drop a couple keywords in that section and search engines will pick up on every post versus one here and there. IMHO.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • Ryan Michael March 29, 2010, 9:06 pm

    I’m reading mixed reviews from your comments about the short biography at the end of posts. You say it’s gaining popularity… Can you suggest a few sites I can visit that you think do this well? I’m curious to see more about it. I can see the benefit of having a short bio rather than a long “About Us” page – I rarely read those. A few sentences will probably have the same if not a greater impact on readers.
    .-= Ryan Michael´s last blog ..Internet Marketing Vocab – Learn a New Language! =-.

  • Fazreen March 29, 2010, 8:58 am

    I do found about me page is an important stuff but some bloggers don’t pay attention to the page. Maybe they are like me who are lazy to write own background. :)

    • CJ March 29, 2010, 3:32 pm

      Fazreen — By not having an About Me page you are losing a great opportunity not only for people to get to know you and what you provide, but also for search engines to find you. Your about you page is a great place for you to tell your potential client who you are, your experiences, what you like, and why they should trust you. You can also take this one step farther and add a video.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • Project Center March 27, 2010, 3:34 pm

    My Virtual Assistant was telling me about the Digg Digg plug-in for WordPress – I guess it has the ReTweetMeme, Digg and Facebook Share button as well as a few others, if I recall correctly.

    We do have some sharing buttons on our site but have been thinking that it would be more “friendly” to try out the Digg Digg button because of the popularity with Facebook and Twitter (I read another article today that mentioned that Facebook surpassed Google this week with visits). Wow!

    @ProjectCenter
    .-= Project Center´s last blog ..What Are Line Screens In Printing? =-.

    • CJ March 27, 2010, 6:20 pm

      Digg Digg: Tried that, didn’t like it. Not only did I find that it didn’t work well, but it caused a conflict with other plugins. I think I used it for about a 2 weeks before removing it. It was one more reason I would rather just find individual codes for the social media sites that I like and support and insert them where I want. I know a lot of people are using this plugin, so who knows, maybe I’ll try it again and see what happens.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • Hesham March 27, 2010, 7:21 pm

        By the way, I am running Digg Digg on our blog now, it seem to work fine, probably you have installed an earlier version!

        Just want to let you know that I am with passing the code into your pages, it’s better and load the page faster than using a plugin, but using a plugin is a faster process :)

        • CJ March 29, 2010, 3:35 pm

          Hesham, thanks for letting me know that. It was a long while ago that I was using it, so I’m glad to hear that this is working. Who knows, I may have to give it another go.
          .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • lawmacs March 26, 2010, 4:53 pm

    These are relevant and with the contact page it is missing from most website i believe the reason is that most website owners users a sperate mailing service. With the tweet me button i belive this button doesn’t work two well the count seems to change.
    .-= lawmacs´s last blog ..Choosing Your Platform And Web Host =-.

    • CJ March 27, 2010, 12:04 am

      I’m not sure that I understand what you mean about an about page and a separate mailing service. Can you explain that?

      As for the tweetmeme button, so do have counters, but that just show how many time the post in question has been tweeted. If the counter doesn’t change then that’s not a good thing. I like it when I see the counter go up. Means people are recommending my writing and that’s never bad.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • Dennis Edell March 26, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Great stuff CJ, Contact and About should go up even before the first post.

    Since my awesome new designer just installed a bio box for me, I have all but the tweet-meme button so far. ;)
    .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… =-.

    • CJ March 26, 2010, 3:25 pm

      The Author Bio section looks a little empty. Looks like you still need to add some information to your bio field in the admin. Do you have a twitter name? If not, you should look into setting one up so that you can tweet too.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • Dennis Edell March 26, 2010, 3:28 pm

        Yes, I do have to add to the bio; right now though, I have a few things on my plate. ;)

        No twitter nic yet either; having some issues there.
        .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… =-.

        • CJ March 27, 2010, 12:00 am

          Not to be sarcastic or anything, but what would be wrong with dennisedell as a twitter name? I mean, it is your site name too so it’ll be easy to brand. Just sayin….
          .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

          • Dennis Edell March 27, 2010, 9:53 am

            Very true, except I’m taking my branding up a notch…wait for the post.
            .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… =-.

    • Bethany March 26, 2010, 4:03 pm

      So how do I get a tweetme link button onto my blog? I am still a newbie, and I have the older version of blogspot because I’m too scared to upgrade to the newer version. I feel like I just got the hang of the older version!
      .-= Bethany´s last blog ..Tip #9 – Leave the Extra Weight at Home! =-.

      • Dennis Edell March 26, 2010, 7:25 pm

        Bethany – Can you upload plugins to a blogspot blog?
        .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Holy Power Outage Batman, Not Again! Yep, Another Two Days Shot to Hell… =-.

      • CJ March 26, 2010, 11:58 pm

        Bethany — I haven’t used blogspot in a while, but if memory serves, you can do a search for plugins. Just search for tweetmeme and see what that brings up. I’m still researching codes for the tweetmeme to replace the WordPress plugin, so I can’t recommend one yet.

        Blogspot is pretty stable so you may want to see what the newer version has to offer, especially if you’re limited to plugins and other similar options like that.
        .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • Hesham March 27, 2010, 12:06 am

        Bloggers users can not upload any plugins, there is no plugins for Bloggers!

        This because it’s not a self hosted platform, so you ave to use what they offer!

        Here is how to integrate Tweetmeme button into Blogger blog from the official Tweetmeme site.

        • CJ March 27, 2010, 6:07 pm

          @Hesham — thanks for the information. I must admit I’m pretty out of the loop when it comes to the free platforms. I’ve only had 1 blogspot blog and was not happy with the inflexiblity of it so I quickly moved onto a self-hosted platform.

  • Kiesha March 26, 2010, 2:29 pm

    It really bothers me when I can’t find the RT button or if I find, but the RT goes to @Tweetmeme or Topsy or whatever. If I really like the post, yeah I might go ahead go out my way to Tweet, but most likely not.
    .-= Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter´s last blog ..6 Tips for more efficient blogging =-.

    • CJ March 26, 2010, 3:22 pm

      I don’t have an issue with tweetmeme. Always opens in a new box, I don’t have to log in, and I can add a comment. The only time I have to log in or out is when I want to tweet from a different tweet account, but mostly I tweet from my main one.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • Kiesha March 26, 2010, 3:31 pm

        I guess my comment was quite confusing. What I meant was, I hate when the blog owner hasn’t adjusted the settings and instead the RT mention going to the author, it reads “RT @tweetmeme” I usually want to let the author know that I’ve RT’ed their posts, since that’s how networking relationships can begin.
        .-= Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter´s last blog ..A Step-by-step guide to guest posting =-.

        • CJ March 26, 2010, 11:52 pm

          Oh, I see. I haven’t had that happen too often for me, but I agree, that is frustrating. I just want a quick click and go option.
          .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • Tinh March 26, 2010, 10:00 am

    Bio is necessary page that help your readers know about you
    .-= Tinh´s last blog ..HostGator Released New Affiliate System! =-.

    • CJ March 26, 2010, 1:32 pm

      Yes a page is good, but a short bio section at the bottom of each post helps the reader connect with you every time they read a post. It’s not as in depth as a page, but with a picture, a short synopsis of what you do, and a link back to a page or even your About Page is even better.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..CreativeAce Grand Opening – Online Store =-.

  • Tom March 26, 2010, 4:04 am

    Lack of contact page is really a pet peeves of mine, and it’s even worse when it’s an ecommerce site : “you want me to part with my money but don’t give me any ways of contacting you?”. I DON’T THINK SO!

    Bio info is a great idea if you have multiple bloggers posting on your site :)
    .-= Tom@NetAccountant´s last blog ..10 web design conventions that will make your website as good as Amazon.com =-.

    • CJ March 26, 2010, 1:35 pm

      I totally agree. The About Page lends to your credibility. How is a potential client going to trust you if they don’t know anything about you?
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • James Pruitt March 26, 2010, 3:37 am

    For my about me page, I like to do a simple video. It gives me a chance to let my visitors see me, and it gives me another link via youtube. you can connect with people much better when you talk directly to them.
    .-= James Pruitt´s last blog ..Internet Marketing Specialist Goes CRAZY… =-.

  • James Pruitt March 26, 2010, 3:35 am

    I totally agree.. I hate seeing a blog or any website with no way to contact the owner. What do you use for your contact us form? I use contact form 7 but I get swamped with all the bots. The simple captcha it has is just not good enough. Any recommendations?
    .-= James Pruitt´s last blog ..Internet Marketing Specialist Goes CRAZY… =-.

    • CJ March 26, 2010, 1:43 pm

      I’ve heard that is good for video, but I also recommend a text version for people too. I wrote a post on why video is not always a good thing. Just remember there are people who have slow or limited bandwidth. So I always recommend taking that extra step and adding a text option, as well as a video.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • CJ March 26, 2010, 1:45 pm

        I use cformsII. It has a lot of flexibility and I use captcha to stop most of the bots. I think I’ve seen only 1 spam get through since I started using it a few months ago. I have heard great things about Contact 7. Surprised that you’re still getting a lot of bots.

        cformsII allows me to create multiple forms. I have one client I used it not only for his contact page, but also an application. If you ever designed in HTML then cformsII isn’t hard to figure out. It offers a lot of bells and whistles.
        .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • Martin March 26, 2010, 3:12 am

    Great! Thanks for the tips! I really like the tweetmeme one as its so easy for visitors to retweet your post without leaving the page unlike other forms of sharing content.
    .-= Martin´s last blog ..How to start a web hosting company in 6 steps :Teen Entrepreneurs =-.

    • CJ March 26, 2010, 1:47 pm

      I also like it because they not only can retweet without leaving the page, but they can add a comment to the tweet as well.
      .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

  • Tycoon Blogger March 25, 2010, 8:10 pm

    Good read and I agree that those are 3 must haves on a blog. I am in good shap as I have my contact form and bio up and running. I also have a retweet button but I am using Topsy instead of Tweetmeme.
    .-= Tycoon Blogger @Promote your Blog´s last blog ..The great debate continues.. =-.

  • Anthony March 25, 2010, 7:11 pm

    I don’t really read the bio pages until I get into a blog. If I don’t like the articles or if it’s boring, I don’t really stick around. That also means I don’t really care to know about the author if it’s boring. My bio is about two sentences!
    .-= Anthony @ Innovatively Simple´s last blog ..Support Small Businesses =-.

    • CJ March 25, 2010, 8:34 pm

      Anthony — I wasn’t referring to the Author’s bio page, but rather the author section that appears at the end of a post. I like this as it’s a quick reference to the author who wrote the post. Comes in handy when it’s a guest blogger.
      .-= CJ´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • Anthony March 25, 2010, 9:30 pm

        Got it! I’m actually looking for a plugin for that right now. Do you have one that you like?
        .-= Anthony @ Innovatively Simple´s last blog ..Support Small Businesses =-.

        • CJ March 25, 2010, 9:59 pm

          Anthony — I linked to it in the Author section, it’s not a plugin. It’s a script that you can find here: http://line25.com/tutorials/how-to-create-an-author-info-section-in-wordpress. This tutorial shows you exactly where to put it your single.php file. You will want to change your css so that the bio box fits your style and color of your blog. I just started with the css described in the tutorial then modified from there.

          It pulls the from the biographical information field on your User Page. So you need to make sure that you have something in the field.

          Hope this helps, but if not let me know, I’d be happy to walk you through it.
          .-= CJ´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

          • Chadrack March 26, 2010, 5:15 am

            Thanks so much the link. I’ve been searching for a way to have this on my blog. Will check it out and see what I can do about it.

            • CJ March 26, 2010, 1:49 pm

              No problem. Let me know what you think. I’m always looking for a good code to replace plugins when possible. This was the best one I found so far and at the bottom it even has some other options you can add too.
              .-= CJ @ Niche Writing´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

            • Chadrack March 26, 2010, 2:06 pm

              Checked and discovered it is really something easy to work with. I’ve already added a bio section to my blog!

              Thanks so much!

  • Hesham March 25, 2010, 6:00 pm

    Cool! I was about to publish a post talking about the same issue, but in a different way, now I can use this post for internal linking :)

    • CJ March 25, 2010, 8:30 pm

      @Hesham — I’m glad to hear that I gave you something to link to. Thanks for letting me guest post. This was cool. I will keep an out out for your post, interested to read your take on these elements too.
      .-= CJ´s last blog ..My First Guest Blog Post =-.

      • Hesham March 25, 2010, 9:23 pm

        Great! it’s about having an advertising page on your blog and how to do that the best way I see it, so I am including that you don’t need an advertising page unless you have the basic other pages ;)

        I will let you know when it’s published!

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