July 14, 2016 Blogging TipsHow to Make Your Site More User-Friendly Ask yourself this, is your site easy to navigate? One of the biggest complaints I hear from blog readers is that some blogs are not easy to navigate. If they can’t easily find the information they want, they’ll likely leave. That’s what we’re trying to avoid, so how? There’s two ways you can easily make your site easier to navigate. The best part? You can easily add them yourself! 1. Add a Search Bar One of them is to include an accessible search bar. This is actually one that every one should have no matter out. Here’s a perfect example of why you need a search bar… A reader clicks on a Pin from Pinterest that someone else has pinned from your homepage. That post (a delicious grilled cheese recipe!) is now three months old. The reader lands on your homepage, scrolls down and can’t find that grilled cheese recipe anywhere. Frustration sets in. Oh, but wait! There’s a search bar! Crisis averted! They searched grilled cheese, find their recipe and bookmark your site as one of their favorites. But if they’ve scoured your site and couldn’t find that search button, they’re long gone. You can kiss that traffic goodbye, possibly forever. Luckily, adding a search bar to your site is super easy to do! The simplest way to do this is to integrate a search function into your sidebar widget. Here’s how: Click “appearance” and “widgets” on the left side of your WordPress back-end. You’ll then see the screen below with all the widgets you have available. Based on your theme, you might have several different areas of your site you can include widgets in. Scroll down until you see the “search” button, then, just drag and drop it where you’d like it to go. (In this case, we’ve placed at at the top of the sidebar.) You can even select a title for your search bar–you’ll see we’ve done, “search away!” for example! Now, that was easy, wasn’t it? 2. Create a Custom Menu with Dropdowns One of the easiest ways to create a better user experience on your blog is to keep your content organized and easy to access. The best way to do that is to create a custom menu with drop downs. A custom menu can link to basically anything you want: pages, categories and even outside links. It keeps your navigation bar looking clean, but still gives your reader plenty of options to hone in on exactly what they want! In WordPress, this is incredibly easy! To create a custom menu, go to ‘Appearances’ > ‘Menus’. If you have pages, your theme may automatically pull those in here, or if you had someone else set up your site, they probably already created one for you. If not, hit the link to create a new menu and give it a name. Hit save. On the left side, you’ll see a section of different panels—things like Pages, Categories, etc. Check the box to select which pages you like and hit the ‘Add to Menu’. To add a page that pulls a specific category, go down to categories and check the ones you want to add and click that ‘Add to Menu’ button. You do NOT have to create individual pages for each of these, it happens automatically when you add it to the menu! You can add custom links under the ‘Custom Links’ panel for anything else you need. Once you have all your links selected and added to the menu, you can move them around here. Simply drag and drop to move them around. To make a drop down menu, drag them slightly to the right of the top item and there you go! Lastly, you’ll need to select the location for you menu within your theme. Every theme will be different, but ‘Primary Navigation Bar’ is typically your main navigation. Some themes will have multiple locations. Lastly, hit save menu and go admire your fancy new custom menu with dropdowns! Both of these things will make your site infinitely easier for readers to navigate. If they continue to have a good experience with your site, it’ll be easy for them to find the content they want and will keep them coming back. What other tips do you have for making your site user-friendly?