9 tips for a better blog fiction website


I've been reading a lot of blog fiction for the last couple months. Some have been easier to read than others and not because of what words they used. I'm talking about easier because of how the website has been laid out. I've compile a list of things that all fictional bloggers would do so that it's easier on my eyes and my mouse-clicking-finger. I know now that I made a couple of these very mistakes on my own blog fiction. When I relaunch I'll fix them.

1.) Next and Previous links for individual posts.
When I'm reading through the archives of a blog fiction, I like to click through one at a time. That way, when reading I get into a groove. Read the post, read the comments if any, click next. If there's no next button I have to look over or click over to the archives and slows down my reading time.

2.) Let a headline be clickable
Going off of the first point. Most blogs let you click the headline to look at an individual post. There are still some that don't. Please, don't make me scroll to the end of your post and click some small '#' or the word 'Permalink' just to read your comments or to get back into the groove I was talking about in number 1.

3.) Readable font
Make your writing large and easy to read. I hate having to tell my webbrowser to enlarge all text. It might make the content more readable, but will often break the margins of your sidebar and other formatting. Besides font size, be sure to pick a font type that's easy to read on the screen. One time I was reading a blog and I had firefox increase the font size. I quickly realized that no matter how big the font was, it was still hard to read. Novelr has tips on which font types to use.

4.) Double space Paragraphs
Always have a space in between paragraphs. Dead tree publishers can get away with cramming as much text together as possible. As a digital writer, you cannot. There are few thing harder on the eyes than a whole bunch of text crammed together with no spacing to help break it up. Especially if they are short paragraphs.

5.) Easy to navigate to first page and archives.
So let's say I find a new fictional blog(woohoo!). Now I want to read the story from the beginning. Now what do I do? Until someone catches up with reading your entire archive, they are going to come to your homepage and then click directly to the archives. Please make the archives link easy to find.

6.) Link back to old references
One of the few advantages that us digital publishers have over our dead tree counterparts is that it's sooooooo easy to reference past events. Not all readers can remember everything in a long work of fiction, especially one delivered in instalments. A novel could be ruined if everytime a minor character is mentioned it says next to their name(pg 41), but for a blog fiction writer you can just create a link back to when that character was first introduced. It may be extra work for you, but your infrequent readers will thank you. And who knows, maybe it'll turn your infrequent reader into a regular.

7) Make RSS feed readily available
This is tip not just for fictional bloggers, but for all bloggers. Lots of people use rss aggregators to read their favorite blogs. No reason to believe that a reader of a fictional blog wouldn't do the same.

8) Don't overwhelm your readers with widgets and gizmos
Another tip that's for all bloggers not just the fictional ones. Sometimes, less is more. I hate having to sift through 14 gadgets, 83 directory links, and 34 "cool links" just to find your archives link.

9.) Don't make it hard or impossible to find the publishing dates.
Alright, so maybe this one isn't a hard and fast rule so much as a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when I can't readily find out the date an item was published. I use that too gage how often a blog is updated or if it's currently active. Also I don't like it when the date isn't listed for each post. For instance it's laid out where it lists the date and then just shows all the posts from that date. So, if I want hte date on a post I have to scroll through 2, 3, or 4 other posts... grr! Like I said - pet peeve.

Follow these 9 rules 8 rules and 1 pet peeve and I bet your readers will thank you for it. I know of at least one reader that will. Do you have tips for writers to make their blogs more readable?


Odin said...

Excellent advice. It prompted me to clean up my subscription feeds!

Lethe said...

Is the next feature available only on certain blogspot templates? Or is it something that you can do to all of them?

And i was wondering if you could give me some personal advice on my blog? Thanks

DustinM said...

Is the next feature available only on certain blogspot templates? Or is it something that you can do to all of them?

As far as I know they all have it. I've yet to see a Blogger template that doesn't have them. Both of your blogs have "newer post" and "older post" links, for instance.

Lethe said...

Kudos on the advice column. That kind of info is essential for beginning bloggers. I checked my word press site and had a hard time figuring out how to do the next function. Maybe i'm wrong but the archive doesn't have the "new post" button.

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