6 Tips for Improving Readability of Your Blog Posts

better writing What makes a great blog exceptional is improving the readability of it. People spend their entire days at work on the computer, only to return home to spend more time on it. Their eyes and their mind become fatigued over time. You can have great content on your blog, but is everyone reading every word? You want people to experience value for their time, but you don’t want to force them to read a 2000 word blog when they have a short attention span.

There are ways that you can break up the text, and make it become more legible. Here are 6 tips for improving readability of your blog posts.

1. The 500 word rule.

You may have a lot to say in 2000 words, but many people may only read the first 500 words. If you plan on including a lot of information than consider splitting up your article into two or more parts. There is also the additional benefit that it will draw people back to your blog, as they’ll want to learn more about your topic. Use space wisely. Adding more space improves readability.

2. Break it up into paragraphs.

We’ve all seen the blog posts that are one long continuous paragraph. It makes them hard to read. Generally, editors say split up your blog posts into paragraphs of 3 or 4 sentences.  
Don’t just put line breaks, use paragraph tags to separate the paragraphs properly. Just adding blank lines does not help. So there comes the next point.

3. Create headings.

People’s eyes usually skip down the article first, taking in the headings. If they create questions in the reader’s mind, they’ll go back to the top of the article and read it through. It also gives the mind a break after absorbing each valued point.  

4. Bullet points.

Most blog interfaces, including Blogger and WordPress, have a bullet point formatting tool. There’s no need to figure out how to do bullets on your keyboard as you can simply click the bullet button. You may not wish to have an entire article of bullet points, but having one or two small lists of advice will help the reader to implement this information into their life.  

5. Avoid too many keywords.

About three years ago Google started blocking blogs that were just long lists of keywords. And no one reads them anyway. If you have too many obvious keywords in your article, your readers will not come back. Fit your keywords and key phrases into your blog post naturally, and stick to 3 or 4, not used more than a couple of times each.  

6. Include photographs.

including photographs
Everyone enjoys looking at photographs. For a 500 word article you can include one at the top of the page, and maybe two or three below. If you decide to do a photograph list, switch it up with an informative article the next time round. Some readers enjoy scrolling through the photos, while others enjoy articles. Cater to both markets.   A year later when you look back at your first blog post you’ll realize how unprofessional it looks. But you started a blog, and you have much to be proud about as you continue to provide informative and entertaining content to your readers.

Image credits: Christian Heilmann

Read More:

Improve the readability of your web page

11 Simple Tricks to Improve the Readability of Your Blog

How To Use Fonts In Website Design To Improve Readability

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Ways to Improve your Website’s Navigation Structure

Let’s imagine you’re out clubbing and suddenly there’s a conflagration and everyone is scramming for their way out. Your chance of finding the egress is contingent on how able you’re to locate the exit door. Now, what if this was your first time hanging out in this club?

Well, the same thing can be said about web navigation. Every time someone clicks on the links you have in your navigation bar, they’re simply doing so because they have some other place that they’d rather be. Not a single web visitor wants to click the link menus you have on a humble; if your ‘About Us’ page can’t be found or has an enigmatic title such as dispatch from headquarters, rest assured a good chunk of the new readers you get will visit the site but leave almost immediately without even bothering to give the page a second thought.

That’s how the internet world operates; obfuscate things and you’ll lose a healthy count of the new readers you get.

That said, let’s go through a number of tips that you can use to improve your site’s navigation:

Make it consistent

Your navigation has to be consistent—both in terms of where and how the links appear on your site. Your primary goal should be to promote ease of use and make relevant information easier to find.

Try as much as you can to keep your navigation the same in every page to protect your visitors from losing their on-site bearing.

Group your categories clearly

navigation bar categoriesThis is particularly very important if your site has multiple sections—multiple categories and sub-categories.

Find a way to keep all the categories visually defined. That’s to say there should be something that separates categories from sub-categories, even when both of them link to the same page.

Use logical site layout and navigation bar

The buttons at the top or bottom of your web pages must be well ordered and logical. For instance, ‘home’,’products’, and ‘about us’ buttons are logically expected to proceed the ‘Contact’ button.

It’s also important that you ensure the layout you choose is intuitive and makes a clear display of all the pages you have without leaving key issues behind. The comprehensive structure must include a number of main pages, top subject pages and a few sub pages if necessary. This will lessen the amount of friction placed on search engine robots, and thus pave way for a sound user experience.

Double-check your search features to ensure they’re properly working

The in-site search feature you have must always provide relevant results whenever a reader searches for an item in your site. Make sure it can correctly auto-correct misspellings, show related results and even produce results for items you don’t have. Whatever you do, don’t ever let your search feature produce ‘no product found’ as result.

Add ALT text to every clickable image

AltEvery clickable image, especially those linking to other pages must have ALT texts. The ALT attribute must be included in the descriptive text so it can help your readers figure out what the link is all about regardless of how they’re viewing your site.

Keep navigation titles accurate

Navigation titles should give a visitor a rough idea of what the page is all about should they proceed to click it. Keep your verbiage less stilt and easy to understand so readers can right away tell the content they are likely to find if they make the click.

Related Reading

Choosing the Navigation Structure that meets your needs

Navigation Structures

How to Write Your Website Menu Structure or Website Navigation Document for Your Website

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working from Home

Our world today has drastically changed the way we think, act and perform daily activities. It seems like everything is in fast-forward. People want to be on the go, things to be done in an instant and everyone seems to be in a rush. This is the idea of our modern world. But to enjoy the advancements of this era, it is very necessary that each of us has the means to enjoy all the bits of life have to offer. And it is justifiable to say that, if we don’t have the means to spend, our life is boring, our mouth will be dry, our stomachs will grumble, and we sleep elsewhere. For us to survive, we seek for work. It is a necessity. For without it, we won’t be able to function well in our society. We cannot contribute and we will be invisible.

Over the years, our working habits and working styles have changed dramatically. From the ordinary 9 to 5 schedule, we stretched to the point where we only spend a quarter of our day at home, all spent to rest. The next day is the same routine for the rest of the year. But because of technology and the demand of online job, our work opportunities have been maximized. Whether we like it or not, each movement we make is a work done. Whether it is paid or not, we perform work.  But what is more appealing is to know is that with access to internet and a computer or a telephone, you can earn while you are at the comfort of your home. But what does this working style suggests? Here are some pros and cons that you may find interesting to read:

When you ask me about how I feel about working from home, I can cite a long list of the advantages that it gives me. But I will only point out the things that I think are the best to share.

working from home

1. I have flexibility with my time.

As long as I complete my task before deadline, I can do house chores, eat, exercise, watch television, especially if my job requires me to write, copy paste, and  alter photos in my computer. I can always work on my own pace, wherever, whenever.

2. I can wear anything I want.

I don’t need to dress up, paint my nails, put some make up and tidy my hair. I can even work while in bed, just when I woke up, sipping my cup of coffee and petting my cat beside me. This is something that I can probably just lounge all day long without worrying about what to wear and what colour of lipstick that suits my mood of the day.

3. I have more family time.

I have heard of a couple who gave up their normal jobs by working from home. They reckon it is the best way to balance family/work life. They can look after their children, spend more quality time with each other and earn at the safety of their home.

4. Saves petrol and additional expenses.

The reason why we work is we have bills to pay; electricity, water, phone, etc. We even have to work so we can pay the petrol we use to get to our workplace. Working from home saves petrol and the persuasive buying adhered to it. We know we can go anywhere with cars. So staying home and work is a good way to save up especially if we are in a tight budget.

5. No distractions. No stress.

When we are at home, unless we have not organized our other chores, we certainly have no distractions and stress from working with people whom we find hard to get along with. The only thing we are mindful of is our ability to perform and complete tasks. There is no competition. There is always privacy plus no gossips going on.

While working from home may seem an easy access especially to people who have young children to take care of, no car or have less confidence upon working with other people, there are as well some disadvantages about this working style.


The Top 10 Best Jobs You Can Do from Home

15 Surprising Work-from-Home Jobs


1. You are on your own!

If you love crowd, you love attention, this might not be the best working style for you. You have to be independent.

2. Possible lack of motivation.

While some introvert are oozed with motivating themselves because of their personality. People who are extrovert will find this very difficult. There is always motivation when you see the person you like in your workplace compared to solely facing the corners of your room, with your own computer and side table. Life for you may sometimes become boring and to get motivated, you have to find different ways to keep you going.

3. Messy working space.

Because you are in your own comfort zone, no one will clean after your work finishes like what companies do. You have to clean and organize your own mess and make sure that there is room to breathe. A messy workplace is not healthy and it will give you more distractions and becoming unmotivated.

4. Electric bills may go high.

You are always working on your computer, having to connect in an internet to be able to do work. This may not be a big deal but having to be using your own resource to get a job online like printing things, etc, would cost additional to your normal electric, phone bill. Unless the job is major and can cope up with your expenses, these may not be a reason for you to freak out when monthly bills come. It is still good to think that in working in a company, you get to use all its resources and go home without the hassle.

5. Professional growth.

This may seem so challenging for people who chose to work from home. Whilst working in the company, there is a big chance to be noticed and get promoted as competition is very high. You have to prove to the company that you are a gem and an asset to them. But working from home is something that is danger of becoming stagnated.

We all have different personalities. We have strengths and weaknesses. The choice of owning a job whether working from home or not is up to us. The thing is to know what are the good sides and bad sides in order for us to see growth. We may prefer to work in a real workplace and some of us may want isolation and work from home. Or some may want to work on both. After all, we work to survive, to become a better person, to change status, to meet friends. The decision is all yours.

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How to Make Your Own Website Using WordPress

WordPress is an open source blogging tool that offers easy-to-develop websites as it runs on a web hosting service. This tool was released on May 27, 2003 and significantly made success in providing people better options to own a website. In fact, as of the first quarter of 2014, its newest versions were found to be downloaded more than 20 million times. The success of WordPress traces back from its features of human-friendly options, even a teenager can learn. From a simple blog software, it now became a one-stop resource in making a website. If you are thinking of owning a website through WordPress, here are the steps to take:

What You Need to Prepare

1. A Good Domain Name – The domain name is your website’s identity. It is good to make it unique and easy to remember by keeping it short, simple and easy to spell. For example, mycoolwebsite.com may be better than myremarkablewebsite.com. Also, never ever use trademark words as you can get legal problems with it. Last but not the least, your name should be available. Do this by simply typing the address on your browser.

2. Website Hosting Service – Website hosting is a service that provides people with servers so they can manage their own website. In simpler sense, they are like real estate properties who offer vacant lots for commercial or residential use. You need to find a website hosting service so you can build your website according to your preferred space.

3. WordPress – WordPress can be downloaded via your website hosting service. This may seem too technical for you but do not worry, it is actually simple. By means of manual install, you only have to see the instruction from your website hosting service. Download the free WordPress version on the official website of WordPress and upload the files to your website hosting service. Next, go to your domain and follow the installation guide.

Configuring WordPress

1. Once WordPress is successfully downloaded, you are now ready to configure the settings. Just go to the ‘Dashboard’ option located on the left panel and go to ‘Settings’ then to ‘General’. Change your tagline to whatever you want. Of course, it has to suit your website’s purpose.

2. You can also change your profile by means of editing your personal information. It is good to know that your screen name can be different from your log-in username. To do this, go to your profile and edit your name.

3. To make it more search-engine visible, you can also set the permalink. The Permalink will allow the keywords to appear on the address bar instead of just symbols and numbers.

4. Other configuration options include removing or changing the ‘About’ Page, uploading images, replacing sidebars and many more. All these can be easily done by the user-friendly interface of WordPress.

WordPress do not need any programming skills; it just needs a thorough understanding of how it is used. There are people who were able to build their own website by simply trying the function of each option. You can do that too. The important thing is that you can build your website according to your preferences.

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The Importance of Capturing Leads From Your Website

lead generation formIt is important for website owners to realize that a lot of traffic means nothing if it doesn’t increase the conversion rates (sales) of a site. It doesn’t matter if a site is attracting traffic for advertising revenue only. Such sites must convince advertisers (who are the leads) that it is worthwhile placing ads on the site. In summary, capturing leads offers webmasters numerous opportunities to engage and sell products and services. This is the essence of e-commerce sites. There are very many ways of ensuring that your site captures leads. Below are 4 effective tips to consider when you want your site to capture the most leads.

1. Identify the persona of your ideal buyer

Before you consider popular ways of capturing leads like including web forms for visitors to feel, determine who your ideal buyer is. This should be the first thing you consider when you want to design a sight that is super effective in generating leads. The entire process of generating leads doesn’t have to be concentrated in the web design process.

Although your e-commerce site may cater to all kinds of buyers, you need to identify the persona of your most profitable and loyal buyer to generate concrete leads. Your web design process should be centered around your ideal buyer to attract other ideal buyers and less of the buyers you don’t want.
Read More here: Introduction to buyer personas

2. Uncover the questions and problems of your ideal buyer

lead generation formThis is another important tip to consider when you want to ensure your site captures the most leads. You must consider asking yourself the questions your potential buyers are asking to be able to offer ideal solutions. Websites with the highest conversion rates have perfected answering all the questions potential leads might have.

The sites also strive to solve the problems of potential leads which is precisely why the sites stand out. Identifying the questions and problems of your ideal buyer puts you in a unique position to offer exactly what they need. This makes your site extremely useful which results in repeat leads.

3. Map the personal buying process with your sales process

Since you already know who your ideal buyer is and their problems, the next step is figuring out how your ideal buyer makes purchasing decisions. You can do this by simply reviewing your last 10 ideal customers to figure out the steps they followed that made them buy from your site. There are very many web analytic tools that can help you find such information. Your focus should be making the buying process of your ideal buyer as exciting and simple as possible.

4. Designing for lead generation

This is the last and most important step to consideration when you are focused on effective lead generation. This step involves putting all the above steps/considerations together. Websites with the highest conversion rates are designed for lead generation after considering exactly what the ideal buyer wants and dedicating the web design process to offering that and more. There are many things to consider when designing a site for lead generation. For instance, you should make web forms for collecting the contact information of your site visitors.
You can then contact your site visitors later for promotions, engaging them, surveying e.t.c.The site should also be easy to navigate to make the buying process seamless. If your website is a plain vanilla HTML site designed in Dreamweaver, look for some Dreamweaver form code. On the other hand, if your website is built in an Advanced CSM like WordPress, you have option to build forms in WordPress too.

Although there is more to lead generation than what is discussed above, website owners shouldn’t have a problem increasing their leads after implementing the above tips.
Further Reading:

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Generate Passive Income with a Coupon Website

couponsWith the help of coupons, a frugal consumer can save money by using the free online service offered by different coupon websites. Coupons help you save money when you buy groceries, clothing as well as when you use other professional services. The websites offer coupons that are printable as well as the ones you can use when you shop online. There are many coupon websites that offer these coupons or discounts for businesses and make money out of it. Coupon sites can generate a lot of money, as everyone is on the lookout for a promo code so that they can save some money on their purchase. Let’s see how coupon sites generate money. Continue reading

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Making Money With Bonds

Bonds are one of the investment families commonly known as the fixed-income securities, which are debt obligations. Therefore, this means that there must be both the creditor and the debtor who pays the principal and interest earned over the period. In regard to that, several ways are available that you can use to make money with bonds. Trading fixed-income securities can be sometimes a daunting task compare to trading stocks. This is because there is no central exchange for the trading bonds. However, if you have right information and a little experience, trading bonds can become easier.

So, how can you make money with bonds? Consider the following useful tips:

1. A brokerage account

This is the very first thing that you must have before indulging yourself into this business. However, you can either decide to use an online trading account or a full service broker. In this case, your choice all depends upon your level of experience. It is important to understand the requirements of the account in order to make an order.

2. Interest rate/purchase price/sale price

These are some of the things that bonds have. If you buy one, you are then entitled to the principal payment once the bond matures and interest payment at least twice a year.

3. Price variations

Similar to stocks, bond prices also vary. During the first issue of the bond, its initial price together with interest rate is all set. From this point, the market will determine what they worth and/or whether the price is lower or higher compared to when it was issued. The interest rates of general market have a huge effect on the changes of bond prices. For instance, if the interest rates on real estate mortgages, saving accounts and bank loans go down after the bond is issued, then the price of the bond tend to go up.

4. The risk factor

Bonds also have a risk factor just like any other form of investment. For example, if a business company becomes bankrupt, all bondholders take first priority over the shareholders when paying out creditors. However, if there is no any amount of money available, your queue position is basically irrelevant.

5. The bonds ratings

In order to get the best bonds for you, it is important to carefully consider the bond ratings often issued by Moody or Standard and Poor (S&P). The two companies analyze all bonds available in the market using complex and technical formulas to produce a sliding scale valuation of the bonds. You can start from the AAA rated bonds, which are very low risk to the CCC rated bonds that are very high risk, also known as the junk bonds.

6. Research well

Doing enough research before buying bonds is very important. Try to consider various factors of the company such as possible legal issues, earning projections, the levels of debt just to mention a few. Generally, by buying bonds is granting the company a loan and just like any other lender, you would like to feel more confident that the loan interest will be paid back on time. It is also important to know whether the company is capable of repaying the loan in full amount within the agreed period.

In conclusion, if the above-discussed tips are properly put into consideration, making money with bonds can be an interesting and easy thing for most investors.

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How to Choose Your Website Design Company

web designWe were hunting for a web design company last month for redesigning our much neglected camping merchandise website. Finally we could find a reasonably good one. We are working with them now. I thought it is high time to jot down the points to consider while looking for a webdesign company.

Ten years ago, finding a website design company or a professional was fairly easy, mainly because there were only a handful of Internet gurus who were able to create a website from the scratch. However, today there are tens of hundreds of web design companies on every continent. If you type in “web design company” in Google, you will get over 950 unique search results. The obvious question is this: “How can I find the right agency to work with?”

Looking on Google will not be enough when searching for the right designer for your needs. There are many other things you need to do, such as checking their website, the portfolio, looking for reviews online, asking for recommendations and taking a glance at the total cost. Follow the following steps in order to make sure you will take the right choice when selecting a web design contractor or company to work with.

1. Know your Goals

web design choice
Before looking online, it is important to write down your goals and expectations in terms of both price and quality. However, remember that the phrase “you get what you paid for” is still true, especially when it comes to web designing companies. Do some research and see how much you are willing to pay and for what value. Also, keep in mind your goals. If you need an eShop, make sure you hire a contractor experienced in creating and maintaining eShop platforms, not WordPress sites.

2. Start your Search

After you know what you want regarding your online profile, it is time to find the best agency out there. Start by asking your close friends or family members who now have a successful business online. They are the ones you can always trust. In case they recommend you a certain agency, write it down immediately. Next, search on Google for lists with top web design companies in your area. For example, if you live in Miami, FL, you could search for “best web design companies Miami”.

3. Select a few Brands

web design company After studying a few lists, reviews and recommendations, it is time to make a final selection. Enter their website and look around. Do you like what you see? It is unprofessional for a web design company to have an unappealing website. You probably wouldn’t go to a dentist with crooked or yellow teeth, right? The same is with web creation. In addition to the website, evaluate the portfolio and look at the testimony page. If you are not happy with the manner the information is displayed onto the website’s pages, you should probably stay away from that specific business.

4. Final Choice

Lastly, make a final choice keeping in mind these factors: age, experience, terms & conditions, staff, team, flexibility, outsourcing, variety of services provided, real cost, special offers and upfront pricing.

Final Words

Of course, you could simply look for an agency capable and willing to create a top-notch website for you, but why not looking for a business partner? Don’t look search for a contractor; look for a web design service that wants to partner up with you. An experienced partner could be an invaluable tool for your business and a valuable asset for your company’s growth.
More info and reading:
Selecting a designer
5 Tips for Choosing a Web Designer

[photo credits: cartoongoddess | ekovisual studio | keoshi]

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How to widen your wordpress website

This is a commonly asked question by new wordpress users. So I thought I will share some facts here with you.

WordPress Themes

The Style of your WordPress Website is decided by the Theme you have chosen. So the width depends on the current theme. The theme would have the width in its stylesheet.So if you want to change only the width, without changing the theme, you have to edit the stylesheet. But to edit the stylesheet, you should be good in CSS.

Choose the right theme

Another easier alternative is to choose the right Theme for your wordpress website. You can change your theme in WordPress->Appearance->Themes page.
Choose a theme that has the width you need. The “install themes” tab shows different options to select the type of the theme. You can even select Fixed width themes or Flexible width themes.
theme search

Customizable themes

There are a number of themes that allows customizing all the aspects of the theme. That includes width, height, background color, header image logo etc. The customization page of such themes would have options to edit each of these aspects.

Thesis theme by DIYTheme is is one of such highly customizable theme. You can choose whether you need single column or double column layout. Moreover, you can choose the width of each column too.
setting wordpress width

So if you want to customize the width of your wordpress website, the easiest option would be to install a customizable theme

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How to Block Websites (Chrome, Firefox or any browser)

You may need to block a website for any number of reasons. This could be a way of enforcing self discipline as a result of a decision you had made or even protecting your children from accessing inappropriate material on the internet. Well, whatever your reasons may be, you can still block a website from all the web browsers on your computer such that regardless of the browser that is being used, the site will still be blocked. There are a couple of steps that you are needed to follow in order to achieve this so read on and find out how you can do this on your own.

The ‘hosts’ file Trick

Blocking a website involves editing the Host file on your computer. Well, as a form of explanation, the host file is simply a file that is used by the computer to find information on the location of nodes on a computer network. Start your notepad with Administrator Privileges. This is because you are editing a system file.
open notepad as admin
Accessing the host file involves browsing to the root> Windows> System32 > drivers > etc folder where root refers to the drive on which your operating system has been installed on. Open the hosts file with notepad in order to edit it.
open the hosts file

block-a-website Once you have opened the file, locate the line “::1 localhost” and place your cursor at the very bottom of the file. Press enter in order to start typing on a new line and enter “ sitename.com” where sitename.com in this case refers to the site you wish to block. You can add as many domains as you wish but remember to place each on a new line in the hosts file. Once you have made the appropriate changes, make sure that you save the file. In case you do not have the appropriate permissions to make the changes, go to the properties of the file and include yourself as a user with access to the file.

Get parental control software

On a mac, the procedure is almost the same except that in this case, the hosts file is located in etc/hosts. The rest of the method is almost the same involving typing each domain on a different line. Alternatively, you can make use of some of the parental software available in order to take control of internet access. With parental software, you have more control over internet access and it is much easier than having to delve into your file system and changing things around.

Some of the most popular parental control software include net nanny, webwatcher and mcAfee Safe Eyes. Having a parental control software makes sure that all the web activities are watched closely and offensive materials blocked. This is a very good way of protecting children from offensive materials that they may come across on the internet. The applications can be installed on all the major platforms very easily and are also easy to use. With just a relatively small investment, you can have the peace of mind that sites you do not wish to be accessed stay so. They are easy to use, cross platform and very affordable so you can’t afford to dismiss them. knowing how to block a website, you can take back control over internet access immediately.
The following links will be useful:

photo credit: TTC Press Images

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