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EPISODE 035: DELIVER A GREAT USER EXPERIENCE WITH BETHANY SMITH

Blog Title: Food Blog Usability

Social Media:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/cadiamarketing/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/cadiamarketing/

About: I help food bloggers be awesome by taking a deep-dive into the hows and whys of communicating and connecting with their followers. I especially focus on the concepts around user experience design and how to make blog user-friendly. I have a background in web design, digital content, marketing and management.

Notes from Episode #035: Improving the UX experience

  • Fun fact: Bethany worked at Starbucks for 5 years but can’t make coffee at home!
  • About five years ago Bethany started her freelance web design business after she lost her job and went to the unemployment office. The computer said that she likely couldn’t get hired with her digital content and marketing skillset so they told her about the other programs they offer. One was to start her own business while receiving unemployment, so she took that opportunity. Initially, she focused on web design, and did some VA work, but is now focusing on working with food bloggers around the user experience.
  • Has had 2 kids in the past 4 years so she’s been freelancing part time.
  • Food bloggers are people who love food but don’t always know or love the techy side of things.
  • Bethany decided to start focusing her niche on working with food bloggers, especially around the idea of UX (User Experience Design). She has more of a technical background and while working with some other food bloggers, the UX experience became more evident to her that it was needed.
  • UX isn’t just an idea – there’s a field of study on this subject and metrics to measure it. UX is a long term strategy. You shouldn’t have to worry about algorithm changes by using these principles – it’s based on consumer psychology – how people interact with sites, how they buy, how they respond to colors, etc. 
  • Using bullet points and headings to help your audience has always been part of the UX and not just SEO. Just like we read left to right, so blogs should be set up that way. Also, a logo goes in the top left corner of your blog because our eyes flow across a page that way. 
  • Link your About section of your site to your author tag on your recipe card. This is especially important for mobile users since the About of your blog isn’t usually visible on a mobile visit. 
  • Does your site use colors that are making it hard to see? Is the mobile experience as good as on the laptop? Are pop ups making it hard to use the site? Make search bars are easy to find; do you have a good menu? What standard options are available to you that you can’t find on a site visit? Step back and think as a user vs the owner of the blog.
  • If you google “color contrast useability”, you can plug in your sites colors to see if they work well. It’s a simple fix you can do to improve UX.
  • SEO is important but people are very focused on it and it’s really only a small part of the whole UX. The UX is more holistic for your audience and isn’t all technical which should relieve a lot of pressure for you.
  • It’s ok to ignore some of the SEMrush or Yoast recommendations because they just don’t make sense and improve the experience. Google doesn’t look at word count – they want you to answer the users questions.
  • Use a Jump To Button to balance users being able to just get to the recipe vs reading all that you offer on any given recipe
  • A metric Bethany uses is something that google created (but not for SEO) called HEART: Happiness|Engagement|Adoption|Retention|Task Completion it looks at how the user comes in and gets the full experience of the site. Do they enjoy it, do you retain them, can they accomplish what they came to do? Retention is increasing your views and that’s how UX can help you.
  • SEO is a deep black hole, but all Google is doing is trying to deliver great content to your reader, so if you provide great user-focused content from the beginning, you have an easier way of riding any algorithm changes from Google.
  • You need to write & create for the reader not for SEO, and not for yourself. Yes, what you post needs to have your voice, but it also needs to be easy-to-read for your blog’s visitor.
  • Avatars are important – they are your target audience. The more specific you are the better you do to reach more people. If you niche down, you get more traction which doesn’t make sense on paper but it happens.
  • Bethany offers audits to people to help improve the sites. She’ll go over your entire site. She’ll offer heat maps and get user feedback. Then she gives you action steps.
  • You don’t need a lot of people to keep your business successful. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make it profitable with an audience that fits your niche. 
  • So don’t focus on the numbers, focus on retention and those that do visit you, they are the right people. 
  • Bethany offers audits to people to help improve the sites. She’ll go over your entire site. She’ll offer heat maps and get user feedback. Then she gives you action steps.
  • You don’t need a lot of people to keep your business successful. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make it profitable with an audience that fits your niche. 
  • So don’t focus on the numbers, focus on retention and those that do visit you, they are the right people. 

Helpful references from the episode:

Resources on user experience design (UX)

https://www.responsinator.com/ – plug in your URL and see your mobile devices from a different perspective. 

Nielson Norman Group

Interaction Design Foundation

Book: Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

More on website text scanning patterns (like the F pattern)

Text Scanning Patterns: Eyetracking Evidence

Site Audits

Learn more about a full or mini site audit!

My Blog

FoodBlogUsability.com

Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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