Matt Gemmell’s article, Designing Blogs for Readers is a fascinating must-read for anyone who makes content on the web. In Matt’s article, he reflects on his own blog’s evolution and the lessons learned from the experience. He does an excellent job breaking down what’s important for a modern blog.
“I realised that I’d been focusing on my own obsession with what was possible, rather than what’s actually useful for the reader.”
That’s a bold statement.
Too often, when we create content, we neglect to consider how other factors, like readability, can influence how people perceive our work. This is especially so for those of us who work in a visual medium, like comics. For this discussion, I’m going to focus on the standard comic “strip” style comic, but there’s no reason why elements on this list couldn’t apply to long-form online comics as well.
Let’s assume your content (i.e. the stuff) is awesome. Here are the reasons your comic may not be getting enough visits (or repeat visits).
- The type in your word balloons is too small.
- The type in your word balloons has a font that is difficult to read.
- One and two combined.
- The colors on your site are too bright and tend to overpower your comic.
- You have white text on a black background (this causes eyestrain).
- The comic itself is too small (less than 1000px wide). People are increasingly viewing content on mobile devices.
- Too much crap on the main page, like widgets, blinking adverts, etc.
- No mailing list subscription option: this is a biggie for me.
- Ads interspersed within your blog content. Pop up ads are the worst.
- A Wall of Text (visually dense text) on the main page.
- A default WordPress/Comicpress template
I know I was guilty on several of the counts listed above. Hopefully my latest site redesign addresses most of those short-comings. Time will tell…
Content not withstanding, what are some of the reasons YOU don’t visit (or revisit an online comic site)?
Share your ideas in the comments below.