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Watch a First Time Reader Use Your Blog [DAY 17 31DBBB]

Posted By Darren Rowse 22nd of April 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

New readers to your blog are making decisions within seconds of arriving at your blog that will determine how (and if) they’ll use your blog.

In the same way that first impressions can be vital in real life interactions – online they are just as important.

Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge is to do some analysis of what first impressions people have of your blog by doing a First Time Reader Audit on your blog. Here’s how to do it:

What you’ll need:

1. A friend, family member, work colleague or even a blogger that you’ve not had much to do with before. The key is that the person has not seen your blog before. The person will need 10 or so minutes with you so bribe them with a coffee or something else to get their time.

2. A computer in front of your friend. Ideally you’ll be in the same room with the person but you can adapt this and still have a valuable time by doing it ‘virtually’ with someone.

The Process

Load your blog up and let your friend surf it. Get them to spend 4-5 minutes just wondering around your blog.

Don’t talk to them as they do – but watch carefully how they use your blog.

  • How do they navigate?
  • Where do they click?
  • What do they pause to read?
  • What do they skip over?
  • What areas of the blog do they seem most drawn to

Once they’ve surfed your blog ask them some questions about the experience.

  • What were their first impressions?
  • What did they first think your blog was about when they arrived at it?
  • Did they find it easy to read/navigate/understand?
  • What did they ‘feel’ when they first arrived at your blog?
  • What suggestions do they have on how you could improve your blog?
  • What questions do they have having surfed your blog?
  • What words would they use to describe the design?
  • What are the main things that they remember about your blog 10 minutes later?
  • What suggestions do they have from a user perspective?

It’s amazing to see what you’ll learn by watching someone use your blog.

Once you’ve done your First Time Reader Audit come back to this post and let us know what you learned.

PS: Last time I went through this process I actually got 4 people to do it for me. I chose people of different web savviness (ie from someone who doesn’t use the web much at all through to another experienced blogger). I found getting feedback from across a small group of people to be very valuable.

Update – There are lots of people who joined the challenge that are working together on this 31 DBBB Daily Task over at the forum, you should check it out! Day 17 – First Time Reader Audit

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Darren

    Thanks so much for you invaluable tools on the 31 day blog challenge. I read day 16. Thought about it and used an experience I had as a broker last week and wrote a blog.

    It was a winner. Got my first gold star and I’ve received over 50 comments so far. Best ever!

    This stuff works if you do the right stuff!

    Anna Banana

  2. Solid tip I have not tried yet.

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