Many bloggers work so hard getting people to visit their blog that they forget how they’re supposed to treat them when they’re there. Despite the fact that there is usually one author and multiple readers, blogging is not a one-way relationship. You have to engage your readers and get them involved in your blog in order for it to grow. How does this fit into design? Well if your design makes it hard for your readers to interact with you, there is a definite problem. Here are a couple things I’ve found useful:
1) Make your comment link prominent - Many users will know that if they click on a blog post’s header they’ll most likely be taken to a page where they can comment, but believe me when I say not everyone knows this. What people do know, however, is that when they see a big “Comment Here!” box they know where to go and what to do. It also never hurts to include a dialog box icon next to your comments link.
2) Make it easy to contact you - As a blogger, much of your content will be user contributed or at least inspired by your users. You want them to be able to contact you with as little hassle as possible. Not to pick at Darren too much here, but when I tried to contact him for the first time, I admit it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out where his contact page was! I completely glazed over the little link in the sidebar. Luckily for Darren, I’m tenacious.
Overall you want to make it as easy as possible to interact with your users, so always keep user experience in mind when laying out and designing your blog.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about compatibility aside from simply stressing that you need to make sure that your blog is accessible to as many people across as many platforms and browsers as possible. Much of that will fall on the programmer’s end, but the designer can help improve compatibility by using text over graphics as much as possible and laying out the navigation and content so that it is easy to display.
Blogging is part of the Web 2.0 craze, so always be sure to keep the foundations of the new web in mind when designing and laying out your blog!