8 Mad Scientist Blog Manipulations

image of zombie horse about to bite

In my WIP (work-in-progress), a mad scientist named Dr. Gerhardt manipulates wasps for his own warped purposes. Presumably I don’t have a warped mind, but like Dr. Gerhardt, I’ve manipulated things. I’ve made changes to my blog to make it more user-friendly.

8 Bloggerly Manipulations

1. When I post an image, I describe the image in the alt text so seeing-impaired people know what’s going on. Wait, do blind people read blogs? Actually, yes, but it’s often via an audible text-reader. A text-reader can describe the image if you put descriptive words in the alt text. Hover over today’s feature image, and you’ll see “image of zombie horse about to bite” in a little text box.

2. Speaking of images, I shrink huge, 7797 kB photos to 178 kB photos so they’ll load faster on readers’ devices.

3. I don’t post animated GIF’s. Yes, they’re fun! But they’re also hard on people with neurological impairments. If I’m surfing the net when I’m tired, they’re hard on me, too. It feels like eye-strain or something, and I quickly scroll past them.

4. I keep the links in blog posts to a minimum when practical so readers won’t get interrupted in their reading experience (click here . . . read . . . click back . . . read some more). I usually put reference links at the bottom of a post, like the link for these user-friendly webpage ideas.:-)

5. I stopped truncating my posts when I send them out on email notifications. The idea is someone reading on a phone can read the whole thing without having to click and then wait for the phone to load the webpage. Nowadays, people use phones more than laptops or desk computers to read content on the web.

6. I use a WordPress theme that’s responsive so folks can read my blog on whatever device they choose.

7. I keep my blog minimalist-looking. Readers don’t have a lot to distract them from the post they’re reading. I don’t know the age of my blog readers, but the older you get, the more important it is to have distraction-free focus in order to absorb what you’re reading.

8. Along the lines of minimalist-looking, I am saving my pennies to go ad-free on WordPress. I’m excited to get rid of those scary images of bowel cleansers and toenail fungus cures and . . . well, sure, I’ll stick an image of an angry horse on my post (because, you know, zombie horses), but no one needs to see toenail fungus!

But this is not an ad. It’s a personal recommendation.:-) Last year I read a terrific psychological whodunit thriller, The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict. (What do you do when you come home and the key to your front door won’t work, and worse yet, there’s a stranger living in your house?) The book just came out in paperback from Mulholland Books. If you’re looking for a fun read with a complex female protagonist, you’d like The Stranger Inside.

Ideas to make your website more user-friendly: https://elementor.com/blog/wordpress-accessibility/

Statistics about internet use, mobile devices vs computers: https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/mobile-desktop-internet-usage-statistics

Scott Young, author of Ultralearning, explains how older brains need an environment with fewer distractions in order to absorb what they are studying: https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/

71 thoughts on “8 Mad Scientist Blog Manipulations

  1. Hey Priscilla, thanks for sharing. I just started using ads as more of a “let’s see what happens.” Though, I tend to agree with everything else. For some reason, lately, I don’t think there can be enough posts on how to improve your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! I’m not sure what you do to go ad free, just pay more? I’ve had a self hosted blog for years and there aren’t any ads for those, luckily. I do hate the way WP sticks ad after ad throughout posts, although I didn’t see any in this one.

    I like the alt text idea! And I don’t like gifs either, might be a sign of our generation🤣

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I did write a post about that recently. For a long time the ads didn’t bug me, but about a year ago the number, intrusiveness, and grossness went way up. I think it’s worth the cost. And even with the personal plan you get more storage space for media.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is brilliant post, Priscilla.
    I was considering a more minimalist approach for my blog too. I already did some changes – your blog is so clean cut, I love it.
    Adding alt text is a great idea – a little time consuming if you have more than one image per blog and it takes me close to 20min to get that “green” button to light on SEO each time I create a blog post… But you are correct, alt text is important and should not be disregarded…
    I’ll have to learn how to stop truncating my post in email notifications as I , too, read some blogs as they arrive in my inbox.
    Ditto for animated gifs… 😉

    Thank you so much for sharing. Some great tips here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve had a few sight-impaired readers thank me for using alt-text on my blog, which makes me feel really good.

    Congrats on going ad-free. I think that’s crucial, especially as the ads are more frequent and so distracting. I believe our blogs are our “lobby” and first impression. They have to be as polished as can be, and blocks on toe nail fungus don’t work.

    I’m torn on #5 because I’ve heard pros and cons going both ways. I’ve changed mine back and forth over the years and will probably change it yet again!

    Great post, Priscilla!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ironically, number 5 isn’t important to me as a blog reader. I’m much more likely to read blog posts on a laptop than on my phone, so I always click through and read posts on the widest window possible. (I just like the way posts look on a bigger screen, I guess.)

      Thanks for commenting, Mae!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great tips, Priscilla! I shrink photos as well, and thank you for the reminder to fill in the alt-text in photos. I try to use a responsive theme, too, so it’s easier to read on smaller devices. Come to think of it, I should check that again.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks, Priscilla. I am a fan of the more is less approach, and I do find blogs with too many things floating, moving, etc., are slow to load and distract me from reading. Great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent points, Priscilla. I reduce my image size but based on your list, I could probably go even smaller. And I definitely recommend ad-free. As a blogger, I hated having those on my posts. Ugh. And as a reader of blogs, I find them terribly distracting. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. Great info for fine-tuning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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