The 4 Essential Elements of a Reader Friendly Blog

We’ve all seen those blogs, and blog templates, that are just an absolute nightmare when it comes to organizing content. And while some of those templates may be beautiful, or exceptionally easy to use, if they don’t have the right elements to make reading and searching your blog easy, you’re likely to lose readers over it.

But what does “having the right elements” even mean?

Elements are simply the things on a blog’s web page. The navigation menu, header, footer(s), images, modules, and anything else that a visitor to your blog would see, or use to surf around on your site. Below, you can read about the 4 essential elements every blog should have if it wants to be reader friendly.


Even if your blog has a single focus, you should immediately get rid of the “uncategorized” option, then create categories to organize your posts.

For example, this blog is about blogging, and has various categories to organize similar topics together. You want to use categories in order to allow readers to go deeper on the topics that interest them, as well as to be able to find posts to share with others when they can’t remember your post’s brilliant title.

Also, if the topic fits into more than one category, then don’t be afraid to categorize it in a couple different categories as this will help visitors searching in either category.

To Archive or Not to Archive

Depending on how long you’ve been blogging, an archive may feel like a serious hit to your site’s credibility. But, only having a couple months worth of archives when you’re blog is new isn’t a bad thing. It just, sort of, is. If readers see fresh content they like, on a new site, that potential hit to credibility from newness gets offset by the fact that readers know there will be more content coming.

If you do not update your blog often, archiving by quarter, or annually, could work, especially if your blog has been around for a few years or more.


Believe it or not, a blog needs some form of naviation menu. Even if it is just one or two links in the header, having a way for visitors to surf around and find the content they are interested in is critical. Links to categories on a sidebar can be rather useful, as can sidebar links for recent or popular posts, or content you want to highlight.

You want your navigation menu to have an easy flow for new users to get up to speed on your site, while at the same time providing convenience in an unobtrusive way for your regular visitors.

Subscription Options

In today’s modern world of Uber-but-for-electric-scooters, there’s a lot of stuff out there competing for attention. You should make it easy for your readers to subscribe to your content so that they will receive updates or notices when new content is posted.

Notably, depending on your own goals, the more avenues you’re willing to open, the easier it will be for readers and visitors to turn into subscribers. Using all available, or just a selected few, popular social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, or even Instagram and Pintrest, can be great ways to reach your audience where they already spend time.

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Should Bloggers Use the Oxford Comma?

While most people would agree that Oxford is a boring, but beautiful place, most writers know that the Oxford comma is just simply common sense. Writers should always be in the habit of using the Oxford comma, particularly when there is no reason not to do so.

Typically, the only time you don’t want to use one is when there is certain to be no ambiguity at all. Although, that ambiguity can be employed as a literary tool for fiction writers, when crafting something informative, or persuasive, failing to use the Oxford comma when there is even the slightest risk of confusion is bad form.

What Exactly is the Oxford Comma?

Simply put, the Oxford comma is the comma that comes before an “and,” or an “or,” in a list of three or more items. For example: Ferdinand likes flowers, eating food, and sleep.”

Sure, that sentence would read just fine without the last comma, but consider something like this: Ferdinand likes sleep, eating food and flowers. As you can see, without that last comma, it’s unclear whether or not Ferdinand likes eating flowers.

Why is the Oxford Comma Important?

As history has shown, the Oxford comma, or the lack of one, can have serious consequences. Court cases have hinged on the lack of an Oxford comma exactly because of the ambiguity created by one not being used by lawmakers or by contract authors.

But for bloggers, it’s a little bit different. When the law or a contract is ambiguous, courts decide what they mean. For bloggers, it’s the internet reading public that gets to decide for themselves. Also, unlike literary writing, informative or persuasive blogs shouldn’t make readers work to extract meaning. Sure, depending on your audience, using the correct allusions, metaphors, and the like, is essential, and those can often be hit-or-miss (again, depending), but that’s a stylistic choice, rather than a choice to not use an Oxford comma which will clearly render your and/or-connected lists ambiguous.

Particularly for independent bloggers, easy to read writing is essential. Clearly identifying subjects, actions, phrases, or whatever else you’re listing, makes it so your readers won’t have to guess at meanings. Though you can choose to only use the Oxford comma when absolutely necessary, doing so risks confusion as readers don’t always read things the same way an author writes it. Simply put, consistently using the Oxford comma makes writing more accessible to more readers.

If you’re looking for more in-depth resources on comma usage, and the Oxford comma, you can check out this grammarly blog post.