Expanding Your Reach: 3 Tips To Improve Blog Post Accessibility

16 January 2023 Charlie Fletcher

As a blog owner, you want to reach the widest audience possible. This means that you must learn to nurture accessibility and ensure that all users can read and use your digital content.  

However, accessibility is about more than just slapping on a user-friendly blog theme. You’ll need to understand the core tenets of web accessibility and should strive to go above and beyond Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

What Is Accessible Digital Content?

Providing accessible digital content can expand your blog’s reach and land you more repeat viewers. However, you have to meet WCAG guidelines if you truly want to advertise yourself as an accessible blog. 

WCAG 2.0 can be a difficult read. Fortunately, they provide a quick reference to help blog owners navigate technical jargon and nuance. At a minimum, your blog content should be: 

  • Perceivable: Can all users tell that your content exists? Do you provide alternatives to text or video content so folks with different needs can detect the blog content? 
  • Operable: Can all users navigate your content? Do you have 'mousetraps' that pop up and make it harder to navigate? Can keyboards be used to navigate the entire site? 
  • Understandable: Do you use unnecessarily complex language or acronyms/abbreviations? Do you have content that will be understandable to users at different reading levels? 
  • Robust: Will your blog design hold up when digital content is updated? Will assistive technologies of the future be able to use your blog content? 

Understanding the core principles of accessible digital content can act as a great reference point as you attempt to improve your blog post accessibility. Keep the WCAG 2.0 guidelines close at hand as you create, edit, and revise your current blog content. 

1. Neurodiversity Online

Neurodiversity is often misunderstood due to social stigmas and misrepresentation. In reality, neurodiversity is an umbrella term that covers a range of conditions. Dr. Adrian Kunemund explains, "There is no one single correct way for a brain to be" and that the term covers conditions like:  

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Development Coordination Disorder

These conditions affect users in different ways and impact the way they interact with digital content. You can account for users' specific needs by providing content that follows WCAG guidelines on neurodiversity including: 

  • Separating foreground content from the background colors
  • Creating content with an alternate, simpler layout
  • Giving users ample time to read and engage with content (or eliminate 'time out' messages)
  • Offering input assistance to help users with spelling and other inputs 

These small changes can make a meaningful difference to users and help improve the accessibility and reach of your blog. 

2. Low-vision, Blindness, and Screen Readers

Some users who read your blog may have low vision or blindness. These users typically use screen readers, which read the content and present it in an audible format. To be screen-reader friendly, you should offer blog content that: 

  • Includes descriptive anchor text
  • Has been tested with a digital screen reader to catch errors
  • Presents content in a linear fashion with descriptive headings
  • Is equipped with a suitable title 

Providing screen reader-friendly content is particularly important if your target demographic is over the age of 50. Older adults commonly experience a deterioration in sight known as cataracts. Aging and exposure to UV light are common causes of cataracts that may limit the vision of your users. 

When writing guest posts on other blogs, ensure that the anchor text that links to your blog is descriptive. This will ensure that all of your inbound traffic knows they're coming to your landing page. Providing a site that is formatted for screen readers will further reduce your bounce rate and help you stand out against competitors who haven't accounted for readers with different needs.

3. Deafness and Hard of Hearing

Deaf or hard-of-hearing users can read your blog content. However, many blog posts embed media that uses sound to enhance viewers' experiences and cue them to take action while on the site. 

You can account for the needs of deaf or hard-of-hearing visitors by: 

  • Captioning all auditory content
  • Providing a sign-language alternative for folks who have limited reading ability
  • Using visual cues in addition to auditory cues if users have to complete a particular action 

Providing accessible content is particularly important if you leverage mixed media in your blog. Mixed media content (e.g., a blog post with a video embedded in it) is a great way to improve user retention and interest. However, deaf or hard-of-hearing users need an alternative way to perceive the content to get the most from your blog. 

Conclusion

You can expand your reach and grow your community by improving your blog post accessibility. Start by accounting for screen readers as many users rely on synthetic speech to interact with digital content.

Ensure your anchor text is descriptive and test your content with a digital screen reader before posting. Account for neurodiverse users by separating your background from the foreground and offering input assistance where necessary.

Follow WCAG 2.0 guidelines by captioning all auditory content and allowing all users to access sign-language alternatives.  

Taking the time to implement these three strategies into your blogging workflow will help you reach more readers and grow your blog's audience in a meaningful way.

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