Accessibility Matters: How to Make Your Blog More Accessible

National Disability Day on December 3 is a day to help everyone become more compassionate and understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

In the United States alone, the truth is that one in five visitors will need some kind of accommodation on your website. As an able-bodied person, there are a lot of things that I take for granted when it comes to browsing the Internet, and I’m sure to not be alone in this.

When thinking about the design of your website, there are a lot of best practices that you can (and should!) use so that all visitors of your site have a positive experience. This post outlines some things you can do… for free!

In the United States alone, the truth is that one in five visitors will need some kind of accommodation on your website. This post outlines some things you can do to make it more accessible... for free! Click To Tweet

For Free WordPress Blogs

If your blog is on Free WordPress, unfortunately you won’t be able to use the UserWay plugin. This is a list that every blog (free or self-hosted) can do to make your page more accessible.

  1. Make sure you are using a readable font, you can check out this Forbes list of 10 Fonts for some ideas. Sans-serif fonts are currently the standard for readability.
  2. Make sure that you can access all areas of your website with your keyboard. You can do this by testing it yourself: hit the tab key and your cursor will go around to every keyboard focus (link, button, and form) on the page.
  3. Use descriptive names for your external links instead of saying “click here.” I am totally guilty of this, but it is way better to say “Read about us” instead of “click here.”
  4. Add Alt Tags to all of your images. Alt text is what displays on the page if the image fails to load, but it is also used by screen readers to “read” the picture to the visually impaired.
  5. Be mindful when choosing your site’s colors, keeping both colorblindness and contrast in mind. Don’t choose colors too close in the color family
  6. Properly use headers to structure your content (I’ve talked about how headers are not meant to be styling tools here). Not only will proper use of headers improve your SEO, but it also improves readability and flow of your page.

If you are interested in learning more tips, check out WAI Web Accessibility Tutorials.

For Self-Hosted Blogs

If you have the ability to use plugins on your blog, the best way to easily make your blog more accessible is to add the Accessibility by UserWay Plugin in addition to implementing the best practices listed in the previous section.

I added this plugin to my blog as soon as I made the move to being self-hosted. It has an incredibly easy setup and automatically appears in the user’s local language (currently 24 languages are supported). More information at userway.org.

Impact

I hope more people realize it takes very little to make a huge difference for others.

I hope you found this post informative and useful! Do you have any suggestions for making your blog more accessible that I didn’t list here, or any questions?


💖 If you like the work that I do here at Reader Voracious, consider fueling my pumpkin spice latte and black tie addiction by buying me a ko-fi or joining my Patreon! ☕

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26 Comments

  1. elizabeth tabler

    December 3, 2019 at 10:40 AM

    Love this! It is so important for everyone to be able to access information.

    1. Kal

      December 3, 2019 at 12:20 PM

      Thank you for your comment, and I agree!

  2. evelyn

    December 3, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    Thank you! This was very usefull!!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Kal

      December 3, 2019 at 12:21 PM

      You’re welcome, happy to help!

  3. Catarina @ Pages & Plots

    December 3, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    Just so you know, I added the plugin to my website! Thank you so much for the recommendation!

    1. Kal

      December 3, 2019 at 12:22 PM

      Awesome, I am so glad you were able to add it!!! Such an easy thing to do that will make a big difference, thank you!

  4. whatthelog

    December 3, 2019 at 11:31 AM

    Thanks so much for this post – I didn’t realise that was what alt tags were for! Will definitely be adding them in the future.

    1. Kal

      December 3, 2019 at 12:22 PM

      You’re welcome, and honestly I never made the connection either so you aren’t alone!

  5. Charleigh

    December 3, 2019 at 3:55 PM

    Love this post! I’ve being trying to think about how to make my blog more accessible and this post is so helpful, thank you!

    1. Kal

      December 7, 2019 at 4:37 PM

      I am so glad you found the post helpful — and these little tips will make a BIG difference!

  6. Jamie @BubblyBooks

    December 3, 2019 at 7:35 PM

    loved this! As a small blogger on google bloggers platform this really help! 🙂

    1. Kal

      December 7, 2019 at 4:38 PM

      Yes, all of these things you can do on Blogger and will make a big impact! Thanks for stopping by, Jamie!

  7. Ruby @ Ruby's Books

    December 4, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    Love this, Kal! As always you are the queen of guides! Hopefully I can add this to my blogger site (I’ll check immediately) if not, I’ll make sure to remember it for when I go selfhosted.

    1. Kal

      December 8, 2019 at 12:04 PM

      I am no queen, but I’m so glad you found the post helpful and YES the plugin works on blogger YAYAYAY

  8. Pam Zaragoza

    December 4, 2019 at 10:51 PM

    This is amazing, Kal! Never thought about accessibility of my blog using only a keyboard. Thanks for this!

    1. Kal

      December 8, 2019 at 12:07 PM

      I hadn’t thought of it either until I looked at the ways I could design for accessibility. Thanks for reading!

  9. Haley

    December 5, 2019 at 9:30 AM

    I think I have some things to consider when doing my blog up a bit after the Holidays, thanks so much for so many useful tips and suggestions Kal!!

    1. Kal

      December 8, 2019 at 12:19 PM

      It will be well worth it to keep these design tips in mind while working on your blog!

  10. Lauren

    December 5, 2019 at 1:30 PM

    omg thank you, ill spend some time this weekend to improve my site!! <3

    1. Kal

      December 8, 2019 at 12:26 PM

      you’re welcome, glad you found the post helpful love!

  11. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

    December 6, 2019 at 2:02 AM

    This is such a great guide! I never stopped to consider the accessibility of my blog to disabled people, and now I’m definitely gonna keep your tips in mind! I also love that you included tips for blogs that are on free WordPress <3

    1. Kal

      December 8, 2019 at 12:30 PM

      Thank you so much, I am glad you found the guide useful to you! I also never really thought about it either until I moved self-hosted… and uh, I feel really bad about it.

  12. Laurie

    December 6, 2019 at 2:52 AM

    Yes, thank you for this post! Als a blind person myself, I forget to put alt texts to book covers, whoops. But I installed the Userway plugin the moment I saw your post about going self-hosted a while ago, I never knew about this plugin before.

    1. Kal

      December 8, 2019 at 12:32 PM

      You’re welcome! I know a lot of us just don’t realize how these features like headings and alt tags help viewers with screen readers, so I’m glad this post has helped a lot of people. UserWay is a great plugin, so glad I found it!

  13. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    December 10, 2019 at 5:37 AM

    I love this! The one thing that always frustrates me is that there doesn’t seem to be a good way to change the default font size on my free WordPress. I’ve picked a font I hope is clear and readable, but in an ideal world, I could also make it a bit bigger.

  14. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    December 10, 2019 at 9:28 PM

    Thank-you for sharing! I have recently been thinking about accessibility as I consider the overall design of my website. It’s easy for me to think that I have so few visitors that accessibility isn’t a big deal, but I know that is not the right way to think about it! At least I think I have covered most of the points you mentioned. The keyboard tip is a good one I will have to investigate.

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