The design of a blog is like the garnishing on a dish. A great blog design creates a great first impression and tempts the reader to ‘taste’ the blog. Then, if the ‘flavor’ of the blog, i.e. the content, is also palatable, the reader comes back for more.
Thus, while the content of the blog must create a mental/emotional connect with the reader, the blog design must appeal to him visually.
A great blog design can significantly affect the overall experience of your readers on your blog. So much so that it can make them want to read another post or even sign up for your newsletter. (Of course, this is when your content is already great!)
So what are the secret ingredients in creating appealing blog designs?
Tips for Creating Great Blog Designs
I personally try to take care of two aspects when I design blogs - the aesthetic part of it and the functional part of it.
- A header image that conveys, at a glance, what the blog is about.
- A pleasing color-scheme that doesn’t strain the eyes. (No light text on dark background please!)
- Fonts that are easily readable.
- Headings that stand out.
- Images/dividers/spacers to provide adequate breaks between continuous chunks of text.
- An overall uncluttered and organized look.
- Search and subscription options on the top. (RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, all of them.) Readers just don’t have the time to hunt for ways to subscribe to a blog.
- Minimum number of clicks required to get to a content page, i.e. flat site architecture. Many people still don’t have access to reliable high-speed internet services (at least in India).
- A menu bar that showcases the categories your content is organized in. So people know what topics you usually write on.
- Easy ways to interact with the blog, i.e clearly visible comment form and sharing buttons. Again, readers don’t have time to search for these things.
- Visibility to your other content, i.e. the archives, recent posts, related posts, etc. A visitor will want to read more than one post before he decides whether to follow your blog or not. So your best content should be prominently visible.
- Separate sections for advertisement that don’t interfere in getting to your content.
- Compatibility with different browsers. Compatibility with phones and other hand-held devices too now, as more and more people use smartphones for accessing web content!
- Speed. The blog should load fast. The images should be optimized for size, especially the ones taken by a digital camera. The content should be served before your visitor in the shortest time possible.
So these are a few ways in which you can ensure that your blog design doesn’t turn your visitors off. The idea is simply to make your content as easily accessible to your reader as possible. Because anything that is “easy to use” is used more. Let the visitor sample the various “flavors” you offer on your blog, let him enjoy the “ambience” as well as the “service”, AND make sure he notices the “membership” options. :D
Which of these design aspects have you taken into consideration while designing your blog? Do you think any of these suggestions will help you improve your blog design? Can you recall a blog that greatly impressed you with its design?
This is my fourth post for 2015 AprilAtoZ.
Link to the previous post: A to Z of Blogging: C - Content.
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