Saturday, April 4, 2015

A to Z of Blogging: D - Design

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.


Aesthetics include:


  • 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.


Functionality includes:


  • 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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15 comments:

The Solitary Writer said...

This is such an insightful post. Looks more kind of coming from a QA...Good Job

I too posted by D post

Shilpa Garg said...

Agree, design is an important element too. Some blogs have such confusing layouts. Recently, I came across a blog where it took me a long time to locate the comment section. Imagine, searching for a comment section! :|

Sanch LivingLife said...

Great post Kaddu! I really want to redo my blog design but I'm thinking of outsourcing as my CSS skills aren't the best. It's still pretty clean and neat but it's not me. My header and logo of course are my sister's creations and I think give an indication of the blog and me. I do need to tidy it up a lot though! I'm hoping when I have a week off in July, I'll do it then

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Kaddu -- Great tips, especially being easy to interact during A to Z!

Yvonne

the little princess said...

This one was very important to me Chiks...my blog seriously needs better designing...I'm bookmarking this page...and after the challenge my first job is to revamp the blog. there's too much clutter I can do without!

Chicky said...

Thanks, Solitary Writer :)

Chicky said...

You're right, Shilpa! Even I have come across a few blogs during this A to Z where I had to search for a place to comment!

Chicky said...

Thanks, Sanch. I like your header and logo. Your sister's done a great job! :)
If you need any help, just shoot me a mail ok.

Chicky said...

Thank you, Yvonne. Yeah, that surely does make life easier for us.

Chicky said...

Hahaha, princess... yeah AFTER the challenge! :D That's my plan too! ;)

Vinitha Dileep said...

Good post. Easy navigation and sharing buttons are a must.

Vinitha Dileep said...

BTW, I couldn't find twitter button on your post to share this post. I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that I'm reading on my phone. I experienced the same problem with many blogs in blogger platform. I don't have a laptop to check it out right now. Just wanted to let you know if you could add the sharing buttons at the end of the post it will be helpful. Again I'm not sure if the problem is at my end. Have a great atoz. ;)

Chicky said...

Hello Vinitha! :)
Yes, I recently turned on the default mobile template for this blog. That's what shows up on phones, and unfortunately, it doesn't show any widgets, including the sharing widget. Blogger gives a link at the bottom of the post though, for viewing the "web version". That's what you'll need to do for the time being, to get access to the sharing and following options. Once this AtoZ is over, I'll see if there is a way to customize the mobile template in blogger. Thanks for dropping by! :)

Vinay Leo R. said...

Header = Not much. I just have a title :D
Color scheme: Mine is black text on white, and reverse for the header. Nothing strainful :)
Easily readable: check!
Headings stand out: check!
Images between chunks: when needed!
Overall uncluttered: I think so :D

So far so good.

Search and subscribe: yep. :)
Flat site: not really. but it doesn't affect speed.
Menu bar: not category dependent.
Comment form: check!
Ads: none.
Visibility: check!
Compatibility: check! {yes, mobile template is very useful, Chicky. ur site is so much more accessible now}
Speed: check! {i have a static home page for that purpose mainly}

So I'm quite set with my design, and I'm doin OK with my comment engagement I think :D

Chicky said...

LOL! Leo, The Solitary Writer mentioned above that this post seemed to have come from a QA, and now you made this whole post into a "check list"! Hahaha! By the way, I have worked as a QA for some time! :D

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