What Makes Good Blog Design?
If you like getting design inspiration by looking at excellent blog designs, you’ll love our new gallery site Blog Design Heroes.
As you surf through the internet you’re bound to come across certain designs that you love and some that you hate. But good blog design has a few unique elements when compared to the design of a traditional website. Here are ten things to keep in mind when designing your blog.
1. Content Should be the Focus.
A blog is nothing without its content. In order to keep your visitors focused on the content, it should be the focal point of the design. Distracting readers with excessive images and extra items can be counterproductive. For this reason, many of the best blog designs are fairly simple. Simplicity is common for blogs that want to emphasize the content.
2. Ease of Navigation.
Readers will come to your blog through search engines, links from other blogs, RSS feeds, social media sites, etc. Only a small percentage of your readers will enter your blog through the front page. This makes navigation even more important. The sidebar typically will include the majority of the navigation with links to categories, recent posts, and sometimes popular posts. Footers are sometimes also used for additional navigation.
3. Loads Quickly
Many of your visitors will have a very short attention span (this is really no different for blogs than traditional websites). In order to immediately catch their attention and avoid having them click off of your site, your pages should load quickly. This is especially important you plan to use social media to generate traffic. Some blogs are weighed down by excessive widgets that really hurt the page load speed. By keeping your blog clean and free of unnecessary items you can really cut down on the time it takes to load.
4. Content Start High on the Page.
This one is more of a personal opinion than a fact, but I believe that more of your visitors will pay attention to your articles if they start higher on the page. Make it as easy as you can for readers to get started with your posts, and then they’ll be more prone to scroll down for the rest. Again, this is especially important for traffic from social media sites. Those visitors will be less likely to scroll and more likely to click off of your blog.
5. Memorable for Visitors.
Most blog readers visit a number of blogs each day, and many of them will feature the same (free) themes. Make it easy for your visitors to remember your blog and standout from all of the free themes by customizing a theme yourself, or by having a blog theme professionally designed.
6. Not Overrun with Ads.
For most blogs making money with advertisements is a necessity. However, even in these cases it’s important to use advertisements effectively by not allowing them to take over the blog. Your readers will feel like they are not a priority to you if advertisements take center stage.
7. Compatibility with Multiple Browsers.
Your visitors will be using a number of different browsers, and if your blog is not functioning well in all of them you could be losing readers. Fortunately, 90% of your visitors will probably be using the leading 3 or 4 browsers. In order to know that you blog is functioning well you’ll need to test it in multiple browsers.
8. Good Use of Color.
The best designs effectively use color to improve the appearance. This can be done any number of ways, and sometimes it’s even a subtle aspect of design. The color combinations don’t have to jump out at readers, in fact, they actually need to make it easy for visitors to read the blog posts. If you’re looking for a good color combination, be sure to check out the resources listed in Find the Perfect Colors for Your Website.
9. Easy to Read.
This is really more about formatting the content of the blog than it is about a theme design. Keep in mind that most readers will be scanning your posts rather than reading them word-for-word. Use headlines, white space, lists, and bold text to make it easy for readers.
10. Important Items Should Be in Prominent Positions.
Effective design will draw the attention of readers to important items, such as subscription information. The most important links, images, etc. should generally go above the fold so that visitors will see them right away. Getting rid of unnecessary items will also help readers to focus on what’s important.
Published October 7th, 2007 by Steven Snell