What is the first thing presented to anyone who visits a website while browsing on Internet? Right, Its your Website Design. Thats why Bloggers and webmasters are always keen and worried about their blog’s design. They tweak the templates, change the colors, adjust the css and positioning and take every possible means to ensure that the blogs looks good in the eyes of the readers.
The Better the blog design, it presents the better looks & impression to the readers. But at some point of time the design and the feel of the blog can be really disturbing if you are committing design mistakes.
If you are a beginner and have just started out , here are some useful design tips and suggestions to improve your blog’s design.
.1. Use a Clean and Simple Theme
The first thing you do after you have started your blog is choose a theme. Choosing a right theme for your blog which not only suits the blogging category but also how you want to present it to readers, is one of the most important step in starting a blog. For this one needs to take time & then select the best which meets your demands both, look-wise & performance-wise.
If your blog is hosted on WordPress or Blogger there are Plenty of themes to choose from. Just Google around for WordPress themes or blogger templates and you can get hundreds of Free themes that you can use in your blog. But before choosing a theme keep in mind that it should be simple and clean.
It is must to mention here that the main notion behind blogging s to present the information & content to your reader with a nice, simple & friendly design. Do not use a theme with heavy graphics, eye catchy colors or Images. Sure they look ” fascinating ” but after some days they will start distracting your readers attention. If the reader is disturbed by your graphics or other design elements he wont stay in your blog to read your articles. Thus it is recommended to choose a clean and simple theme for your blog.
.2. Use White Background and Black text
How many blogs you have seen use a dark background? Can you easily read the content or text on a Dark background? Reading articles on blogs having a dark background can be really difficult at times and is not recommended.
Using the opposite combination(White text in a Back Background) is sometimes suitable for Game Blogs & Photo Blogs where there is not enough text but lot of images.
Hence it is always advised to use White or a Light background and Dark or Black text for a content based blog. Users want to read your content and they do not visit your website to see the design skills you have. If you make things difficult for them they wont come back even the second time to read your articles.
.3. Keep the Main Attention on the Content Column
This one is no brainier and should be followed at all costs. You should keep the content column the main focus in your blog. The content column should be wide enough ( e.g 600px ). If you have a two column template keep the content column to the left and the sidebar in the right.
Also do keep in mind that the content should begin immediately after your templates header. So start the content section as early as possible so that the user need not need to scroll all the way down to read your posts.
.4. Use Minimum Advertisements and Widgets
You should Avoid distractions at all costs. The most disturbing and distracting affair in a Blog is advertisements and widgets. So keep the advertisements to a minimum and if possible do not use them within your content. Using advertisements embedded within content makes it hard to read your article all together and readers may feel disturbed. Result : they will stay away from your blog and go elsewhere.
If you are using advertisements in the content column, keep them above & below the the main content but not in between the content.
The same is true in case you are using too much of widgets in your sidebars. Using too many widgets will eventually slow down your blog and above all it takes the focus away from the main juice: your content. Use widgets sparingly and use them only when you need them, not because it adds one more functionality in your blog.
.5. Use large Font size and Proper fonts
Many bloggers play with their fonts every now and then and they think it looks “cool”. Believe me nothing can be more irritating than using obtrusive font styles. Choose between the standard fonts like : Arial,Verdana,georgia etc. and the size of your font should be more than 12 px (at least). Using low font sizes to save space is a crazy idea. It creates a very bad impression to your first time visitors.
Use the font combination that can be grasped easily by the eyes & that are simple to understand. Standard fonts are best to act & with simple & clean blog design helps readers alotto easily get they are seeking for.
.6. Avoid horizontal Scrollbars
Nobody will be interested if they have to use a horizontal scroll bar to read your articles and posts.You should take utmost care while designing your blog template so that there aren’t any horizontal scroll bars.
The scroll bars may occur in different screen resolutions( e.g 800 X 600) which is unavoidable but in all other screen resolutions it is recommended to check and say No to scroll bars.
.7. Have a Unique Logo and Favicon
The first thing that comes to a readers mind about any blog is its logo. A good logo creates a solid brand and makes your blog remembered in your readers minds and hearts. So create your own blog logo and make it unique.
Don’t just use text to represent your blog’s name. Be some more creative in making your blog logo & can use images so that it can be remembered.
Similarly, you should also try to create a favicon for your blog. A favicon is seen in the browser address bar , in RSS feeds and its again a style element that brings clarity and brand value in your blog.
Favicon must be something that can be quickly related to the Blog. For Example, Inforids Logo & Favicon both consist of the same symbol * i * on the blue background.
.8. Dont have a Boring Sidebar
You wouldn’t have a wall of text for a post, so why allow it in your sidebar? Be sure to break up your sidebar with images and ample padding. The sheer number of text links on some blogs is incredible.
Use your sidebar wisely & try to explore the power it can give to your blog.
Do you have more suggestions about blog design mistakes & more ideas to make better blog designs. Post them here by your comments.