Although we probably shouldn't, most of us judge a book by its cover. If we don't like the cover, we probably won't want to know what's inside and because of that, we may be missing out on something awesome. The same goes for blogs. Your blog design is one of the first things people see when they arrive to your space on the web. The design makes a first impression on visitors and is one of the determining factors, along with content of course, for whether or not they are going to stay. If your design is just horrible on all levels (let's hope not), chances are readers might not even give your content a chance because they're judging your blog by it's cover, or design I should say. There are a few ways to change this and make sure your blog is as aesthetically pleasing as possible. By having an aesthetically pleasing blog, you'll be sure to make a great first impression, one that will welcome readers and make them want to stay in your space and give your content a chance.
1. Rid the colorful background and text.
The last thing readers want to do is strain their eyes trying to read your hot pink font on a black background. There are many ways to add color to keep things fun and bright without placing it in your background or main text. You should keep your background white, or at the very least, a very subtle neutral tone that is easy on the eyes. White is also much more professional looking. You can never have too much white space, and gives the eyes a break, which is a good thing!
2. Make your photos the same width of your post text area.
This means get rid of the tiny photos that aren't even half the width of your text. Taking the time to resize your photos to match your post width will make all the difference. Also, bigger photos are always better than small! As beginning bloggers, most of us are guilty of this mistake (myself included) as we learn the ins and outs of how the post editor works.
3. Include at least one photo in each post.
There are no official rules to blogging, and you can most certainly write a novel without a photo if you choose, but it's been proven that readers like something to look at. A high quality pretty or relevant image will draw readers in (avoid grainy cellphone or dark lighting pics). If you're writing a long post, multiple photos between large amounts of text will give your readers a break from reading while keeping them interested.
4. Use an easy to read font.
A good rule of thumb to follow is this: if you wouldn't use that font for your resume (if you have to question it, you probably shouldn't) then the same goes for your blog. You want a font that is easy to read and clean looking. It's fine to use a fun font as an accent element on your blog, but for your main post area, keep it simple.
5. Justify your text.
I personally believe this is the best way to achieve a clean look within your post area. When your text is justified and your photos are the same width of the text (full post width), it creates fine lines within your post for a sleek look that eliminates any choppiness of text exceeding your image or lines within a paragraph being longer or shorter than others.
6. Keep it simple.
Ask yourself if you really need it. Eliminating extra junk from your sidebar helps you get the less is more look. For example, do you really need your own blog button on your sidebar? Perhaps placing it in your advertise section is better. For me, I did away with sidebar items I didn't need on my main page and placed them elsewhere.
7. Invest in a designer.
One of the best things you can do is invest in a professional blog design if you don't feel confident enough with your designing skills. You can find designs at all price ranges. A little goes a long way. Your design will probably be the biggest and best investment in your blog. Remember, you'll be judged by your cover, so why not make a great first impression!
8. Be consistent.
Being consistent will tie your brand together. Try to follow the same format/theme for each post you publish and each blog page you create. Focusing on the small details will deliver a more professionally put together blog.
What advice would you give to achieve an aesthetically pleasing blog? Do you have any pet peeves or is this just me being OCD!?
Labels: blog design, blogging, how to, tips