You’ve written amazing content and have built up your social media presence, but for some reason the numbers still aren’t there. People just aren’t sticking around on your site and your bounce rate is higher than you’d like.
Maybe it’s time to look at your blog design.
It’s easy as bloggers to just throw social media buttons up without thinking about color or placement, because you read that you really need them. Maybe a company sent you an image that they want placed in your sidebar, so you just add it without second thought to spacing or how well it melds with other graphics you have next to it. If you don’t know how to make a header, maybe you just added a family picture that’s 500 pixels tall to serve in its place.
We downplay how important the overall look is as long as we have great content and a strong social media. But it is more important than you realize.
For instance – look at these two buildings. Let’s pretend it’s a doctor’s office. Which one would you rather visit? Which doctor would you trust more?
Web design is the same way. When someone visits your site, how it looks and acts tells the person if you are a professional that they can depend on for their information or not.
Your blog design is a direct reflection of you and the content you’re going to present to people. It’s important that you put your blog’s best foot forward.
Yes, the content will be the deciding factor whether those people stay on your site or not, but the design is the one thing that can chase them away before they ever read the content.
Great blog design doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make a clean and functional site without hiring a designer if you understand the key elements of great design.
1. Page Placement-
Blogs need to be laid out in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for, easily see the content, and find out who you are!
- Above the Fold –Simply, that means what you can see without scrolling down. It’s the first thing someone will see when visiting your site. What you have above the fold can make you or break you.
- The Header – This is what tells visitors where they are. The header is also the area that a lot of bloggers get wrong. Believe it or not, the size of your header makes a huge difference! If your header is too tall than you can’t see your content without scrolling down. Every action you make a reader perform is the potential to lose that reader. If they have to scroll down to see anything, they might just click away from your site altogether. The suggested header size is no taller than 250 px. If you have an ad above your header, than it needs to be even shorter than 250px.
- Social Media Buttons – Icons that represent each social media platform that you are on need to be at the top of your blog. This is not the button that will let the readers share your post on social media but simply lead them to your account so that they can follow you.
- About Me – Anytime you can put a face with a name it’s easier to trust that person. Put in an area to tell a very brief, one sentence, summary of who you are. Add a picture to this area and then link it back to your more in depth About Me or Contact Me page.
- Menu / Categories – Giving your readers a simple way to navigate your site is key. Place all your posts into categories and use a simple menu bar at the top of your page to help readers find what they are looking for.
2. Simplicity reigns –
Nobody loves clutter. Maybe you think adding that 10th unicorn dancing in the rainbows to your footer was a good thing, but in truth one outstanding image will speak louder than a page full of crowded images.
Some people consider white space to be bad. It’s the blank area in between elements that is just that – blank. There are no designs or snazzy fonts. It’s just an open spot. But white space is good because it’s a place to rest your eyes – a neutral ground that bridges another element.
Make sure that your site is simple and that the white space is balanced.
Don’t assume that you have to cram a thousands symbols onto your blog to brand yourself. Let your words and content speak for who you are.
3. Color Matters –
Color has long been proven to affect moods, feelings and behaviors. Red often inspires hungry feelings while blue is very calming. Historically the colors that work the best on websites are warm tones such as red, yellow, orange and turquoise.
Find a color scheme for your blog that goes well together and best represents your style. You can search for color palettes on Pinterest to find a lot of great color schemes or use the free Adobe program, Kuhler.
It is important to know that there are a few rules to using color.
- White text on a dark background is hard to read.
- You font for your main content should be a darker neutral color such as black or gray. Some people have color seeing different colors and might not be able to read your font if it’s pink, orange or green.
- Less is more. A few pops of color against a neutral background will be more pleasing than a bright kaleidoscope of colors.
Truthfully, if you wanted to know all the aspects of a great blog design this post would have to be a book. There are lots of details that take a long time to explain. Don’t let that stop you from trying to make the best blog you can using smart design.
Just make sure that your page is laid out properly: the elements are easy to find, it’s simple, and the colors are pleasing and you’ll be on your way to having a great blog design.