You can be writing amazing content on your site, but if your blog design is an issue, people might not stick around. I know, that stinks, doesn’t it? It should be all about the content. But, there are just some things that will turn people away or maybe not turn them away, but could make it harder for them to stick around.
Now, mind you, I’m not going to promise that I’m perfect at any of these with all of my blogs. Because life is just like that.
10 Tips to Consider for a Good Blog Design
1. Say no to things auto-playing. This is one of those ones that actually makes a lot of people just immediately leave. It’s a pet peeve for a lot of people. I have to admit that I don’t notice, but that’s only because I mostly use my computer with it on mute. This means that when it’s not muted and I come across music auto-playing or the like, it’s all the more disconcerted. Auto-playing video isn’t a great thing either.
2. Your site is difficult to navigate. Visitors should have a pretty good idea of how to find things they are most likely to be looking for without having to search. People, as a whole, have short attention spans online. If they have to look for very long, they’ll try to find it somewhere else instead. Navigation bars are a great way to help people get around. (My limited ability to have navigation is part of the reason that I’ll be doing some design tweaking in the near-ish future.)
Or, sometimes there’s just too much navigation. If you have so much in your navigation that it is overwhelming and will make someone’s eyes glaze over, you may need to scale it back.
3. I want to share your posts on social media, but you don’t make it easy. Social media sites can be wonderful referrers. The best way to get your things shared, however, is to make sharing as easy as possible. Social media sharing buttons at the end of a post (or floating to the side) are the best, as a reader isn’t as likely to scroll all the way back to the top after reading, just to share it.
4. There are way too many ads. Most bloggers would love to be making decent money off of their blogs. However, don’t strive for this by making your visitors wade through ads to find the content. You’ve been to those blogs, haven’t you? It’s not fun and it probably didn’t make you want to come back.
5. We have no idea who you are. A lot of visitors want to have some clue who is writing the blog. An “About Me” type of page is ideal for this. But, even if you don’t have an “About” page, consider at least having some information in your sidebar.
7. I’m overcome by the giant blocks of text. Remember when I said that people (as a whole) on the Internet have a short attention span? It really is true. And, if they go to a site and see a post that is well organized and text is broken up, they are more likely to read it than if the same post was one giant block of text.
(I know this may go more toward content than design. Just remember, however, that how your content is presented is part of your design. It can add to it or it can greatly detract from it.)
8. There are no pictures. I know that a blog should need pictures, but think about how you feel when you go to a blog with absolutely no pictures. It can make the text part of the content seem overwhelming. Shoot for using at least one picture per post. If you don’t want to use your own pictures, then you can look for creative commons pictures that give the proper permissions for what you want to use them for.)
This should really go without saying, but I’ll do it anyway…
If you don’t have pictures to use, it is never appropriate to just grab pictures from other blogs, Pinterest, or really anywhere else without permission from the original owner. I don’t care how appropriate it is for your post, if it’s not yours and not specifically released for that type of use, don’t just use it without asking.
9. Watch your fonts. You don’t really want to use any fonts that are going to be hard for people to read or they might just click away without even giving your content a try. Problematic areas could be having your font too small, using a fancy or highly decorative font for the content (fine for header or maybe even sidebars titles, not so much for content), light font on a dark background, or (even worse) dark font on a dark background/light font on a light background.
Rule of thumb: If you think your Mom or Grandma might complain about having a hard time reading it, you may need to do some font work. If it’s not comfortable to read for an extended period of time, then change things up.
10. You’ve left your readers in category overload. It’s best if you can limit yourself to 7 – 10 categories. On both Many Little Blessings and The Homeschool Classroom, I have set up main categories and then each one has subcategories. This way, readers don’t have to be overwhelmed by a list of 50 categories to choose from.
This is most definitely not an all inclusive post. Please share some of your best tips for a good, user-friendly blog design in the comments.
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