Consider Your Content and Style
The subject of your blog and your writing style should both be taken into consideration when making design decisions. Certain topics lend themselves better to particular layouts, colors, and other style choices. If you’re blogging about a minimalist lifestyle, for example, your design should reflect this theme. Similarly, your design should properly reflect your tone. A cooking blog written by an amateur chef attempting new recipes for fun will likely have a different design than one written by a professional chef looking to showcase her work.
Fonts and Colors
The font you choose for your blog can have a surprisingly significant effect on your readership. The primary goal of your font choice should be maximizing readability. It can be tempting to choose a fancy font to make your blog stand out. However, studies have shown that readers equate difficult to read fonts with difficult tasks.
If your blog is hard to read, you will lose visitors before they even get started. Sticking with a simple font is the best choice regardless of your topic. However, if you’d like to add more style or fun to your blog, fancy fonts can be used very effectively for titles, headings, or other small sections you want to stand out.
Along with your fonts, the color palette you choose contributes to your blog’s effectiveness. Color is a very powerful tool when it comes to conveying mood and building a memorable brand. Understanding what emotions and moods different colors evoke can help you choose the right ones for your blog. For example, blogs about health and wellness often use shades of blue to convey trust and honesty, while blogs that focus on nature or ecology may choose green hues.
No matter what you are blogging about, incorporating images into your work is important. Images not only add color and variety to your blog, but they help to break up large blocks of text that may turn readers off before they start reading.
When it comes to incorporating images into your blog there are a number of strategies. You may choose to start your post with one image at the top of the page or it may make more sense to weave images throughout the text. The content of your blog should guide you here. If you are blogging about something visual like fashion, interior design, or photography, your posts should include many images. Some posts may even rely more heavily on images than text. On the other hand, blogs about things like politics or finance may work better with fewer images.
Finding the right balance of text and images will help your blog flow naturally and hold your readers’ attention.
Pick a Premade Theme or Design Your Own
Unless you have strong web design and coding skills, it is advisable to use a premade theme or design to create your blog. Theme and design options will vary depending on your web host or page builder, but there are thousands of options out there to choose from.
Using a Website Builder
Even if you have no experience putting together websites or blogging, starting and designing a blog can be quite simple. There are a number of page building services out there, including the GoDaddy Website Builder covered in the previous step, that can guide you through the process.
Page builders make it possible to design a professional-looking site with no coding experience. They often provide drag-and-drop capabilities, allowing you to easily move text, images, and other features around your blog post. Page builders also make it easy to add and edit things like menus, sidebars, and various widgets to customize your blog.
Responsive Web Design
When planning and designing a blog, most people work on their computers. Because of this, it is easy to overlook mobile device optimization. While you may create and update your blog from a computer, an increasingly larger share of your audience will be reading on a mobile device. For this reason, it is critical that your blog looks just as good and works just as smoothly across devices.
Readers should not need to zoom in to find your menu or scroll side to side to view your content. A key term to look out for when selecting a page builder is “responsive design.” This means that your blog will look and perform well on a variety of different devices, from desktop computers to tablets to smartphones.
Other Things to Consider
Aside from the big picture choices, you’ll be making such as overall design and color scheme, there are several more micro-level factors to consider that can have a big effect on the quality of your blog. These include:
- Sidebar/Navigation Menu - You want your blog to be both visually appealing and easy to navigate. The last thing you want is for someone to close your page because they can’t figure out how to find the content they want. Having an intuitive and streamlined navigation menu is key. Sidebars can also be a useful addition but can clutter up your page if not done well. The key is to find the right balance of functionality and style.
- Loading Time - Every additional second that it takes for your blog to load increases the likelihood of a visitor leaving the page before they read anything. Things like excessive plugins, unoptimized images, and too many posts on the homepage can all slow downloading time.
- Social Media Links - Maintaining a social media presence can help your blog grow its readership. Effectively and attractively integrating your social media accounts into your blog can help increase its popularity over time.
High-quality blog content is a critical ingredient to success. However, without a well-designed page, it will be very difficult to attract and retain a large audience. The good news is that with some planning and the right tools, even a novice web designer can put together an attractive, functional, and professional blog.