Designing a blog is now easier than ever – thanks to all of the free resources available online. Even someone who has no web design experience can quickly and easily set up a blog and change design elements. Although the process of creating a blog itself is not difficult, it can be tricky designing a blog that gives the desired impression. It’s important to think about colors, navigation, widgets, and a variety of other elements when designing a blog.
Blog Colors and Branding
When choosing colors for a blog, have an image in mind before beginning. For instance, it would not be appropriate to use neon green and orange on a business website, but greys and neutral colors would be a good choice. In general, choose colors that reflect what the blog is supposed to be about and avoid anything too flashy – less is more when it comes to colors. Also, avoid using white text on a black or dark background. This makes it difficult to read.
Establishing colors ahead of time will make it easier to have a cohesive design across platforms, like on Facebook and Twitter. Some social networks allow background skins to be customized, which is a great opportunity to have design elements match the blog. This is important for branding, especially if it is a business blog. Make everything as uniform as possible so people will remember the business and associate it with one centralized image.
Choose a Good Template or Theme for the Blog
The great thing about blogs is that a template can be used, which saves a lot of design time and makes it possible for anyone to create a good looking blog. WordPress is one of the larger providers of templates (themes), but there are definitely others to choose from. Templates make it easy because everything is already designed so all that needs to be done is add content.
There are thousands of templates to choose from on the Internet and many of them are free. Choose one that matches the desired image for the blog and be careful that there are not too many design elements because this will distract away from the content. This is especially true when there are too many elements above the fold of the page, taking up valuable real estate space.
Be Careful Where Ads are Placed on the Blog
Not all blogs need to have ads, but it is one of the most common ways people make money from blogs. It is perfectly acceptable to place ads on a blog, but they should not distract from the content. Three ad blocks should be the most ever employed on a blog, because after that they begin to distract the reader. Readers know that bloggers receive money from ad revenue, but when the blog is crowded by ads, it will drive readers away.
Google Adsense is a great program for new bloggers, but there are plenty of affiliate programs available on the Internet for additional income streams. Just remember that the number of page views is more important to the success of a blog than the number of ads. Focus on good quality content to get people to the blog first and foremost.
Make it Easy to Navigate Around the Blog
The default way that most blogs are set up is to show the most recent content first when a visitor enters the blog, and then have everything archived by date. This is a lot different than typical websites and it can be difficult to navigate for some people. It is essential, therefore, to create custom categories to sort blog posts so readers can find what they’re looking for. It also might be beneficial to include a search widget to make the navigation process even easier. A clearly defined blog navigation system will keep readers on the blog longer and increase readership.
Also, put contact information in a prominent place so readers can direct their questions appropriately. Allowing comments on blog posts also gives readers a way to express their opinions and contribute. This reader interaction will drive traffic up.
Add Enhancements to the Blog But Don’t Go Overboard
Most free blogging sites offer widgets that are easy to enable. There are literally thousands to choose from, so it’s easy to go a bit overboard. The Widgets can include everything from calendars to weather reports to comments and more. The best blogs are the ones that only post relevant content and choose widgets that complement the blog, rather than distract from it.
Design elements when creating a blog are very important, not only for branding, but for making the experience of readers more enjoyable so that they keep coming back. So, choose colors, templates, widgets, and website navigation systems carefully. Happy Blogging!