Remember that time when you created your own website back in the day? It had a fuchsia-colored background and horrific boy band sound bite looping over and over again. Ever wonder why we have since gravitated from the days of Comic Sans text and sparkly dividers? The answer: we are drawn to the aesthetic.
When it comes to your blog design, its ability to be visually appealing speaks volumes with regard to the success the blog will have. In the spirit of “we judge books by their covers,” so too do we assess the credibility of a blog by its layout and attractiveness. Following these tips for better, more effective blog design will definitely bring in more traffic for your website.
Refrain from (Over) Specialization
Though it is acceptable and even expected for your blog to have a theme, it is important that it is not too concentrated on any one topic. For example, if you were to blog about horror films, do not dedicate the blog as an homage to the movie Scream. Not only is this too specific (that audience niche is too small to bring in any real traffic), it also deters potential readers because it lacks a global perspective. Instead, look for ways to engage your audience with all things pertaining to your larger theme at hand.
Choose Images Carefully
As popular as they are, animated GIFs are not going to cut it anymore. You want to incorporate quality photos that speak to the authenticity of the blog. Avoid cheesy and overused stock photos. Instead, incorporate personal photographs or even fun and playful images taken from your smartphone. This can have a huge effect on the reader’s perception of your writing and credibility. For example, if your blog is about the wonder of the outdoors in the West, a photo taken from your latest hike through the Rockies is much more engaging than a professional image pulled from Google’s stockpile.
Keep Text Light
Your writing should be concise. Readers look to obtain information quickly and need to be given the opportunity to take in your message promptly and with ease. Use large fonts, short lines, and incorporate subheadings—anything that makes it easier to read.
Don’t be afraid to increase the amount of white space. Avoid overusing banners, messages, or anything else that will give your blog an overcrowded feel. You want to make sure you are allowing your readers the ability to digest everything—if there is too much going on, they will not linger long.
Make It Easy to Navigate
Your blog needs to be easy to peruse. Readers should not have to search the page to uncover what they are looking for—you need to provide it for them. Look at popular blog sites and the way they have designed their layouts. This will give you a clue as to the type of layout readers are used to and will prevent you from incorporating designs that are new and confusing. Additionally, it is important to include a search option. This allows readers to more quickly access information on your blog that might not be readily-available on the homepage.
Call Readers to Action
This is one of the easiest ways to ensure you get return visitors and increased traffic. In essence, you are trying to build a relationship with your readers. Invite them to join your email list or ask them to follow you on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. Make them acutely aware that you value their readership and look forward to an enhanced dialogue. Do not overwhelm them with options—keep it simple.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mommy blogger looking to increase her sphere of influence or a web design analyst writing about the easiest ways to obtain a free website score, it is imperative to look to these guidelines for ideas on how to more effectively design your blog. By taking these small and simple steps, you will no doubt see an increase in your page’s traffic as readers will find your site more engaging, credible, and user-friendly.