1. Become a typography nerd.
The fonts you choose for your blog can make or break you, and is a tell-tale sign of a professionally designed website. In addition to picking a font that’s easily readable, picking a combination of seemingly “simple” fonts can totally transform your design. Use the Web Font Combinator to see how different Google Web Fonts work together. We suggest using Google Web Fonts because they’re free, easy to implement, and there is a large assortment to choose from. (Be careful, they’re not all great fonts for your blog. Choose wisely.)
Here are some typefaces we can’t get enough of! You can download them onto your computer to use them when designing your header or other items, and also use them in Blogger and WordPress for headline and paragraph fonts. Just go to Google Web Fonts and paste the below titles into the search bar to see specimens of each.
PT Sans Narrow
Source Sans Pro
Petit Formal Script
More font tips:
- 1.5em is the best line-height to use aesthetically speaking. This puts one and a half times the font size in spacing between your lines.
- Always choose a neutral color font and background. A nice medium gray on a white background is usually the best option for blogs. If you are a photographer or videographer, a black background is acceptable.
- Keep colors muted. It’s much easier to see (and therefore click on) a link that is a mauve or darker pink, even if your main color is neon pink. Links are important. Don’t make them difficult to see!
2. Less is more. Seriously.
You want a memorable brand, but not a header cluttered with graphics. Style trends now focus on how to be unique with minimalism. Instead of trying to let your blog header express who you are, allow your blog and content to do that for you. Get a professionally designed logo to put in a template that is streamlined and free of unnecessary graphics. Use a photo or graphic that is timeless, so you don’t have to switch up your brand and look every time you need a design update.
3. Organize your home page.
All your pages and posts should be easily accessible from the home page for two reasons.
1) It’s better for Search Engine Optimization and
2) Your readers will thank you. In the form of pageviews.
Rather than having readers click on several different links to get to where they want to go, your menu bar should be clear and concise with only 5-10 items to choose from. Drop-down menus are ideal, since they allow readers to access various types of information right from the get-go. However, keep menus short and to the point. If you have more than 15 drop-downs, find a way to consolidate your categories. Your sidebar should include pertinent information, buttons, or other material in an organized fashion too. Don’t be afraid to link to past posts or feature your favorites in your sidebar. You want a way for your readers to click as many levels deep into your content as they wish – with an easy way to get back to the home page, or other pages without getting lost.
4. Optimize your footer.
The header, menu bar, sidebar, footer – all are of equal importance when it comes to your content. The footer, in fact, is one of the best places to put information and widgets. Treat each area with equal care to make your site cohesive and easily navigable, but do it in a way that makes sense.
When someone hops onto your blog, they probably want to know who you are and what you’re about. So put your “About Me” widget up top. Once they’ve scrolled through your site a little, and clicked on a post they are interested in, your footer is suddenly the first thing they see immediately after the blog post they are reading. So give them options to subscribe and follow you on social media. Providing your readers ways in which they can connect with you in different areas of your blog is effective and makes your blog look full, busy, and popular. Which is good!
5. Break up your ads.
Now that we’ve all been reading and writing blogs for awhile, we can easily spot ads at the drop of a hat. Even if you have buttons or graphics that are of use to your readers, the likelihood that they will be clicked on is practically negligible. Seeing that giant sidebar area dedicated to twenty 100px by 100px buttons is easy to scroll past. So instead of putting all your buttons in one place, break them up and mingle them with other sidebar or footer information. You’re not trying to deceive your reader, you’re trying to get their attention. Choose products and companies that you truly support, group them in twos or fours, and put them in places that make sense.
Hopefully these few tips are enough to get you headed in the right direction! We’d LOVE to see how you put these tips to use!