The worst advice you’ll ever hear about blogging Part 2

Tips on Starting a blog | Blog Design Matters

This is part 2 of a 12 part blogging series about bad blogging advice. In part 1 I shared 11 pieces of bad blogging advice and dove right into some details about the first bad tip, If you just write it they will read it.

Tips on Starting a blog | Blog Design Matters

Tip #1 is flat out not true. Just because you write blog posts and release it, it does not mean that your readers will find you. There are so many reasons for this. I am just going to list a few right now:

  • Google does not know that you exists and therefore readers can’t find you.
  • You have not shared with anyone on the planet that you are writing blog posts.
  • They found the blog post but all of the words were crammed together so they felt overwhelmed and left.
  • Your font is so small that it hurts peoples eyes to read it.
  • They found your post on a smart phone and a pop up is blocking the text.

Read the full blog post here: The worst advice you’ll ever hear about blogging Part 1 and learn what I had to say about correcting some of these issues.

Bad Blogging Advice Tip #2 Blog Design doesn’t matter

I am going to admit upfront that I may be a bit biased on this one because I design blogs. When you hear people say that design does not matter they will point to ugly websites like Craigslist.org and Amazon. (Sorry Craigslist and Amazon…nothing personal) The thing about those two examples is that they are not blogs and their design fits their need.

There is much more to design then pretty pictures even. Design includes the font type, the spacing between the lines and how the text fits on the page.

Think of blog design like shopping. I have a weird issue with going into TJ Maxx because it feels cluttered, and while the products in there are perfectly fine, it feels disorganized and jumbled. Each time that I go in that store, all that I can think about is getting out. On the flip side if I go into Target I feel like I can really take my time shopping. There are wide aisles, everything is neatly placed and it is always very clean. When you present a blog to the world you are presenting your brand, so just make sure that it represents you appropriately.

Let’s cover a few things about blog design

#1 Black text on a white background is preferred.

It is simply easier to read black text on a white background. If you don’t believe me go to your local library or book store and just start picking up books. How many books do you see on any other color background?

But white paper is cheaper and online you can do anything! This is true and there are times to break the rules but before we get to that let’s look at some of the top blogs out there.

http://mashable.com/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
http://www.businessinsider.com/

Blog Design | How to build a blog

 As you will see in the screen shots above, all three of these websites use black text on a white background. These are three of the top blogs in the world. I could display a long list here but the best thing that you can do is just start looking at blogs in your same industry.

#2 Use clear images

A fuzzy or low quality image can hurt your brand. There are so many resources for images and that means that there is little excuse for bad images.

[notification type=”error”]Tip: Make sure that the images that you use are legal. You do not want to pay fines later down the road because you stole an image. [/notification]

#3 There is no need to be funky.

A standard blog design has a main body area and a sidebar or two sidebars. While there is a time and place for certain blog genres to be creative this is not the case for the average business blogger. Keeping your design simple does not make you boring. Like with a beautifully decorated house, simple lines, with white and a spot of color can make a powerful statement, a clean blog design can say a lot about your content.

A great example of this is one of my all time favorite blogs, CopyBlogger. These guys could have any design that they wanted in the world. How do I know this about this brand? They own Studio Press which is one of the top WordPress Theme designers on the planet. CopyBlogger is all about how to write powerful content for your blog and they knew that an overly designed blog would get in the way.

Oh crap! My Blog is cluttered. What do I do?

If you are reading this and realize that you have broken all of the rules about bad blog design, do not worry. All of these issues can be solved fairly easily.

Tip #1: Take a walk. Take a breathe. Make some notes.

You need to spend some time thinking about your brand. Believe it or not every blogger has a brand, even if they are not aware of it. Ask yourself a few questions.

  • What does my blog design portray about my content?
  • Does the design fit the message of my blog?
  • Is it easy to read the content?
  • Is my design pleasing to the eyes?

Remember, people make snap decisions as to whether they want to stay on a site and read the content or if they want to hit the back button and go somewhere else. Good content alone will generally not be a sufficient reason for someone to stay on your blog.

I know that I will hit that back button in a heartbeat if the it is too difficult to read the content.

Tip #2: Blogs are easier to redesign than books.

It is far easier to make a few tweaks to a blog design then it is to get a book reprinted. Changing a book cover is a big ordeal but a blog can be changed fairly quickly. If you are running WordPress then it could be changed in an instant. This does not mean that this redesign would be perfect but it can be fast.

According to WordPress there are 2,448 Themes out there to choose from and a great deal of those are free. Beware that not all WordPress Themes are created equal but I do want you to know that you have a lot of choices.

Tip #3: Clean up your sidebar

If you have a cluttered sidebar on your blog then odds are good that you know how to clean it up. Blog sidebars have a weird habit of becoming our junk drawer of blogging. It is the place that we tend to put things that we are not sure what to do with. Make your blog sidebar a place of value for your reader.

Those are just three quick tips that you can implement fairly easily to make your blog design better today. I do not want to over simply any of these blog design changes because I know they are not always easy, this is why I am in the business of building blogs for clients. However, I know that not everyone can afford that and I want to encourage you to take the steps that you can to make small changes.

If you have WordPress questions please let me know in the comments. I may be able to easily answer them for you by making a quick video. In the meantime Join The Blogger Mafia today (my membership site for FREE) and check out my tutorial videos.

What are your thoughts on Blog Design? Share with us a piece of bad blogging advice that you hate.

About the Author

Renee is wild for WordPress and on fire to empower small business owners with the inspiration, tools and strategies for a healthy blog. SMU CAPE instructor, developer, podcaster. Follow @Iteachblogging on Twitter. Get her FREE SEO Guide Here: https://goo.gl/gGrHC2

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