As much as I hate to say it, readers are going to judge your book (blog) by its cover. What am I talking about?
The design of your blog is really important. You could be writing some amazing posts– but if your design is overwhelming or confusing, the readers might leave without reading a word.
Let’s talk about a few ideas to keep in mind.
Keep it simple.
Blogs have come a long way. It used to be popular to have all kinds of backgrounds, prints, and colors, etc. But now, blogs have really moved toward a more simple, clean layout. And I think that’s best. Why? Your reader can focus on what is important– what you are saying!
Keep sidebar action to a minimum.
Of course you’re going to have things in your sidebar; you absolutely should use that space. Maybe you have your social media links there, or your archives, or you have a few advertisements. That is awesome. But don’t overwhelm your readers with too much clutter. Again, go with simple. Streamline + prioritize; what is most important for you to feature?
Stick with a color theme.
I love color, but don’t use every color in the rainbow on your blog. Stick to 2 or 3 colors to keep a cohesive, branded look throughout your blog. It will make it look much more professional.
Decide how custom you want it.
Blogs can range from very simple to super custom. You need to decide what look you are going for. Unless you are crazy talented with HTML or have a lot of time on your hands to get HTML-savvy, you’re more than likely going to have to pay for the really customized layouts and themes.
I recommend investing in your design when you are ready. You can find a useable, attractive theme for free at first, make a few less expensive tweaks, and then go all out with a more customized look and feel once you get your blogging feet wet.
Keep in mind: you want your design to draw readers in, not run them away. Your final design should compliment your brand and not distract from your overall message. If/ when you decide to invest in the design of your blog, spend some time researching and ask a lot of questions. If you are spending the money, you want to really love the end result.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to discuss when it comes to design, but hopefully this will get you started!
Nikki blogs at The Fashionable Wife and is a co-founder of The Blogger Collective.