8 Super Simple Blog Design Tips
When you are first starting out as a blogger, it can be incredibly overwhelming. Should you use Blogger or WordPress, how many posts do you need to get started, how do you promote and get people to read, how can you get a nice design?
I love design. It's one of my favorite things about reading blogs. I love perusing them and getting new inspirations from their designs. I've done my fair share of redesigns (hell, I've done MOST people's fair share of redesigns), and most of them I've designed myself, including this newest design which I'm in love with. I like the creativity that I can design whatever I want because it's MY space. But I wanted to share with you a few lessons I've learned along the way to help you make your space the best it can be.
1. Those free templates you can get when you sign up for Blogger or WordPress? Ditch 'em. In general they'll look unprofessional and a bit dull. You don't have to spend an obscene amount of money to get a template that is nicer (here is a list of my favorite inexpensive templates) and more professional looking. And in general, they're SO easy to install. Customize it to your colors and upload your own logo, and you've automatically elevated your design.
2. Speaking of logos, design one, or pay for someone to design one that you love. (Shameless plug: I'd love to help you design yours, check out my portfolio here.) There are a lot of companies out there that will help you find a logo that speaks to you.
3. White space. It's okay to have it. In fact, it's preferable. You want your writing to stand out, not your background. Use your blog design to enhance your blog, not overwhelm it. So clean up those side bars, and only use the widgets that you absolutely need.
4. Let's talk about advertising. Sidebars used to be a great way to advertise your blog on another, bigger blog. But those aren't so popular anymore. Think about it- when is the last time you were reading your favorite blog and clicked on an ad in the sidebar? It's probably not all that often. So unless you're making good money from them, find another way to advertise.
5. Make sure your design is responsive. SO IMPORTANT. Responsive design means that your blog will automatically resize to the size of device it's being read on. This is important not only because Google just announced that if your site isn't responsive, you won't show up in search results, but also because the majority of people read blogs on mobile devices now. And no one wants to have to continue to scroll back and forth trying to read your post. Not sure if your design is responsive? Check it super simply here.
6. Make your contact information easy to find. Have a contact page, put your social media icons right at the top, do SOMETHING to show people where else they can find you and how they can get in touch. You'd be amazed how many blogs I've seen where it feels impossible to find out how to send them a simple email.
7. Have an About page. People love reading about the person behind the blog. You don't have to go too in depth here, but post a little bit about what they can expect. Another suggestion? Link this to a New Reader page that has a list of some of your favorite and most popular blog posts. That way a new reader can quickly get a feel for your writing style. (My About Page, and my New Reader page.)
8. This one is a personal preference. If you're categorizing your blog posts (and you should be), and list your categories somewhere on your blog (which you should be), I hate having to scroll through full blog posts when I click on a category. For example, I click on "My Style" and I have to scroll back through full blog posts of every single post you've categorized this way just to find one that I'm searching for. Instead, I prefer to see just excerpts of each post on the category page so that I can quickly find the posts I want to read. Still not sure what I mean? Check out my Motherhood category page for an example.