It doesn’t matter if you are designing your own blog, hiring a designer, buying a theme or using a free theme there are certain aspects of your blog’s design that are non-negotiable. If you want your blog’s design to really get the attention of your readers and make them want to spend time there reading all your amazing content here are the 10 things your blog must have!
1. Responsive or Mobile friendly Design
Google will punish your blog if you don’t have some way to give mobile visitors a good experience. Choosing a theme that is responsive is the best and easiest way to ensure that you won’t be excluding your mobile visitors with bad experiences and pissing off Google. This also applies to any sort of content you have on your site. For example Flash, while it was once popular, most mobile devices no longer support it. That means no mobile visitors will be able to use that Flash app you thought was so nifty.
2. Legible Typography
Script fonts are awesome, and I’m a sucker for a nice thin sans-serif font. However, they aren’t the best choices when it comes to reading online. Make sure the fonts and typography of your blog, all parts of it, is easy to read. That means choosing colors that stand out from the background, and using fonts that are legible and large enough. This also includes having paragraph fonts that are large enough to read and that have enough white space surrounding them so they are easy to read.
3. Simple Navigation
If visitors to your blog can’t find what they are looking for they won’t hang around. You have to make sure your navigation is spot on. That means, keeping it simple and well-organized. The simpler the better! You don’t need huge, complicated menus, and you don’t need to put every little thing on your menu. Keep your menu clean with only the most important options on it.
4. Easy to Use Comments
Bloggers love comments. Don’t let your commenting system hold you back! Choose a commenting system that is easy to use. Think hard before you ask your visitors to sign up for yet another service they might not need, especially if it’s not a highly used system or it doesn’t support social log ins. Every extra step that commenter has to take before they can leave a comment is one more step that might cause them to change their mind. This also applies to your CAPTCHA if you use one. Have you ever left a site because you couldn’t pass the CAPTCHA? I have. Don’t let that site be your site.
5. Contact Info
Your blog needs to have a way for your readers to get in touch with you! This includes your email or a contact form and your social media information. Places this information in an easy to find location, you may even want to put it in several different locations (header & footer for example). Don’t forget to keep it updated and check to make sure the links work. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to add your newest most favorite blogger to Twitter and not having the link work! If you are looking to make money from your blog this is even more important, make sure those who want to contact you about sponsorship or sponsored post opportunities can do so easily, otherwise you might be missing out on great opportunities just because they couldn’t find your email.
Colors are great, but it can be very easy to go overboard with the colors on your blog. Limit your blog’s color choices to 3 or 4 max, a main color and accent colors. If you post lots of colorful images or other media, you may want to choose even fewer colors for your blog’s color theme. Too many colors can easily get overwhelming, especially if they are bright primary colors. Take a little time to learn about color theory and how to choose colors that go together. Trust me, it’s a great skill and will help prevent your blog from looking like a melted box of crayons.
Branding is everything that goes into making your blog your blog. It’s the images on your social media, your social media posts, your writing tone and yes, the design of your blog. Your blog should reflect your brand as a whole. Keep your color and font choices constant. Don’t switch up your writing style. Your social media posts should be an extension of your blog, all of the imagery, typography, colors and writing styles should flow from one social network to the next to your blog.
8. White space
White space is the space around the “stuff” on your blog. All that blank space actually serves a purpose. White space gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest. Don’t clutter your site with “stuff” at every turn. Give viewers a chance to take it all in with white space.
9. Good User Experience
Aka UX. User experience is basically the experience people who visit your blog have. Does it confuse them? Does it annoy them? Do they love it? Obviously, you want your visitors to love your site. They shouldn’t be annoyed or confused by anything on it. If you have gone through the list so far you’ll notice that many of these all related to the user experience. From responsive design, to your typography to your branding and white space it all relates to the user experience. An easy way to check your blog’s user experience is to pretend you are a visitor to your site. If another site did the same things your site did, how would you feel? Then ask your friends for their feedback as well.
How does your blog stack up? Did I miss any blog design must-haves? What do you have the most trouble with on your blog? Let’s chat in the comments!