Your blog is gorgeous. Your readers and other visitors on your site compliment it all the time. So why is your bounce rate so high? Why do people spend so little time on your blog? What is scaring them away?
Your blog might be the prettiest blog ever created, yet that doesn’t mean it has good design. Yes, bad design can afflict even the prettiest, most beautiful websites & blogs. Design isn’t only about how it looks. That’s art. Your blog isn’t a work of art, it has a function. It exists to be more than something that is adored because it looks good. It’s meant to serve a purpose. Design is what turns art into something useful. Design makes your pretty blog, into one that your visitors can use and fulfills it’s intended purpose.
Good news! You CAN fix your blog.
Your blog can look good and have good design. Follow the design guidelines below and you can change your pretty blog with bad design into one that is well designed.
Good design needs to have contrast. This is especially important when it comes to the colors and fonts you select for your blog. Your fonts MUST contrast your background enough so that your readers can read! This is absolutely crucial for your blog’s success! That means if you have a thin font on a light background, select a dark color. Too little contrast leaves your readers squinting.
[bctt tweet=”If your readers have to highlight your text to read it, you have bad blog design! Contrast is a must!”]
Contrast should also be kept in mind when it comes to the images you created for your blog, especially your Pinterest optimized images. Make sure the text on your Pinterest images has enough contrast to be legible from the background image!
Layout & Usability
Your blog’s layout should be intuitive and easy for your readers to understand. Show them exactly where to go. Your blog’s menu should be easy to find, it should have easy to understand (and read!) menu options to direct your visitors where they want to go. Features like search functions should work and be easy to find.
[bctt tweet=” Your readers should never be left wondering what to do!”]
Alternative layouts can be exciting and make your blog stand out, however, they should still have a clear path for your visitors so they can easily navigate your blog. Your blog should also be usable no matter what device your readers access it from. That means, on mobile they should still be able to easily do things like click on links and buttons and use all site functions. Always check this, just because your blog theme is “responsive” doesn’t mean it’s well designed for mobile, be sure to test it on as many devices as you can! If you can’t use your site easily on your own mobile device, your readers surely won’t be able to.
Proportion is a great tool for showing your readers what is important. Your important information should always be the biggest things your reader sees. That means you should be using things like Headings (H tags) in your content to a) make it skimmable and easy to read and, b) improve your SEO. Your headings will show your readers what is important and bring their attention to it, additionally when it comes to SEO having keywords in those headings will also tell the search engines what is important.
If there is one thing that will scare off visitors to your site it’s load times. Seconds matter. Unfortunately, many pretty designs can take FOREVER to load. This will kill your traffic. Huge images and lots of fancy scripts to do fancy and gorgeous things can all slow down your blog and send your readers elsewhere. High load times can be a tricky problem to mitigate, some solutions may require more technical know how than you have, however, there are some t hings you can do to speed up your blog. The first thing to do is see what your load time actually is. The best place to do that is ask Google. Google will tell you exactly how fast (or not) your blog loads and what is slowing it down. Once you have a starting point you should complete the following steps:
- Optimize your images for the web. All images should be in .jpg format.
- Use a Cache Plugin
- Remove unnecessary scripts or plugins that may slow your site down.
- Check your host. Contact your host to see if there are issues on their end.
A pretty blog doesn’t equal a well designed blog. You can take actions to fix it, or avoid it all from the beginning! Select your blog themes with care, and look beyond pretty to function before making your theme selection. There are plenty of well-designed themes out there that offer your readers a beautiful and user-friendly experience.
Are you looking for a blog theme that’s good-looking and usable? Do you need your existing pretty blog theme tweaked to improve its function? Get in touch.