When it comes to blog design, there are good designs and bad designs. Nevertheless, what makes a good design? Here are some starter tips. This is a theme I will revisit often because it is important and an evolving area in the Blogosphere.
1) Don’t use black or dark backgrounds with light text for your main post area. It is just too hard to read. Moreover, while we are at it, avoid all caps. Not only do most Web users consider it rude, it is hard to read.
2) Keep graphics small but do use them to break up text. They draw the eye so place them in strategic locations. I like to use graphics at the top of every post because they help readers understand where the next post starts.
3) Don’t forget to include an author photo. Having the author’s photo on the site helps to connect the audience to the writer.
4) Navigation should be simple and consistent. Avoid flashing buttons or highly stylized images. Look at lots of blogs to see how others handle navigation and you will soon realize that people seem to gravitate to some standards.
5) Keep it clean. Think less equals more. Allow some white space and make sure you do not have pictures running across borders, ugly colors or text that is so small nobody can read it without a microscope.
6) Make links to your RSS feed prominent. If they cannot find you, they cannot read you.
7) There are many reasons to include hyperlinks in your blog posts. They improve readability, comprehension and search engine placement. However, it is not enough to use links only; you need to use descriptive links. Life is too short to click on an unknown. Tell people where they are going and what they will find when they click.
8) Your blog readers will come to expect something of you. They expect you to blog regularly. While frequency helps attract an audience, consistency and regularity will hold the audience. Decide how often you want to blog, establish a rhythm and stick to it. Whatever you do, do not post when you have nothing valuable to say.
9) Respect other people’s copyright. Just because you see a photo or an article online, does not mean you can copy it and paste it into your blog. The words and images in your blog should be your own or you should have a license to use the work.
10) If you want to be a better blogger, start reading other blogs. Read as many blogs as you can. Subscribe to them. Check their feeds regularly. See how others are doing it. Before you start serious blogging, start serious reading and you will save yourself some time and heartache.
11) Blogs work better when they have a very narrow focus. Keeping your blog focused like a laser beam will make it easier for search engines to point relevant traffic your way, it will make it easier for advertisers to reach the right audience and it will make it easier for your readers to get the information they seek.