People who start their personal blogs to share their ideas are mostly creative persons who think little about technical realization. They fizz to spread their ideas and sincerely wonder why there are so little visits on their blog pages.
The reasons can be of any kind but today’s article is about web design concerns.
This is the face of the blog. And it’s a significant part of the work you should conduct to make your blog appear at the top of the search results pages. And if the layout is good and user-friendly people will come back to see more in your blog.
Mistake #1 – Selecting a Poorly Shaped Layout
It’s a common fact that beginners are longing to show up using design. That’s why they select bright colors, unique fonts, use flash, etc… But few of bloggers think that their blog’s usability suffers from such tricks.
At least, at the first stage of your blog’s life cycle say a definite NO to intricate details, flashing banners, or acid colors. Why? You need fast page load speed. The faster your blog is displayed on the user’s screen, the better for you. Nobody will wait for ages until all your images, banners and animation download. The optimal time 2-5 seconds (website load time).
Screenshot from: The World’s Worst Web Design Ever
Many of you will argue since a blog might lose its personality. But there are thousands of free acceptable layouts, such as WordPress Themes and WPDisco, that today’s most popular resource WordPress offers. They are all different, compact and download fast.
But before you decide for one of the WordPress themes, check the expert websites for popular and professional color schemes for a blog design. Color ideas can be found on Color Lovers or Kissmetricsand the similar ones.
Mistake #2 – Forgetting About Mobile Blog Version
Even if you don’t track the latest technical trends, you know for sure that more and more users buy the newest tablets and mobile phones which screens become bigger and bigger. What does it mean for yourblog? Would you like these people to read your blog? So, take care and adapt a blog layout for mobile devices to reach a bigger audience.
Image from: Smashingmagazine
The main criteria worth to remember about to successfully execute this task are:
- Mobile protocols don’t support some WEB-technologies like Flash.
- Use only standard fonts for mobile versions: Arial, Verdana, Times, Courier.
- Employ 2-3 basic colors. Therewith, it’s better not to use the whole tints spectrum, since older versions of mobile devices are simply unable to support the enormous color scheme.
- Forget about shadows and semitransparent elements.
- Make images as lighter as possible. More details are listed at the end of the article.
The simplest way out for a beginner is to find a WordPress theme that already has a layout for mobile devices for a couple of additional bucks. Or look for a free light theme.
Mistake #3 – Leaving a Blog Still
Just publishing a new content won’t attract much attention. If people don’t get answers to their questions in the comments they won’t get back. It’s a vital point – make an effort and answer the readers’ comments. How to make a blog look live? The answer is below.
Add comments. There are several ways to design a comment box under an article. Readers may leave a comment using their email addresses. But make sure that the emails won’t be seen by others. One of the latest trends is leaving a comment using a Facebook account.
Somemore reflections on the comments topic:
- In most cases the blog theme you choose already implies comments boxes which very often loads fast enough. But not all readers will wish to type in their emails.
- If you prefer the variant of leaving comments with Facebook accounts, keep in mind that, first, not all are Facebook fans. Second, not all users would like their friends to see somewhat alien comments in the news feed.
Employ social networks. Be sociable as much as possible since it’s the best way to support an online conversation with your readers. In design context, it means that you should place social networks’ icons on the home page or which is much better, on all pages where your articles are published.
Here you should remember about the following things:
- Try to stick to native codes for social buttons. Usually, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. store the codes for their buttons in the Developers section, or they can be already included in the blog theme you’ve chosen. If the buttons design doesn’t match your blog design concept, then see the tips below.
- You can visit special websites (e.g. Find iconshttp://findicons.com/) that collect free icons and select the necessary one with the appropriate dimensions.
- The best icons size is medium or small (32×32 or 64 x 64).
- The recommended number of social icons is 1-5: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and two more icons.
- Don’t forget that the icons should correspond with the overall blog design.
Think logically, if the article is interesting, a user will first read it to the end and only after that he or she will click on social icons. So, select the place for the icons wisely – just below an article. Though, most of the popular websites still place icons at the top of the pages.
Mistake #4 –Giving Up Blog Navigation
You’ll make a great mistake if you don’t provide efficient tools to navigate and search your blog since readers need to find the exact data. There are several ways to help your readers orientate:
- Categories or website menu. If there are several topics you’re going to write about it makes sense to add categories in the website menu for a faster reader access. Nowadays, links in the blog menu are preferable: they don’t damage the load time. One more aspect – links in the mobile blog version. It will be hard to click the link if it is too short. So, think hard over it.
- Search field. It’s really annoying when there is not a proper search tool in a blog!
- Related posts. A blog theme might include such a feature as a list of related posts at the end of an article. It’s the best way to make users stay on the blog pages because they start surfing other materials.
- Page bar. Always give a reader the chance to return/jump to the selected page. It’s actual when the blog boasts a great number of articles. One more tip: place the page bars at the top and at the bottom of the pages.
- Back to top button (if your articles are long it makes sense to facilitate readers’ coming back to the beginning).
Mistake # 5 – Building Texts and Work Images Incorrectly
It’s a well-known fact that a human eye perceives shorter text passages better than the long ones. Keep it in mind and don’t make your texts look like endless trains. Some more important points that you should pay attention to are:
- Font. Stick to the motto: the readable fonts are those that we’re used to! And we’re used to read texts with serifs in the body and without serifs in the titles.Various sources provide us with diverse data. But after analyzing several articles it’s legible to say that the best fonts for websites are: Helvetica, Arial, Georgia, Gotham, Verdana, Myriad Pro, DIN, Futura, League Gothic, Cabin, Corbel. Times New Roman and Arial Black are also actual.
- Font size.They mostly use 12px font size for websites. But some time ago, Smashing Magazine published an article about 16px font size that resulted in a heated discussion.
- Font color. It’s a scientifically proven fact – it’s easier to read black characters against a white background. So, don’t experiment with lemon yellow characters against a plum background.
- Number of fonts. The optimal number is 3. By one font for titles, general texts and ads.
Correct work with images is as important as the quality content! Remember the first rule of this article? You need speedy load of your pages. So don’t allow the pics to restrain the traffic. The main requirements here will be:
- Image formats. The best one is JPEG, since it is light. The drawback of the format that in most cases the image quality is not the best one. PNG could be a reasonable alternative but remember about the size of the PNG images. GIF also counts.
- Image size and location on the page. Some of the most appropriate ones are:
- 480px max height / 640 px max width (images centered);
- 400px fixed height (widths vary, images are left-aligned);
- 325px fixed height (widths vary, images are centered).
А detailed list can be found Image Size Guide.
- Alternative texts for images. Don’t forget to add descriptions to your images! If the image, for some reasons (e.g. on mobile devices) won’t display the alternative text will help your users stay familiar with the article topic.
So, these a typical design mistakes that most of the beginners make when they launch their blogs. Be more practical and try to avoid these drawbacks when dealing with the Internet world.