There are some beautiful blogs out there, that’s for sure. But unfortunately there are also some real lemons. It’s our passion to see the drab and dreary transform into something amazing. After all, you can publish brilliant content, but if people can’t find it amidst your rainbow-colored, Papyrus-sporting background filled with obnoxious flash ads, no one will benefit from your genius. The beautiful thing about this list is that it can be tweaked to apply to any website! So whether you’re a blogger or a small business owner, heed these 5 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Blog Design and find yourself well on your way to blog design showcases. Or at the very least look for an increase of followers and repeat visitors. Just make sure that brilliant content stays brilliant!
1. Limit your header height to 200 pixels or less.
The viewable area of the screen when someone first lands on your page is known as the area ‘above the fold’ (borrowed from the newspaper world). It’s some valuable real estate when it comes to first impressions. It’s important to let your viewers know what your blog is all about from the moment they arrive, but the content is what is most important.
Allow plenty of space above the fold to feature your content and other important links. Which leads me to bullet point #2:
2. Feature social media and RSS icons prominently above the fold.
In the blogging world, it’s all about making connections and learning from each other. Encourage your visitors to join the conversation through other avenues like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well. Pro tip: Coordinate your icons with the design of your blog. If you want custom buttons created to match a custom header design, we can help with both of those things!
3. Don’t litter your blog with ads.
Avoid excess advertisements on your blog (especially flash based). Viewers don’t generally like to be bombarded with visual busyness. Plus, it hides your content, which should be the star of the show! Keep your ads well placed in the sidebar or footer and integrate their placement into your overall design.
4. Use 3-4 colors at most in your design.
Again, keep it clean and keep it simple. In most cases, too many colors is overstimulating and can lead to a much higher bounce rate than you want.
5. Resize your pictures and remain consistent with size.
Uploading massive image files to your blog can really slow down your page load time (even if you choose to showcase a smaller dimension of the image in your post). Use any number of free photo editing websites (our favorite is Pixlr Express) to resize your images. Shoot for a horizontal width of no more than 800 pixels. Then remain consistent with the dimensions you use in your blog posts.