If you’ve seen my previous post about how to start a blog for a complete beginner, then you may now be needing help with creating a blog design that you love. I used to constantly be changing my layout and playing around with different templates. I then fell in love with my current blog design. It took a lot of work, a lot of tedious hours and a little bit of money BUT I’m more than happy with it and will definitely not be changing it for a long time (well, I say that now!). I’m a design and html geek. Everything has to be neat and tidy, the colours have to match and I like things to be basic. I hate mess in general life – and my blog is an online reflection of my life – and so I’d hate for it to be messy! Here are 10 tips for creating a layout you love.
Find a template you can play around with
There’s no point in downloading or purchasing a template in which you can’t alter. Nobody wants to browse blogs that look exactly the same. It’s meant to be a personal and unique space for you to share parts of your life/passions/hobbies/interests. With a design you’re able to change around a little, you can tailor it to your own personal style, making it unique to you. My favourite place to look for templates is Etsy. I also love browsing creative market. It’s so easy to find a theme. You can even just google search! If you are creating a website instead of a blog then consider making it easy to navigate.
Stay clear from GIFS, tacky backgrounds and silly cursors
I guess you could call this a pet peeve of mine. I hate loud and bright backgrounds that distract readers from the post. Glittery ‘Myspace’ style GIFS and cursors that make your blog look as though it was created by a 14 year old. THE most off putting rookie mistakes to make! Whatever you do, stay away from these three things and you’ll be fine. This goes for web design too. Most people want to see a website with a lot of information but a clean and crisp design. If you don’t think that your web designing skills are good enough, then you can easily hire a professional company to help you out (such as this website design nebraska company). Sometimes just getting a little bit of extra help can make all the difference.
Think about your blog colours
I, personally, like to have matching and neutral colours that are easy on the eye. That being said, I know a few blogger that use bright colours and I absolutely love that too! It’s a good idea to think about the type of content you create and match that theoretically with the colours you use on your blog. Keep it in theme and don’t dot around with different colours here, there and everywhere. Obviously it’s nice to have some colour to your blog – a dull and grey page may not look appealing to read. Remember stick to what works for you instead of comparing your blog or website to others.
Align your sidebar
Maybe this could just be another pet peeve of mine, but I hate when sidebars look messy. It’s nice when everything is aligned either in the centre, to the left or to the right. Everything that’s placed in your sidebar will look a lot neater and more appealing to click on if it’s placed neatly. Do I sound enough like a neat freak yet? Remember these tips are what personally works for me. Some people may like things a little ‘wacky’ or ‘messy’. With web design, think of aligning your content to the center of the page and with each item in line with one another.
Get rid of clutter
There are so many blogs where things are placed in the sidebar just to fill up space. Try narrowing it down to the important things that you want people to see and you want people to click on. Social media icons are important. Have links to each social media platform you are on and have them in an accessible place for readers to see. A search bar is also important – some readers may be looking for a specific post – this is also why categories are important too.
Consider the theme around your blog
Consider the style of posts you will be writing, the layout and the colour scheme. It all needs to fit in with one another. A lot of the time your words will do all the work, but people like to see a pretty looking blog layout. It’s the first thing they notice before they delve deeper into reading what you are sharing. A lot of readers will be put off if your theme doesn’t look appealing. I will sometimes steer away from a blog if it isn’t easy to navigate/read. Not everyone understands how to design a website that works though, so if you are looking for some extra help, you could always consider reaching out to a web design expert. One of my friends who lives in Texas had her website designed by a web design company and is so happy with the results. She has told me many times since that Big Gorilla Design is a top-rated design, marketing & branding agency in Austin TX, so if you would like someone else to take care of your website design, they are well worth a look.
Be AD savvy
Adverts can look messy. They can look off putting and can also be very annoying. If you have adverts then think about where you place them. Consider where your readers will like to see ads and where they wouldn’t like to see ads. I will only ever have a few adverts in my side bar and they will be related to what I blog about. It’s all well and good having advertisements (we all need to make money!) but just consider their placement and motive. On a website they may no
Categorise your posts
Some of your readers may be on your blog to browse for photography tips, they may also be on the look out for parenting tips, recipes or craft ideas. It’s important to categorise your posts and have each category easily accessible through your sidebar. A lot of readers won’t particularly want to sift through posts and posts that aren’t related to their own personal interests.
Create easy navigation
This takes us back to the tidy aspect of creating a blog layout you love. People like to be able to easily navigate around a website. I will always have a search bar near to the top of the page as I find that when I’m on someone’s blog I like to search for the type of post I’m looking for. I will then always have a list of the different categories I blog about – this will be placed at the top. I think it’s also really helpful to have a ‘popular post’ section in the side bar along with a ‘recent discussion’ section.
Check it all works
There’s no point in having broken links or links that don’t lead your reader to the right destination. Every once in a while make sure your social links definitely direct people to the right social media page. Make sure everything is working as the more links that don’t work, the less likely people are going to click on other content. If you’re finding it cumbersome to manage broken links, a dead link checker could be the ideal solution to build reports on broken links in your sites.
Most of these tips also apply to building a web design. It’s important to create a clear website with easy navigation and a clean design. Be careful if you use adverts as this can look a little messy. If you’re unsure and want a second opinion on how your website looks then why not ask a few friends to see what their opinions are. Hopefully these tips have helped you design a blog layout or web design that you love. You can also get web design services from Tekfirst to help you on your way!
*This is a collaborative post*