How a blog looks can have such an influential effect on how much money you make. You can make more money online with a better design. Unfortunately it’s true that people judge books by their covers – and also websites. You can draw readers in if you have a nice, attractive layout, and you can keep them coming if your site is easy to navigate and user-friendly.
Here are five basic things you should consider when designing your page:
- Banner & Background
- Ad Location
Banner & Background
“Use original content” goes for both your words and your images. Readers will be more impressed if you can create your own top image. Don’t go too crazy over it though; it doesn’t have to be too extravagant. If you want a more clean, functional look, then you can just include your logo at the top.
Your layout can look nice with really any type of background, whether it’s just a solid color, a simple design (ie: stripes), or an image. If you do use an image, then I would strongly recommend that you use a solid color background for your posts. Text is usually impossible to read on top of an image. If your readers can’t read your content, they’re not coming back.
Try to spice things up and keep it exciting by including at least three different colors. Colors should match and complement each other – not clash!
What good is good content if your readers can’t make out the words? When ensuring that your text is readable, you should look at three things: font color, font type, and font size. Your color should contrast enough so that its readable, but it should not contrast enough with the background so that it hurts the eyes to look at. Bright red can be difficult to read on a bright blue background, for example.
As far as font type and font size go… keep your audience in mind. If you are writing for an older audience, you should probably stick with a larger font. If you are writing a humorous blog, comic sans, for example, would be fine. But if you are writing a more serious blog, you might want to go with Times New Roman or Georgia.
Just remember, if they can’t read it, they’re not sticking around. Easy text to read will encourage your visitors to return and increase blog readership.
Your layout should be appropriate to your content. If you are writing about food and cooking, then you could have a picture of food in your top banner. But don’t have a picture of soccer players.
Taste and style is going to depend on you, and your viewers. Keep your subject in mind when creating a design. For example, you will not want a pink background and bubbly text if you are writing about wrestling, cars, etc.
One of the most important things is that your site is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Put some tabs at the top to help guide your readers throughout your website. If you write about multiple topics, include a sort of “Table of Contents” type of list in a side bar. For instance, if you have a Food & Cooking blog, you could have a link to “recipes,” another to “recommended cooking supplies”. Make sure that these are visible across your website. A user might not access your site straight through the home page. He might find a link or have been directed by a search engine to a particular.
Also keep in mind that cluttering your page with a variety of ads, widgets, buttons and banners might make it harder for readers to find their way around. You can still incorporate these things into your layout, just make sure they do not interfere with your reader’s ease of navigation. Swamping your page with all these can also slow down how fast the page loads – and if it takes too long, a visitor might turn back.
If you have ads, try to make them unobtrusive. Of course they are going to have to be noticeable (that’s their purpose), but work them into the layout so that they fit. Sometimes I see ads that literally do not fit into a column, and it makes the page look sloppy. If a page looks sloppy, viewers might not want to come back. Furthermore, and this is crucial if you are just starting out, do not over load the page with ads.
While we do want to impress our readers, we also do not want to overwhelm them. I’ve seen websites with music, pictures everywhere, and even little pictures that trail after the mouse as it moves around the screen. This is over kill! And probably much worse than a simple, “boring” layout. Whereas a boring layout might not necessarily give a warm welcome or invite, an over the top design can scare the reader away. I certainly have no interest in searching for the real content when I’m bombarded by too many images. For more great tips on layout design, read this article about designing effective layouts.
If you aren’t good at web design, you may want to hire someone or, if you can’t afford that, start with a template. The free blogging sites usually come with one and they are somewhat customizable.
Some final tips…
Do… make your layout attractive, clean and functional.
Don’t… depend on your nice layout
Don’t focus all your time on making your layout perfect. Yes, it’s important, but don’t forget to update your content! There are many different ways to increase blog traffic, and the layout is only one!