For most people, designing their blog involves making a few edits with their WordPress theme of choice. But there’s so much more that goes into designing a great looking blog. Coming up with a great design is important because it will help you stand out and create a strong first impression with your visitors. Fortunately, making an impact with your blog design doesn’t have to be complex. Here are our top tips to designing a great looking blog.
1. Put Most of the Visual Focus on the Header
Unless you’re creating a large publishing site in blog format, most of the focus should be put into the header. The header is what will stand out the most on your blog, visually speaking. That’s why you want to really think about a header design that matches the topic, color scheme, and market/industry that your blog will be built around. Ideally, you want to hire a designer for custom graphics rather than using the ones that come with a theme or template.
A lot of your branding will make up your blog’s header as well. So you want to focus on creating a unique identity for your blog. Look at the header graphics that similar and competing blogs are using. Try to come up with a header design that’s different but also helps you communicate your brand’s values. This will help your blog become recognizable to your target audience.
2. Small Design Elements Make a Big Difference
One of the common things you tend to notice with well designed blogs is that a lot of the attention is in the details. These blogs utilize great typography choices, color gradients, bordering, formatting, grid alignment, and other little details that contribute to the overall presentation. The small details also help their blog stand out from the competition.
Do your homework and look for some of the most popular blogs in your category or topic. Try to identify all the small details that make up the identity of the blog. Then think about how you can customize all these details to make it your own. You can start with small additions and changes. As you continue modifying various design elements, the presentation of your blog will really start to come together.
3. Focus on Goal Oriented Design
The purpose of your design is to help meet both your goals and the goals of your visitors. As such, you should be focusing on creating a web design that guides the visitors towards some kind of goal in mind. For example, if you want your visitor to take action, you want to highlight a call to action button by using visual cues, colors, and distinct font. To help your visitors find their desired content, it will help to add side bar navigation to different categories or related content.
This idea should also extend to the offers you are promoting. For instance, if you want to recommend WordPress hosting providers to your visitors, use visual cues and borders to lead them to a comparison page or highlight a chart. Use graphics to point out which hosting providers offer have the best pricing, fastest servers, or tech support. This further adds value to your visitors. The small goal oriented details make a big difference because blog designs are usually simple and straight to the point.
4. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Being mobile friendly is more than just about using a responsive theme or template to make your site visually pleasing for mobile users. You have to focus on other factors like making sure your web buttons are easy to tap on, creating a simple navigation menu, formatting your content for better readability on smaller screens, and more. Responsive templates alone cannot maximize the mobile browsing experience for your visitors.
One of the most important things you want to focus on is decreasing load times. Mobile devices have less computing power and are usually on slower connections. That’s why you need to do everything you can to optimize your site for speed. Some simple things you can do right away include compressing your images, enabling browser caching, and minifying your code. If you want to take it further you can upgrade your WordPress hosting, upgrade your hosting plan, and use a CDN for your media files.
5. Dress Up Your Content
It’s becoming more important to present your content in a better way. Instead of simply giving your visitors a large block of text to read, you want to make your content more useful and easier to consume. You want to use more sub-headlines, use different fonts to highlight different points, use bullet lists to support your points, add images to support your content, and use better formatting to break up your content into readable chunks.
Some blogs are going the extra mile and adding other elements to support their content. This includes a progress bar, estimated read time, navigation links to different parts of the content (for long form content), and social share buttons on the sidebars. Think about how you can improve the way your content looks and functions. It’ll not only look better, you’ll also see higher engagement.
6. Make the Most of Your Layout to Highlight Important Content
You want to use your layout to highlight your best content first. This is especially important if your blog is new and you’re trying to convert visitors into followers. Use your analytics data to find the content that’s getting the most reads and engagement metrics. Then use widgets like post sliders, popular posts side bar links, and the related content plugin to drive visitors to these posts. If you have a lot of great content, it helps to use layouts that transition into different patterns to break up the monotony and ensure all of your best posts get the attention they deserve.
While all of these design tips are simple and easy to implement, they will make a big difference in the presentation and performance of your blog. It really doesn’t take much to design a great looking blog. It’s about knowing what you can do to make these improvements.