10 Essential Design Elements of a Blog
Blogs have increased in popularity lately and nowadays there are a lot of people that decide to put their thoughts online so blogging is pretty much the easiest way to do it.
Even though blogs are considered to be easier in handling, meaning that you don’t really have to be a developer or a web designer to start a blog; you will still have to follow some standards that will help you send the right message. There are several tips I will share with you on choosing the right design elements for your blog, as blogging is one of my hobbies as well.
These are just 10 of them that I consider to be more important but if I am missing out something you can feel free to add other useful tips in the comments.
1. Custom Header and Footer
These are really important for the design of your blog if you want it to be different from all the other blogs out there. Choose a theme you think would be appropriate for the subject of your blog. There are tons of different themes on the Internet, some of them are for free, while you would have to pay for others (this is a good option because it is less possible that you would find a design like that on many other blogs). However if you really want to stand out, then you would have to design your own header and this is probably the best option so far considering the fact that you are opting for a low cost version.
You can opt for graphics, different neat fonts, your logo or a tagline in your header to make it more customized.
2. User-friendly Navigation
Having your blog being user-friendly is really important, meaning you will have to meet the expectations of your future visitors and make them feel comfortable while browsing your blog. For example try to limit the categories on your blog to a maximum of 10. The bigger the number of categories, the bigger the chance that your visitor might get easily confused and forget what he’s searching for in the first place.
3. Search Bar
And since I mentioned the fact that visitors come on your blog to search for something they might be interested in, then you should definitely include a search bar. It is a really comfortable way to search for content using different keywords… but you probably already know that, right? This is just another important element that you should include in the design of your blog and you should not ignore it. You can include the search bar in the header on the sidebar of your blog.
4. RSS and E-mail subscription
Let users know about your activity by including an RSS feed and the possibility for e-mail subscription. This way you build a readership for your blog and the visitors might be eager to follow you. Try to make it visible and easy to find by including a cute button in the sidebar, the header, footer or in each individual post.
5. Social sharing buttons
Social networks are huge nowadays, and this is exactly why you should include them on your blog as well. This is a way to share your content with people from all over the world and then let them share your content and let other people know about it and the chain goes on and on. It feels much more comfortable when you can share some photos or content you liked on your Facebook page for instance. This is why I strongly recommend including social sharing icons in your blog, as they will end up being pretty useful.
6. Make room for comments
Don’t forget that your visitors might have something to say about your content or your blog so you have to give them the right to talk. Hence including the option to leave comments on your blog is really important.
You should also make it comfortable for the user to choose either he wants to leave a comment as a guest, by signing-in or by logging into his social networking account.
7. The “About Me” Page
Having an “About the Author” page is a great way to build stronger relationships with your readers. Let people know more information about the writer, because they are interested. Let them know your e-mail so that they can ask you questions or send you different collaboration proposals.
8. White Space to Improve Readability
White space is the space left out blank (no matter the color) that is left out in order to improve readability and focus on the content or on stuff you think is more important on a website. You can read more about that in a previous article I have posted, but so far it is a principle available for blogs as well. Organize your content and graphics in a way so that it will be easy to understand its content and find the information one is looking for easier.
Content is probably the most important thing on a blog, hence you should focus on delivering high-quality content in the first place, a search option in the second place and archives. This way your visitors will have the possibility to scroll through your older posts and you just can’t take that away from them. Give your content some assistance by placing archives on your blog and you will see how much more pleased your readers will be.
10. Turn off the music
Now I know that this probably has nothing to do with the design of a blog, but when I go to pages with music on them that is playing by default I go crazy trying to search how to turn it off faster. This is a cute option and it is hard for music fans to let it go, but it might get really annoying. If you do want to share your favorite music, there are different plug-ins for blogs that you can set to play music if the user wants it. This way you are not forcing an annoying feature on your visitors, but you share your interests with those who are interested at the same time. There, problem solved!