So you’ve got yourself set up with a blog? And now, if you’re like most new bloggers, you will quite happily spend hours and hours of your life making your blog pretty. As a newbie it seems like everyone’s blog looks so gorgeous and you have no idea where to start. Well we’re here to give you tips, ideas and some tutorials on how to make your blog look totally lovely, but today we’re going to just talk about some general tips for blog design; those absolute blog design basics that every blogger should consider.
Picking a Colour Scheme
This is the most obvious thing that people see and the easiest thing to change and adapt when you’re setting up, picking a main colour or colour scheme for your blog is more than likely the first attempt you will make at any form of blog design. Certain colours are known to be very popular in cyberspace; have you ever noticed that the biggest sites on the web tend to use a lot of blue? Facebook and Twitter both have blue logos. They use plenty of blue for one reason, they know our brains like it. For some reason we find blue appealing, calming, professional, authoritative; so it’s hardly surprising that big companies use it… a lot.
We’re not saying use blue on your site and you will be a big player, but do consider the effect of colour on your site. Red for example makes things seem urgent, yellow is energetic and happy, green is natural and chilled. Choose a colour or colour scheme that reflects what your blog is about, and which you like because you’ll be looking at it for a while. And try not to choose too many colours either, stick to one or two main colours and then use different tones to keep it all matching. Take I Heart Snapping for example; everything is in shades of pink and grey, the header, the buttons, the logo and all the text. It makes it look clean, professional and easy on the eye.
Having the Right Header
Call it a header, call it a banner, call it a title; whatever you want to call it, the top section of your site is the most important part. Try to think of the header as your business card, it’s the first bit of you and your blog that people will see and people will make all their initial judgements based on it. Make sure that it is really you and that it tells potential readers what your blog is about.
Katie’s banner says; girly, cute, family. The hearts aren’t an accident; they read as love and affection. The house tells you that you’re going to get everyday life experiences and memories. And the three bird are most definitely not an accident; family of three anyone? Look there’s even a particularly teeny pink one for the baby girl.
My own banner is simpler and has less elements to it, but it says just as much. Photos, photos, photos and all of a little boy. Did you notice that as you read left to right he gets older? Again, not an accident. It says this is a blog about a little boy growing up. And the handwriting font says that it’s personal.
Getting a Good Layout
Our brains like white space between text, it helps to break it up and allows us time to breathe and think. Now this isn’t to say that your background must be white, but remember to not make your blog one big wall of text. And while white isn’t a must, it does tend to be easier to read dark text on a light background, so it’s probably better to stick with a paler background and a darker text if you want people to stick around and actually read what you’ve written.
Remember that people don’t see your entire site when it opens in their browser. The term that is generally used is ‘above the fold’ but it refers to making sure you say something on that opening screen before anyone has to scroll. Put important links like your Twitter and Facebook pages towards the tops so that people can find you easily. And if you want people to follow your blog make it easy for them to find the links to email subscribe or sign up for RSS too. I know that I don’t like to have to search around for these and if I can’t find them quickly then I don’t sign up.
Simple and clean blog designs never go out of fashion and are also far more pleasing on the eye than a busy site where you aren’t sure where to look. So think carefully about your layout and try to streamline it if you can. I like to have a tidy up of my sidebars every couple of months to make sure I’ve still got all the most relevant stuff towards to top, where people are more likely to click on it.
As you choose your colour scheme, decide on your layout and create a blog header that is really you; you are starting to define your brand image. No, your not a big business but you can learn from them. And it isn’t difficult. It’s all about having one continuous image all over the web.
As you go about cyberspace using Twitter, Facebook and the like to promote your blog, consider how you build your brand image. The easiest way to do this is to make a small square ‘button’ in the same style as your header. Use it as the profile picture on all your different social media and it means people will get used to the ‘look’ of your blog. We are a visual breed and pictures often stick in our memories long before names do, so make sure that your image is there backing up your name as people get to know you.
Essentially, it’s easiest to keep it simple; so choose a couple of colours, a couple of fonts and a couple of pictures or images and stick with using them everywhere. It doesn’t take very long for people to see them and think of you. And look around the blogging community you’re in and make sure your brand image is really original and really you.
And if you’re sitting thinking that you really want to implement all this but have no idea where to start, then worry not. Over the coming weeks we’ll be showing you how to design some of the basic blog elements so that you can make your blog lovely.