We like to think that content is king, and to some extent, that’s true. But great content can’t overcome a poor blog design. The design is the thing that sucks visitors in. It creates the first impression. If your design sucks, chances are people will back out of your blog.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be some genius WordPress theme designer to create a good looking blog. You just need to avoid these mistakes, and you should be headed in the right direction.
- No subscribe button—If you want to build a loyal base of readers, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your blog. This means having a RSS button placed clearly above the fold so your visitors can see it right when they land on your blog. It can also be a good idea to place another subscribe link at the bottom of your posts like a call to action.
- Using a generic blog theme —Look, you don’t need some high-priced, custom design to have a good looking blog. But using the default, boring themes straight out of the box makes you look like an amateur. That’s all there is to it. Give your blog a fresh, unique look that flows with your brand.
- No social media sharing buttons—You need to make is simple for readers to share your content with their friends on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, ReddIt, and so on. This can help drive traffic to your posts and create a viral effect. To simplify the process, choose a plugin for your blog that places social media buttons on your posts. This allows the readers to share your content with a single click.
- Too many ads—There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money from your blog. Some well-placed ads can earn you some extra cash each month. But your blog shouldn’t be one big ad. Readers have limits, and if their experience is bogged down by sifting through distracting ads, they won’t follow your blog. Keep the ads in a sidebar or a banner that doesn’t interfere with your main blog content.
- No author info—Readers want to know they’re dealing with a real person. There’s a certain relationship between readers and authors that makes blogging different from other forms of information sharing. You don’t necessarily need to have a separate About page. Just a simple box in the sidebar with your picture and a brief bio should suffice.
- Too many sidebar links—Speaking of the sidebar, please don’t use your blog’s sidebar as a link dump. A few links are okay, but some bloggers take it way too far by placing hundreds of links in there. It’s overkill, and it looks a little spammy if you ask me.
What are some other blog design mistakes you’d add to this list? Leave a comment with your tips.
Posted on Tue, July 13, 2010
by Brian Waraksa filed under