Tuesday, July 5, 2011

10 Essential Blog Design Elements

Most popular blogs have a number of blog design elements in common. Read on to learn about ten of the most important blog design elements your blog must have in order to have a chance at success!
1. Readable Text
Your blog design must be easy to read. That means the fonts you choose should be large enough to be read on high resolution monitors, and they should be simple enough to be legible. In other words, don't choose a highly stylized font. Stick with Georgia or Verdana or another Web-friendly font. Also, make sure the text on your blog is easy to scan quickly. Follow the link to learn more about writing scannable blog posts.

2. Inviting Colors

Don't select colors in your blog design that are blinding or so light that it's difficult for visitors to read the text or even look at your blog for more than a few seconds. The easiest colors for people to read online are light backgrounds (white is best) with dark text and images (such as black, dark blue, dark green, and so on).

3. Easy Navigation

Make it easy for visitors to find your content. Don't hinder their visit by using interstitial ads or splash pages. In other words, don't give them a chance to click away from your blog when they land on it.

4. Short Pages

People don't like to scroll. Keep your blog pages short by configuring your blog settings to show no more than 10 blog posts on each page of your blog (5-7 is best). If your blog posts are long, consider using the HTML more tag to split your post into two parts so only the first part appears on the main page of your blog and the rest is available for viewing when a visitor clicks the provided link (often called a 'jump'). You can learn about the HTML more tag on the Wordpress support site here.

5. Search Function

Make it easy for visitors to find related content, specific content, and archived content on your blog by including a search box in your blog's sidebar or header.

6. Your Bio or Profile

While there are some successful blogs written by anonymous authors, most are written by a person or team who makes it very clear why they are the person or group to write about their blog subjects. Show the world who you are and why you're qualified to write your blog by including a comprehensive biography. The best bloggers build strong relationships with their readers, and your bio is the first place to make yourself seem human and personable. Follow the link for tips on writing your About Me page.

7. Contact Form and Social Links

The best bloggers build relationships with their readers, and part of that is making it easy for your readers to connect with you, share information, and get to know you. Make it easy for them to communicate with you by providing a contact form or a link to email you, so you can talk off of your blog. Furthermore, be sure to include links to your social networking profiles such as your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to continue building relationships off of your blog.

8. Useful Footer

Don't forget your footer when you create your blog. When people can't find what they're looking for on a Web site, they often scroll to the footer to find site-wide links such as a contact link, site map link, and so on. Take some time to include useful links and information in your blog's footer, and make sure the footer appears at the bottom of all of your blog pages.
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9. Subscription Links

Don't forget to include a link and button above the fold on your blog for people to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed. Subscribers often turn into your most loyal readers. Make it easy for everyone who visits your blog to subscribe. Follow the link to learn more about increasing RSS subscribers.

10. Silence

As tempting as it might be, don't use music on your blog. If you must include music, allow visitors to turn it on at their discretion. Do not have music automatically play when someone visits your blog. While music can enhance a blog, it is more often thought of negatively.

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