I’m back with another tips and tricks post and today we’re gonna have a little chinwag about blog design. Now, I have come to live and breathe blog design when I’m at pipdig‘s house at the weekends aaand you may have noticed mine has changed recently too (let me know what you think)! So I thought I’d write a post about blog design (with pipdig approval) and the things to think about when designing your own. Ain’t telling you how it should look, just tryin’ to be helpful!
When deciding on your blog design, it’s always good to stick to a theme. This could be minimal / monochrome, like mine, or more girly, like Pearls and Poodles. I’m not saying you should stick to one thing and that if you like pink, your blog should be all girly and shabby chic. Not at all. Sometimes it’s nice to mix style elements, just make sure it flows and keep all of the below categories in mind. In The Frow is a nice example of mixing styles, as it blends together a clean overall aesthetic, using some minimal elements but includes girly features and bright colours.
Mobile / Responsive Design //
With more and more people using their phones and tablets to read blogs these days, it’s so important to consider having a good mobile template set up for your blog. This reduces your loading time, ensures your text is more readable and optimises your design so mobile readers can take it in easier. So, instead of readers zooming in and scrolling all over the page, you have it in one handy little layout. Plus, it makes clicking drop down menu items much easier, as it’s difficult to do it on a normal template.
Fonts and Colours //
Fonts | You readers need to actually be able to read your blog, right? For main text, it’s good to stick with the basic ones used online such as Georgia, Helvetica, Arial etc. They may be boring, but they work and readers will be able to finish your blog posts instead of struggling and clicking off. Using more intricate and unique fonts works well on posts titles and large texts (headers etc) as they’ll be big enough for the reader to take in.
Colours | Think about keeping your colours down to around three, unless the point of your blog is to be multicoloured. Pick shades that fit nicely with each other and choose ones that flatter the next, as it’ll tie your blog in together. This is always easier on the eye to the reader and creates more flow, which guides the eye down the page naturally instead of getting distracted by sudden chunks of colour. If you’re going for a multi-coloured or bright look, consider keeping it in your header, social media buttons and in defined places throughout your blog so it’s not too overwhelming.
If you’re struggling to think of colours, look at the colour wheel here and follow the rules of complimentary colours (opposite on the colour wheel) or analogous colours (ones they sit beside each other on the colour wheel). You want your content to stand out above all, so it’s an important one to think about.
I think images and writing are 50/50 in importance when it comes to the first impression of a blog. I always make my images the same width (all pipdig templates automatically scale your images where possible) as it looks more streamlined and is easier for readers to take in. It’s also relevant in your sidebar, as a messy sidebar can put some people off.
If my images are on a white background, as they are in my beauty ones and other posts, I always save my pictures as .PNG. Blogger seems to darken my images and makes white backgrounds look grey. Since a .PNG file is much bigger than a .JPG, I run images through a site which makes the file sizes smaller such as Tiny PNG. Images such as my outfits posts are saved as a standard .JPG, but resized so they won’t take as long to load on my blog.
Images also play a part when your blog post is published to Bloglovin’, as you want this image to draw readers in and encourage people to read your post. Pick the most interesting picture as your main one so people will be more inclined to click, as this also applies to Google+ and Facebook too.
Make Everything Accessible //
I’ve discussed this before in a previous blog tips post, but it’s really important to make everything accessible. Whether you want to display your social media links in your sidebar or in a topbar, make sure they’re well displayed and recognisable to readers so they can click and follow if they want to. Same with your comment button, make sure it’s clearly visible so people can leave you some nice words!
It’s also handy to have categories if your blog is more than one topic, such as fashion and beauty. I know some of my readers prefer one or the other, so it’s nice to break this down in my sidebar (click each one for a drop down!). Make sure you label your posts with alternative tags such as ‘beauty’, ‘skincare’ etc if you want to do this and then link to this where you need to.
There’s other things, such as a disclaimer and a PR page, but these aren’t always necessary depending on the themes of your blog. But, if you’re accepting gifted items or working with PR’s, then it’s always handy to have a page for them just so people know where you stand on these topics.
So, I hope this post helps and keep your eyes peeled for a little blog design giveaway with pipidig that I’ll be hosting later on today!