Sunday, June 12, 2011

7 Tips For Better Blog Design

Almost everyone has a blog these days. There are hundreds of millions of blogs being tracked online, and no matter what subject you’re writing about, you can bet there are several other blogs you’ll be competing with.
With so much competition out there, what can you do to separate yourself from the rest of the pack? Content is definitely important, but don’t forget about the importance of blog design. A great blog design can make your blog look more professional while improving its usability to draw in more readers.
The good news is you don’t have to be a web design expert to create a good-looking blog. As long as you have a basic grasp of dealing with WordPress, you should be able to implement these 7 tips for a better blog design.
  1. Keep the ads separate from the content: People don’t come to your blog to look at your advertisements. Your readers crave actual content. With that in mind, the content needs to be the main focus of your blog, not the advertisements. There’s nothing wrong with putting ads on your blog. In fact, I encourage it as it lets you make more money from your blogging efforts. Just make sure to keep the ads separate from the content in a sidebar or a banner.
  2. Don’t use the default WordPress theme: The default WordPress theme just isn’t acceptable for a serious blogging endeavor. It looks cheap and amateurish, and your readers will never take you seriously if that’s the theme you use. I’m not even saying you need to go out and pay for a customized theme. You don’t. There are plenty of really great free WordPress themes that can add a touch of style to your blog.
  3. Add your own unique header: If you’re using a pre-designed WordPress theme, there are still some little things you can do to make it your own. The easiest thing is to change the header of the blog. The header/banner of free WordPress themes is usually pretty generic, so this is a great place to put in your logo or a unique graphic for branding the blog as yours. If you don’t want to design your own header, you can search online for premium WordPress headers that fit with your current theme.
  4. Beware of using too many widgets and plugins: A cluttered design can ruin the usability of your blog. Plugins, widgets, sidebars, badges, etc. can be useful, but if you get carried away, they start to become a distraction. Stick to the essentials that enhance your blog’s usability such as categories, social media sharing buttons, RSS feed, top posts, etc. and then add in other elements sparingly. Above all else, keep it clean!
  5. Make sure your RSS feed is easy to access: You want readers to keep coming back to your blog, right? You can’t expect them to manually search and visit your blog each day on their own. That’s just not going to happen. However, interested readers will be inclined to subscribe to your RSS feed so they get an email each time you add a new post. To attract the most subscribers, you need to put the RSS feed button above the fold where it’s easily visible. Also, these RSS buttons have a tendency to flake out occasionally, so make sure you check it regularly to ensure it’s still working properly.
  6. Add life to your posts with great images and videos: A good image can do wonders for a blog post. It can catch the attention of your visitors, help break up the content, and even enhance the point you’re making in your post. Just make sure you aren’t stealing copyright-protected images. You can sign up on Stock.xchng to get free stock photos.
  7. Include a useful about page: Blogging is a personal thing. It’s all about community, and your readers want to feel like they know you. A simple about page with a picture and some general information can help you create a relationship with your visitors.
When’s the last time you really focused on the design of your blog? Do you think there’s anything you could do to make it look better?

John manages the nursing scrubs website, one stop online shop for branded lab coats, scrub tops and all kind of medical uniforms.

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