Are you contented with your site design?
Is it making a positive first impression?
Are you using your site to brand yourself?
Do you think your site deserves a good makeover?
Whether you are a social blogger or you are in for a long haul, it holds true that your blog design speaks a lot about who you are as a blogger and what you are passionate about. It’s an extension of you. Your writing skill aside, it’s your most powerful branding tool.
The blogosphere is too competitive where everyone is competing for visitors’ attention. It’s critical that you set yourself apart from the crowd. All other things being equal, a crappy design is your ultimate passport to blogging failure.
10 Tips Before You Get Your Blog Re-designed!
Below is my first attempt to share with you my own perspective of what you should consider before you get your blog redesigned. These are the top 10 personal tips from a non-designer point of view.
It may not be the ultimate guideline but it’s enough for any beginners to begin with.
1. Clear Objective
Every piece of great design comes with a clear objective. What are you trying to achieve? Whom are you targeting? Are you re-branding yourself?
Your objectives serve a guideline throughout the design process. It’s the soul of your design and it’s the beginning of everything beautiful and wonderful.
2. KISS – Keep It Sweet & Simple
Design simplicity should the key goal without the unnecessary complexity. It should be widget-less, uncluttered and not visually chaotic.
On the subject of simplicity, the use of color is part of the discussion too. Your choice of colors should be one that are complimentary and visually pleasing to the eyes. Nothing is more amateurish than to see a rainbow of colors in a design.
3. First Impression Counts
I’m not a designer but I do have an eye for details and a penchant for all things beautiful. I appreciate good design. Design that leaves a good first impression. One notable example of good contents with superb design is Bloggessive by Alex Cristache. It has the best of both contents and right packaging if you ask me.
OK, probably I’m biased! He is one of the judges for this group writing project but I challenge you to prove me otherwise.
4. It ain’t Heavy, It’s my Images
“People hates to wait”. A slow loading site is a turn off to your visitors. It turns away potential prospects and ultimately from buying your products, thus losing the sales.
I admit this is one area I have little control over. Fact is my blog loads pretty slow due to its excessive use of background images. It’s part of the design I couldn’t do much about it.
5. Good Call-to-Action = Good Conversion Rate
A good call-to-action design ensures a good conversion rate. Whether you are persuading your visitors to subscribe, join your mailing list and click your affiliate links, use a visual cue that anyone can easily understand.
In this regard, an RSS button that sticks out and is visible at first glance will capture your visitors’ attention and increase the likelihood of them clicking to subscribe.
6. Use of Typography
Does font-style makes any difference? Is letter-spacing improves readability? Yes, it certainly does.
Unconvinced? How about these 25+ Sites that use Typography as the Only Design Element? You’ll surprised that ‘typography‘ alone can truly give a design a well-deserved “WOW” factor.
7. Cross Browser Compatibility
This is an old school tip that has stood the test of time. I don’t know much your browsing preference, I’ve dumped IE since the birth of Firefox and why 50% of users are still on IE is still beyond me.
IE is truly “a pain in the ass” for most designers and due to its false popularity, we can’t ignore the importance of compatibility of our design structure across all major browsers, IE in particular. What looks good on Safari could be a mess on IE.
8. Get Your Readers’ Feedback
You don’t own your blog, your readers do. That said, it’s a logical thing to get feedback from your readers. What is their aesthetic preference? What do they like or dislike about your site?
Keep in mind that no one design can please everyone, the key is find the right balance between what you want (see #1) and what’s in the best interest of your target audience.
9. Know Your Budget
If you are working with limited budget, be prepared of trade-offs. Every designer lives by the same rule of thumb, that is “Good Thing No Cheap, Cheap Thing No Good!” So ask yourself, “How much am I willing to invest on my blog?”
10. Be Yourself
Be yourself, everyone else is taken. Your personality is the only thing unique about you. If blue isn’t your kind of thing, don’t choose one because John Chow is using blue. Got the idea?
In A Nutshell
Design does matter. User-focused design matters more. If you want to take your blog to the next level, think design. If you don’t have the expertise to do so, hire a designer.
This post is a contest entry of Blog Design Contest, hosted by Blog Design Studio and the winner will get a free custom wordpress theme. There are some amazing prizes by Daily Blog Tips and Blogging Tips as well.
* Image Source: Apple