Blog design for beginners: Choosing a layout that works for your contentAlex Sky
Blogging has come a long way in a relatively short time.
This is as true of the back-end technology as it is of the popularity and awareness of blog content. There are, for example, many blogging sites and designs available now even for first-time bloggers, and following significant improvements in general usability over the years, it may be tempting for a blogging beginner to jump in with the first site and layout they find online. However, not all layouts and designs are equal, and some may work better for your particular content requirements than others. In choosing a design that complements the content, you can significantly increase the pull factor for new readers, and consequently increase the chances of your blog succeeding.
Layout and content working together
It is not always easy to identify immediately which blog layout will most effectively complement the content of a blog. This is particularly the case for new blogs, where the content has not yet solidified within its own style and the author may still be searching for a unique and attractive identity with which to draw readers. Graphics, for example, can be one point of contention. While thematically appropriate graphics or background images may enhance the theme of the content in some cases, in other cases the additional visual load can work against the text. In the worst situation, badly positioned graphics may reduce the readability of the text, and in other situations repetitive use of the same image in wallpaper, for example, can become tedious or unattractive and in some instances the heavy use of graphics and images can slow down page loading times and drive away readers through a lack of site usability.
The challenge of updates
One of the reasons that it can be challenging to include the heavy use of graphics or images in a blog template is that, by its nature, a blog is frequently updated. This means that much of the look of the blog will constantly change in small ways, and the content with which it works will also change. This is different from a static web page, in which a visual look can be more easily defined to complement the text and content, and it defines one of the fundamental attributes of a good blog page design: it should be easy to update.
Tips on choosing an attractive, functional design
Combining the functional efficiency of an easy-to-update web page with the visual attractiveness that is necessary to draw in readers is the essential difficulty in choosing or designing a blog layout. There are, however, a number of approaches that can help the first-time blogger to get off to a good start.
- Simplicity is the key in most cases. A clean, uncluttered look is flexible in terms of matching the blog content, and is less likely to clash with, for example, images that are used as one-off illustrations in a blog entry. Keeping it simple can also create an advantage when it comes to responsive design, which adapts a page to the device that is being used to read it.
- The use of white space also adds flexibility that can assist with responsive design or mobile first design, and can be visually attractive in its own right, while maintaining compatibility with a wide range of blog types.
- A sympathetic palette of just two or three colors is vital in ensuring legibility of text, and consistency of fonts and colors adds to the visual impact.
- In some cases, using a theme from a platform such as WordPress can provide a ready-made visual environment in which to set the content of a blog.
Success stories: an example
To see the sort of impression that can be created by following these tips, an example of a successful blog, where the content covers unbiased news coverage, can be found at www.baedaily.com. The lack of non-content clutter, the use of white space, and the consistent visual approach all work toward making this website visually appealing and usable for blog visitors. With the help of a deceptively simple design, the blog creates its own clear identity and the layout provides an accessible way into the content even for first-time visitors.
Choosing an effective blog layout can be a critical step in setting up a blog for success. A clean visual appearance can both draw a reader into the content and make a blog flexible for different devices through responsive design. Professional visual themes from sites such as WordPress can also help the first-time blogger to establish an appropriate and appealing identity.