I recently redesigned my blog and I was pleased that many of you liked the outcome. I spent about an hour every evening for a week working on it and here are a few key points that helped me in the process.
1. Creating a theme: A theme helps to group different elements of your blog, reflect your style and say something about you and the content at the first sight. A good theme will draw attention to the blog and hold the interest of readers for a longer time than a noisy, distracting theme. The main elements which define the theme of a blog are:
Layout: As a first step, I think it is very important to choose the layout for your blog. How would you want the blog to look? You can choose from 1-column, 2-column or 3-column formats. Some vital decisions to make at this point are – whether you want only the right or left or both sidebars, the overall width of your page, the width of the main content bar, the sidebars and the header. Browse some of your favorite blogs to see what you like best.Colors: While choosing colors, take care so that they don’t conflict with each other and remain consistent across the blog. For defining the color palette, I recommend looking into a few color blogs [Design Seeds is my favorite] to decide which colors appeal to you the most when coordinated with each other. Choose 2-3 colors that reflect your style and set a pleasant mood for the readers. Of course, you can always go monochrome if that is your style! 🙂
Fonts: I think it is good to stick to 2-3 fonts for the blog. One for the header/logo, one for the titles and headings, and one for the actual text. Choose fonts that are complementary but contrasting at the same time. Here is an article to help you choose the right fonts. Too many fonts together will make the blog look very cluttered and busy. Google Fonts, Adobe Edge and dafont are wonderful resources for free fonts.
2. It is all in the header: The first thing that anyone sees on your blog is the header. So it is important to make the header attractive, visually appealing and clear at the same time. You can keep it simple by using just words or you can add graphics to emphasize it a bit more. Adding a simple tagline which tells the reader immediately what to expect from the blog is also a great idea. There are so many options and you can get really creative while designing your header, so spend some time playing around with it and decide what works best for you. But also keep in mind, less is more.
3. Easy Navigation: It is good to create an easy and intuitive way for users to browse your blog. Provide the links to your pages– About, Contact etc. at a place where it is easy to find them i.e header/sidebar. Using categories to sort your blog posts according to topics is a lovely idea as it helps the user to find the content they are interested in without having to go through all the posts. Including a search bar and a link to browse your archives are other useful ways to help readers find the content they are looking for easily.
4. Sidebar: After the header, the sidebar is the most important aspect of your design as it scrolls down with the page and is always visible to the reader. So keep this space free of clutter, remove unwanted widgets and include useful and attractive information here. A cluttered sidebar will compete for attention with your content and take away from it.
5. Use a lot of white space: There is something about white space that gives a lot of clarity and neatness to the design. Use white space between blog posts, sidebar widgets, between the columns of your layout and all other places where you feel the need to. You can do this by increasing the padding and the margins for all the CSS elements in your HTML code.
Of course, I am still learning too and my design isn’t perfect. But certainly, these points were helpful. Blog designing in my opinion is a never ending process because there is always scope for improvement. However, it is a very creative and interesting process, so have fun while you are at it. Designing your own blog can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling!
What are your tips for a better blog design?