Elements Of A Good Blog Design

One of the questions that I got in my reader survey from a couple months back was "What makes a good blog design?"

I've been designing my own blog from the beginning, and it has changed a lot - even the styles that are popular have changed a lot since five years ago, so anything I say in this post is up for adjustment to future trends, etc.  Personally though, I think there are a few timeless elements of good blog design.  And I have probably broken all of these before coming to my current conclusions!  But here are my tips, in no particular order . . .

Blog name at the top.  
Obviously.  I don't care whether it's in your sidebar, stretches across the page, or whatever, but just make sure it's at the top.

Make it clean.  
When your blog design becomes too cluttered it's hard for people to find what they want.  Plus it just doesn't create a peaceful, welcoming environment for readers.  If there are too many things going on above the fold (the part of your blog that shows up before someone scrolls down), it just gets confusing, and that applies whether it be too many ads, too many buttons, too many graphics, too much text, or whatever.  Keep it simple.  Try to keep your sidebar well-organized.  Just don't let it feel too chaotic.

Add pages.  
It is important to make it easy for readers to find critical information about you or your blog without having to scroll through all of your content.  The pages I think are critical?  An "About" page - every blog should have one, even if your blog is very small.  A "Contact" page - create a blog e-mail and make it available so readers who want to contact you personally can do so.  And if you are accepting ads or reviews at all - a "Sponsor/PR" page.  You can have more pages than this, but just keep in mind the above rule - don't let it get too messy.  Also, not all pages have to go in your tabs section - you can put some in your sidebar.

Put social media buttons up high.  
Keep your social media buttons near the top of your blog - you want to make it easy for readers to subscribe, and easy for them to find you other places on the web.  If you do not have blog accounts for other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook (which I strongly suggest you consider doing if you don't), you at least need to have subscription links - an RSS button linking to your feed, a button for Bloglovin (right now that's a big way people are subscribing to blogs), and an e-mail button (to "link" to e-mail, just insert this where the link usually goes: mailto:youremailaddress).  For more info on how to create social media buttons you can check out this post.

Put some sort of intro or picture of yourself in the top of your sidebar.  
Once again, make it easy for readers to know who they are reading about!


Those are the basics that I think are important, but I do have opinions on a couple other things - some may disagree with me on these, and I have seen nice blog designs that don't obey the following "rules".  But as a rule of thumb, I think it's good to keep these things in mind.

Make sure the title of your most recent blog post is visible before scrolling down.  
I think this is important to draw the reader down into your blog.  Don't make your header too tall, and don't put other things above your posts.

Stick with a light background.  
This is definitely personal preference on my part, but I prefer a white background.  In general a white or light background is just happier and cleaner and more calming than other colors.  This rule can sometimes be broken and still work, but in general lighter backgrounds are just safer.

Stick with basic (aka: boring) fonts for your main page text.  
It's all about making it easy for your readers to . . . well, read.  And fancy fonts as your main text can be difficult for some people.  Have fun with your blog titles and post titles and sidebar titles and graphics, but keep the main text simple.

Other people may add more to my list, but those are the things that I think most good blog designs have.  I've been a little specific with those last three, but I don't think people should get too much more picky than that.  You have to leave some room for personal style! If you like to play with your post formats and alignment of the text - go for it.  If you want to experiment with the position of your header or pages - have fun with it.  Just keep the above rules in mind and you'll be fine.
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Hayley! said...

Great list! All of these things are great components of an appealing blog design!

Kenzie Smith said...

I agree with all of those! A good design always keeps me coming back :)

Megan|BishopPlaceHandmade said...

Right on!!! Thanks! You have a great design and a fresh pallet!

Jessica said...

Good post! I agree with all of this. When I first started blogging, my page was so busy, and I had so many things clogging up my sidebar! Now I'm very minimalistic, and I like it so much better! So I agree about keeping it clean. Now you've inspired me to make some social media buttons if I ever find the time! Haha...I've been wanting to do that for awhile.

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