Why having a well designed blog is important

Why having a well designed blog is important
by guest blogger Glen L Graham II
web-designer / graphic artist
The G&R Group

You will hear many bloggers tell you content is king and while I agree with that 100%. This is not the only factor in building a successful blog. A well designed blog can grab a users attention drive traffic to a blog, make words come alive etc. Below I have broken down the elements of a well designed blog.

What’s in your header?
Browsing through blogs peoples eyes gravitate to designs that jump out at them. Depending on how a visitor was raised education and other life experiences will play a role in what types of visitors are attracted to your blogs header design, So time should be spent carefully planning how you want your header to look and what message you want to convey to a new visitor. Even if you plan on using type only in your header consider the font, color and message in your header. This is why art directors, book authors spend a significant amount of time designing a book cover. Your blogs header is the first impression that you will make on a new user make sure it’s a memorable one.

gnrgroup
GNR Group

Widget over kill
Too many widgets on a page  will kill a blog’s design and  turn off visitors. How should you gauge whether or not you have too many widgets on your blog? Check other blogs and see what kind of an impact  widgets have on your experience. Widgets don’t only spoil the design they also compromise blog speed, in short viewers may have to wait for widgets to load before they can interact with your blog. This may seem like common sense to veteran bloggers but to new bloggers the lure of adding widgets may be too overwhelming to pass up.

The Layout
There are endless blog design templates out there but I encourage new bloggers and veterans a like not to use the theme as is. Doing this is the equivalent to walking into a department store and buying the clothing straight off the mannequin, others will do the same thing and you may bump in to some one with the same exact outfit. (not cool) Use your creativity by adding to your blog’s design to make it unique.

When I first got started blogging I used kubrick which I believe is the default theme that comes with WordPress, I changed the header and background and thought I was in business. I soon discovered after going to many different blogs we all had the same theme with similar designs. It was at that point I knew I had to come up with a unique design that I could call my own. I immediately noticed an increase in visitors and I am sure that my blogs unique design played an important roll in the surge of traffic.

Special Thanks
I would like to give a special thanks to Timethief for allowing me to write this article for her readers. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to write for such a accomplished blogger. Timethief’s blog is a blueprint of what a well designed and beautifully structured blog should look like. I hope you all have found this article helpful and insightful. I’m sure I left out a few things  so feel free to add any additional ideas in the comment section of this article.

Related posts found in this blog:
How to Become a Better Blogger 6: Theme Evaluation
Swing into Summer: New Themes and Headers
Kubrick header generator available

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14 thoughts on “Why having a well designed blog is important

  1. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. Great information which I appreciate as I am in the process of changing WP templates and having some customization done for my new blog template. I am having a custom logo/banner made for me too. I am hopeful that a new look and design with draw more traffic as it did for the Glen of G&R group. It’s as Glen stated, I have outgrown the free WP template and want something new and custom made for me. Thank you for this useful post.

  3. I am just getting started blogging with the intent to post good content that provides a portal to monetization. After reading your post on customization of stock blog themes I will definately have to put that on teh To Do list of future projects. Right now just getting through the Shawn Casey Course is taking up many hours. There is a Lot to Learn.

  4. Along with widget overkill I’d add adsense overkill. There are some blogs where you wonder whether the point is the content or the adsense adds

  5. Im working on a new blog design. Widget overkill is a big think with me, I think if wordpress provided more magazine type themes with excerpts then maybe that will help. With the fact that you can use scrollbars in the widget helps a little.
    Even though Im not adopting a minimalist or simple theme, I find the more simple themes to be more efficient and classic.

  6. Hi Timethief,

    I tried to “shout back” to you on BlogCatalog but it wasn’t working. Regarding your tip to me about the fact that my blog is a story and it might not work for readers to read the latest post first:

    Here’s what I did:

    I now have it set up so that when you go to blog, you get to a fixed page and read “what the blog is about” with a link to the start of the story.

    Or you can click on the right, under monnths, to get to the recent posts. But I don’t know if I like this…AND the link I created to take you to the beginning of the story, ONLY gets you to that one post and you’re not able to scroll through from there and I am not sure that this is the way to go….

    If you have a sec, let me know your opinion!!
    http://italiandreams.wordpress.com

    THANKS SO MUCH!!!!

  7. Having a theme that works well is also important. I have tried many different ones since starting blogging a few months ago… Many of them are VERY buggy… Or have huge headers that you have to scroll way down to read any posts… Although many of them are “pretty”

    Actually the “blogging tips” blogs seem to be using the best themes :)

  8. Thanks SBA
    I would have to agree with you tinkering with code is not for the faint at heart. I have received so many emails from novice designers who have broken their themes because they just start changing code.

    I recently discovered a plugin for Firefox call Fire Bug it is amazing! It allows you to edit code from a visual stand point and you can see your changes live in your web browser. It is an indispensable tool for any webdeveloper

  9. Hi rainforestrobin
    I’m glad you found the article helpful. I remember when I started out I was so amazed at all of the different widgets I could add to my blog. I knew I had over kill when it took my blog over two minutes to load. Once I got rid of all of the widget clutter I received more comments on my posts.

  10. Those widgets are very tempting! I’ve spent some time taming mine, based on the very points that Glen made. The default templates are too limited and changing font size fools no one. But you do need to learn some basic skills before tickering with code – not for the faint of heart. A customized header is a major part of a template makeover. I’d add the navigation bar or element — visitors don’t want to search for the floor assistants in your department store analogy. Thanks for your concise and useful checklist!

  11. Well, I think I am in widget overkill! :( I suspected that I was but this article confirms it. Being a relatively new blogger, I’ve been fascinated by all the little bells and whistles…BUT you are right they make the page slow loading as well as clutter-ish. I will have to make some changes to my blog when I have more time and more “know how”. Great article! Thanks. :)

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