Since we discussed branding last month, I thought it would be a good time to discuss blog design! Today I thought I’d share a few rules for blog design, just some basic suggestions that anyone can follow. Of course, some rules were made to be broken, and you may just find that breaking the rules works better for your site depending on your writing style and how you present your posts. But for most, there are a few general tips that work well for blogs!
1. Don’t center align body copy.
This is something I see all the time on blogs, and I’m going to be honest here — it needs to stop. Center-aligned text can be great for drawing attention, but it’s best used in small doses — think post titles and blockquotes. When you center align body copy, it’s more difficult to read because the reader must find the starting point of each new line, since it’s always changing. Because we read left to right, left-aligned text works best for body copy because the eye can follow the lines down the page more easily. Make things easy for your readers!
(Side note: remember how I said rules were made to be broken? Aspiring Kennedy is a really great example of someone whose writing style lends itself to center-aligned text. Do what’s right for you! But in general, if you’re writing longer paragraphs, center-aligned text is not recommended.)
2. Don’t use light text on a dark background.
This one really isn’t a hard and fast rule, but most people find it more difficult to read light text on a dark background. You might be able to get away with it if you don’t write a lot and break up your text into smaller chunks, but since blogs are typically pretty text heavy, it’s best to stick with dark text on a light background. Regardless, make sure there is the right amount of contrast between your background and text. Web Designer Depot has some great tips to consider if you feel a dark background really suits your site.
3. Do use sans-serif or serif fonts for body copy.
I know that handwriting font is cute, but it’s really difficult to read when you write long paragraphs. Stick with sans-serif or serif fonts for body copy — you can play around with fun fonts in your post graphics, when you can use them for a few words to draw attention. If you don’t want to use the traditional Arial, Georgia, Times, etc., I’ve shared 6 Google fonts to consider.
4. Do keep your photos the same width.
I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again: the easiest thing you can do to improve your blog design is to make your photos the same width, preferably the same width as the rest of your content. It guides the reader down the page in a clean and organized way. You can do this quickly and easily, for free, with PicMonkey.
5. Do make it easy to find your social media links (if you have them).
I’m not saying you have to have social media links — do what works best for you! But if you are active on Twitter, Facebook, whatever, please don’t hide your links at the bottom of your contact page, then hide that link in your footer. If I want to share your post on Twitter, I want to mention you in the tweet so my followers can easily let you know that they like the post as well. I’m not going to spend forever trying to find your Twitter handle.
6. Don’t auto-play anything.
There is nothing more annoying than opening a site and not being able to figure out where the noise is coming from and how to stop it. Period. The end. (Remember how I said some rules were made to be broken? This is not one of those rules.)
Are there any rules you would add?