Simple is the key here – not only are these tweaks simple, but your overall blog design should be simple too: the simpler, the cleaner, the better. Your goal is to make it easy to navigate your site and for a reader to find what they're looking for quickly (think about all your search engine visitors) – content should be the main focus of your blog, NOT the design.
There are lots of great articles on ProBlogger about this, but one in particular said that among other things, you should design your blog to make these things clear to the reader:
Where am I?
Where should I begin?
What is the most important thing on this page?
Simple, right? But you can easily sabotage your readers' ability to navigate and find what they're looking for with a cluttered, distracting blog design. Easily fixable – just:
Make Sure Your Header is Simple
Your blog's header is the first thing a new reader sees, so make it good!! I personally prefer simple font-based or typography headers with the blog's name in them (LOVE into the gloss'), but the right image(s) can be fun too (like Man Repeller's). Also, don't make them too tall so they take up valuable real estate at the top of your page – you should be able to see your first post title and some content before the fold.
Use Full Width Images
If you post outfit pictures, collages, or any images on your blog, they should ideally be the full width of your content column. And hopefully it goes without saying that all your images should be THE SAME WIDTH 😉 Uniformity is key to simple blog design; you want the eye to flow easily over images (although there shouldn't be too many).
Use a Blog Design with One Sidebar
I really find that blogs with a main content column and one sidebar are more clean-looking and appealing. They're also easier to read; your eyes aren't “confused” about where to go, they naturally go first to the widest column where your content is. Interestingly, eye tracking studies show that readers generally view pages in an “F” pattern – first horizontally across the top, then down a bit and across, then vertically down the left side of the page. If you look through some of the images in the studies, a left sidebar generally gets left out of what the reader looks at altogether because the eye goes first to the content. So why have it?
Make Sure You Have Content Before the Fold
Generally readers focus most of their attention above the fold (how often do YOU scroll down?), and sometimes don't' even go further to see what else is on your page, or even finish your article, so make sure a reader can get the main idea of your first post before having to touch their mouse. Repeat visitors and engaged readers will usually scroll down, but readers who come from search engines want to find what they were looking for quickly without scrolling down, so make sure they can. (Analyze your stats to see which pages get the most search engine traffic, then make sure key information is at the top of those posts.)
Place the Most Important Information at the Top
This advice follows from the previous, but it's worth an extra look. Did you know that your about page is the second thing people look for when they get to your blog? Make sure the link to your about page is prominent, and if you have a widget in your sidebar with a photo and some “about” text, make sure it's near the top of your pages. Also, place your social buttons near the top of your pages, as well as your navigation bar.
Use a White/Light background
Too much contrast on your pages make them difficult to read – stick with a white or very light background for your page and ALWAYS a white background for your content areas.
How have you tweaked your blog design to make it better? Any other tips?
[Image Credit: Shutterstock.com]