Blog Design Disasters (and how to avoid them)

Think about your favorite blogs, better yet, go look at them. What makes them your favorites? Great content? Great photos? Anything else? I'd be willing to bet it's good design. Design makes a huge difference – even if you aren't consciously aware of it.

Good Blog Design - Design TIps for BLoggers

The smallest details of your blog's design speak volumes to your readers.
I know what you're thinking, you aren't a graphic designer! How are you suposed to avoid having your blog riddled with bad design?  Well, I've made a quick of what I think are the most glaring design disasters facing blogs today and the simple steps you can take to solve them.

5 Design Disasters (& how to fix them)

The Disaster: Different Sized Images -This is one of the most common and one of the easiest to fix!
Why it's a problem: From a design standpoint it just looks sloppy and unprofessional. From a blogger’s standpoint it looks like you don’t care enough to take the time to resize your images.
The Fix: Pick an image width that works for your layout, and resize all of your images to fit. Easy!

The Disaster: Inconsistent Fonts – serif, sans serif, hand written, script! From your header to your sidebar to the images you use, are your fonts all over the map?
Why it's a problem: From a branding perspective inconsistency looks messy, and that’s not the impression you want to give, is it? Plus –the wrong fonts can be super to read.
The Fix: Pick 2 or 3 fonts and stick with them – for everything! A good rule of thumb – one serif (serifs are the little “tails” on the letters) one sans serif and one decorative font (handwritten, script, etc. – here’s a great article on font pairing to check out!)

The Disaster: Light Colored Text – keeping on the typography train, let’s talk about color…
Why it's a problem: I can’t read your post. Simple as that.
The Fix: Use a dark colored font (unless your background it dark, then apply the opposite school of thought.)

The Disaster: Your Header is your only content above the fold.
Why it's a problem: Unless your header can tell me everything I need to know about you and your blog in one glance, I want to see some more content when first pull up your page. It’s the old “Can’t judge a book by it’s cover” idiom for the blog world. Gimme a little meat please.
The Fix: Another easy one – make that header image shorter, when a reader fist come to your page make sure they can see your first post title – and at least the start of an image.

The Disaster: Contact forms with no email address listed.
Why it's a problem: I like to use my own email address to send outgoing emails, #1 – that way my signature with all my info shows up and #2 –  I can keep track of what I've sent by checking me sent folder. Also, sometimes I just want your email address… what if I have an invite to send you? Why do you make it so difficult to get in touch?
The Fix: If you MUST use a contact form, just list your email address as well. That gives us the option to do either.

Can you think of any other design disasters you need help solving, or have a good fix for? Let us know in the comments!

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33 Responses

  1. Catherine

    Great article! I specially liked the advice on resizing images but wish you had gone more in depth on how to actually do that…

    Reply
  2. Sandra

    Perfect! thank you for the tips! I’m always revamping my blog and trying to find a design that fits me.

    Reply
  3. Nnenna

    These are great tips! I just redesigned my blog over the weekend and happy to say that I avoided all the “design disasters!” 🙂

    Reply
  4. Sharon

    Fonts are definitely important. I refuse to strain my eyes to read “curly-q” fonts on a blog.
    Another is photo placement, I have seen images that are in between -not paragraphs- but actual words.

    Reply
  5. Contemporary Jewelers

    Typography is important in developing a clean and crisp blog. Take the font from this blog for example. Noticing how easy it is to read and sporting a contemporary designer look. Also, I live the Independent branding is very hip and chic. Kudos to the designer and thanks for a though provoking topic. Regards, Jenny @ Bijouler.com

    Reply
  6. Wisteria Vintage

    These are some super useful tips =]
    I also revamped my blog over the weekend. I use a “practice” blog that is identical to my real blog, I make any changes on this first to see what my real blog will look like.
    One problem I did have was decreaseing the gap between the widgets in my sidebar. Through a lot of googling and trial & error I managed to fix up my HTML code so the gap wasn’t so big (it was like, ridiculously huge.)
    I think that spacing is pretty important on a blog, all the spaces should be even and not be too big or too small.
    Thanks for such a helpful post =]

    Reply
  7. Jeanie

    Love your suggestions. I was getting a lot of visitors (thanks to Adobe sharing one of my tutorials) but very few decided to stay. It felt necessary to make some changes. I altered my banner so what I talk about often is obvious. Seems to be working, have a handful of new followers this last week.

    Reply
  8. Clara Beyer

    Great tips!
    I have to say I disagree on your last point though. I use a contact form for privacy reasons – I don’t have a blog-specific email address, and I don’t want my personal email address all over the internet for the world to see. What would you suggest?
    Clara

    Reply
  9. Stacy

    Great tips! I just started blogging last month and while I love the design/theme I selected for my blog, I’m hitting simple little glitches that I can’t seem to get around because of the limitations w/the theme (like making my font easier to read) I’m only a wordpress.com for now but any tips or great websites that talk about how to edit some of these settings / workarounds for wordpress.com themes would be awesome!

    Reply
  10. Courtney

    Great article, I am now off to resize my images 😀
    However, there were a couple of spelling/grammer mistakes in this story, maybe have a proof read. But thanks again for the article, some really helpful tips.

    Reply
  11. Marionberry Style

    All fantastic points! Like many who left comments, I’m in the process of a blog re-design…so I ate this post up! Thanks so much…
    XO – Marion

    Reply
  12. Mishka

    You guys might want to proof read a bit:

    “Well, I’ve made a quick of what I think are the most glaring design disasters facing blogs today”

    “the wrong fonts can be super to read”

    “I can keep track of what I’ve sent by checking me sent folder.”

    Otherwise, great tips!

    Reply
  13. Nadège

    Good tips!
    I had the hardest time with picture sizing and font size. I would go with one font, then change my mind and go with another font.
    It was so inconsistent and I had to go through each post to change them!

    Reply
  14. kimmiepooh

    All great tips! I do a little blogger consulting on the side and these are all things that I cover, ESPECIALLY image sizing and uniformity in fonts. Those two things alone make a HUGE difference!

    Reply
  15. theTsaritsa

    “The wrong fonts can be super to read?” Super hard to read, maybe?

    I prefer a sans serif for my blog, it’s just a preference. I did notice three different font styles on this post, though, which is kind of funny.

    Reply
  16. Nikki @ Styling You

    Love this post – and totally agree – most people following fashion blogs are visual people – you need to make the space you’re blogging on look visually appealing.

    With the font thing – I’d actually avoid the white text on black background thing – it’s much more difficult to read than black on white.

    Reply
  17. DeniseAngela

    I have been thinking of a blog redesign so this post is helpful as I def see some disasters on my blog! Any recommendations?

    Reply
  18. Elisa

    Great tips! Glad my blog has all these fixed already 🙂 another problem I see a lot is when people use pictures as a background to their blog and it makes the writing SO hard to read. I like it when the images are on the side and and the main part of the blog is a block colour (preferably white). But other than that, you guys covered most of the points 🙂

    Reply
  19. TheStyleKaleidoscope

    These may look like simple points but they are key tips to getting your blog looking just right. A tidy blog is a pleasure to visit and makes it look like you really care. Once you’ve cleaned it up you can just focus on the content which is more important and your readers won’t get eye strain from tropicana effect fonts etc.

    Reply
  20. Tara

    Oh my god I have so much work to do… LMAO

    Thank you once again for the perfect tips. We need to hear this as new bloggers!!
    😀

    Reply