Blog design rules are not set in stone by any mean, but there are a few things that you can do when designing your blog that really will hurt your blog’s success.
While we all like to believe that the content is more important than the design, there is just no getting around the fact that the blog design is what your visitors use and see when they navigate your awesome content. If you make dumb mistakes when you design your blog you can outright prevent your reader to read any further, subscribe to your blog, or buy something.
Here are five mistakes to avoid when designing your blog.
1. Hard to find RSS button
This one is not so bad as it use to be, but it is still pretty common that it drives me nuts at times. While every blog has different goals, one of them usually involves increasing the amount of readers that subscribe to your blog. So it makes no sense to make the RSS button hard to find or to use a text link alone.
In order to avoid this mistake, use a RSS button with a text link and not a text link alone. Then put it in an area that makes it easy to find like the top of your sidebar. There are plenty of free rss buttons out there so there are no excuses for using a text link by itself.
2. Hidden dates
While we all like to believe that our posts are timeless, hiding the date from your reader or not having one altogether is not the best thing to do. Some material expires faster than others and some well really are timeless, but that decision should be made by your reader and not you.
You don’t have to make the date scream out in big text as long as it is visible near the top of the content.
3. Ads > Content
Don’t make the mistake of making your ads more prominent than your content. This practice makes the ads very distracting and is only going to make your visitors more likely to leave before they read anything. They will leave your blog because you communicated to them that your ads are more important than your content.
All you have to do to avoid this mistake is place the ads on the side or at the bottom of posts where people expect to find them.
4. Sidebar = Link dump
Your sidebar is not a dumping ground for links. The more links you have in your sidebar, the more likely none of them will get clicked. It has been shown in studies that when there are way too many choices to decide from, a person is more likely to make none at all in order to save themselves from the mental anguish. (1)
When designing your sidebar, limit the amount of links and content you have in there to only the important ones in order to increase the chance that people will use it. In order to decide which one is important, refer to the excellent post I wrote on redesigning the sidebar.
5. Large blocks of text
Large blocks of text is likely to remind your readers of high school English class and very few people have fond memories of those times. So don’t make the mistake of making your blog hard to read by having large blocks of text with no hierarchy.
In order to avoid this mistake, make use of your heading tags in the body of your content so that the material is organized nicely and easy to read. See there is a reason why they gave you so many heading tags. For more information on creating a hierarchy in your blog read WebDesignerWall’s awesome tutorial on typographic contrast and flow.
If you want to learn more about how to avoid dumb blog design mistakes and other cool stuff, then subscribe today for free and get updates that can help you make your blog design be more successful.