Hello there Dearies! It's time for another post full of tips & tricks and general advice from a blog designer! I love these posts because they are so fun to write, the really make an impact (which means all of you lovelies are learning something) and I get to create a round up and list for things I love.
Today I want to talk about some design no-no's that many blogs I see are guilty of. Until recently I myself was pretty guilty as well and I love being able to share my experience of what works and what doesn't.
There's a ton of things you shouldn't do on your blog when it comes to design and whether you are a DIY Blog Designer or hiring a designer (like me!) to makeover your blog, these are what I consider to be the biggest points. So without further ado...
DON'T LEAVE YOUR POSTS HANGING
A lot of great posts are floating in Blogland just hanging lose with no closing. To me, seeing a blog post without a signature is akin to a person starring at you with their mouth hanging open.
Signatures give your blog a polished and finished look as well as adding detention to the end of each post.
DON'T SPREAD YOUR PHOTOS ALL OVER YOUR POST
Center aligning your photos makes everything look a lot cleaner. Too many times I have been on a blog that is using a ton of photos and for some reason they all look skewed out of control.
You don't have to be a master at design to simply add your images and center align them. Just use the little justification tool and you'll have a clean layout for your images in no time.
DON'T CROWD YOUR SIDEBAR WITH BUTTONS
It's tempting to add every button of every affiliation you have right front and center on your blogs sidebar. It makes you look popular and it gives the appearance that you must be a serious blogger if you have so many affiliations. However, all that really comes across is slow load time and a messy appearance on your blog.
Your sidebar should be reserved for paid ad space, your own favorite blog posts and links to wherever you want to send your readers.
Consider adding a separate page for your affiliations or adding some to your footer.
DON'T DISPLAY YOUR "POWERED BY" ATTRIBUTION
A little while back I wrote this post on unlocking the Blogger Widget for your attribution (or header) so that you can either move it or remove it. It's not a matter of being ashamed to be on Blogger. You should get rid of that attribution simply because it makes you look less professional and more like the noob on the blog block.
If you are a proud Blogger user, consider adding a small button somewhere that displays the Blogger logo.
DON'T HIDE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS
I have a post coming out soon about using custom social media icons but regardless of what they look like, one thing is for certain:
Your readers (and companies!) can't find and follow you if you don't add them up front and center.
Keeping your icons "before the fold" (a fancy schmancy blogger way of saying "before you scroll") ensures that your readers will see them. Making your icons more visual will help others fond you and follow you and all your great content.
Also, if you are feeling like being playful, consider making them sticky so they scroll with your page!
DON'T KEEP YOUR BLOGGER NAVBAR
Once again, this is a mistake most mature bloggers make There is absolutely no reason to keep that little bar at the top of your blog. All it does is show if a user is logged in to Blogger (Google) and can lead them to read the next or previous blog.
Don't tempt readers to leave your blog! Ditch that navbar!
DON'T BE LONG WINDED
I admit that I have said a million and one times that auto truncating is the devil. BUT! I do believe in truncating.
I don't know how much it actually protects your content from people looking to steal it but I do know that having a "read more" on your posts makes for easier browsing the home page. It also helps generate page views.
The real trick here is to truncate your posts in such a manner that you leave your reader hanging enough to make them click "read more".
Check out my tutorial for truncating your posts, You'll be glad you did!
DON'T GO FONT CRAZY
As a designer it is my job to play with fonts. Good thing too because I have around 3000 installed on my new laptop (and it' only a few days old!).
I always send out several samples to my clients and recommend they pick between 2-3 fonts only. Adding too many more than that can make your blog appear unpolished and disconnected. It looks cluttered and messy.
Figure out what fonts combos look best and still hold true to you and your brand and stick with them.
DON'T OVER DO THE GRAPHICS
Consider me a die hard background fan, I enjoy seeing a pulled together blog that has everything working with everything else to create a gorgeous and streamlined look.
That can get thrown right out the window though when you have absolutely no white space.
There should be good sized gaps between posts and sidebar gadgets and you should definitely have some white space in your posts.
Above all, never, ever (and I mean never, ever, ever, ever) create a design with a dark background and light font!
DON'T FORGET ABOUT YOUR FOOTER
Once again I will refer to a previous post I wrote recently about using your footer. This post has quite a few examples of how you can make your footer work harder so be sure you check it out!
Don't be one of those people with an empty footer that just hangs there. Or worse: drops off into eternal nothingness!
There Ya Have 'em
My top 10 design don'ts. Overall, there are some gorgeous blogs out there and many of them are already implementing these tips. Be sure that you take a really good look at those blogs you admire and see what they are doing that you can implement right away!
Have another design tip? Leave it in the comments and let's chat all about the many ways to make your design work for you!