What your website design says about you is the first impression people will have of you in your online life. Whether it is that you love color or fonts or have a very clean aesthetic, when a new reader lands on your site, the impression is made first by what they see in a passing glance.
In fact, without having a pleasing look, a new visitor may not even stay to read your content! This leads to a much higher bounce rate and, more importantly, to no sales. So what does your website say about you? Let's take a look!
White on White
White on white is extremely common these days and everyone seems to be going for the almost hospital like look and feel. As much as I love it when a blog makes good use of white on white, it's an extremely hard look to pull off. Usually always paired with vibrant blog photos and images, without adding a little color somewhere, you're going to wind up with a site resembling your local Emergency Room.
Dark background/Light Fonts
This is such a no-no, no matter what type of site you have. The reality is that more and more blog READERS are reading posts in a RSS feed or via email and as a result, they're usually on mobile. With more people reading via mobile, a dark background and light font combo makes for a bad mix that can (and will!) cost you business in the end.
Although you can usually pair two amazing fonts together to create the logo of your dreams, like the white option that I mentioned above, it can become too stark too fast. While some blogs can make quick use of this technique, they are also usually the same people who combine a lot of color in other areas. White on White and No Graphics blog/website designs is not made for writers who are mostly text based but instead should be used by photo heavy blogs and sites.
To me, nothing says "amateur" more than a cartoon person used to represent the owner of a website. You see this mostly with "mommy blogs" and, within a year of that pretty design, they're usually begging for a rebrand. There is nothing "grown up" about a cartoonization of oneself and this should best be used at carnivals in the caricature area.
Too Much Background
The polar opposite of white on white, I have seen blogs who use patterned backgrounds with patterned borders and script-y (unreadable) fonts for their "gadget" titles. What happens when these elements mix is an unhealthy mess of color and pattern that overwhelm the brain. If you know you are a photo heavy blog, save all that color and pattern for your other pages, not your main reading area. Even on a text based blog, this overall feel appears very messy.
Perfectly Designed with all Coordinating elements
Now this is just my experience, but the more "put together" a blog looks the more I notice it's every little flaw. I like to think of these bloggers as trying to hard. When they paid a fortune for a blog design and all the compatible elements, follow their style sheet to a T and avid doing, saying or using anything that doesn't 100% fit in the little box they created for their website, they look stuffy and overly formal. An air of professionalism can easily be obtained by keeping everything neat and pretty but it's also ok to step outside the box once in awhile and have fun!
Now it's YOUR turn!
Which one of these designs is most like you?
What do you notice first when landing on a new blog or website?
What core element do all your favorite blogs have?