Tips for a Better Blog Design (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of the Blog Design Tips series of mine. =) Missed out on the first one? Click HERE.
Anyway, as I promised, I'm going to elaborate on the points which I gave in the first post. You'll be wiser with the knowledge, and I'm sure you'll be making pretty good decisions while designing your blog soon!

Let's focus on three important issues first. 
  • Less=More
  • Background < Content
  • White space =essential

Tip 1: Less is definitely more. Try picturing a blog, with a gazillion widgets, videos, music players, animations, and a rainbow of colours splashed everywhere. First word that comes to mind: Cluttered.
And would you want to view a blog like that where you cannot even find the main posts? No. So remember that carefully. Do not overwhelm your blog with too much design and extra stuff. When it comes to a blog design, less=more. We want our readers to read our posts, and not just use the widgets we have up here, right?

Here are some common mistakes:
  • Busy, over-colourful, dark backgrounds (people can't focus on what you're writing)
  • A lot of font colours, font sizes, font styles (that change randomly from the first word of your post to the last word)
  • Lots of sidebars full of ads, widgets, etc (especially those that aren't relevant to your blog posts, until your main content is hidden behind them.)
  • Pop-ups (obviously this is annoying)
  • Music that plays automatically when you enter the blog (extremely annoying! Many people will leave immediately. Why? 1. Not everyone has the same taste as you. 2. Maybe some people have their own music on. And if you ignore that, then your blog isn't reader-friendly.)
Your blog's design should be clean and beautiful, not cluttered and distracting people from your content. If it's distracting, then it isn't playing its role, which is supporting and enhancing your blog to become more aesthetically pleasant.

Tip 2: Can I stress this enough? The colour white (or non-colour) is important. There is a difference between a blog that has white space and a blog that has none. (and a HUGE difference too) The amount of white space is related to how much your eyes relax as you read through the blog. The more relaxed you are, the better you feel, and the more interested you are to read the posts, right? Would you keep on coming back to read something that keeps hurting your eyes?

The content is the thing that you want your readers to remember and take with them in their mind. So what are you doing trying to make the background, or the fonts, or the sidebar, the main actor? Let your readers relax. Add some white space in the background, around text, pictures, elements...not only it makes your blog look really clean and neat, but also makes stuff stand out in a simple way without distracting readers from your posts. Of course there is always a limit for everything, including good things, so obviously you shouldn't be all-white and black until the blog looks far too bland and boring.

Tip 3: This is a little bit like the above less-is-more tip, but this one, is focused on the BACKGROUND. How do we combine the two tips above to design a clean yet elegant blog background, that enhances the content but also less eye-catching than the content itself?

Be careful about choosing colours for a background. Pick either one of the following:
  • No background (full white space).
  • Design with white and a neutral colour (black and shades of grey)
  • Design with one or two pastel colours (best if you're going to use the same colour/colours as your blog's theme colours)

If you love bright colours, great! Just don't use them as your background colours. Stick to white, and then give your header, posts and sidebars splashes of bright colours. Imagine it. The bright ones that you choose would stand out x10000 better on a white background than on a colourful one, right?

Yes, I know that there are many blogs out there with colourful backgrounds. Some of them are admittedly good-looking. But, most of them are just that, good-looking backgrounds and templates. They wouldn't be of any use in real blogs because they are so nice to look at that they distracts from the actual posts!

Plus, we're not professional designers, and it would be so much easier to design based on a muted background. Having said that, even professional designers take the white space into account. There is a difference between a good design and a bad one, and mostly that is due to the amount of white space between them. 

There are many, many ways to colour your blog, which are better and less distracting than colouring with the blog background.

I hope those tips are useful for you, because they helped a lot while I was designing my own blog. 
Happy designing! =)
Stay tuned for MORE tips! Cheers~ 

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