i am a neat freak and i try to be organized about almost everything around me. and that includes my blog. i like it looking pretty and easy to navigate to ensure my readers enjoy browsing. everything needs to be clean, organized and laid down properly. and im sure a lot of bloggers like their baby to be the same too. i personally do my own site and maintain it regularly. not everyone is capable or have the patience though. but believe me, it is worth putting in a little effort in the layout of your blog. if you dont have the funds to get it done professionally, here are a few tips to help you.
– the first thing you should do is get inspirations from fellow bloggers. i do suggest you go by the most famous or successful bloggers internationally. their blogs are the best ones to take inspiration from. and pretty sure you will notice one common thing – their blogs are all very simple and clean, plus super easy to navigate with large images and basic menus.
– choose a base color and background for your blog, preferably white. its simple and elegant. and it give more love and emphasis on your content. choose an accent color that you love. i picked grey and black as it goes perfectly with white plus it looks a lot cleaner and speaks a lot more about my personality.
– find a good layout that will work for you. and find one that gives more life to your content and your images. i prefer larger layouts and a good home page with a slideshow to showcase selected categories or posts. there are a variety of sites that offer free templates for both blogger and wordpress. i technically paid for the base layout of my blog and adjusted and designed everything else on my own to ensure things are personalized. do check out the following links and take the time to browse around until you find the perfect one – they have automatic previews so you can view them and see which ones will work best with you. side note – it took me a good 2 days before i finalized which layout to actually use.
– find social media image link ups that goes perfectly with your chosen layout. check out SOCIAL MEDIA ARCHIVE for some of the widest selections of icons.
– that tiny image on the web browser is a favicon and you can generate your personalized one – here.
– once all of these are set, you now have to finalize a good header or logo. note that this is very important. it says a lot about you. it is your own mark on the web. it is your brand. you can always get one professionally made or you can create one by yourself. i picked to have mine done personally and a simple scribbled note of “mahryska” worked best. you can be as simple or as creative as you want to but never go overboard. and once you finalize it, make sure you are happy with it because you need to stick by it. meaning you cant go on changing your logo every minute of the day – remember, consistency is key.
– your blog font should be clean and basic. make sure your readers can actually read your content. find one that works best and never ever go crazy over google fonts.
– your blog menu is important. keep it simple, and straight to the point, only noting important links. an about page is important. so is a contact page. dont put all your categories and pages in one menu. it will look too crammed up and messy. you can create two menus or three, and categorize them properly.
– visual is key. so its good to note that fashion, photography and travel blogs work best with large images presented front and center. find out what is the best image size for the layout you picked. it is important, most especially for style bloggers to showcase good quality, large images. so find a good layout that features that and find the right size (width) for each image so you can resize your photos accordingly. make sure you adjust images to the maximum width all the time to enable full potential of your layout. if you check out my blog, all images are resized to the same width therefore everything looks consistent on the layout. oh and i honestly do not suggest layouts that showcase small images. no one wants the hassle of the using a microscope just so they can view images. your content (which is technically your images) is one of the most important part of your blog so make sure to make it easy for your viewers.
– justify your posts properly. you would not want to have one post with everything on the left and images going from right to left to center. it gets too much to look at and rather confusing for the reader. and well, it looks downright messy. so make sure to justify and align everything properly.
– your sidebar should be clean and simple. stick to basics. you can include your statistics, links to your social media and subscription links. a search box is also important so make sure you include one. also try to avoid too many banners or advertising. believe me, it can get too distracting when you have a ton of stuff on your sidebar.
– dont ever put your labels, tags and categories on your sidebar, most especially if its an overflowing list. use a nice drop menu system so its a lot cleaner to look at. i dont personally like “clouds” and i guess this only works if you can limit the number of tags/labels/categories listed. no one wants to see hundreds of them spread out on your sidebar. we can use “search” if we need to you know.
– your footer also needs to be simple with your basic copyright and credits.
– note that your ABOUT page should include a nice image of yourself and note some basic information only. one paragraph will do and should be enough to give information to your readers. you can always add a F.A.Q page if you please, which can note down a list of information that you would like to share. otherwise, keep it simple and straight to the point.
– use a nice profile photograph of yourself. you can get a nice one snapped by a photographer friend or get one professionally too. just make sure it speaks volumes of you. oh and make sure its recent. not one which was snapped 20 years ago.
– your contact page is very important and you should always have one on your blog. simply because – how will people reach you?! you can directly link to your email or you can use one of those contact forms available online like this one – here.
at the end of the day, make your layout user friendly and good to look at. this is your baby. take care of it and give it the best love you can give. hope these little notes of tips and tricks helps you out in designing a great layout for your blog. and feel free to shoot me a comment if you have any questions.
photo courtesy of www.stylemepretty.com