By Ian McArthur
Blogging might seem simple, but anyone who has been part of the industry knows that it’s a lot harder than it looks. Not only is it difficult to write interesting and well constructed content, but blogs also rely a lot on visual design. Many exceptional writers fail, not because of their content, but because of their inexperience in design principles. Here are six common design mistakes that bloggers can make and a few tips to avoid them:
Too many fonts
Fonts are fun, and it feels like there are a billion of them. Sometimes, we bloggers think that interesting fonts are more likely to catch the eye. And if one font is good, why not have five? Unfortunately, too many fonts prevents the eye from focusing on anything, which distracts from the actual content of the blog. Design should only serve to draw the reader to the content and to make it a pleasant reading experience. Once the arrangement of the blog begins distracting the reader, priorities have been misplaced.
Instead, opt for two, or maybe three–but certainly no more than three–fonts for your blog. Your menu items can be one font, the main text another, and you could possibly make your headings a different font as well. The idea here is simplicity and consistency. Try to guide the eye of your reader to the content you worked so hard to develop for them. Here are a few more tips to help you get started.
Too many colors
Just like fonts, sometimes we bloggers can get a little carried away with colors. Colors are fun, vibrant, and can be beautifully eye-catching when used properly. When used improperly, too many colors, or discordant colors, can create a visual cacophony that sends your readers running. Like font, you should only have two or three colors on your blog. Make sure that your use of them is consistent. Have one color as a background, one for accent, and maybe one for your text. The colors should also blend well. Look for palette generators, and find a combination that suits your style.
Poor quality images
Remember when it took an hour and a half to download a picture from the internet? Those days are long gone, and if pictures aren’t a part of your blog, you are missing out on a huge design opportunity. As an added bonus, having a few good images mixed into the content can also boost your SEO. But not all pictures are created equal. You should avoid putting poor quality pictures on your blog. Between the faster internet and the higher resolution screens, readers are expecting clean and crisp images that are relevant to your blog. If you have the money, consider using Shutterstock to get high quality images. You can also find free options such as Unsplash, Realistic Shots, and Pixabay. One more thing: avoid the kitschy trap of clip art. Although custom-animated logos and imagery can be a great thing, these tried and tired images have overstayed their welcome.
Too many pictures
Unfortunately, we bloggers can easily overdo it with the visual side of things. Too many pictures–especially when they are poorly arranged–don’t allow the eye to take them in properly. The reader won’t be able to appreciate the picture, or the text, because there is simply too much to look through.
If your blog posts are around 450 words, one picture should do it. Have it aligned on the right or the left as an accent to your post. If your posts are longer, maybe around 800 words, go ahead and add a couple more pictures. Pictures are incredibly important; you just don’t want too many of them. Let your reader appreciate the images and your text in harmony with each other.
It is so frustrating to find an interesting website or blog that is difficult to navigate. Again, internet readers are accustomed to a certain degree of fluidity in their surfing. If they can’t locate the menu or contact button, they will probably move on.
To prevent this, build a clear, uncluttered, and straightforward menu. Keep it where the reader can see it. Keep the options simple: Home, About, and Contact are all important options. If you are trying to get your blog or product off of the ground and you are involved in event marketing (which you should and here is why) it’s a good idea to have an Events tab too.
Hopefully these warnings and tips are helpful. The options for blog design are as myriad and endless as the possibilities for your content. Find something that brings these two together and create something memorable.