Have you ever thought about the actual design (layout, image sizes, fonts, graphics) of your blog posts?
Think about the blogs that your enjoy reading. What do you like about them? I'm sure they make it easy for you to find content, to scroll, the actual blog post content is easy to read (the font isn't so small that you have to squint at the screen to read the title) and the general layout of each post is visually appealing. This makes the whole experience of reading a blog enjoyable. There is nothing worse than finding a blog with great content, but it's hard work just to sift through it and read the actual message of their posts.
So today I am going to be sharing with you some tips for your own blog post design, as well as some resources to help you if you don't happen to have a graphic designer friend who makes you free elements for your blog...
1. Use a Mixture of Images and Text
This helps to break up the monotony of the black and white visual elements of a written piece. If I come across a blog post, no matter how interesting it may be, if it is just line after line of black writing I immediately switch off and head to the next blog. I am a very visual person, and am attracted to pretty pictures. That's not to say that you can't have long posts with only text in them. Take a little time to use spacing properly (the term used here is 'white space') which makes text easier to read. If you do use images that aren't your own, always make sure to reference properly.Look what happened to this blogger when she incorrectly sourced someone else work.
Here is a useful tool for finding the source of an image called src-image bookmarklet (just copy the url of the image, which you can find by right clicking and selecting the 'copy image url' option) and pasting into the search bar.
Plain text can be thought provoking and look great when done right (look here at my friend Kerry from Midlands Musings who writes beautifully and makes me actually want to read through more than 3 sentences at a time).
The most important thing here is to plan your post before hand and decide whether you will be using pictures or text, or both, and think about how to make them look more appealing in a blog post.
2. Choose your fonts and stick to them
If you are using Blogger for your blog, you will have found the template editor to be your best friend when it comes to the customizing your blog. From there you have complete control over the colours of your text, the fonts, the font sizes and the layout of every element. The lovely Katrina over at PuglyPixel recommends limiting the number of fonts you use to no more than three (one for post titles, one for the sidebar titles, and another for the post body). Too many fonts tend to make a page look really busy. Additionally, when choosing fonts for your text, aim for legible fonts in a readable size. Whatever font you choose, keep legibility in mind. The most readable font under 14px is Verdana and larger than that, Arial is the most readable." PuglyPixel.
When I first stared blogging I changed fonts like the weather, and still do from time to time. But now that I am designing my new website, it's important for me to establish my branding and to keep it consistent, so readers are able to place my blog design with my brand. It will make your blog look more professional and cohesive.
Blogger has a whole range of different fonts built into it, so you can really get your hands dirty and get creative to ensure your blog stands out from everyone else's.
3. Set a standard width for your blog post images
When something sticks out, you tend to notice it, and think that it must be a mistake. Keeping your image size in blog posts consistent helps with providing an overall professional and clean impression. You can use a free program like PicMonkey to change the size of your images. When I create graphics and edit my photographs for my blog, I always resize them to be 650px, that is the default size of my blog post. Doing this keeps everything neat and tidy. By also resizing your pictures you ensure that they download quickly when people open up your blog. You can also use a site like PhotoBucket to store your images and resize them before uploading to your blog.
To create collages like I do here on the blog you can either use a fabulous paid for program like Blogstomp (I use Blogstomp to resize all my images, create collages and add my watermark to all my photographs) or a free online editing program like PicMonkey.
These are a just a few tips to help you on your way. Pop on over to these lovely blogs to learn more:
Elembee "Creating a Graphics Style Guide"
Glossary "Blog Design...A Couple of Tips"
InResidence "Amateur Blogging Tips"
AshleyEllaDesign "Creative Blogging Resources"
If you have any questions about blogging, or anything that you aren't clear about from the above tips, please pop me a comment below and I'll get back to you soon. Please also leave a comment if you have any other tips for making your blog posts pop!
Happy blogging everyone!