Why it’s important how your blog looks


I read a lot of blogs, and this means I get to see a lot of blog designs.

Usually I’m tempted to go to these blogs because the headline or permalink, which entices me through clever wording and a subject matter that interests me. But on arrival, I am influenced terribly by how the blog looks, and not necessarily by the content it contains.

What puts me off? First, a dark background, with white or very pale text. If books are printed on white pages, why should blogs and websites be any different? I find it very difficult to focus on light words on an oppressive surface, especially if it is extremely busy.

Added to this, sometimes the text is extremely small. (There again, if the text is too big, it can look amateurish.) Not everyone is gifted with 20/20 vision, so why should there be the need to cram everything into a small space? If there is a lot to read, maybe serialising your blogs into smaller chunks is easier for your readers, and gives them an excuse to return to read the remainder.

Clear navigation is paramount, with page links obviously presented to encourage visitors to venture further into the site. If a visitor has to hunt for any aspect or feature of your blog or website, then, in my opinion, the designer has failed. Themes that have the sidebar as a footer are totally missing the point, as if readers are going to pan down deliberately to find out the blog’s additional material and links.

One particular blog I visited yesterday had all the borders of the blog in orange dots! The header or banner had spaced-out text with no image, whereas all imagery were countless numbers of affiliated and other advertising. The sidebars were wide, whereas the main column for the posts was extraordinarily narrow, so that the post was drawn out and therefore very difficult to read. The colour scheme seemed an afterthought, if there was one, and the layout prevented reading rather than encouraged it.

Of course, what I think is a good blog theme is purely subjective, as everybody has a different idea of what works and what looks nice. Many people like black to play an integral part of their blog’s design, narrow blogs are obviously different and draw attention to themselves, blocked in backgrounds seem to be more interesting than boring white ones, large and irrelevant imagery seem to be attractive and a total disregard for colour doesn’t matter at all.

So what are your opinions on blog theme designs?