When you think about the last time you visited your favorite art blog, you might remember saying to yourself, “I really love coming to this blog because it’s so easy to use!”
Now compare that to any other art blog which you may have visited just once, and never went back to. Most likely, you thought something like this: “This artist is talented, but I just can’t stand this blog!”
That difference is what we’re going to be discussing today.
You see, good blog design isn’t about all the latest applications and gadgets. It isn’t even about high end graphics. A good blog design is about being user-friendly.
Below are 6 tips for creating a visually pleasing blog that keeps your readers coming back.
1. Create a structured layout
Don’t confuse your blog readers by having too many columns and rows. You want them to naturally gravitate towards your main content, and from there browse your sidebar for more information about your art, about you, and about your blog.
2. Make it easy on the eyes
If your blog is difficult to browse, or read, nobody is going to want to stick around long enough to read it, let alone look at your art. This means:
. . . avoid using dark backgrounds with light text, or worse, light text on a light background.
. . . keep your background colors, font colors, border colors, and font styles consistent throughout your entire blog.
. . . save fancy fonts for titles or headers, not the body of your post where the bulk of your text is because it will make your post difficult to read.
And don’t forget to think about font size. If it’s too small, it’s hard on the eyes. If it’s too big, it’s distracting. Your best bet is to stick to a decent size font, like 10 or 12 pixels.
3. Keep your navigation tidy
As tempting as it is to use a bunch of keywords (or tags) as your site navigation, don’t do it. If you clutter your blog with too much “stuff,” your readers will have a hard time figuring out where they should go.
Instead YOU should choose the 4 or 5 most important pages for your visitors to find. Then, create a few simple links to those pages at the top of your blog, or high up in the sidebar.
4. Be consistent with your image sizes
It’s okay to upload a smaller image to your blog if you’re left aligning it and the text flows around it, but for any larger, centered images which take up more space, you want to make sure that they’re all consistently the same size.
In other words, if you’re putting two or three images of your art in a single post, find the largest width that fits into your blog post without going into your right or left sidebars, and use that same size every time!
(NOTE: While the width of your image should remain consistent, the length of your image may vary, and that’s perfectly fine. The important thing is to keep the width the same.)
5. Don’t go overboard with your blog header
A visually pleasing header can say a lot about your blog, but you don’t want that to be the only thing visitors see when they visit your art blog.
Make sure your header is large enough to be visually pleasing, but small enough that it leaves room for your blog content, including your blog title, the first paragraph of your post, your top site navigation and/or the subscription button on your sidebar.
6. Make your comments section easy to find
If you’re going to allow readers to leave comments on your blog post, make it easy for them to find your comment section. Don’t hide it away with tiny fonts, or annoying pop-ups.
(And while we’re on the subject, don’t make it difficult for readers to leave a comment by requiring them to belong to a certain network, or forcing them to type in too many “I’m not a spammer” codes.)
Whether you’re revamping your art blog or starting from scratch, the one thing that each of these tips have in common is “less is more.” If you keep that motto in mind, you’ll do just fine.