Design And Layout Pays Off

Posted by By at 20 December, at 03 : 51 AM Print

Design And Layout Pays Off

Ying YangWhat is it about your blog that separates you from the other bloggers? Is it the content? Or, are you breaking news nobody else has been able to break?

More than likely you’re not breaking any news stories but you are probably providing content that’s informative, interesting and well crafted. You can write the best blog content in the world, but if you’re site is hideous to look at you’ll probably never get anyone reading the content. Just as the best pie won’t be tasted if it smells like dirty feet, the best blog won’t be read if it’s an eye sore.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a world class graphic designer to build a nice blog layout. If you’re using a wordpress blog you can find plenty of high quality themes to get your point across, if you’re using Drupal you’ll find a huge supply of pre-created themes. Every great content management system has a theme installation process so you can find classy themes by inspiring artists free of charge and all it takes is a few clicks to make it happen.

When building a blog it’s best to provide a two or three column layout so your text can be fit into a smaller area of space. Nobody wants to read a sea of text, they want something managed, organized and easy to read. Many of us are used to reading editorial “columns” or articles in a magazine or newspaper so you want to provide the same format to keep your readers feeling comfortable about your text. This starts with making columns in your blog and gives you an area to provide advertising space, categories and other site links.

A light colored background may be easier on the eyes and avoid additional strain on your reader. Your audience won’t be happy if their always straining their eyes trying to read your important content and, believe it or not, there are other sites with important content with light colored backgrounds… if you want to keep your readers coming back to your site make them feel at home.

“Several light-on-dark sites look fantastic for a few seconds or even a minute. I just find actually reading articles on them very straining on my eyes, and I hate the way they linger on the retina when I look away from my screen.” (456bereastreet)

There are plenty of examples of sites that can invert text with white text and black backgrounds but a site that is primarily about content in the form of writing is probably not one of them. Reading a two paragraph product description isn’t the same as reading a blog novel or travelers journal. Keep that in mind when you wrap a theme around your writing.

You’ll find a variety of different themes, all accomplish different tasks and explain their content differently. When choosing your theme ask yourself if you could see it looking more like The New York Times or WalMart–both styles have a purpose but accomplish it with different color combinations and themes.

If you’re at a loss for which to choose, stick with a white background with black text and work from there. Plus, you can embed images into your site which have a white background to them without looking out of place.

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One Comment

  1. And let us not forget that longer line lengths also increase the likelihood that a person will lose their place, having to make a bigger effort when going down to the next line, oftentimes accidentally re-reading a line or skipping a line entirely.

    Luke, 12 years ago

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