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Things to consider in your blog design

Consider the last time you visited a really nice blog or website and why you liked it. You were probably drawn in by a nice graphic and pleasing feel. Everything worked together like magic. The colors matched, the white space worked, the fonts were related etc.

Remember how you felt when you landed on a really bad design? The chaos and congestion was probably over-whelming. The text was all the same size- too big. There was no focal point and there were too many ads.

Okay. So having said that, here are some things to consider when you plan your design.

Easy to Read

An easy to read layout allows the reader to first find the focal point and then direct his or her eyes to the secondary and lower level items
The primary focal point will most likely be the logo or branding that you use in your header. When someone lands on your page that is the first thing they see. This is what can make or break the success of your blog. If the header is really appealing the viewer will say "oh wow...this looks good..what else is here?". If you choose your advertising to be your primary focal point, you will cheapen your site and your readers will immediately know this.

The secondary focal point will be the title on your posts. If the title looks interesting, your visitor will keep reading. If it doesn't, the viewer will glance at one or two more and make their decision on whether to stay or move on. Therefore, the secondary focal point must be easily identifiable (bold, larger?) and must be memorable.

Then there are the extras that need to be interesting. This includes your widgets, links, etc. You don't want too many of these as they may become over-whelming. Especially ads.

Good Use of Color.
For a site to be successful, it must evoke a certain feeling for the visitor. Do you want to instill a feeling of energy or calmness? Hate or Love?
Color psychology is very important.

Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange, and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility.

Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple, and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.

Not Overrun with Ads. Again, I bring this up, and with good reason.
Ads should be used in moderation. They should be subtle and blend well. Think about the last time you saw a website that was wall to wall ads. Did the site look credible? Or did it look like it was in business to rip you off?
Enough said.

Your posts go with the theme of your blog.
If your blog is about pets, don't post your personal diary about the date you went on last Saturday. First of all, nobody cares about your date. Really. Second of all, it makes you look less informed about the primary topic. Someone did a search and landed on your site for a reason. If you wanna stay in business, even if it is in blogging (which works for the best of us), give the reader what he or she wants.

Ease of Navigation. Usability is easy for the visitor.
This is the problem with archives. It lists everything according to the date it was posted. Google, the king of searches, should know better than to make this the default. This is why you need to add labels to your posts. Then you get categories. And, with categories you get navigation topics. See the point here?

Do you, the author, appear to know what you are blogging about?