Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Guest Post: The Top 5 Blog Design No-Nos

Today's guest post is by blog designer Sashwhy, of Sashwhy Studio:

Let’s face it, even though “Content is King,” good design is “Queen.” If you have a clean, well-designed blog with an eye-catching and uncluttered look, people will stay.

Unfortunately, blog design does have a few “no-no’s”. We’re going to take a look at some basic, though often violated, designing “no-no’s” that you are going to want to tuck in your back pocket.

1. Too Much Goin’ On
Try to keep your design and overall layout from getting too “busy”. One of the most unattractive things in the blogosphere is a cluttered blog. You’ve seen them; you know what I’m talking about. Eye-popping backgrounds, too many ads, too many colors, more than three fonts, and a jumbled header design all lend to “clutter,” and you want to avoid them like the plague.

Keep things simple. When you decide on a header design, opt for no more than one to two images and one to two fonts. Keep your colors simple. Two to three main colors in your overall design should do the trick. Consolidate your ads – choose which ones are actually bringing in the money and stick with those. You may also consider resizing all of your ads to the same size (150x150px for example) in order to give your “ad block” a uniform look.

Group, group, group. Give your sidebars some order by grouping. This will keep your readers from having to search high and low to find something in your sidebar. Group ads together, then group feeds, subscribe buttons, stat counters together, etc. I think you get the idea.

2. Hot pinks, Hot Greens…Hot Anything
Yes, many of us grew up in the 80’s, but that doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to brandish hot pinks and greens on our blogs. Hot colors are hard on the eye and generally unappealing. Steer clear from these if at all possible.

3. Red on Blue, Purple on Green
If you want to use up a bottle of Excedrin within a week, try reading a blog that uses red font on a blue background. You’ll go cross-eyed. Have pity on your readers and stick with a basic dark font on light background. Which brings me to the next point….

4. Dark Background with Light Font
This is a rule that I see violated often. While white font on a black background is not as hard on the eyes as red on blue, it is still hard on the eyes. Stick with a light background and dark font – your readers (and their eyes) will thank you for it.

5. Background Music
While I have to admit that there are at least two websites I have run across with nice background music that fits their “look”, background music is a generally a no-no. People do not like to be “forced” to listen to your music. Perhaps they don’t like your style of music, perhaps you startled them with your music when clicked to your site, perhaps they can’t concentrate on reading while the music is playing. Unless you can find a subtle sound that is generally appealing to most people and that fits your blog’s “feel” and “theme,” you would be better off restraining yourself from adding any music.

BlogCoach is a collaborative community. If you'd like to submit a guest post, contact Angie.