Listen to “MIH 047:What Makes a Perfect Blog Design?” on Spreaker.

What is a perfect blog design?

Calling a blog design “perfect” is a far stretch, I know. Perfection is a relative as beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. But on today’s blog post and podcast I want to discuss a few elements- namely 12- of what I believe a perfect blog design will entail.  There can be more or less, mind you, but these are 12 elements that I believe will round out the development of your blog and make it as user friendly as possible.

Simple color scheme

I believe a simple scheme for your blog is optimal. The amount of colors you can have in your color palette are completely up to you, but I usually shoot for no more than 4 or 5.  You want to have a few mainstay colors that are consistent with your brand, and just keep it simple. If a turquoise blue isn’t found anywhere in your color palette for your site and logo branding, it’s probably best not to awkwardly throw in this color on your social media accounts.  It just throws people off, and they wonder if it’s the same brand they’re seeing on Facebook versus Twitter.  Keep things consistent with colors and simplicity in your branding.

Simple navigation

There is nothing quite like the confusion that happens when visitors can’t find anything on your site. Usually this is a result of having too much in your main navigation. We want to avoid information overload as much as possible and give our readers a great place to start finding our content. Make the navigation easy to navigate by reducing your blog into just a few distinct topics and placing those topics in your main menu.

Organization

A nicely organized website makes all the difference for your site visitors.  Think about the flow of your traffic as a reader lands on your blog.  Is it easy for them to navigate your site? If your navigation menu is cluttered, try simplifying it.

Your bio

In a perfect blog design world, your viewers will want to get to know you better.  It’s always a great idea to include a “who am I” section. Your bio tells your audience a bit about yourself and a lot about your mission all in one compacted paragraph. Your bio shouldn’t be extremely long as it usually goes in your site sidebar with your headshot. Having a bio in your sidebar as well as a bio page gives your readers a chance to get to know you and become familiar with your mission. Plus, it’s always nice to way connect a friendly face to a blog.

Social sharing buttons

You want your readers to share your content. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the news of your offerings. One of the best ways to do that is by using social sharing buttons. Many of these are free plugins. Just do a quick search for free social sharing buttons and pick from a variety of styles.  I’m currently using WP Social Sharing.

Yoast SEO

Probably the only reason I’m able to write quality posts that fly through the Google “good post” detector is completely due to Yoast SEO.  This plugin has helped to guide me through making sure my keywords are in my metatags and throughout my post and title as many times as needed to have a quality SEO-rich post. For SEO help when creating blog posts I highly recommend this plugin.

Beautiful images

It’s no mystery that blog readers love great images. Readers want to not only read but see pictures sprinkled throughout the post. It helps to break up the lines and paragraphs to make reading easier. Additionally, images are paramount for Pinterest users. If you want to bring a nice dose of traffic to your website with an image only, you’ll need to begin creating catchy images for your blog which you also pin on Pinterest.  It’s a nice deal!

Content then sidebar on right

I love sidebars for so many things. I place my bio there, a search bar, affiliates and sponsor information, and sometimes it’s a great place to add popular posts. I find that when I place my content first and sidebar on the left of my content, readers find my content easier to surf through.  The eyes automatically land on the content without distraction. Here’s a post I wrote a few years back on creating content your readers will love.

Header and logo

Every great blog should have a nice logo and header. Branding is very important, and as I’ve learned over the years, it’s not enough to throw up an image and call it a day. Taking the time to craft a catchy logo that speaks volumes of what you offer will make a huge difference. Be sure to hire someone who understands your brand because your logo or header will practically follow you everywhere!

Related posts

I like plugins that allow your readers to view related posts. This gives readers a chance to NOT hop away from your blog so quickly. Once they reach the bottom of one post they’re more likely to click through and read more of your related posts served up through the one of the many “related posts” plugins.

Sidebar opt-in

Check with your mailing list provider for the newsletter signup script and be sure to place one in your sidebar as well as other places throughout your blog.  Having a sidebar opt-in that’s always visible no matter which page your reader is on might make a difference in a new signup…or not.

Search box

I always love giving my viewers a chance to search for something on my site. You might be surprised at the types of content your readers want to look for on your blog, so providing them a way to search for a blog post you’ve written is a service you want to offer. It’s free and very easy to add. I usually add mine to the sidebar. That’s all for this podcast. I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to subscribe in Itunes for additional episodes.