So far in this blogging for profit series we have discussed how to go about choosing a blog niche, selecting a name for a blog, selecting a domain name for a blog. The next stage is to design a blog by selecting and modifying its blog theme. If you have not already installed WordPress then see the following page on how to install wordpress in less than two minutes. This post will provide an overview of key web design principles and highlights some lastest research around the relationship between website visitors and website design.
Blog Design Principles
So what are the key blog design principles? Content is KING, but a site that is busy with text, has 100s of links and colour that clashes can turn people off before they have had a chance to find out what amazing stuff you’re writing about, so an attractive well structured blog is important. Website www.smashingmagazine.com provides some excellent examples of blog design – and states that blog design should include:
“…a solid visual structure, a profound hierarchy of site elements; it also has to be able to build some kind of a bridge between the content and its presentation. To do this, you need to think about precision, minimalism and sound use of illustration.”
For these and similar reasons many blog owners claim that having a good blog design is one of the most important pieces of the whole blogging success puzzle. It is better to aim to follow some basic design principles rather that to try to please every potential visitor. Some helpful research on the relationship between web visitors and web deign is reserach conducted by Dr Brent Coker. An overview of Dr Coker’s work is highlighted below:
“As aesthetically orientated humans, we’re psychologically hardwired to trust beautiful people, and the same goes for websites. Our offline behaviour and inclinations translate to our online existence.”—Dr. Brent Coker
Dr. Brent Coker found that websites that are more attractive and include more trimmings create a greater feeling of trustworthiness and professionalism in consumers. Furthermore Dr Coker’s work helpfully outlines some dimensions of website quality which include: website visual appeal, website trustworthiness, ease of use of website, website search quality, information quality, information relevancy and website load speed. In summary Dr Coker states that:
“People are developing relationships with the internet the same way we develop relationships with other people. Compared to five years ago, we are more trusting of attractive websites, less tolerant of websites that have irrelevant information, and more likely to introduce ourselves to websites that are new.”
After all is said and done a website that is attractive and keeps a user on the site is not enough as website and blog owners also want visitors to take specific behaviours such as subscribing to an email list or buying a product or service so you will also need to have a call to action that clearly outlines what you want your visitors to do and some method to increase their trust in you such as social proof (e.g. testimonials or number of retweets or facebook fans etc) that your products and services will be of benefit to your customers.
In terms of the visual appeal of a blog this needs to be considered along with website usability in order to make the blog as easy and as user-friendly to navigate as possible. One easy way to make a blog easier to read is to use font that is easy on the eye – check out this webpage for web designer’s thoughts on fonts for blogs .
This post is aimed at giving you a good feel for what blog design principles that you need to consider to get your blog up and running. But once you have installed your “theme” to your blog, then how do you make it look good? I can suggest three premium websites where you can buy themes: Elegant Themes, WooThemes (I have bought from here in the past) and Studiopress (I selected my current Genesis theme from here).
However, if you don’t want to part with your hard earned cash, a quick Google search for ‘free WordPress themes’ will return a large number of search results which could meet your immediate needs if you’re on a budget. I used a WooTheme whilst I was developing my first blog. WordPress makes it easy to upgrade your themes without loosing any blog posts or pages (but always save your blog content using an FTP program like Filezila before you make any changes – check out my resources page for free FTP software and more).
Once you’ve found a theme you like, you need to install it before you can customise its appearance to make it work for you.
Well that’s it for now.
Check back here in few weeks when we look at other important aspects of setting up a blog.
To Your Success
Professional Internet Marketing Coach
Author of How You Can Generate 50-100 Leads Per Day