1. The dreaded template.
The first thing you should do when you start-up a blog, is changed the template. Change the header image to your logo and slogan and change the background colour. I don’t think there is any explanation why, but just change it. You want your blog to stick out, not blend in.
To sum up: Change your template header and background
2. Is this a scam?
If you website is full of hyperlinks, Times New Roman text and adverts with a plain white background and single coloured text, people are going to be waiting for a window to pop up, telling them about your new e-book about how to enlarge your you-know-what by 55 inches. You need a proper layout. One clear column with your main features in, then one side bar with a few widgets. Minimize the amount of advertising you have, other people will know you are only in it for the money. Oh, and no pop ups.
To sum up: Use a clear layout
Make sure you use a sans-serif font for the body text. No fancy hard-to-read text. This is a sans-serif font, this is a serif font.. Notice that the sans-serif font has clean ends on each letter, whereas serif fonts have pointed or shaped ends, making it harder to read. Also, it really does go without saying, the size. Text that is very big will make your readers think that you are expecting kids or OAPs to be visiting your blog. Text to small and visitors will be wondering if you actually want them to read your post, or if you just want them to get a bad eye site.
To sum up: Make it easy to read.
This is just as much of a design fault than a content fault. people are not going to read your blog if the grammar is like this because there aren’t any capital letters no full stops no comers and the sentences are so long that by the time the reader has finished reading them they are blue in the face and on the floor. People are also going to think your blog was written by a 5-year-old, if it has little use of capital letters.
To sum up: Write properly.
5. Ease of Use
Every good website is easy to use. If you find it’s hard to use, then you’re probably one of the few people who use it. Make sure your blog or website has a distinctive home page, one that you know is the home page. This means a large logo and slogan at the top, with widgets with news, top stories and other information in your website. If you have a blog, the home page should have a stick post, which explains your blog in a few words, so people get the fair idea of why it exists. If your website has plenty of pages with no menu bar or way of moving around the website, then readers can get lost or stuck, so they will just leave the page. If you run an E-Commerce website, a customer should be able to see if you have a certain product in your store by only clicking three times. Its true! Go and try it on Amazon!
To sum up: Make is easy for your readers.
First of all, if your background is very jazzy and bright, it’s going to hurt people’s eyes when they are trying to read your content. These backgrounds include bright green, yellow, and orange, and light blue block colours, a mix of these colours, or anything that distracts the reader. Don’t skip this bit if you don’t use bright colours. Using picture backgrounds are also not a great idea. Especially if it is a small picture and has been tiled on the page. Just no. You can use block colours such as white, pale colours, grey, black* or any other colour that’s not in your face.
* When you use a black background, don’t use white text. it sort of pulses when you are reading it, and hurts your eyes, especially if its small. Use a gold colour instead. Much better. If you don’t want to use gold, you can get around this by having a black outer background, then a white background behind the text. Sorted.
To sum up: Keep it calm, don’t jazz it up.
7. Paint still exists?
When you are designing a logo, don’t use paint. It end up with a horrible quality with not so good colours. Download a free trial of a graphic program and use that. There’s not much more to say on this one, but just don’t use it!
To sum up: Make sure your logo is good quality.
8. Picture Quality
I can’t stress this enough. Never ever use low quality pictures on your website. We don’t want to look at pictures that we can’t work out what it is. You don’t see large companies using bad quality pictures on their website, so why should you? On the other hand, don’t use very high quality, large pictures. People don’t want to wait 30 minutes for your website to load.
To sum up: Make sure we can see what the picture is.
9. Steer clear of a competitors design
If you have a clear competitor, don’t go using the same colour background, the same font or the same logo style as them. You want to be different from them, not a knock off version. It very easy to see a competitors website and think, that design is really good. I couldn’t do it better. But you would be wrong. I’m sure if you changed the background colour, or use a different font size, or changed the title of each menu, then you could make it better.
To sum up: Be different
10. What you criticize in others, correct in yourself.
If you see a website, and think Wow, that font looks horrible or Why are they using that colour? make sure your website isn’t doing this too. Before you criticize them, correct your own website first.
To sum up: Sort your design before you sort others.
This article is contributed by Sam Clarks, SEO expert from eShine Marketing, Calgary. He manages growth marketing and inbound strategy for SMBs. His areas of writing include CRO, blogging, eCommerce analytics and Tech.