Disclaimer: This post was written by a guest contributor to this blog and may not reflect the views and opinions of Michelle Rawlings or ShellyRawlings.com.
By Mariia Hepalova, content writer for DesignContest.com
With content marketing continuing to grow in popularity, many businesses and influencers around the world are interested in creating their own blogs. If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place.
Whether you’re interested in using your blog as a tool for advertising your personal brand, or as a means for business development — especially for a commercial website or online store — blogging can be one of the most rewarding forms of advertising.
A blog is not only a great platform to share relevant information with your audience, but combined with social media activity, it’s a stellar way to attract new visitors who can easily be converted into loyal, paying customers.
But creating a successful blog isn’t as easy as it sounds.
In order to achieve your blogging goals, you’ll need to monitor your site and its content for quality — and that includes the design of your blog.
When it comes to the brand placement on the internet, choosing the right design is one of the most important factors. In fact, research shows that nearly 50% of visitors judge their opinion of a website based on the design of your landing page alone.
If a visitor to your blog doesn’t like the design — including the blog’s colors, photos, and special effects — then none of the content will matter in the slightest.
Avoid this predicament by following these five steps for developing the right design for your blog from the start:
1. Identify your audience.
Your content may not be worth anything without a great design, but the success — and future — of your blog depends on your decisions about its content — and that content’s audience. The design of your blog relies on who you want reading.
What are you creating a blog for? How are you using it? When you’ve answered these questions, you should know the answer to the most important one: What is your target audience (age, gender, interests)?
Answer these questions before going forward so you can choose photos, themes, and color palettes that will appeal most to your readers.
2. Select the right colors to match your audience’s preferences.
Color is a subtle, but important aspect of blog design. The right colors will help create a stable associative array and can even reveal the subject matter of the blog.
When choosing your blog’s colors, take into account the main audience for your site and the brand’s style, but don’t forget to make sure the colors match!
In 2018, bright colors and whites have become extremely popular, so if you’re having trouble pinpointing a niche audience, or your blog is meant for a wide variety of people to read, that could be the way to go!
You can also utilize artistic combinations of a single color and its tones, shadows, and halftones to keep your site stylish elegant, and minimalistic. If you are interested in keeping things monotone, be sure to pay attention to contrasts, as they must be sharp. If not, the elements of your blog could fade into the background!
3. Choose the right font(s).
Choosing the right font for a site is far from a simple task, as this choice varies widely from site to site, and depends on the type and perception of the blog as a whole.
In general, the best advice I can give is to use the fonts that are easy to read, but at the same time, look unique and engaging.
Try to choose the fonts for your blog that will convey the right message, too: don’t use a playful font if your blog is super serious, and vice versa.
Some designers believe that it is necessary to use serif fonts for headlines, because serif fonts are easily read in a large font size. This works even better if the font of the main text is sans serif — as the contrast is pleasing to the eye — but the final call is really up to you.
As far as font size on your site, avoid making it too big or too small, but remember that it can be changed at any time based on your discretion. If you have less contrast between the text and background of the site, a bigger font might be the way to go.
4. Choose high quality photos and illustrations.
No one likes blurry or pixelated photos — so use only the highest quality photos and illustrations on your blog. If you need it, try using special tools to improve image quality; there’s even a free online tool called “Let’s Enhance” that uses artificial intelligence to improve the quality of your images.
When choosing photos or illustrations, look for ones that are free for commercial use (or pay a licensing fee) and that match the content of the post.
If you have only one illustration per post (as is seen on Michelle Rawlings Blog!), it should be placed at the beginning of the post, and convey the subject of the article as accurately as possible.
If you have several illustrations, they should be placed so that they complement the relevant parts of the text. Be wary not to publish too many illustrations in a row — find the right rhythm that feels natural to you.
P.S. Don’t limit yourself to one type of visual information! Add infographics, maps, and charts to the text whenever necessary.
5. Give your blog a modern twist.
Using trendy and modern effects in your blog can make it more interesting and exciting for readers.
Consider using effects like virtual reality or making a 360° survey for your photos. You can also use the parallax effect — to create the illusion that the content is in “3D” — or even implement block design, a fashionable blog design that has become extremely popular in recent years.
The best thing about block design is that you’ll have the ability to place a lot of information on one, beautifully designed page. The page looks spacious and airy, too, meaning that your visitor’s eyes will just “run up” the page, as they want to see everything at once.
Technology is constantly changing, so be on the lookout for more innovative techniques that can give your blog a modern twist.
If you follow these five steps, you’ll be well on your way toward choosing a great template for your blog that will not only look beautiful, but also meet key technical requirements that are considered standards for marketers.
Creating and maintaining a beautiful blog will make you stand out among competitors, and it will almost certainly impact your brand image and your sales in a positive way.
So what are you waiting for? Get to blogging!
Mariia Hepalova is a content writer for DesignContest.com. In addition to her work for Design Contest, Hepalova has an equal passion for both design and marketing, and has written for numerous online publications and blogs on the topics.