You’ve probably heard the saying “content is king.” Sure, there’s a lot of truth in that statement, but good content alone won’t make your blog a success. A truly great blog is a combination of quality content, eye-catching design, excellent promotion, and a strong community.
Today, I want to focus in on one of those elements: blog design. Too many bloggers fail to realize the important role blog design plays in creating sticky traffic. The simple truth is your visitors do judge your blog by the way it looks, so it’s important that you have a respectable design that keeps readers coming back.
Here are 7 blog design mistakes that can scare readers away.
1. Having too many ads — I’m not saying you can’t have advertisements on your blog. By all means, put ads on there so you can generate some income. However, just make sure your ads don’t become the main focus on your blog. Ads shouldn’t be a distraction. Create a specific section on the side for your ads so they don’t interfere with your content.
2. Using too many widgets and sidebars — These are a slippery slope. Many of the widgets, sidebars, buttons, plugins, etc. serve a good purpose and enhance your blog, but there comes a time when enough is enough. You have to be careful that you don’t create a cluttered blog that’s difficult for people to use. Pare it down to the sidebar apps you truly need, and get rid of the nonessentials.
3. Picking the default WordPress theme —Do you really expect anyone to take your default-themed blog seriously? Look, there are hundreds of great WordPress themes you can download for absolutely FREE. Anything is better than the default theme. It makes you look like a total blogging noob. Find a catchy theme that gives your blog a professional appearance.
4. Not using images to spice up your posts —Images can add an extra punch to your posts, making them more appealing and more interesting. Just make sure the images load quickly, aren’t copyright protected, and fit with the theme of your post.
5. Burying your RSS button —Blogging success requires building a community of dedicated readers. One of the best ways to keep your readers engaged is to create an RSS feed they can subscribe to that alerts them each time a new post is published. And if you want people to subscribe, you should place the RSS button above the fold for everyone to see.
6. Difficult to scan text — Readers tend to scan text online rather than actually read it word for word. With that in mind, your blog posts should be scanner friendly. You can do this by using bullet points, lists, short paragraphs, and bolded phrases.
7. Not making the design your own — Just because you downloaded a free WordPress theme doesn’t mean you have to use the template as is. There are plenty of things you can do to customize the theme to better fit your brand. One of the best ways to do this is by creating your own header for the blog, replacing the generic banner that comes with it.
What are some other blog design mistakes you’d add to this list? Leave a comment with your thoughts.