The world would be boring if everyone decided to bottle up their knowledge. Blogging is one of the ways you can give back to society. Blogging is in no way an easy task, and can be intimidating to non-professional writers.
A big congratulations to you if you have decided to blog. The problem you might encounter will be what to blog about, the best blog design to use and other tips that could make you a successful blogger. Beginners might be lost in getting answers to these questions, but the eight design blogging tips below can help.
1. The post must not be perfect
New bloggers are often too emotional about their post, so it never gets published. They edit over and over again, and are never satisfied with it. Getting rid of typos and grammatical errors are critical to any piece of writing, because it makes it easier for your audience to read. But this should not stop you from publishing that interesting and informative post. Blogging, like every other skill, is developed with constant practice. You may not know it, but even the best bloggers were sub-par when they started.
Another option is to hire an editor to go through your posts before you publish them - if you can afford their service. There is also the option of editing your post even after it has been published.
It is hard editing your own work on screen, because you tend to read what is meant to be rather than what is there. Reading your piece aloud will help you to identify subtle mistakes you never spotted on screen.
2. Your ideas should come from your audience
Interesting content is the key to becoming a successful blogger. An interesting article should answer the questions generated by the people you interact with on social media. Life as a blogger becomes boring if you don’t have an audience, particularly if you intend making it a source of income.
The founder of TweetSmarter, Dave Larson, said the best way to generate ideas is by going through blog comments or Tweets. Larson recounts how a comment on a post by FastCompany was asking why there are no female entrepreneurs on the list. When the list was compiled, it was a big hit.
3. Keep the design minimal
Everyone wants their blog to stand out, hence the need for design. Beginners often take it too far, with complex designs and color combinations that end up looking distasteful. The majority of blog readers agree that the layout should be clean and easy to navigate. Unnecessary widgets and sidebars should be pulled down, as should personal pictures unrelated to the blog, and animated gifs.
Minimal blog design is on-trend, with lots of white spaces which makes reading easier. It is not a crime to ignore the trend, especially when you want your blog to stand out. Feel free to include any element that will increase interaction on your blog, but do try not to keep it clutter-free.
4. Don’t trade your uniqueness
Having read thousands of blog posts, there is the temptation for beginners to attempt to sound like someone else. The first problem with imitation is that it leaves you second best. Everyone has a unique voice, which readers crave.
A veteran blogger, Jennifer Aldrich, said that people who know her in person say they hear her voice when they read her posts. If you only follow her posts, you would only know her through her writing. The feeling and relationship between writers and readers are not peculiar to Aldrich. When readers are used to your voice and, out of the blue, that voice fades into the background to be replaced by a different voice, there will be a sharp disconnect which may cost you your audience.
5. Left align is still the preferred text alignment format
When you alter the norm, the default reaction is mostly rejection. The same applies to blogging. Centered text is strictly reserved for headings, advertisements, and billboards. Using it for a large chunk of text is displeasing because the reader has to struggle to find the beginning of the sentence each time they move to a new line, says the author of Wholefully.
Justified text is nearly as bad as centered text. Readers usually mark their progress in a paragraph using the right line length. When the lines are of the same length, it makes it harder for the reader to track their progress, especially if they take their eyes off the screen for a second. Justified text also leaves large spaces between words, which is distracting for the reader. The large spaces can be taken out in print by tweaking the settings, but this is not the case on the web.
6. A low audience for your first post should not discourage you
View blogging like traveling. It is unlikely that everyone will like you on arrival at a new location or country - unless you are a celebrity. No big blogger started big. Building an audience takes time and persistence, which explains why you must have a niche and try to be the best in that field. It often takes a few blog posts to gain a sizeable audience.
While waiting for the audience, ready your armour against the trolls. Some bloggers like to fight dirty, and will drop obnoxious comments on your post to draw attention to themselves. The best way to handle it is to ignore them, because if you respond the battle will rage on into a long and annoying thread. Ignore them, and they will get bored and go away. Learn to separate constructive criticism from trolls. If several readers comment on a particular matter concerning your blog, take it seriously.
7. Maintain the same color for links
When people surf the web, they are often on the lookout for something they can click. Most websites use text color to differentiate the clickable from the non-clickable. It gets confusing for readers to differentiate the two if they are all the same color and formatting.
When the readers are used to a particular type of formatting (let’s say a blue color) for clickable texts, and the same formatting appears in the article but they cannot click on it, it creates a hiccup. They might think your website is faulty - and this is the best of the ideas that can pop into their head.
8. Maintain a reasonable line length for paragraphs
Our world is fast-paced, and people are losing the patience to read lengthy articles. The majority of casual internet users want to scan through the information at a glance. Breaking your text into paragraphs of four to five lines makes it easier to read. When paragraphs are too long, it also makes it hard for the reader to easily track their progress.
There is another category of would-be bloggers who are obsessed with what people might think about them. Ask yourself this - can you clearly remember the author’s name and picture in every blog you have read? Unless you are a frequent visitor of a particular blog, it may be impossible. In the same way, you should not worry if your first posts are suboptimal. No one will remember.
Now that you’re done with reading, which blog out of the hundreds you have visited has the best design? What really makes it stand out for you? Let us know in the comments below.