In our other blogging posts, we talked about why you should blog and some things to consider when starting a blog. These are all important but I suspect you’re reading this series because you want to profit from your blog by building your business.
Remember that your blog will be different than all the others out there because you are different. You have different goals and ideas and you are a different person than all the other bloggers out there. So don’t make the mistake of trying to copy someone else’s blog or even comparing yours to others.
Your blog is going to be unique and your blog’s appearance will help determine its uniqueness. If you look at a lot of blogs, you’ll see that many of them are a scrambled mess of links, widgets, ads and distractions that make it hard to focus on why you clicked on that blog in the first place.
Keeping your blog simple will make it easier for your readers to focus on what you are trying to tell them instead of wandering off to another site.
Here are some tips for keeping your blog simple and easy to follow:
- Choose a template that will brand your blog. You don’t need a fancy design. There are many free blog templates to choose from if you’re using a free blogging service and thousands to choose from if you have chosen to use wordpress.org and have the blog hosted on your own domain (as this one is).
- Keep your layout simple. Unless you know what you are doing, a two column format is easier to simply and a three column format should be tha absolute maximum. Your main and widest column is for your blog post and the other narrower ones are for navigation and any extras that you include.
- Should you use a right navigation or a left navigation format? This is a personal decision but remember that the eyes of most readers on the web read from the left to the right. Since I consider my blog posts to be the most important part of the page, I use a right navigation so that they read the posts first.
- Choose widgets (add-ons to blog pages) carefully. There are so many widgets to choose from (and we’ll talk about some of the more important ones in a later post), that the temptation is to add lots of them. But I suggest that you consider each one carefully before adding as less is usually better unless the widget serves an important purpose.
- Keep your feed options simple. By feed options, I mean giving your readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog either via email or via an RSS reader. Most of your readers will have no idea what all the many options are so don’t clutter the feed options area with a lot of different options.
- Should you have a blog roll? Blog rolls are standard on many templates. But beware. They those links can leak out valuable SEO ability. Unless they benefit you, why include them?
In our next post, we’ll talk about how to design your blog posts for maximum effectiveness.