Blog design is not just about the looks. It also has to take into account intuitiveness or being user-friendly and easy-to-navigate. You can’t have something that looks excellent but makes it difficult to find the buttons to go to the next set of posts, for example. Likewise, you can’t have something that is aesthetically impressive but is not so responsive, something that takes time to load pages.
So how can this be done? There are basically three methods: designing everything from scratch through the code or web design software, getting a customizable template and implementing changes on it, or using a plugin that can introduce customizations to a template, a WordPress button plugin for example. In all of these methods, it would be great to take the following pointers into account:
A simple design is a clean design and a better design. Avoid having too many images, especially animated ones, cluttering your blog’s homepage and pages. Keep the header image minimal unless you really want to create impact or you have some other reasonable purpose in having a large header image. If possible, limit the number of your columns and sections unless you really have an abundance of important content that can benefit from having an exposure (through previews/snippets and thumbnails on the homepage).
Making your blog design simple does not mean that it has to be scarce. It’s mostly about being able to present more by showing less. Simple does not mean forcing your blog to have just one or two columns and a tiny header image.
Yes, the idea is subjective but it shouldn’t be difficult to decide what is simple and easy and what isn’t. Simple means something that does not have distractions on it. It’s something that quickly conveys what you want to convey. It is about tidying up and removing the unnecessary.
Content is king even when it comes to blog design. Be sure to develop a design that has content as the focus. This means that in whichever page of the blog a reader is, there should be navigation buttons or links that would make it easy—even encourage—to go to related pages that offer more content of your blog.
Also, if you are dividing your blog posts into separate pages, make sure it would be easy to move from page to page. It would also be advisable to provide readers the option to display the long content in just one page while showing it by default as something that requires a click on the “Next” and “Back” buttons to go over the separate or segmented parts.
Avoid committing the common mistakes when designing site navigation. Examples of which are the use of non-standard locations for the navigation menu and style, reliance on generic labels, having too many items on the navigation menu, and having too many buttons. Links are deemed more preferable than buttons although this does not mean that you have to entirely avoid the use of buttons. Buttons can enhance the appearance of a blog if you know how to properly use them.
Blogs and most HTML5 sites tend to be long that you have to scroll a long way down and up to see the entirety of the site. It’s the trend nowadays, which is not something to complain about but should be properly handled in terms of navigation to avoid usability issues.
Make it easy for readers to go back to the top or to move to other pages of your blog by providing a fixed position menu or navigation buttons so they don’t have to scroll a long way up when they’ve gone all the way down near the footer part of your blog.
This may be item number 5 on this list but it is definitely one of the most important point that need to be considered. You need to know who your target readers are to properly determine the best design you want to come up with. Should it be something straightforward and formal? Should it look fun and sassy? Should it infuse creativity? What looks good and attractive is highly subjective and this subjectivity is often dictated by the kind of topic or theme you have for your blog.
Don’t ever forget optimizing your design for mobile access. Generally, this means having a responsive web design or a design that automatically adjusts to the display size of the device used to access your blog. You may also have a separate version of your site that is specifically intended for mobile access but a responsive web design is arguably better as you no longer have to spend time and effort maintaining two versions of your blog. It saves you time and resources in maintaining your blog and ensuring its operability on various devices, operating systems, and web browsers.
Ads on blogs are almost inevitable. Even personal blogs or blogs published as a hobby can make great use of ads. Who does not want to monetize the content they post online? That’s why it’s very important to be mindful of how the nature and quantity of ads you put on your blog. Ads should not be distractive.
They should be positioned in a way that does not take away the focus on the content. Avoid ads that create a lot of modal windows or pop up windows. It would even be preferable if you ditch ads that open pop-up ads altogether. Pop-up ads may not even generate revenues for your blog as they are often blocked by browsers. Also, don’t use ads that withhold access to your content unless they are viewed.
Designing an attractive and intuitive WordPress blog is not just about how your blog appears. It’s not just the aesthetics and what can be perceived on first sight. It’s largely about creating a favorable overall experience. Consider the points briefly discussed above to achieve intuitiveness, appeal, and even a great first impression for your blog.