Wednesday wisdom

Looks do matter: 4 tips for a great blog layout.

Wednesday Wisdom is a series of blog posts on This is Lit about the different content marketing strategies you can use to crush it in the blogging world.

You read the title right. Looks do matter.

Picture this. You use your search engine to search for Free writing resources. From the results, you find a link that looks closest to what you want. You click it, and bam–the site is, well, ugly af.

Let’s face it. No matter how good the site’s content is, if the design looks straight from the 90s, readers are going to hit the back button real fast.

If you want readers to stay back and actually take notice of your content, there are some key things you can do from your end to look convincing.

1. Have a clear layout/theme.

Irrespective of whether you use free or paid WordPress, ensure that you have a clear layout. I see so many blogs that use a cluttered layout. Clunky buttons and a crowded sidebar will only buy you a one way ticket to closed-tab-in-a-huff town.

And trust me, I’ve been down this path. I once chose a free theme that just looked plain weird. A rule of thumb you can follow is checking whether you, as a reader, would appreciate a site that looked like yours. If your answer’s no, you definitely need a design overhaul.

2. Make your blog mobile-friendly.

WordPress.com offers free themes that are mostly mobile-friendly. But I’ve noticed several self-hosted blogs that just aren’t fit for handheld devices. You need to make sure that your site looks good on phones and tablets too.

Need an extra push? Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

[Related: The blogger’s guide to Search Engine Optimization.]

3. Choose a proper color palette.

Choose your blog’s colors carefully. One of your main concerns should be readability–you don’t want your background color to make your text illegible. As long as the blog is readable and the color you choose is pleasing to the eye, you’re all set.

4. Avoid clutter.

A little backstory here: When I first started blogging and I discovered you could add anything to the sidebar, I went…well…kind of crazy. I added a lot of unnecessary information to my sidebar. Here’s the thing–you don’t actually need to add your Facebook page, Instagram feed, and Goodreads reviews to your sidebar. If you tracked the number of clicks they received (or lack thereof), you’d understand how irrelevant they are.

So what do we add to the sidebar?

  • Subscribe button
  • Goodreads’ currently reading pane
  • Badges, if any
  • Search bar
  • Archives

These are more relevant and site visitors like seeing these more.

That’s all for today! As always, this is not a comprehensive list. So if you want to add to the advice, have at it in the comments! 🙂

~ Shruti

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12 thoughts on “Looks do matter: 4 tips for a great blog layout.

  1. You’ve given some excellent advice here, Shruti! I love posts like this and reading other people’s ideas on advice on design is always useful to step back and analyse our own blogs and if any changes could be made for the better. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand! I may have written this post, but I still love the advice other people give! It’s a different perspective on things, and it also puts us in our readers’ shoes. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  2. Nice post! Coincidentally enough, last week I too talked about blog graphics for my #bloggers101 series 🙂 Looks are very important for a blog. Obviously, we all hate to see a mismanaged page or if it doesn’t appeal to our eyes.
    Now that you have mentioned, I guess I need to work on my sidebar 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic post! I definitely agree that layout matters! I’m constantly changing my sidebar because I’ve added things I shouldn’t have when I started blogging. Now, I probably still have a few unneeded things on my sidebar, but that’s for the next cleanup, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

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