Continuing with our series for beginner bloggers and focusing on boosting readership and building a better blog, let’s look at cutting the clutter out of the blog design and creating a pleasant, easy-on-the-eye readership experience.
Declutter the Sidebar
Let’s start with the biggest clutter magnet on a blog – the sidebars. Whether you have one or two, the rule is simple.
Please don’t crowd your side bar with Google ads, blog buttons, stats, directory listings and what not. If you have to use all of this, do it aesthetically.
One of my favorite blogs is Life as Mom and Jessica uses Google and other ad networks, but the ads are SO nicely displayed they don’t hurt the eye and in fact, add to the overall design of her site.
Begin by identifying what elements of your sidebar you HAVE to have. Then, work on the design aspect. If that overwhelms you, I really recommend getting professional designer help. It works wonders. Ask me how I know!
Get Rid of the Junk
Besides the sidebars, take a good, hard look at the headers, background, navigation bar and other design elements. Are they reader-friendly and easy to look at and use?
This is also the time to revisit your categories and streamline them. Make sure that your content is easy to find. Keep your categories simple and straightforward. There is no point in having a category for Traveling when you don’t have any posts in it or if you have just a few posts and no intention of writing more about travel, club it with another relevant category, such as Holidays.
Keeping The Good Stuff
Decluttering the blog is a lot like decluttering your home. You get rid of some stuff and you get to keep some stuff. A few must-haves for any blog include:
- Plenty of white space – I talked about its importance in this post on simple writing.
- An About Me Page – Let your readers know who you are.
- Well-Defined and Organized Categories – ‘Nuff said.
- A Contact Me/Email Form – You want your readers to be able to get in touch with you.
- A Search Box – Make it easier for folks to find what they’re looking for.
- Subscription/Social Media Options – Let your readers stay connected with your blog and you easily.
I’d also add Archives and a Welcome Message. Both items are on my own Improve My Blog List.
How do you keep your blog clutter-free and reader-friendly?
Photo Credit: lylarmerle