Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blog Design Tips for Writers

Design is an important element to any blog's success. But how can you improve your blog's design if you're not a designer? (Note: If you are a designer, you probably don't need to read this post.)

I'm just an editor with an English Lit degree and no formal training in design. However, I've worked in media for more than a decade now and can share some very fundamental and easy tricks to improve the design of your blog.

Here are my 7 blog design tips for writers:
  1. Use lists. Whether they're numbered or bullet points, use lists when possible. Lists break up the text and make it easy for readers to follow what you're blogging.
  2. Bold main points in lists. Again, this helps break up the text while also highlighting the important points of your post.
  3. Use headings. If your posts are longer than 300 words and you don't use lists, then please break up the text with a heading. (Check out this post to see just how basic headings can be.)
  4. Use a readable font. Avoid using fonts that are too large or too small. Avoid using cursive or weird fonts. Times New Roman or Arial works, but if you want to get "creative," use something similar to those.
  5. Left align. English-speaking readers are trained to read left to right. If you want to make your blog easier to read, avoid centering or right aligning your text (unless you're purposefully calling out the text).
  6. Use small paragraphs. A good rule of thumb is to try and avoid paragraphs that drone on longer than five sentences. I usually try to keep paragraphs to around three sentences myself.
  7. Add relevant images. If you've read my blog for any period of time, you've probably noticed that I shy away from using too many images. My reason is that I only like to use them if they're relevant. Images are very powerful on blogs, so please use them--just make sure they're relevant to your blog post.
If you're already doing everything on my list, keep it up! If you're not, then you might want to re-think your design strategy on your blog. Simply adding a header here and a list there can easily improve the design of a blog post.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Here are a few other posts related to blogging:

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Belinda said...

Thank you for these tips Robert. I had not thought of using bold headings. I plan to incorporate them!

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Sure thing, Belinda. I'm glad these tips were helpful!

Claudia said...

i agree with you on the images - photos are powerful and sometimes they can even distract from the poem

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

I am incorporating more images in my blog but am not doing it with every post since it is not a photography blog.

Recently, I did a boneheaded thing. I made up business cards with my name, E-mail, blog title and its link. I just wanted to see how it would look on the website but I accidentally ordered them. At least I'll never run out of bookmarks.


Who am I? said...

Thank you for all the great get started advice you have posted! I'm new at this, but in time, hope to get it figured out... at the moment all my pages look alike... working to figure out how to change that. Nevertheless, thank you, it's nice to have an easy to comprehend, written in a language other than Latin, suggestion handbook to refer to.
Elizabeth Matson=^,,^=

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I think photos are good, Jennifer, but like you, I don't feel I need to throw them in each post just for the sake of using images. (And sorry about your accidental purchase of "bookmarks.")

Elizabeth, glad to help.

And yes, Claudia, images can distract from poems. Or they can work together.

jbrighams said...

Great Tips! I would also suggest that you fill out all title and meta tags with your keywords to be optimized in search.

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... Paige said...

super & duper. I do post photos, ususally with every post, my dear internets like them and are saddened if I don't.

I encourage everyone to carry a camera everywhere...you never know when you may catch just the perfect shot

happy poeming

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Keeping a camera handy is good advice. Like keeping a pen and paper close.

Pearl said...

Solid tips. Maybe they be used widely.

And another? Like a local newspaper, a hook that's timely and local note to tether the material for a personal touch helps too.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I just want to add that with Facebook and Google+ (and Tumblr) focusing so much more on images that images are more important than ever.

Shasing19 said...

Your tips were incredible and useful. I will refer this to my friend and she would really love it. Thank you and keep sharing.

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