Choosing a Good Blog Design

Posted on Sep 25, 2008 in Blogging
If you’ve decided to start a blog online, there are several different things you’ll need to take into account, but the most important of those is the design. Most first time users of a web page only stay there for around five seconds, unless they find something that compels them to stay. You can have the best content on the web for your niche, but if your blog design is horrible or users are unable to read it, they won’t bother, which could seriously hurt you in the long run.The first thing you’ll need to take into account in choosing a good blog design is whether or not it fits your niche. You wouldn’t wear a sun dress to a funeral, and the same applies to dressing your blog with something you shouldn’t. If you’re writing about technology and modern advances in today’s world, you wouldn’t want a design that is tailored towards children. Picking a design that complements your niche is the most beneficial thing you can do for your blog.The second thing to keep in mind when choosing a design for your blog is readability. You want the main part of your text to be readable and understandable, without the user having to squint, or adjust their own browser fonts in order to see your text. Just because it looks good on your computer, doesn’t mean it looks good on someone else’s. Many blog themes today have adjustable text sizes which switches between .CSS files on the fly, so your users can choose which text size fits them the best. This is a great option for bloggers who tend to write lengthy posts and don’t want to scare their readers away with large or small print.The third most important thing for you to consider when choosing your design is ad placement. Many people find ads to be annoying and intrusive, but they are how you support yourself. Keep this in mind when choosing a design for your blog. If your blog allows for an ad in the header, make sure the ad isn’t an annoying, flashing banner. You don’t want to take away from your content with advertising, but at the same time, you want to offer relevant advertising to your community in hopes they’ll be interested enough to click the ads, which generates you some money.Picking a great theme which balances all three of these points can be tough, but once you’ve found the design that’s right for you, you’ll want to stick with it. Long time readers of your blog will come to expect the items on your blog to be in the same place, day in and day out so they can access them with ease. If you constantly change your design, and place things in radically different places, many people will give up and go somewhere else to get their information, because the constant change frustrated them. It’s okay to change your design, but inform your user base before you do so. They’ll be happier, and in the long run, so will you.SEO Blog Optimization – What You Need to KnowIf you’re venturing into the world of getting yourself known on the internet through your blog, there are a few things you should know about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You’ll need to be known search engines in order for people to find you, and in order to get search engines familiar with your site enough so that they index it frequently, you’ll have to think a bit differently.You should start by optimizing your blog its self. Building a keyword list and then writing posts surrounding this keyword list is a great way to optimize your site to appear in early ranks in search engines. The front page is optimal, but getting several of your pages on the second or third page of a search engine is better than no where at all. You should also only use plain HTML where ever possible, as this is more friendly to search engines than graphics. In addition to your keyword list, you should always use keywords whenever possible in order to identify your resources and your link list.The most important thing you can do to optimize your blog is write powerful keyword-rich text, and write it often. You should always have a theme for your posts, and your posts should always remain in line with this theme. Your posts shouldn’t become what’s known as ‘kitchen sink’ posts, or posts which have a little bit of everything in them. If you need to, consider splitting your posts into parts in order to extend your message, resulting in more hits. Your title is the most important part of optimizing your posts, so stay on topic and make sure it contains keywords which are relevant to your subject. Keywords are also great in anchor text for links.Once you’ve done all of these things, you can begin to socialize your blog. Incoming links are a priceless commodity in getting your blog known, so you should value them. If need be, you can notify other bloggers in your niche about your blog via comments, or even email. You can join in on the conversation of other blogs relevant to your niche and include references to your site, which are back links. Many social bookmarking sites have skyrocketed in the past year, so you should always include these as an option to getting your blog known. StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, and Digg are great sites to have your posts available to be submitted to. Keeping your site as a real resource for your niche will take you far.You can also make your feed very accessible by claiming it on Technorati and submitting it to sites like Feedburner. Many users who read blogs via RSS are a great way to get your blog name out there and spread among the community, which means more traffic and better search results for you, which in turn equals more search recognition and even lends weight to your Page Rank in Google. SEO optimizing your blog is an important step and can be a difficult one to learn, but once you realize your keywords and begin building your site around them, you’ll have no trouble attracting the traffic you need to keep your site a float.