Love at first sight, meet ‘indifference at first glance.’
No offense, but if your blog looks bad, you’ll probably get written off as an amateur before a visitor even glances at your posts. “Big-name bloggers don’t have boring designs, so you must not be important,” they think (Seth Godin’s blog aside).
Clearly there is a lower threshold for blog design, beneath which pretty much everyone dismisses you. Then there is the “acceptably professional” range, where many bloggers have established a comfortable home. But the most important region for us is above that – some blogs leverage design so effectively that they stand out, make a statement and bring readers back again and again. That’s what we’re shooting for.
Elevate Your Value – Make Reading an Experience
Great blog design sets your blog apart from the crowd by transforming the act of reading into an experience. This experience adds to the value that readers receive from your posts and makes them more likely to come back. Your blog’s layout and design should make reading and engagement as easy as possible. In addition to boosting loyalty, this strategy will also increase the amount of time people spend on your site.
In short, make readers savor the sight of your blog.
As an illustration, The Design Cubicle (above) gives the impression of reading a book printed on fine paper. Compare this with your blog – what kind of experience are your readers having?
Stand out with Beautiful Infographic-Style Posts
Infographics took the blogging world by storm because they present data in an engaging, visually appealing way. It’s boring to read a paragraph, but digesting interesting statistics illustrated in a colorful graphic is almost fun.
Same data, different presentation.
You can leap head-and-shoulders above the competition by crafting posts that tickle both the eyes and the mind. Paddy Donnelly’s posts set the standard in this category – they are truly beautiful to behold.
Food for thought: how much would it cost to hire a graphic designer or learn design yourself? If you have a big audience and efficient monetization strategies, why not bring a designer on board? Beautiful post design will blow your competition out of the water.
Be Simple, Elegant and Viral
This strategy takes the Infographic Post approach we just looked at and turns it on it’s head. Instead of writing long, visually complex posts, why not create simple, elegant, viral content and enhance it with great design?
This is another situation where the presentation of the information will make or break your post. In the example above, StartupQuote takes a very simple piece of content and makes it visually compelling. This content is just deep enough to be valuable, short enough to be sharable and leverages design effectively enough that it stands out.
Don’t Forget: Design Makes Your Blog Memorable
Sometimes people need to see your blog more than once before they trust you.
I stumbled across Point Blank SEO a while back, read a single post…and forgot all about it.
I saw the blog again a few weeks ago when it was recommended in a newsletter and decided that Jon Cooper was the real deal.
The key to this conversion process was that I remembered having seeing Jon’s blog. And why did I remember? Because Point Blank SEO’s design demands your attention. What other blog has a giant tree-fort (with a Twitter bird no less) as a header? Memorable design builds your blog’s brand and prevents visitors from forgetting about you after they leave.
Advanced: Shock and Awe with Parallax Scrolling
This is an advanced tactic that requires some coding expertise, but if you can pull it off the effect is stunning. Parallax Scrolling is a technique that makes the images in your blog dynamically change as the reader scrolls.
Parting Words and a Gift
P.S.: Thanks so much for reading! As a special thank-you, I’m giving away a few copies of my “One Question – How to Transform Your Struggling Blog into a Titan“ eBook for free. This eBook is a token of my appreciation to you – I can’t wait to see how you combine the knowledge in this post and the eBook to light a fire under your blog’s growth. Enjoy!
This guest post was written by Grant Hensel.