We shouldn’t judge books by their cover, yet it’s something we all do. The same applies to websites, even if you don’t notice it. When you see a blog that looks elegant, you tend to pay more attention to what it says. On the other hand, when you see a website that looks like it was put together by a five-year-old, you might not care what it has to say.
Naturally, good design does not necessarily equal great content. However, you need to understand that a lot of visitors will judge your blog by how it looks and play accordingly. If you don’t put any effort into your blog’s style, you’ll pay for it in the long run.
In this article, we’re going to dig deeper into why your blog’s design matters. Then I’ll walk you through some tips to ensure your website looks as professional as possible, so visitors take you seriously. Let’s get to it!
Why Your Blog’s Design Matters
Ideally, people wouldn’t care how your blog looks as long as you write interesting posts. However, very few popular websites can get away with looking hideous. If you want to maximize your blog’s odds of success, at the very least it needs to look professional.
There are, of course, exceptions to that rule. Take Craigslist, for example – it looks awful, but it gets by due to its built-in recognition:
Now, compare that with a blog that oozes style and the difference is stark:
Putting aside the fact we’re talking about wildly different websites, style gives you an edge over the competition. If your blog looks good, you’ll get people’s attention and then it’s up to you to reel them in with your amazing wit and engaging posts.
How to Design a Professional Looking Blog (3 Tips)
As you’ve probably noticed, Leaving Work Behind’s design is all about simplicity. That’s not a coincidence either, for reasons we’re about to explain.
1. Keep It Simple and Focus on the User Experience
If I’m going to be spending a lot of time perusing a website, the thing I care most about is that it’s functional. It doesn’t matter as much if it wows me with its design or not, as long as it doesn’t look terrible and it’s not a pain to use.
Some things you need to pay attention to when it comes to your blog’s design include:
- Is it easy for users to navigate throughout the site?
- Can you find all the content you want?
- Does every element work as intended?
- Does it take too long to load?
A lot of websites make the rookie mistake of prioritizing style over functionality. If your blog is 90% animations, it might look amazing, but I’m probably not going to be visiting again because those types of designs tend to be a pain to use.
My advice is, keep your site’s design simple and clean. I’m all about that minimalism in web design, though, so your mileage might vary. As long as it works well and it doesn’t feel like the design was put together by a five year old, you’ll be golden.
2. Look at Other Popular Blogs for Inspiration
Web design is just like any other field in that it tends to follow trends. These days, websites are all about those big hero sections at the top, large featured images, compelling calls to action, and the likes.
For example, let’s take a look at two of the most popular cooking blogs on the web. Love and Lemons…
…and Smitten Kitchen:
If you told me the same person designed both blogs, I would believe it 100%. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though – they’re clean designs that put the emphasis on the blog posts themselves as well as the accompanying images.
When you’re launching a blog, one of the best things you can do is look around for popular websites in that same niche. Take a look at their designs (and what they’re doing in general), see if there are any trends you can spot, and think about how you can incorporate them into your own.
Your goal here isn’t to copy exactly what other sites are doing. What you want is to make sure your site puts visitors at ease and that you’re following best practices. Once you have a better handle on things, you can always tweak your blog’s design to improve it.
3. Choose the Right WordPress Theme
The idea of ‘designing’ a blog can sound intimidating if this is your first foray into running a website. However, nowadays, platforms such as WordPress make it easy for anyone to create a website that looks professionally built.
I always recommend WordPress because it’s the ideal platform for blogging. With it, you can manage large libraries of content, get full control over how your posts look, and more importantly, you get access to a ton of add-ons.
With WordPress themes, you can overhaul your blog’s entire style in minutes. If you pick a theme that’s stylish right off the bat, that’s most of the work done for you. All you have to do then is focus on publishing and the small details, such as your logo, the images you use, and more.
There are literally thousands of themes to choose from, so finding one you like shouldn’t be a problem. My advice is if you’re starting out, try to opt for a free theme. That way, you can get a handle on WordPress. Once you’re more comfortable, you can upgrade to a premium theme that offers more functionality.
Most of the websites we visit aren’t what we would consider beautiful. Mostly, they’re functional, which is even better. However, there’s a threshold when it comes to your blog’s design – if it looks terrible, a lot of people won’t even consider reading its content. As long as it looks professional enough, you’re golden.
In any case, while you’re at it, you might as well make your blog look good. Even if you don’t have a background in web design, there are some things you can do to create a stylish blog:
- Keep it simple and focus on the user experience.
- Look at other popular blogs for inspiration.
- Choose the right WordPress theme and you’ll be halfway there.
Do you have any questions about how to make your blog look good? Ask away in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.