What makes a good blog design?

14/08/2015 Blogging, Discussions 18

What makes a good blog design?

Well, I’ve gone and done it again! I’ve redesigned my blog for the fourth time in just over a year.

I’ve been getting itchy blog design feet again for a while now, but when I saw this post showing all the beautiful things that can be done with the Tweak Me theme I decided to take the plunge.

So far I like what I’ve done with it (particularly the new header – which is just an adaptation of the old header really!), although there are still some tweaks I need to make eg. fix the sizing of all the pictures so they don’t look weird as thumbnails and decide whether or not I actually like that dotted pink line around the widgets (opinions please? Yes or no to that dotted line?).

Anyway, all this redesigning got me thinking, what is it that makes a good blog design? I know when I click on a blog I know immediately whether or not I like the design, but I don’t often think about why. So here’s what I came up with when I did think about it, and I’d love to know your thoughts!

A good blog design…

  • …is readable
    I love snazzy fonts and pretty coloured text as much as the next person, just as long as it’s readable. Yellow writing for example on a white background is practically impossible to read (and I think some of my links are kind of like this…I just can’t work out how to change them!), and it’s the same for swirly fonts if they are too small. Therefore I really wouldn’t recommend using them for the main body of a blog post.
  • …is simple
    This one is definitely a personal preference, but I much prefer clean and simple blog designs. If things are too crazy or cluttered it hurts my eyes, and I just don’t know where to look. I also find it distracts from the content, and whilst I love a good blog design, the content is what I’m really there for.
  • …isn’t cluttered
    This is kind of the same as the last one, but here I’m mostly referring to sidebars. Cluttered sidebars with millions of badges and flashing buttons are kind of a pet hate of mine! I try and keep my own to only the bare essentials, but really I could probably cut it down even more. The Instagram widget, for example, is kind of unnecessary, but I just like to show off my latest bookish snaps!
  • …is colourful
    I know, I know, I said I like simple! But that doesn’t mean it has to be dull! I love bright colours and intricate headers, but I think it’s important to just pick two or three complementary colours and stick with those so it doesn’t look too over the top.
  •  …has great pictures and graphics
    This is something I personally need to work on! I have seen blogs though with absolutely beautiful photography and amazing graphics, and it definitely makes me want to keep clicking, even if it is just to gawp enviously at all the incredible imagery. I like it as well when graphics are in keeping with the overall blog theme. I’m currently in the process of redoing all my blog graphics so that they are in keeping with my new design, but it’s proving time-consuming. I’m loving the cute typewriter clipart I’m using for it though (also seen in my new header!), which I got off Etsy!
  • …is cohesive
    I think this is so essential for a great blog design, but also so hard to do! I know I’ve tweaked a few things on my blog design before thinking it will look amazing, and then when I actually look at it, it just doesn’t seem to work somehow (that’s kind of how I’m feeling about that dotted line…seriously! Yes or no?). The best blog designs I’ve seen have seemed to flow beautifully, with even the smallest details contributing to the whole, and I think the secret is cohesion…it all just needs to work together (which is super vague, but I really don’t know how to explain what I’m talking about…or how to achieve it!).

So what do you think makes a good blog design?

18 Responses to “What makes a good blog design?”

  1. Beth

    I… have no idea what makes a good blog design. I’m quite lucky – for some reason, people do seem to like my design, but it’s only half installed… which is awkward.
    Beth x

    • Laura

      I love your blog design! It’s nice and simple (and in keeping with the blog title – it isn’t too in your face), and I really like the font used on the titles of the widgets in the sidebar (which is kind of a random thing to notice I guess, but I’m kind of obsessed with sidebars at the moment because I’m not happy with mine!).

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    Yay for Tweak Me! I love seeing all the creative variations. I agree with all your preferences 100%. And I agree with your doubts — I would lose the dotted line around the widgets. However, I could see it working as a horizontal divider between them (not sure how one would do that — maybe as an image.)

    • Laura

      Yay for Tweak Me indeed! And I love what you’ve done with it on your blog by the way 🙂
      I think I may lose the dotted line to be honest…I guess if I’m not sure about it then it probably isn’t working. I like the idea of the horizontal divider, but I really do have no idea how to do that! That’s my problem – I can visualise in my head how I’d like it all to look, but just don’t have the technical know-how to be able to do it.

  3. Natalie @ Flowers in my Books

    I’ve been wanting a new design for a while but I can’t afford to buy a new theme so I ended up just changing the header by making it myself. I love the design I have now, I don’t think its hideous but I just want a change. Something that looks more cohesive and suits me a little more.

    I love the dotted line! I like that it separates the widgets and makes them easier to differentiate.

    • Laura

      I love your blog design! I like when blogs are quite simple but then have a really eye-catching header, and think that’s what yours is like. The watercolour flowers are so pretty and I like the font you’ve used.
      I get what you mean though about wanting a change – I don’t think my old design was terrible, but I got a bit bored with it, and wanted something that I felt reflected my blog more.
      I’m glad you like the dotted line! I’m still not sure about it personally, so I may just try out a few different things and try and decide what looks the best.

  4. Dolly D

    I didn’t see your old design but I think that this is so cute! I really like the pink and blue and the typewriter theme and that’s a great profile pic – rockin’ the coral locks 🙂

    I have redesigned my blog what feels like a zillion times since I started 6 months ago – you’re right though, it’s defo a learning curve on the photo front but the great thing is you can always go back and update them later on as your photography develops. I just redid some of my earlier posts piccies. British weather and lighting doesn’t help at all though! Haha.

    Keep up the great blogging!


    • Laura

      Thanks! I’m glad you like my new design. And I liked my coral hair too, but I got bored and now it’s turquoise 🙂 It just takes me that long to get a decent photo of myself I can’t be bothered retaking my profile pic.
      I redid some of my early photos too, as I can definitely see the difference between the quality of some of my old ones and my newer ones. I still have loads of room to improve, but that’s all part of the fun!
      Your blog looks great by the way! I love the flowery writing in the header and I like the way your posts are arranged. Keep up the blogging too! 🙂

    • Laura

      Thanks! I like your blog design too. It’s clean and simple, and I like the way you have arranged your posts horizontally – it makes a nice change from the usual list format! 🙂

  5. Jen Schaper

    I really don’t know what makes a good blog design. I do agree that it needs to be easy to read. I used to have a colored background on my blog, but I changed it to white because that seemed much cleaner and easier to read.

    One thing I don’t like is when a blog has the full text of each blog post on the home page. I like to see a snippet instead so I don’t have to scroll down so far to see what the person’s previous post was. I also don’t like it when blogs don’t have a search box or a follow by email box.

    Your site looks great. It’s easy to navigate and very clean. I have a lot more on my menu and a lot more stuff in my sidebar, which I don’t know is a bad thing or not.

    • Laura

      Personally I always prefer a white background as it is a lot easier to read. I have seen a few blogs with coloured backgrounds where it works, it’s just a lot harder to get right in my opinion.
      That is a really good point, and I totally agree. I prefer to just see a snippet because I’m not necessarily going to want to read every post even on a blog I love, and it just makes it harder to see more posts.
      Thank you! I just checked out your blog and it looks great! I love the purple and white colour theme (purple is my favourite colour!) and I think all the stuff on the menu probably makes it easy to find what your looking for.

  6. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    I’m a designer myself, so when I visit another blog design is usually one of the first things I notice and, to be quite honest, kind of determines what I think about the blog. I completely agree about the importance of readability (I mean, c’mon, don’t have a pale yellow as your body font color!) and the importance of not being cluttered (nobody can read anything if there’s 200 things on the page!) Great and informative post Laura – thanks for sharing! ♥

    • Laura

      I think blog design is a really important part of a blog, and definitely gives you an immediate impression. I’m glad you found this post informative, and I love your blog design by the way! The pink and green looks so pretty 🙂

    • Laura

      Thanks! I’m glad you like the new design. Redoing your blog is kind of a facing, but I always feel like I get really excited about my blog all over again when I’ve redone it. Good luck with your new design!

  7. John Mironenko

    I read your article on writing by hand, and I liked it, so I am going to try it. And also, I have been thinking of redesigning my blog. I am still learning about blogging. Your blog has a clean streamlined design, and it’s uncluttered.

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