While many of us (myself included) have been focusing on the parties and fun surrounding BlogHer’11, there were also fantastic, education sessions during the conference. I was extremely interested to attend the “Great Blog Design” discussion led by Cynthia of Nap Warden and Jill from Scary Mommy.
In the coming months, I’m hoping to make some changes to my site, so this was the “cannot miss” session on my list. Here are some things I learned –
- A blog header sets the tone for your entire site. If you have a limited budget, invest your dollars there first.
- Sidebars are useful, not areas for dumping things.
- The load time on your site is effected when you “junk up” the sidebar.
- The only goal for the posting area? Make it easy to read!
- Place a three column footer and navigation bar at the bottom (Cynthia’s suggestion)
- If you want images in your header – edit them to perfection. It’s the first thing a reader sees.
- All images post at 72 dpi – there is no need to upload images in 300 dpi
- Uploading images at 72 dpi helps speed up your load time
- If you use iStockPhoto, don’t be afraid to manipulate image to make it your own.
- Use sparingly. Keep it under three different font sizes.
- Most importantly – ask yourself “Is my font legible?”
- Check your site in different browsers to compare look/feel of fonts.
- Use body fonts that are on all computers or no one else will see them!
- Stay away from Comic Sans.
- White space is important!
- If you see something inspiring in a color pattern, take a picture of it – you can find the palette online!
- Check out these sites for color inspiration http://kuler.adobe.com and also http://www.colourlovers.com/
- Don’t be afraid to try different color combinations
Overall Design –
- Social Media consistency – stay true to your “brand” and look/feel of your site throughout platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.).
- Watermarks are a personal decision – (Cynthia says no, Jill says yes)
- If you are on a strict budget, check out Woo Themes for affordable WordPress themes.
If I haven’t overwhelmed you with enough information here, check out Scary Mommy’s Great Blog Design recap post. She offers additional links, along with more great facts! Be sure to read the “Evolution of my Logo” post – very cool to see how it was created!