Blog DESIGN, BLOGGING | October 19, 2009

7 Blog Design Rules To Know Before Selecting a Template

multimedia blog template :: aperture by woothemes

Before you choose a blog template, consider form and function. Keep in mind that the Web is evolving all the time and we are always experimenting with new ways to display our content. And remember that content is king. The blog design is there to enhance your content, to provide a good experience to your readers and to convey what your brand/blog stands for.

Based on my experience and what I see in the blogosphere as of autumn 2009, I feel that:

  1. Pictures sell. The trend is to go with bigger images. Aim for 500 pixels in width.
  2. The the blog is becoming the hub of your social media activities. The blog layout is morphing and designers are experimenting with different options. There are no clear winner at this point. The multimedia blog template is an option. But clearly, we look for what will replace the magazine layout and the classic blog layout for your home page.
  3. Make sure to display where to find you on other social media sites. Put a link to your Flickr and You tube account, a Follow me on Twitter link or a Twitter widget. The Fan box from Facebook works well to grow your fan base. You must leverage your participation in social networking sites.
  4. Make sure your posts display well in Facebook when people add the link to their profile. You want to show the title, show the contextual picture and display the first sentences of your post. Click here for explanations. Any blogger should leverage the power of popular social networking sites to grow their traffic.
  5. Assume that your readers use a screen resolution of at least 1024×768. On at my At Home blog, I get less than 2% of my readers with a 800×600 screen resolution or lower.
  6. If you still prefer the classic blog layout (no harm in that), opt for a 2-column design since it allows your content to breathe. Allow a content column of 500 pixels or more to publish big pictures and properly embed You Tube videos. To give you an idea, the white section of my blog measures 1002 pixels in width.
  7. If you publish many posts per week, display blog excerpts on your home page. This way, if a reader is not interested by the first post, you may grab his or her attention with the second or third post.

Make your Image Google-friendly

Do not forget to fill a short description of what the picture represents, think of describing the scene on the ALT attribute of the image. I am telling you, it makes a huge difference. As a bonus, putting ALT attribute helps on accessibility.

+ photo: Aperture multimedia blog template from WooThemes

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