Designing a blog is a complicated process, especially when you like a lot of customization. This part of starting a blog or re-branding is complex and time-consuming if you don’t have a proper plan. While I was designing my blog, I encountered a few mistakes. Thus, I am sharing them here and how to solve them and some tips in blog design so you can have a smoother process.
I will not cover branding in this post because it’s a complex topic on its own. However, I may insert a few tips along the way related to branding because some steps and tips on branding are relevant to the ideas I will be covering in this post on blog design.
1. Spending too much time in choosing a color scheme
Choosing the right color combination for your site is critical to your branding. This is easier said than done, especially with all the color combinations available on the web. I for one had a hard time settling on one color combination. I keep going back and forth with my color board, change site color in the customizer, back again.
Solution: Define color palette for your blog design
There is a better way in coming up with your color palette than just citing your color preference. It’s the long process but you get better result because this helps you more in coming up with your branding. You can read about how to choose a good color palette here.
Quicker way is to think of a color which resonates your brand and your personality. What color represents your brand? Is your blog going to cater more to women who love fashion? Then your branding can be feminine, glamorous. Colors can be pink, gold. Is it a food blog? It can be green, yellow, plum. Because these are food colors.
It should be a color which speaks to you the most not a color which is currently trending, especially if it’s a color which you hate. Reason is you will open your site everyday and stay on it probably the whole day. You should be motivated and inspired each time you look at it.
Your site is the representation of yourself and the kind of service you provide. If you like Black and White and it matches your branding, go for it. It’s the overall feel and content of your site which matter. But of course, it should not be a color which will drive your readers away.
Gather inspiration from Design Seeds or Pinterest. In Design Seeds, color combinations are already available.
From Pinterest, you can download the pictures that capture your attention and that portray your brand, then upload them into Photoshop or other color editing tools. I have listed down a few tools below.
Just upload the image you like then the tools will generate the swatches for you.
To start organizing your inspirations, place them in your Moodboard. I wrote a more in depth instruction on Choosing a Good Color Palette, which includes how to get the swatches here and How to Create a Mood Board here with free templates.
2. Font Style and Pairing Dilemma
Another combination issue is the font combination. Yes, there are considerations when choosing a good font combination. Why? Readability (which by the way is a factor for SEO which is another monster). A better reading experience is when you are not bothered with all the curls and graphics of what you are reading and your eyes don’t hurt because the texts are too small or too thin.
Solution: Plain paper and pen
Yep. Write down your post title and first paragraph of your post in plain paper EXACTLY how you want it to look like in your blog. Don’t mind the poor handwriting. You can also use markers. If you want your title looking fancy, definitely you will write it in scripts (with curls). If formal, then all caps maybe and thick lines. This will give you a rough idea of what types of font you will look for and how you want it to look like.
That is just to help you filter your font style choices. If you want stylish font, then look for Script or Handwriting fonts. Formal and traditional fonts are serif and modern, clean fonts are sans serif. Remember that you should always pair a serif or sans serif to script and not a combination of 2 or more scripts because your text will get too busy. You can read more about Font Pairing here.
As for me, I like thin or medium script font for my post titles mixed with sans serif.
Here are my go-to sites for Font. Make sure to check the license for each font.
- Google Font
- Font Squirrel
- 1001 Fonts
3. Design element customization
Big culprit of my sleepless nights. I bought a Genesis child theme requiring minimal customization. However, there are graphics I like to incorporate. But I cannot decide on how it should look like. Do I put a hover effect? What color? I want a transparent background. What background do I use? Etc etc etc.
Solution: Go back to your mood board and branding board.
That is where your mood board and branding board come in. They are so helpful and they keep you focused. When you create your branding board or even your mood board, you decide on the pattern and texture you will incorporate into your site. You have set the overall feel or mood of your site already so always refer to them.
This is a sample mood board. Read more on mood board here.
4. Functionalities overload
While I was putting some customization to my site, I have a long list of Nice-to-Haves. Such as scroll menu, floating social media icon, footer menu, full width homepage, recipe index, category index, etc. When I visit sites to research on CSS, I find another interesting functionality. The list gets longer each time. I spent nights studying and trying codes. This totally took me away from making the content.
Solution: What will add a great user experience?
Define based on your own experience what makes a site easy to navigate. For me, I like a button that will bring me back to the Top of the page so a Home menu bar at the Footer is a good addition. I WISH to have the scrolling menu, but since my theme doesn’t support it, I got to accept that and decide to add that functionality when I have stumbled upon the right resources teaching me how to. I have browsed multiple sources already, but none has given me the answer that can fully help me.
Do not waste your time reading all materials available because that will bring you nowhere AT THIS STAGE of your site creation.
5. I’m not finishing anything because “I WANT this, I like this, this one too, this!” Unending design choices
That meant postponing creating the content. When you are starting a blog, content is what will make readers go back to your site. I forgot that and I focused on design for a long time. This is an issue which you encounter in all the four items above. The options are endless. You will also want what your go-to sites have. This is a complete No No.
You keep coming back to your go-to sites because you got attracted with the design FIRST, then content later. Wrong. You went to that site because the site offers a great content then you found the design interesting. In some cases, if you are not in the stage of designing your site, you will barely notice the design.
Define what is nice-to-have vs must-have. Remember that you are still starting. Aside from your Mood Board and Branding Board, draw your site on pieces of paper, including the Pages. When you are lost, always go back to your boards. The boards can be time-consuming but they are very much helpful. You can see some branding boards on my Pinterest and branding inspirations here.
Set a limit of what you can do at this point. You can gradually add those nice-to-haves over time as long as they won’t confuse your subscribers.
From those above, what issues are you encountering now or you encountered? Share how you handled them in the comments.