Tips for a Creative Blog Layout

One of the more obvious, but essential factors in developing a successful  blog is the blog layout. The two articles featured tips from Katrina of Pugly Pixel, who argues that each post and the layout of each blog should be treated with exceptional care to get the message of a blog out to readers. She primarily covers the use and placement of images and content on blogs, and believes these help hold the interest of the readers when they first visit the blog.

Starting with the first article, she writes about vertical alignment, sidebars, typography, and loading time as barriers to finding the content you want to read about. She also gives a good example of blog where the information is disorganized and hard to find. Personally  I don’t follow any  (and I won’t name any sites) blogs that are structured in a messy way, because I’d rather not waste time trying to find what I want. But Katrina also points out that a blog shouldn’t have too little information on it, let alone too much. Her #4 tip regarding accessible info is probably the most important, as the placement of your contact info and important pages you might want readers to see should be relatively highlighted and easy to find on your blog page.

The second article  is more of the creative side of the blogging world, and tips for making your blog page visually appealing. Acheiving a delicate balance between content and color/imaging is another way she thinks a blog can be successful in maintaining a readership base. Colors and pictures that don’t clash with each other create a welcoming environment and don’t distract the reader. Katrina suggests an engaging cover image with patterns, geometric shapes, or line that reader will instantly make eye contact with and draw them towards it. Including captions with a short, but interest gauging statement also helps draw in readers. I think the Huffington Post does a good job incorporating both of those concepts to grab attention.  She also suggests that clip art can be good to use if you want to add an extra effect to a photo. I was thinking of the Creative Commons disscussion we had in class, and thought that clip art helps you avoid using any coprighted images from the internet and having people threaten you to take them down. If you just wanted a cartoonish effect to a real photo, then clip art would be a great option to add that effect. Other tips that Katrina suggested were stylish tips, templates for making photos and the webpage look professional, collages to incorporate multiple pictures at once

I thought Katrina’s tips were very useful and I will probably try a few out on my blog to spruce it up. I think most bloggers would find these tips useful for their blogs, but that shouldn’t diminsh your own creative ideas for the layout of your blog. At the end of the day, if you think a change in layout is helping or hurting your blog, then that is your decision. Whichever way you can hold onto a steady readership, then that will help in the long run.

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18 comments

  1. hillary601

    I think that blog layout is really important. It should represent your own blog and the personality of your blog. I had a hard time finding the lay out of my blog when we had to do it for this class. Once I did find it though, I knew it was the perfect one. My personal blog layout is black, grey, white and red. It represents me perfectly because it was edgy enough and dark enough for my music. These are also the colors of my bedroom. Some people have funny blogs or blogs about fashion or food. Each blog should be laid out to represent the topic at hand. I have seen way too many blogs that have a plain white background with a heading and I don’t really like those. I think that it is just being lazy. Even a color background can draw people top your blog. There have been blogs that I have gone to and I don’t want to read it or follow it because of the plain background. When we first looked at blog backgrounds and picked them, out, Yady picked out a wood colored blog. This was a nice background but my boyfriend made fun of “the plainness” of it so she changed it. When I saw the colorfulness of her new blog layout I thought it was much better because it represented the corky-ness and wittiness of her blog’s personality. So I agree that a blogs layout should represent the type of blog it is and it should attract readers.

  2. briellebuis

    Although many people may believe that it’s about what you write not what it looks like. Looking at Katrina’s blog ideas this idea is immediately shown to be false. Her blog is bright and interesting and makes you want to read on. Today, everyone and their families have blogs, therefore the layout of the blog is so important because interesting looking blogs will bring in readers and therefore gain more followers. Simply enough, a good looking blog will stand out next to a plain blog that seems monotonous and boring. Overall, I loved Katrina’s tips and am going to try to use these ideas in my own blog. I think one that I could use would be making a collage or even using clip art to add to pictures. My team is always taking so many funny pictures and adding some of those would make the blog even more personal and would give Rutgers women’s soccer fans a deeper look into our team and how we are on a daily basis both on and off the field. It’s crazy how something so small and simple could add so much to a blog and make it into something great.

  3. lisak0

    Blog layout is so important because I hate when some bloggers’ pages’ colors clash. I despise when people have black backgrounds and red fonts or green backgrounds with blue fonts… it just seems so unprofessional. I feel like blog layout is a vital point to having a great blog, of course, with the information provided. I really love the blog, its colors, and its layout. It’s so nicely proportioned, if that makes any sense. Little things really matter, especially in the blog world. I always use clip arts because they’re so adorable, and they really do bring an extra sense of ‘style’ to a post or a picture. Clustered blogs seem so unprofessional, as well. Like, what went through your mind when you were creating your blog? I understand if the blogger is new; I totally understand if the blogger is still learning about the different techniques of blogging, but if you are professional blogger, I feel like your blog should be organized and somewhat neat. If some things are a bit sloppy, it’s fine, but I believe neatness is the key to gaining more readers. Huffington Post sort of overwhelms me; my idea of a neat and non-packed ‘blog’ is the Onion. It also has more information. Its colors are also so simple and so easy to read. Sometimes simplicity is actually the best. That’s just me though!
    A beautiful layout (preferably a pale colored background with a dark colored font), neatness, and great information are vital key points to keep readers from being bored and frustrated. Her tips were nicely given with great pictures.

  4. Miss Bombshell

    When talking about a blog the idea of how it is going to look is rarely talked about, the topic of discussion is usually what you are going to write about. But after reading both these articles I’ve come to realize that they way your blog looks is just if not more important than your content. The ideas of pictures being colorful, bright and vibrant are very important because that’s what keeps people on the page and look for more. I never thought that making eye contact in a picture was important because people normally just look at pictures to see what it’s displaying but after the article I see that eye contact is very important because it’s what draws the readers in. Also the format and layout of a blog should be neat and clean because I hate going to blogs where they try to fit everything on one page and it leaves me as the reader confused as to where everything is. But I found it interesting that white space changes that dynamic of clutter even if it’s the same amount of content. Therefore, overall these articles where very helpful and made me think more about the makeup of my blog.

  5. evanhuaru

    To me, the first blog was somewhat difficult to read, especially at the top of the page. It was cluttered with a ton of pictures, and bright colors and really just distracted me from reading the actual content of the blog. Once I go past all of the bells and whistles of the article, I was able to really see what was going on. The blog was essentially making a comment on itself in showing how to include pictures, and flashy elements but in not such a flashy way. There were some good tips on there and my favorite one was number six about typography. I didn’t really take in to consideration the amount of fonts that should be included but I think limiting it to three or maybe even two makes it easier for the reader to focus and not really be thrown off by these new and different symbols. It is almost like another language at that point. On the flip side, I enjoyed reading the second blog a lot more than the former. As opposed to the first blog, this blog only had six tips. But it seemed that this blog was really more geared towards people who primarily used pictures, and then had captions or little writings under them as opposed to a more picture focused blog with words backing up the images. These two blogs offered different advice on how to write two different types of blogs. For the most part, the focal points of these articles are the same. Don’t throw too much stuff at your reader at once, try to keep your page from being cluttered, and do your best to make it easy flowing, and easy to navigate. I believe that in following the steps in this article I would be able to write my own blog, two different ways, but none the less easily, and successfully.

  6. wilschiu

    I tend to favor either highly stylized blogs with pictures and very few words or minimalist blogs with a lot of white space and text. On my blog, I want my content to be the main focus and have the blog layout as just a platform to present it. Although I don’t want a bare blog layout, I would rather have my content unhindered by the details. I know I used to have slow internet, and sometimes I wouldn’t have the patience for websites that were so cluttered that they took forever to load. Because I tend to place gifs in my posts, I do not want to add too much static media on my layout to prevent the gifs from loading or slow down the site. After reading the two articles, I did update my header though. Inserting clip art into it and changing the font a little.
    There are some tips in the second article that I am probably going to apply though. I am probably going to download photoshop sometime in order to spruce up the photo layouts and up the quality in the images I put in my posts. So far I have just been inserting cropped images in between the text in my posts, which makes my post look like a buzzfeed article. (which makes me feel gross) I have pretty much been using ms paint for all my editing needs, which works, but can appear kind of shitty at times.

  7. gisellehernandez412

    A blog’s layout absolutely correlates with a blog’s success. A bloggers goal is to reach out to their readers and be heard. To do so, one must first attract a reader. This can be accomplished through blog layout. I don’t read too many blogs, but I know that if a blog looks unprofessional and lacks structure/organization, the credibility of the blog suddenly diminishes. I agree with you that the tips given by Katrina are helpful and I feel that they should definitely be taken seriously. She does mention that they’re just tips and that there are plenty of different ways to enhance the appearance of your blog but I think that the most important thing to get out of her tips is that a blog’s appearance and structure is detrimental to a blog’s success. She gave some pretty good points concerning focal points, like fonts and colors, which I will take into consideration for my own blog. I especially liked how she provided an example or a blog “before and after” her tips were used–it really showed how much these small tips can effect the appeal of a page. I think it’s important to get feedback on your blog’s appearance so that your content appears credible and legitate. Afterall, no one wants to seem unprofessional.

  8. ktomiak25

    I totally agree that an layout can either make or break a blog’s success. The theme needs to be engaging, and while it should be visually interesting, it should not draw attention away from the author’s work. The author of these articles clearly has experience with web design and layout, as she gives great advice as well as incorporates her own “rules” into her own blog. The one thing I disagree with in the article is the use of collages on your blog. While too many pictures is also a no-no, I personally am not a fan of a collage in a post. I’d like to be able to click to view the images in a bigger layout. The one thing that is unarguably most important in the blog layout is the font and color. If the readers can’t read the text, there’s no point in even blogging. I’ve noticed that most professional websites use lighter colors, rather than dark schemes. But for some blog topics and themes, darker colors could look nice.

  9. karencronin

    The layout of your blog can for sure make or break some readers from continuing to follow you. As a blog reader myself, if I come across a blog that looks like it has to much going on, I will probably move on to another blog. I also think the layout should in some way relate to the type of blog you have. For instance, if you go to a food blog, it might be odd to have animals as part of your logo or theme. It just doesn’t mesh. If you post a picture of yourself cooking in your kitchen and your dog and cat are in the kitchen, that is a different story. That probably isn’t such a bad idea because you would be letting readers into your private world and allowing them to know you a little bit.
    Keeping things on your blog organized I believe is also important. You want to make sure that you categorize posts appropriately. If a reader remembers a recipe you posted last year, she should be able to find it in the appropriate category. Readers can become frustrated if they cannot find what they are looking for. If they are discouraged enough, they may not come back. The same holds true for your tabbed categories at the top of your blog page. If you have tabs for the three meals of the day, you want to make sure that that is what you have under these tabs.
    Making things easy to find for the reader and looking good for the reader is what will keep them coming back.

  10. hg163

    In my mind, a blog’s layout is probably the most important part of a blog. Since there are so many blogs out there today, getting any edge possible over the others will go a long way. If you have a visually appealing blog it is only a matter of time before reader’s start to flock to that blog, as long as the writing also has good content. Similarly, if a blog is disorganized and it is difficult to find content on it, it is only a matter of time before the readers that already visit the blog somewhat regularly leave. I also agree with Katrina in that a blog should not have too much information, but too little information is definitely not good either. In the age easily accessible information, people rarely want to read a really long piece. There are definitely times where, when I come across a really long piece on a blog, I just skip that piece (not every time, but enough times).
    Other than being visually appealing, it is important for a reader to be able to find any piece, even if it was written 3 months ago, relatively easily. Creating categories and putting the posts under these categories is helpful in this department. This way, if the reader wants to find a specific game or recipe, or whatever else, it is easily accessible. While it may not be a deal-breaker for some, it could be for enough.
    I haven’t really had enough time so far to mess around with my blog to make it more visually appealing, but I want to take on some of Katrina’s at some point.

  11. Brian

    I believe that the blog appearance is very important, almost as much as the actual content. Most of the results from blog searches are based on the tags. This can get a wide variety of results. People often take things at face value; therefore, one needs a good aesthetic blog in order to attract the viewers. I feel that most of the people who search only spend a couple of seconds looking at the preview of the blog before either deciding to continue reading or continue looking. Therefore, it is important to have an aesthetically pleasing blog. Also the color, background, and general format of the blog could be used to fit your desired theme or mood. If the colors clash with the context often it will confuse or even annoy the reader to the point that they don’t want to read your posts even if the material you put is good.
    Katrina offers great tips in terms of not only making your blog look better but also making it look more organized. Keeping your blog organized is equally as important as making sure your blog looks good. If your posts and information is not easy to find, most likely the reader will not put the effort into finding it. Therefore, you would lose someone who could have possibly a regular viewer because your posts were too unorganized and hard to find. The tips that Katrina outlines are incredibly useful and can definitely “spruce up” your blog. However, my opinion still remains that the content of the blog is the most important part and even a good looking, well organized blog can fail if it does not have good enough content.

  12. jordannao

    Attracting the attention of reader is one barrier, the second and most difficult barrier is keeping the reader on your blog. One may ask how you do that, and it is through your choices of layout, design and different clipart’s that are used in a blog like Katrina stated! Choosing the right image is extremely important when you want to demonstrate or emphasize a point or simply just show how a product make look… Even though this may require a little bit more work, since you need to take a picture, upload it to the pc and edit, it would be the best choice to show and embellish a blog. Another option of course it to use creative commons, but as we all have experience the variety of images that are found in CC is very limited!

    That are many things that can attract a person to a blog and keep them there. In my personal opinion, it is very important to choose the right set of colors to match your theme and also the whole topic of your blog. Choosing the right layout is very important as well, since some layouts does not allow you to customize it or even add different tabs that would include personal informations or etc. One cool thing I found about WordPress and that I have been using a lot in my blog is the usage of “border”. It simply allows you to use a border around the images you post, and I must say that it changes and attracts the reader more due to the border. It makes the post look prettier and neater. This option can be done through the advance setting tab when the image is applied to the website!

  13. yadyayala105

    The blog layout is one of the most important things in blog. This is what the reader is first analyzing when they visit the bloggers page. If the blog is unorganized and things are hard to find, the reader will see this as a deal breaker and leave the bloggers page. The layout and decoration to the blog must also relate to the subject the blogger is writing about. For example I am doing a comical news blog; I cannot use pictures of flowers or a very feminine template. That kind of layout would not go with my theme. Originally I had a plan wooden background with a funny banner. The funny banner was not enough to make my blog look interesting. What I did instead was use a black background with bright colors to attract my readers and have my blog stand out. IT has pain splatters with bright colors and since it is against the black background they stand out more. The background fits my theme much better than a wooden background. Images are also really important and I think that the second article really showed us how we can use images in different ways. Sometimes it can get boring by just putting up any old picture just to make your blog not look so plain; this article really gives ideas to bloggers so they can make their blogs stand out using their images. The article also mentions using clip art. I personally do not really like clip art but using clip art can really help blogger avoid any problems. Creative commons does not always have the pictures that we want and sometimes we don’t want to risk it. I think it is great how this article suggests this alternative.

  14. mlew210

    Appearances are everything when it comes to attracting readers. Content will always be a priority, but what’s the point if the viewer won’t even give you the time of day because of an ugly layout? I think the articles are very informative because they talk about things you wouldn’t normally expect to be important. I would have never thought that something like a sidebar would be important. In fact, my own blog doesn’t even have one on the front page. Reading the articles really made me realize that I need to do some major work on my blog. For example, I am thinking about adding a page at the top called archive so it’s easier to find posts. Once I start filling up my blog with content, I don’t want the front page to be overloaded with content. Another thing I found interesting about the article was the use of pictures. I usually don’t use captions with any of my pictures, but I can see why it would be useful. I use pictures mainly for humor, but if something is a little unclear, the joke might not come off in the right way. Captions could fix this easily. I also like the bit about colors. The theme of my blog is a blue color, so I really want to make sure all of the images have a nice, cool color. Honestly, this featured post was extremely helpful to me because it gave tips on things I would never think of. Hopefully, it will help me maintain a blog that really satisfies both me and my readers.

  15. tedrihn

    There are two types of reasons to running your own blog. The first would be to simply have a place where you can express yourself freely and not care what anyone else thinks about the information or content that you post. If you are this type of blog then none of what I’m about to say next matters. The second is run for a purpose. What that purpose is is entirely up to the blog host. Every one of these hosts wants to know that their content is being appreciated and that all their hard work isn’t for nothing. I believe that the best way to accomplish this goal is to have a big fan base. However there are many ways of going about attracting and keeping your audience interested in your content and like Jordanna said above, the hardest part is keeping the reader on your blog. To me, personally, I absolutely agree with you and Katrina that your content should be a very balanced and well diverse, but flowing, mix of media and information. A blog that is all about just photos, but has no explanations to the photos can be very misleading and eventually lead the follower to a better blog, leaving yours behind. Again in my own personal opinion, I find that a big and flashing cover photo or article can significantly improve the readers outlook on the rest of your blog. A boring title or dull photo can be so unattractive to some readers that they don’t both to scroll past it and just exit the site entirely. I plan on using many of these tips to helping me mold and shape my blog into a successful one that I can be proud of, because looking at it now I don’t want to read the second post because it doesn’t look interesting to me. Hopefully I can get my own act together in molding my blog.

  16. Megan Murray

    I agree, it’s so important to have an eye-appealing blog. It draws the reader’s attention, rather than turns the user away, or fails to even be noticed. This reminds me of the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet, many studies have been done on this subject and well, better covers sell more books. If your blog looks uninteresting, people won’t read it. If people can’t find what they want, they won’t read it. A lot has to do without culture today: instant gratification. Between our constant texting and internet needs, nothing requires us to wait anymore. If things are hard, we are upset. It’s the same for blogs, especially a blog that has less than out of the ordinary information: Why would I read your messy blog over someone else’s clean, neat blog? Don’t make things too long, either – our attention spans are shorter. Pictures need short loading times, or many users will just hit the back button if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
    Today’s society also requires you to code your blog to be multi-platform and multi-browser compatible. What if your reader is on chrome? I.E.? Firefox? What if they are using a tablet? Their mobile phone? Your blog needs to be easily readable and enjoyable by all! Or, well, you will have less readers. If any.

  17. moegor94

    I think most people would agree that an eye-pleasing blog layout is infinitely useful to a blogger looking to attract and maintain readers. Katrina’s tips can help improve the appearance of your blog AND they can help improve the functionality. Clear categories are a must for a reader; once you get lost on a blog nothing seems more appealing than just leaving the whole site behind, who needs that frustration? After reader this article I immediately visited my personal blog to see if I was guilty of any of the don’ts mentioned. I think so far I have done a good job of using images on my page but I do think I want to add a caption to my cover photo now. I also think that my blog is well organized and not cluttered but I also don’t have too many posts, hopefully it remains this way once I’ve added more content. When I was designing my blog, I was trying to find a background image that I thought would look good, and not be too harsh on the eyes. I think I did a good job with that as well.

  18. dmhgs

    I believe the blog layout is the most important aspect of a blog. It’s the first thing that catches the attention of your readers and it is the first impression they have of your blog. Some people will literally navigate away from a blog if they are completely turned off by the layout, I know I would. If I’m going to be reading something I want my eyes to want to look at it. I don’t want to be annoyed with the amateur layouts or even the layouts that simply make my eyes hurt because of the awkward color combinations. I don’t want to struggle with the content of the blog because I’m distracted by how the blog looks. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Looking at it from another angle though, if a blog has a really cool layout it’s going to make me want to read what’s on the blog even if I don’t know what the topic is or if I don’t necessarily enjoy the topic. The layout will catch me and at least have me reading a bit of the content before I decide to stay on the page or move on to the next one.

    The lay out also allows for the blogger to give a bit of insight as to what their blog may be about. This all goes along into the way a nice blog lay out will catch my eye. If I see in the blog lay pictures of delicious food, I’m going to anticipate a blog about food and tasty recipes or maybe a critique of different food establishments. It act as a hook and almost as an “about me” for the blog content. Again, the layout is such a vital part of the blog to your readers meaning it’s important to pick an appropriate eye catching theme for your blog!

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