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.