My Top 5 No-No’s in Blog Design

Let’s face it, even though “Content is King,” good design is “Queen.” If you have a clean, well-designed blog with an eye-catching and uncluttered look, people will stay.

Unfortunately, blog design does have a few “no-no’s”. We’re going to take a look at some basic, though often violated, designing “no-no’s” that you are going to want to tuck in your back pocket.

1. Too Much Goin’ On

Try to keep your design and overall layout from getting too “busy”. One of the most unattractive things in the blogosphere is a cluttered blog. You’ve seen them; you know what I’m talking about. Eye-popping backgrounds, too many ads, too many colors, more than three fonts, and a jumbled header design all lend to “clutter,” and you want to avoid them like the plague.

Keep things simple. When you decide on a header design, opt for no more than one to two images and one to two fonts. Keep your colors simple. Two to three main colors in your overall design should do the trick. Consolidate your ads – choose which ones are actually bringing in the money and stick with those. You may also consider resizing all of your ads to the same size (150x150px for example) in order to give your “ad block” a uniform look.

Group, group, group. Give your sidebars some order by grouping. This will keep your readers from having to search high and low to find something in your sidebar. Group ads together, then group feeds, subscribe buttons, stat counters together, etc. I think you get the idea.

2. Hot pinks, Hot Greens…Hot Anything

Yes, many of us grew up in the 80’s, but that doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to brandish hot pinks and greens on our blogs. Hot colors are hard on the eye and generally unappealing. Steer clear from these if at all possible. Note: Using these sparingly and wisely can be done without straining the eyes such as for a logo, sidebar graphic, etc.

3. Red on Blue, Purple on Green

If you want to use up a bottle of Excedrin within a week, try reading a blog that uses red font on a blue background. You’ll go cross-eyed. Have pity on your readers and stick with a basic dark font on light background. Which brings me to the next point….

4. Dark Background with Light Font

This is a rule that I see violated often. While white font on a black background is not as hard on the eyes as red on blue, it is still hard on the eyes. Stick with a light background and dark font – your readers (and their eyes) will thank you for it.

5. Background Music

While I have to admit that there are at least two websites I have run across with nice background music that fits their “look”, background music is a generally a no-no. People do not like to be “forced” to listen to your music. Perhaps they don’t like your style of music, perhaps you startled them with your music when clicked to your site, perhaps they can’t concentrate on reading while the music is playing. Unless you can find a subtle sound that is generally appealing to most people and that fits your blog’s “feel” and “theme,” you would be better off restraining yourself from adding any music.

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Free Essential Tools to Maintain a Blog or Website

If you have a blog or want to start a blog, you will need to have some essential software tools to maintain the site. If you would like to make a few updates or changes to your blog without having to pay for the maintenance, you can use these FREE tools. If you are a beginner, don’t be afraid to do a little bit of research to learn to make these changes or additions yourself.

The following tools are for Windows users (some can be used for Mac users as well, just check out the specifics on the websites before downloading).

HTML Editor

Crimson Editor is a professional source code editor for Windows. This software offers many powerful features for programming languages such as HTML, C/C++, Perl and Java. Other features include undo/redo, user tools, macros, spell checker and more.

FTP Program

File Zilla is a full featured, high quality FTP program. If you plan on uploading things to your website (like images, music, movies, wordpress, anything) you need a FTP client. Using your web-browser is not a good idea. This program works on all three platforms, and works very well.

Image Manipulation Programs

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.

For the Photoshop lovers, there is a Photoshop Mod at gimpshop.com.

Web Browser

If you are going to be doing anything on the web, you will need a good web browser. Something other than internet explorer. I highly recommend firefox, which you can get by clicking here www.GetFirefox.com.

Make sure your website looks good in all web browsers. The easiest way to do this is install several web browsers on your computer. If there is a browser you cannot use, just check out the following site when you are done: www.browsershots.org. The browser shots website will show you what your website looks like on multiple operating systems, with multiple browsers, and with different versions of those browsers.

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Do I Need A Website?

People always want to follow the latest thing, be it in fashion, sports, that kind of thing. Websites have become a necessity to almost everyone. Companies, businesses, individuals, even young adults have created personal websites with their respective purposes, be it for profit, or for entertainment.

What one must consider, however, before creating a website, are the factors in which must be put to thought before doing so, such as the cost, maintenance, use, web host and so forth.

Firstly, associating with the cost, we must always try to find an affordable host, not spending too much, nor too little. A cheap host does not exactly symbolize a credible reliability rating, but we must always look for value for money deals. Also, regarding the efficiency and server/web host reliability, there are many cases of web hosts not providing the service they had assured other people, some had even shut down and were nowhere to be seen. Keep this note in mind, as if you would like a long-lasting website, this would be the first thing to look for.

Next, would hiring a professional be affordable? Is it the best option? For simple websites, we could always pick up the coding, or even use programs, as it is relatively simple. However, when it comes to more complex coding, and when you want it to do a tad more than just providing information, hiring help in doing so would be the best way. Not only in terms of design, but security is also a key factor in assuring a quality website. If the website also acts as a portal for businesses, security would definitely be the issue here.

So, having considered the things to do before building a website, do we actually NEED one? If creating one would boost sales or promote positive implications to oneself, then by all means, go ahead and do what’s best. Yet again, planning is the key to success, in everything we do.

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