A successful blog layout is one that attracts and engages visitors. The key to creating a successful blog layout is twofold, understanding the medium, as well as how readers consume blog posts.
It’s not a book
Reading content on a screen, whether it’s a PC, laptop, or mobile device is different than reading a printed page. On devices, we scroll, swipe, click, enlarge, and scan. With books, we turn the page. Understanding this is key to building a layout that fits the needs of readers.
People don’t read every post they open
They scan them for information and if what they’re looking for isn’t easy to find—they leave. It’s more than that; readers must be encouraged and compelled to read further, and layout is one of the blogging tools to achieve this.
Think of your readers first
Use a neutral background – You’re best bet is to stick with white. Have you opened a post to find white print on a black background or a busy image behind the print? Did you jump out before reading it? Keep it clean and simple. Remember easy to read trumps design here.
Use a highly readable font – Stay with simple unadorned fonts such as Arial, Tahoma, Sans Serif, Verdana, or Lucinda Sans. Use italics sparingly—same for ALL CAPS. Bold copy can be effective but shouldn’t be overdone. Depending on the font an 11 to 12 size should be best for paragraphs.
Keep paragraphs short – I recommend limiting paragraphs to five or six sentences, at most. If it’s longer than six sentences, break it up.
Use subheads – All lists and the majority of paragraphs should have subheads. The subhead, used properly, can entice visitors to read further. A compelling subhead can keep a visitor on your blog by helping them find the information they’re looking for.
Develop lists – Bullet points, numbered lists, or sentences with a bold introduction, such as this list, will make your content easier to digest.
Leave some white space – Overrunning the senses with too much copy and not enough space detracts from the content making it harder to concentrate on.
Brand it – Your blog should look like—your blog. Stick with one header, one font for paragraphs, one for subheads, and one color palette. Build a brand.
Don’t make this complicated
By putting some thought into the initial layout of your blog you simplify the publication of future posts. Once you’ve established the layout, stay with it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel on every post nor do you want to. Here are three examples of blog layouts. Click on a few of the posts in each to get a feel for how they compliment the TKO brand, but have their own unique style.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave us a comment.