I don't often go on about blog layouts because I understand that it's not something that comes naturally to most people and it can be a very difficult thing to learn. I have been designing and coding websites for over a decade, so I think I know a thing or two - but even still, word press and blogger can have me up at 4am trying to figure out some ridiculous motherfucking glitch.
Apart from the golden rule that applies to most things: Keep It Simple, Stupid (or KISS), there are a few things that I think are design NO-NOs which are all easily avoidable. Please, for the love of all your readers, abide by them. OK? Thanks.
It is so important when choosing a look and feel for your blog. I don't care if your absolute background is piss yellow with poo brown smeared all over it (obviously, that wouldn't look pretty, but stay with me here), it is the color combination of your body copy background and your text that is key. There is a reason why most books are black text on white paper - because it's EASY TO READ. Some might seem OK for short lines or words, but for paragraph after paragraph, it can be straining on the eyes - even white on black can get annoying.
Here's a diagram that you won't see in any web design text books (because it's just too awesome).
I'll be honest here and say that if a blog has a funky font for the body of copy, 9 times out of 10, I will leave (the exception being an added photo of a questionable nature that would make me stay for a perv). Stick to the standards - again, because they are proven to be the easiest to read. If your default font is not on this list, the odds are that it's probably obnoxious. Sorry, but it's likely the case.
When buttons and ads are wider than the column that they are residing in. UGH.
OK, so this might be a bit trickier to fix for the non-coder, but I'll try to make it really simple.
- Turn on the HTML view of your widget.
- Find the dimensions in the <img> code. It will look like this: width="250px" height="250px"
- As long as you keep the ratio of the dimensions the same when you shrink it, it will still look OK, so change it to width="200px" height="200px" (or smaller if you find it's still over-lapping).
4. BLOG ANIMATION
If your blog is snowing, I will not ever, ever return to your blog.
Not even in July.
Whomever created that code needs to be strung up by his short and curlies and whipped with a dead fish.
Anyone who uses that code should be made to eat that fish after the beating is complete.
5. DON'T TRY TOO HARD
Don't try to make your blog look like Martha Stewart because the more crap you put on it, it will look more like Anna Nicole Smith, (either alive or dead). Referring back to my first point, just keep it simple. If you don't know how to do something, ASK! Putting up something that doesn't work or looks like shit doesn't reflect well on you and will take away from your writing. Twitter is awesome for this too. There's tons of people that would be willing to help you out with an issue or two; all you have to do is ask.
Remember, as much as some want to deny it, for the most part, and for whatever many different reasons we do it, blogging is a hobby. And just like any other hobby, it can cost a few dollars here and there. If you're willing to spend $100 on a purse that you probably don't need, invest that money into your blog instead and get it done by a professional. It will be worth every penny.
If you don't have cash to put towards your blog, just use a basic, clean template. Easy peasy!
And after all, at the end of the day, it's about what you write, so write well and enjoy your blog.
"It is a piece of shit. But don't worry, I don't even have a piece of shit; I have to envy yours."
~ Ferris Bueller
This (belated) post is for The Great Blogging Anniversary Linkup in honor of my dear bloggy friend Sweaty. Congrats on your first year - I know it's not been an easy ride.