Wednesday, November 21st, 2012...6:32 am

You Asked | How To Make Your Blog Look Better?

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Tara writes:

I am your biggest word-of-mouth fan, and tell everyone about how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog. It masterfully combines, passion with personal pursuit, and what I like to call, intellectual fashion — fashion made smart! Fashion that is displayed in a unique, untouchable and lovable way!

Any advice you can give me as a blogger, in regard to ways to make my blog look better, I would truly appreciate…

This weekend I’ll be speaking all about these sorts of things at Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies Social Media Boot Camp. But in case you’re, ya know, not in Vancouver, here are a few dead-simple ways to make your blog look slick, even if especially if you’re not a designer.

Be judgmental. And figure out what you like about the look of your favourite blogs. The blogs I love — whether they’re about fashion (Garance Dore), interior design (The Selby) or DIY ideas (Adore More)– all have one thing in common: big, beautiful images and very little writing. (And this coming from a writer!) Then again, I also love xojane.com and it’s filled with tons of text and lacklustre images so every rule has its exception. But my point is: when you’re not Jane Pratt and you don’t yet have a built-in fan base and scores of talented writers spilling their most intimate thoughts for you, you’ll need to grab readers with your blog’s stunning good looks.

Keep it simple. With all the themes WordPress offers (and I do recommend WordPress over the other blogging platforms) it’s tempting to pick a jazzy one, but I’d opt to keep things simple. Why? None of those fancy themes were crafted for your brand, which means other blogs will have them too and that can get distracting. I find it’s best to keep the framework clean so it doesn’t detract from your brilliant content.

A picture is worth… The web is a visual medium — people have no time and zero patience which means they need to be captivated immediately. That’s why visuals are even more important than copy. (And this coming, once again, from a writer!) Crisp, clean, original images will do wonders for you. And photography is fun. Difficult, time-consuming fun. But the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

Break up. Like to write a lot? Make your longer posts easier to read by dividing up long chunks of copy with subheads, bullet points, images, screen grabs of other sites that illustrate your points, or whatever your heart desires.

Keep it consistent. I didn’t pick up on this when I first started The Anthology, but one of the easiest ways to make your blog look clean and tidy is to keep your text and images all one width (if you’re using a traditional column blog format, that is). The same goes for your sidebar — the cleaner the widgets look, the better. Less is more here too.

If all else fails, befriend an interactive designer and pray that she’ll take pity on you and revamp your blog for you. Or wait until you’re big enough to hire a designer to customize the look of your blog for you.

Hope this helps, Tara!

[Screen grabs from Garance DoreThe Selby and Adore More]

P.S. Take a look at a few of the other reader-submitted questions like Emilie’s How Do You Gain Exposure and Shona’s How Do You Do It?

P.P.S. Have a question you’d like an answer to? Send it to KDundon@TheAnthology.ca

P.P.P.S. Register for SFU’s Continuing Studies Social Media Boot Camp and I’ll see you on Saturday!

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