[huge]When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.—Enrique Jardiel Poncela[/huge]

 

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Week Three: blog design for beginning and advancing bloggers

Please welcome this week’s guest editor Michael Gray who tweets as @dearharrison and blogs at Dear Harrison. If you have any questions or need any clarification on today’s topic or prompts, please feel free to begin a discussion in comments. The prompts can be found on page 2 at the very end of the post.

If you’re here just to hang out, click here for the yeah write #66 hangout grid.

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Blog design for beginning bloggers

The yeah write summer writer’s series is a great opportunity for us to learn to master the skills necessary for pushing our writing to the next level.  But as bloggers, we have to be concerned with more than just our written content—we also control the packaging and delivery of our words by how we design our blogs.

Fortunately, our modern digital world offers us almost unlimited resources and options for how we craft and structure a blog.  However, the sheer enormity of the different options available to us also gives us the opportunity to misuse our power, sometimes causing our blog’s design to grossly interfere with the most important element on the page—the content.

Content: Choose the Right Theme

When choosing a theme, it’s important to remember that your site’s design should add to the experience, not play center stage.  Any theme—no matter how cool-looking—interfering with your readers’ ability to easily find and consume your content is going to frustrate your readers, and frustrated readers won’t stick around long.

Look for themes that are clean and uncluttered. Clutter equals chaos. When you have guests over to your house, you remove all the things that clutter up the living room—the pile of half-folded laundry, the stack of bills that you still need to go through, the dishes from breakfast that morning, the mountain of books and toys from your child’s bedroom. When you clean the clutter at home, you create a more inviting and peaceful space for both you and your guests.  Shouldn’t we give the same consideration for guests of our blog?

Keep it simple. Clean the clutter. Focus on content.

Readability: Choose the Right Fonts

Fonts are fun!.  When I first started blogging, I used to love to try out many different font styles, different color combinations and different sizes. I was so intoxicated by the totalitarian power I wielded over my blog, I didn’t realize that a yellow scripty font over a blue background made people want to gouge their eyes out. It made me happy, so I did it.

So only my mom read my posts.

Just like there are an almost unlimited number of themes to choose from, font choices are also a sky’s-the-limit situation. And, just like design clutter can create chaos, font clutter can do the same.

On your blog, you have two primary text elements: header and body. The header text will include your post title and any subheadings that may appear in your post.  The body text is the content of your post where you craft your compelling narrative using your authentic voice.

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