Hello everyone!! If you haven’t heard, I have a new weekly blog series called “Level Up” where, every Sunday, I’d touch on a way to take your blog and/or business to the next level. You can check out all the other posts in the series here! Today, I’m talking about some of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen made in regards to blog design + ways to fix them in a jiffy! Let’s goooo….
Mistake #1: showing entire blog posts on the blog home page – in doing so, people are not going to press on the specific post and read it there. This means that all your blog views will show up as “home” and you won’t see any stats about the specific articles people are reading, which you need to help you understand what types of posts are doing well and which aren’t.
How To Fix It: go to your blog settings and make sure the “Limit feed to excerpt only” option is on. For bloggers on WordPress, this can be found by going to settings –> writing –> feed settings.
Mistake #2: using not-so-readable fonts, especially in all capital letters – one new mistake I’ve seen lately is people using fonts like Lobster Two that are pretty much unreadable. Like “my glasses wearing self even had to get closer to the computer and squint a little to see what those letters were” kind of unreadable. And when a word is written in a weird font AND in all capital letters? Mmmm, not a good move. I know they’re fun and makes your blog more you, but anything that makes it harder for your readers to actually read and understand your blog is not worth it. You can personalize your blog in much better ways!
How To Fix It: change to a simpler font like Lato or Arial! I know they seem boring but spicing up your fonts is not the way to personalize your blog.
Mistake #3: using distracting backgrounds – just like mistake #2, having a funky background can be very distracting and make reading anything on your blog hard to do. This includes pretty much all non-solid coloured backgrounds + neon colours. Again, there are much better ways to personalize your blog.
How To Fix It: some nice background colours are black, white (the best in my opinion tbh) and most pastel colours.
Mistake #4: you have too long of a sidebar – if I have to scroll more than three times down the page to see the end of your sidebar, your sidebar is too long dude. I used to have a reallllly long sidebar filled with my Goodreads “faves” shelf, awards I’d won, street teams I was on and so much more. Then I realized none of my readers really cared about that stuff and it was just taking up people’s attention space when I actually want them to focus on my blog posts.
How To Fix It: archive all the widgets (aka things) on your sidebar that won’t lead you back to a post on your blog, your social media, or are generally unnecessary. Things like the Liebster Award can go, as can the long glimpses into your Tweets and IG posts; just have a simple graphic and link to your social media.
[Related – 15+ Blogger Website Tips & Tricks]
Mistake #5: not including a clearly visible search bar – search bars are you and your reader’s best friends because it is a lot easier to find a post using the search bar than having to comb through post archives.
How To Fix It: put a search bar somewhere on your website whether it’s up top or on the sidebar where it is immediately visible (aka don’t put your search bar in just the footer). With that, you can also delete the “Archives” widget on your blog.
Mistake #6: not including any kind of graphics in your blog posts – images catch people’s eyes much faster than texts do (an image is worth a thousand words) so, by adding an image to your post, you can catch the attention of the reader and draw them into reading the post. Of course, the image should be appropriate to the topic and, typically, follows a consistent style. This consistency allows readers to become familiar with you and your blog in another way so that, if they saw one of your images on social media, they would immediately know “hey this is from X’s blog!” even if they’ve never read the post or seen the pic before.
How To Fix It: if you’re doing a review, include the book cover in the post. If you’re doing a weekly meme like Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday, use the official blog image already made. For all other posts like discussions, feel free to make your own graphic! If you’re not creatively inclined, don’t worry, they don’t have to be detailed or very creative….tbh, you can make one in Powerpoint (tho I will have a Level Up post later on about graphics so keep an eye out for that!)
Mistake #7: having a lot of blog category pages in the top menu of your blog – going through book blogs, the most common mistake I’ve seen is having a page on your blog menu for all your main post categories like “Discussions”, “Reviews (A – Z)”, “Reviews (by author)”, “Top Ten Tuesdays or Waiting on Wednesdays”, “Interviews”, “Blog Tours” etc. Though I love the organization of it all, it’s unnecessary to have them all up in your menu and instead just takes away attention from going and reading your actual blog posts.
How To Fix It: delete all the category pages off your menu and just create a “categories” widget for your sidebar (I have one on my sidebar).
Aaaand that’s the main blog design mistakes people make, as well how to fix em! Congrats, you Leveled Up!! Yayyy!!! Are there any mistakes I missed or another way to fix a mistake up above? Let me know in the comments below!
And, if you have any questions now or at any point in the Level Up series or if there’s something you generally or specifically want me to talk about, feel free to comment below, tweet me @AvidReaderBlog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks, have a great day/night, and tata for now!