A Mind on Design: Things to Avoid When Building a WordPress Blog
There are so many active blogs operating in our virtual world today that it would take countless lifetimes to read them all. Indeed, millions upon millions of individuals take to the Internet every day to share their thoughts, opine on a particular subject, share information specific to a certain theme or industry and even just rant and rave about any old thing.
But what makes one blog better than the next? Why do some have devoted followings while others barely get a hit? Is it the style of writing? Is it the visual appeal of the site itself? A frustrated blogger—especially one who is just starting out—could truly go mad trying to get respect in the flooded field when they’re just not sure what’s working and what’s not.
That said, successful bloggers and blogging experts are thankfully quick to share some secrets dos and don’ts—mostly don’ts—that can really help a newbie writer get their feet wet and earn some web cred off the bat. Here are some tips that should be taken to heart when crafting a winning WordPress blog site.
- Remember that you want visitors to focus on the words, and a junked-up and cluttered site is a big turn off, especially in respect to sidebars. So use ample white space (it will help your headlines and any imagery stand out better) and put the less important stuff on a linked-to page.
- Most people love a good tune, but auto-loaded music can be a real nuisance as well as steal a lot of bandwidth and make your page load and respond slower. And besides that, many people keep their speakers on all the time, and having music blare the moment they land on your site can be incredibly jarring.
- The best sites have at least a handful of links that lead viewers to further exploration of a particular topic, but you should avoid using “click here” and instead choose link words that contain a keyword phrase. It’s more descriptive and helps search engines index easier, which can really boost your rankings.
- It may sound a little nit-picky, but don’t make your headers too big. Again, you want readers to focus on your content, so don’t make them have to scroll way down to get to your post or article. Make the title visible and obvious, but not so huge that it overwhelms the page.
- Speaking of simple design no-nos, have you ever tried to navigate on a page that is designed with a too-dark background paired with light text? Basically it’s a drag on readability. Remember that reading online is hard on the eyes, and using this design scheme makes it much more so.
- The Internet has absolutely changed the way we find and digest information, but it’s come with one big catch: plagiarism. Indeed, there’s so much out there to read that our minds become blurred, and therefore writers should constantly check themselves to make sure all their content is original and all theirs. So be vigil always about plagiarism and make sure you’re not guilty of it—that goes for words as well as imagery, videos and the like.
- Remember that the Internet is an open book (literally) and any information you choose to share with the world is out there for good. So security experts warn bloggers to be careful about what personal information they share—after all, there are some nefarious characters lurking. So consider using an alias for your blog and never give out or hint at things of a personal nature unless it’s absolutely necessary for a particular post: where exactly you live, details about your family, contact information etc. are all topics you should avoid divulging.
- Lastly, if your blog is just a hobby or diversion remember to have fun. Writing and posting should be enjoyable to you if you’re not an e-tail or e-commerce concern, or if it’s not part of your day job. So don’t look at it as drudgery or work: your writing will show it and the quality will suffer.