Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Appearance of Your Blog

Today marks my 300th post! I can't think of a better way to celebrate the occasion then starting off the A-Z Bloghop with a bang. Even though I've been blogging for two years (I started in April of 2011) I've never had the guts to participate.

I was on a two hour car ride home a couple of months ago when a theme for A-Z struck me and I knew I had to sign up.  You see, when I first started blogging I was so clueless! I made so many completely embarrassing mistakes and I've seen others repeat these awful no-no's. Since then I've wanted to share what I learned to help others along the way.

So my A-Z Theme is Blogging Tips!


As you may have guessed from the title of this post, today I wanted to focus on blog appearance. There are a few basic rules that all bloggers should follow.

1. Never have light text on a dark background, it's freaking hard to read.

2. Make sure your font is big enough.

3. Don't get too fancy. Not every font is readable, I've chosen Georgia becasue it doesn't feel too stiff, but it's pretty basic as well.

There a couple of things that should be considered as well when deciding on your appearance.

1. What are you trying to convey when people visit your blog? I personally want to convey two things, what my blog is about (my writing journey) and youth + fun since that's what writing Young Adult Novels are about. If my blog was gray and orange (which it was when I first started) it wouldn't really speak of those two things.

2. Is there anything distracting on your blog that would take away from people actually reading?

a. - It drives me absolutely insane when I go to a blog and my mouse changes to something with sparkles falling out of it. I just keep moving my mouse around the screen hoping it goes away. I won't be staying to read for very long.

b - Please don't put music on your blog. I often visit blogs when my kids are napping and it really scares me when I forget to turn the volume down and music starts to come out. If you wake my baby up, I kill you ;)

c - Take out gifs from your sidebar, I can't concentrate on what I'm reading if something keeps flashing at me. I want to get it out of my line of vision as soon as possible.

Google ratings go up if people spend more time visiting your blog. Take the time to make sure your blog is a welcoming place to be. It will make all of the difference in the world.

Have you made any of these mistakes? What other advice would you offer?

40 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't kill me! No music, I promise.
Excellent theme and tips, JA. I didn't have a clue when I began blogging either.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yeah. You so don't want to kill someone for the music--and stop visiting the blog.

Love the theme!

Elise Fallson said...

Excellent tips and Happy 300! I'm just a few posts behind you. (; I think a lot of us learn as we go, I know I sure did.

Rebecca Taylor said...

Happy to find a new blog to follow! So true and I especially HATE dark backgrounds with white font. AGH!!!

Katherine said...

Happy 300! Great tips!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've never seen a blog that changes my cursor - that would be very distracting!

Robin said...

Congrats on your 300th post. Great tips. I'm not technically new to blogging, but I'm still clueless (trying to find topics of interest, ways to make my blog attractive but not distracting, etc.), so your A to Z theme is perfect for me. Yay!

L.G. Smith said...

The light lettering on a dark background is the worst for me. My eyes can't take it. I get about a paragraph in and have to stop. It's like having a flashbulb go off in my face and seeing spots for the next minute.

Erin Shakespear said...

Great theme! And I totally agree with this post. Especially the no music. I really don't like it when I have a couple pages open and suddenly music starts blaring at me. Then I start frantically closing them to find the one that it is!

I've been thinking about doing something new to my blog. I'm looking forward to your month of posts!

Donna said...

Oh, yeah! Hate those cursors that sparkle or turn to butterflies - though I haven't see any lately. And flashing gifs drive me nuts. Those really are two things that make me leave a blog. Music...I can turn off, but don't like the surprise!
Congratulations on starting the journey!

Sarah McCabe said...

I hate those wordpress blogs that have the falling snow during the winter. It's neat for a second but gets old fast.

Your blog looks great, by the way!

Angie said...

Great posts! Thanks for the tips :)

ilima said...

I used to do so many of those things, haha. This blog hint series is going to be awesome.

Patricia Bacon said...

Good for you for taking the plunge! Can't wait to see the rest of you blogs.

Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

Cassie Mae said...

I nodded the whole way through this! My weakness is those fancy fonts. I just love the cute ones! LOL.

Anonymous said...

Since I just started blogging this year I look forward to your posts. Good luck! Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers, participant of A to Z Blogging Challenge

Al Diaz said...

This is funny. I didn't have a clue when I started either. I don't have music but I was thinking about it. Now I know that would be just way too much since my background is dark. May be one sin is forgivable.

michelle said...

Happy 300th post!
I also started blogging with absolutely NO CLUE about the do's and don'ts... and learned by trial & error!
Great post!

Susan Roebuck said...

Congratulations on your 300th post - great timing. I agree about music - and your other points. This is going to be a good theme for the month.

Julie Luek said...

Good post-- I like blogs that are clean and quick to download. Too many gifs and flashing things and jpgs and the blogs take forever to load.

Misha Gericke said...

Love your theme. And great tips!

Some of these are really basic, but some, like the no music one, people break all the time. Much to my annoyance.

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

eep! No gifs in the sidebar!? I occasionally have them lol. I must be a bad blogger. Maybe I just have a special place in my heart for gifs.

Nicole said...

Good tips! My blog's due for a makeover whenever I have time to get to it. :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Great ideas. I really get a headache and stop reading the light on dark posts. Happy 300 :)

John Wiswell said...

I'll be interested for what you think of the light text on my blog, if you hit it during the challenge. Dark text on white backgrounds are actually what tire my eyes out the fastest and go blurry, which is why I selected my scheme. Obviously, though, paper-like text dynamics are the standard for good reasons...

Melissa Sugar said...

I've made so many mistakes and I am probably still making them. I love your A to Z theme. We can all use a refresher course in blogging and blogging tips are helpful to all bloggers, veterans as well as novice. I agree with the music and bling, but it is the music that drives me crazy and makes me immediately leave the blog. You've touched on the most important tips. One that I would like to add, although I think this years, the A to Z host and co-host have explained to all bloggers,is the word captcha. That is the worst of the worst, especially because my eyesight is not what it used to be and it often takes me two or three times to get the letters and or numbers. I also think it is very important to make sure that when you leave a comment that your name, icon or something links directly to your blog. It is so discouraging when I try to visit a blog and I click on the person's name or photo and it directs me to a page that is not linked to their blog.

Thanks for the tips. I am looking forward to the rest of the month.

Samantha May said...

If I could slow clap for a theme on here (or insert the gif of the Citizen Kane clape without you killing me) I so would.

I was completely clueless too. I started blogging right after you did (June 2011).

Gwen Gardner said...

Good Tips, Jenny! That extraneous stuff distracts me, too. AND it slows your computer down trying to adjust to all the bling. You have a nice, light blog. I love it! Mine, on the other hand, is a bit darker...for the paranormal angle. I could definitely use a make-over, though.

Nick Wilford said...

Great tips! Don't know if it comes under this category but I find adverts a bit offputting. They just take something away even if the blog is awesome.

Adriana Dascalu said...

Great tips! A reminder never hurts!

Jeff Hargett said...

Well, I should be able to learn something here over the next month! But yeah, the music (even when I like it) is distracting--at best. But if I can't read the text then there really isn't any point in hanging around.

Carrie-Anne said...

I have a scar on my right cornea and my vision isn't so hot out of that eye, even when I have on glasses or contacts. It's doubly-hard for me to read most websites with light font on a dark background. I made that mistake with my old Angelfire site, and it's kind of hard to read the pages I was able to save after the site was deleted. When in doubt, a dark color and a light background is the best combo.

The woman who was the cause of my old site being deleted had one of the worst blogs I ever saw. Beyond the whole creepiness factor, it was poorly-designed—white text on black background, creepy dirge-like playlist, and worst of all very disturbing, graphic pictures of her miscarried fetuses on her sidebar, with NO warning that the reader was about to see that. I feel sorry for her losses, but that wasn't the way to design a blog!

Mark Murata said...

I hate the blogs where as you page down, the background behind the words moves at the same time, making it hard to read. Very distracting.

Krista McLaughlin said...

No music - so true! I hate going to blogs and finding annoying music playing. It reminds me of myspace, yuk. Great tips!

Mina Burrows said...

Excellent points! I'm a definite offender when it comes to some of these. *sigh*

:)

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

Awesome focus for your A to Z Challenge. I also considered it before, and then chickened out. This year, I'm trying to get over my fear of commitment issues (and blogging about Baxter, so that's always fun :) )

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great theme. It will help so many people. Glad you jumped on the bus!

Tara Tyler said...

perfect advice! i hate light on dark writing!
and cursive fonts are impossible to read!
you are doing a goid service!

Hunter Emkay said...

Nice tips, and happy 300. I just passes that mark on my own writing blog recently. For some reason, 300 seems big for blogging.

Bames Pabla said...

My blog has no music, I swear (probably because I have no idea why that would be at all useful... hihihi).

I love your theme :)