Part one (the intro)
Blogs have become powerful news and learning outlets that provide an opportunity for professionals and organisations to communicate with the rest of the online world.
Almost all bloggers have found that starting, maintaining and updating a blog has made them better known in their industry as a result. This is the platform opportunity for designers and photographers (for the rest for the article, we will call them ‘creatives’) to share what they’ve learnt and, in turn, learn from the response and interaction from their readers.
This post will focus on the design and structure of a creative blog.
The design of your business blog has a huge impact on how it is perceived by your visitors. Good design shows professionalism and is inviting to a potential reader. Bad design makes your blog unappealing and makes the blogger seem dodgy. So yes, you can judge a blog by its cover. Basically, the more professional the blog looks, the more reliable you look as a creative.
I’ve made a list of useful tips when starting your first creative blog:
Using a font that’s suitable for reading on screen, large enough to read if printed and has proper contrast is extremely important. Readers will move on if they are challenged with the task of deciphering unreadable text.
The rule of thumb is: dark text on a light background is more readable than light text on a dark background. Just look at white text on a black screen for a few minutes and then look at a light surface. It’s not fun. I’d rather go to the dentist.
It’s also a good idea to limit the number of fonts used on your blog, unless you are creating a typography blog. Ideally, use just one or two fonts in your design. Instead of using multiple fonts, try different weights and styles in the fonts you choose to add liven up your typography.
2. Video, podcasts and images
Unlike normal blogs, design blogs may have more images and videos uploaded on a regular basis than the standard online publication. Feed our visual hunger and you’ll win our attention.
Be sure not to place too many images in one post, as this will slow down the website. Keep your images under 100kb. If the nature of you blog requires you to upload many images, be sure to install a slide show plug-in. Or better yet, you can use issuu.com’s free flip-styled magazine application that allows you to show off your work in magazine-style format. This is great for showing off your work.
Podcast and videos contribute to a richer experience for your visitors. With tools like YouTube and Zoopy just a click away, you are able to start your own mini channel, filled with your own content. Podcasts make for super mini-radio stations; whereby training and news can be shared.
3. Comment design
Almost every blog wants to inspire interaction and discussion with its visitors. After all, an engaged readership is more likely to come back on a regular basis. So, this makes your comments section extremely important.
The comment form on your blog should be easy to use and should make it apparent which fields are required (most often a name, email address, and the comment itself).
I’d suggest that the comments appear in a threaded manner (where replies appear under the comment being replied to).This creates a conversation-styled environment.
N.B Remember to reply to comments, as this enhances the interaction and your readers are more likely to return to your blog.
4. Make provisions for social media sharing
Give your readers the opportunity to share your posts by using popular social media sharing tools. I’d suggest using the ‘share this button’, as most social media platforms (think Facebook and Twitter) are tucked neatly into one button. This will not disrupt the look and feel of you blog.
Sharing is a vital part of exposing your blog to others in the community, but remember that only good and relevant content will be shared.
Look out for part two this article, where I’ll be discussing the best tools for creating blogs. Any questions or responses? Go ahead and leave a comment