A successful blogger is always asking the question, How does this serve my readers?
To many of us design is the fun and “creative” part of building our blog, talking and tweaking design can take up more time than writing content–if we let it. A checklist can help keep my creativity at uptimum levels and keep my focus on how my choices will ensure my readers enjoy their stay well enough to return again and again.
Blog Design Checklist.
- 1. Title and Subtitle: Are they here? Are they clear? Could any reader understand what they mean? Turn off the blinkers, the sliders and slinkers. They distract me when I’m trying to read your post.
- 2. Bio: Can I find it? Does it tell enough about you that I feel a connection with the person behind the screen? Did you give me a way to contact you, if I have a genuine reason to? Is there a photo, or at least a visual, there to represent you?
- 3. Fonts/Text: Are they readable? Are there too many? too few? Are they in readable colors? Is there moving, blinking, twinkling text to distract me and annoy me? When it comes to color, size, and number less is always more.
- 4. Comments/Permalinks/Trackbacks/Email: I expect to find these after the post? Please don’t get creative and make me look all over to find them.
- 5. Navigation: Can I find my way around in a glance? Can I find your Classic Posts? Do your links really work? Is it easy to get back to the home page? I don’t like feeling lost.
- 6. Sound/Gadgets/Plug-ins: Do they really need to be there? Are you sure they won’t irritate me? When in doubt, take them out.
- 7. Technical Issues: Does the blog load fast in my browser? Does it load accurately? You may hate IE but most folks still use it. If you pretend they don’t exist. You can be sure for you they won’t.
- 8. Images: Are they clean, clear and crisp? Are the files compressed so they load quickly? Fuzzy pictures hurt my eyes.
- 9. Organization: Does the page feel in proportion? Do things seem where they belong? Is there enough white space and a lack of clutter? I like a little room to breathe.
- 10. Marketing: Is the presentation of subscriptions, ads, and other marketing integrated into the design? Do ads become too interruptive? Are there pop-ups or pop-unders? Ads that make themselves too annoying will drive me from your blog forever. No pop-ups or pop-unders–they break your trust with me.
Use this checklist to remind yourself not to let too much design creativity take the “fun” out of reading your blog. Then get started. Have fun tweaking.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
And don’t forget the other checklists in the set:
Blog Review Checklist
Editing for Quality and a Content EditorÃ¢â¬â¢s Checklist
Checklist for Linking to Quality Blogs
A BloggerÃ¢â¬â¢s Personal Narrative Checklist
Checklist for Starting a Directory Listing