Hello friends. As designers, each of us works in different styles and usually tends to different types of projects. For me, these are content-oriented websites and there is nothing more suitable than a good old blog.
For people who have their own blogs, the advantages are obvious:
- Flexible format. Complete freedom to discuss various topics. Even if a blog has a central theme, they may occasionally break away from it to explore other ideas that interest them.
- Entries can be as short as long as you like.
- Entries do not have to contain text. Video and photo blogs can be attractive and popular.
- Blogs can be used to become someone as an expert in your field, thereby increasing business opportunities.
- Blogs are incredibly easy to create thanks to services like WordPress.com, Blogger, and so on.
The blogs haven't changed much.
Regardless of the type of blog, they are all built on the following system:
- Main page with the latest entries (in full or as a list)
- A list of categories, usually in the sidebar.
- Archives of articles by date
- Selected articles with comments
- Page “About me” and / or “Contacts”
This is not a bad structure that works and is familiar to many of us. Although this does not mean that you should stick to it.
Our job as designers is not only to make sure that the text is of sufficient size for reading, the menu is easily defined, or the buttons are large enough for pressing. We solve problems. We are sure that users can easily and quickly find what they are looking for. We have seconds to interest readers and keep them on our site, so we have to get creative.
In this article, I'm going to look at the details that are common to most blogs and how we could make them more convenient to use, more attractive.
One of the problems with the sidebar is that it too often distracts me from the content. This can be a colorful animated ad, which is even worse if it is with sound and without a shutdown button. Or the sidebar itself conflicts with the rest of the site. Sometimes, blog owners manage to cram a nevi in the sidebar of their blog. This leads to the fact that the sidebar is much longer than the article.
For example, placing five years of archives sorted by month in a single sidebar is not a good idea. This can annoy some people: “why this sidebar should be twice as high as my 1600 × 900 display”.
Now let's be honest. I'm not saying that you should get rid of the sidebar at all. When I scroll through my personal blog, I intend to use the sidebar for some rather important things. I want to say that sidebars should not be stuffed with additional information and widgets, and they should not dominate the page. Their purpose is navigation. Let's treat them that way. If you want to show more information than can fit in the sidebar, show it in a different place.
I would like to talk about the individual posts before going to the home page. Because it is the most important thing in a blog. Yes, and the main page will rarely be the starting point for a user’s blog. More often, the journey begins with individual posts to which users get from search results, links given by friends or other services.
For this reason, make sure that the user can easily navigate further through the site, the navigation menu, the search is available on every page of your blog. Perhaps visitors are looking not only for what is described in this article. While reading a blog, a visitor makes new discoveries for himself, and it is more profitable for us to speed up this discovery process. Users are more likely to click on an attractive headline than they will search for a category link to see what similar articles are on your site. Therefore, you must provide links to other content, and not necessarily similar, most importantly interesting.
It would not be bad to tell a little about yourself on every page. If you do this as part of a short paragraph, you could place this information in the sidebar. If there is more text, you could place it under the article where users will see it after reading the article.
Summarizing this part, remember, you have to spend more time on your content and its design. Since, most likely, your content is what people see at the beginning.
Many people build their blog’s homepage as if it’s the first thing every user sees. This is mistake. Most often, only regular readers start by viewing the home page. As well as visitors who, after reading the record, clicked on the item “Home” in the menu.
Tamblelog - this is a kind of blog, with the difference that a post can only be of a certain format (quote, video, link, song, conversation, etc.). This is something like a regular blog, but unlike him, this system of keeping notes and notes is more like a draft or a notebook rather than a diary.
If you do not lead Tamblog, I would recommend to display no more than the title, announcement and thumbnail. Blogs that display entries completely on the home page force visitors to twist and twist down to make sure that they did not miss anything. Some people decided this by posting a list of recent entries in the sidebar, but I see it as redundant. Such a list can be useful on every page of the blog, except the main one.
Of course, this is not the only design of the blog home page. There are other ways of presenting content, but I believe that this approach is the most reasonable from the point of view of the reader. Need more proof? Look at the websites of newspapers or magazines. All of them display links to the latest articles in each of the main categories.
Most blogs have published posts with a posting date. This allows users to navigate the site by months or years. If you're writing about design trends, a technology review, a political decision, or anything else that depends on a date, that certainly makes sense.
However, chronological navigation is not always necessary. Examine your content. If you write about things that do not change in a hurry, like past historical events or animal breeds, you completely give up time navigation.
Look for other ways to organize content based on your subject. Categories will never go out of style. Using the theme of art as an example, you could design your blog so that people can view your posts on the artists or art styles mentioned in this post.
Ah, comments. A place where everyone can gather virtually with interlocutors and discuss this post (without offtopic, meaningless debates or insults). Comments can provide invaluable feedback, and the participation and interaction of users can bring your readers to your site again and again.
I have seen many blog designs, and their main problem is that the comment area is too small. This is especially a problem when you consider two things:
- Nested comments are standard today. The area of the content of responses to comments, as a rule, are becoming less and less with each subsequent response.
- The problem above can be exacerbated when the site design is “flowing” (block width in percent).
My decision? The comments section should be as wide as possible.
What do you like about blogs the least? And what functions are important to you? Let us know in the comments.