Many bloggers are perplexed by the thing called bounce rate! They simply don’t understand how to make things better for their readers so that they stay a little longer on their blogs and hence maximize page views per visit.
An amazing post with amazing content may be really great but if your blog design is not up to the mark it’s like saying immediate bye to your visitors. In the next few seconds, I shall take you through some fantastic tips on how to make your blog design better thereby addressing the bounce rate issue from that angle. So, here you go:
1. The dreaded template
The first thing you should do when you start a new blog is to change the template itself. Change the header image to your own logo & tagline and change the background color too so that your stock template stands out from the thousand others who use the same template. You may also want to work with the overall styling and colour scheme to personalize it further. I don’t think there is any further explanation need on this, so just do it. You want your blog to stick out, not blend in.
To sum up: Change your template header, background and overall styling
2. Is this a scam?
If your website is full of hyperlinks, Times New Roman text, ads with a plain white background and single colored text, and to top it all, a popup telling them about your new e-book on “how to enlarge your whatever in seven days” then you need to really worry about the first impression it creates! One clear column with your main features, and then one side bar with a few widgets is all that it takes to present the content in a pleasing way. Minimize the amount of advertising you have on your pages otherwise the impression is that “I am here to make money and I don’t care about what you think!”. Oh, and no pop-ups and pop-unders please!
To sum up: Use a clear layout
Make sure you use a font from the Sans Serif family for the body text and no fancy hard-to-read text. This blog features a Sans Serif font. Notice that Sans Serif fonts (e.g. Arial) have clean and smooth ends on each letter, whereas Serif fonts (e.g. Times New Roman) typically have pointed or shaped ends thus making it harder to read. Also, it really does not go well without mentioning the font size. Text that is very big will make your readers think that you are expecting kids or OAPs to visit your blog (Well, assuming that yours is a blog for all). If the text is too small and visitors will be wondering if you actually want them to read your post, or if you just want them to cause eyestrain.
To sum up: Make it easy to read
This is just as much of a design fault than a content fault. No one is going to read your blog if there are numerous grammatical errors, punctuation issues (No capitalization wherever required, no full stops or comas), and the sentences are too long. People are also going to think that your blog was written by a 5-year-old, if it has little or no use of capital letters.
To sum up: Focus on your grammar and punctuation
5. Ease of Use
One of the primary traits of a good website is its ease of use. Make sure your blog or website has a distinctive home page, one that you know is the home page. This means a large logo and slogan at the top, widgets with news, top stories and other information on your website.
If you have a blog, the home page ideally should have a sticky post (or ‘About’ content), which explains your blog in a few sentences, so people get the rough idea of why it exists. If your website is full of pages with no menu bar or way of moving around the website, then readers can get lost or confused, so they will just leave the page. Navigational features (on all devices), Search and filter – they all matter. If you run an E-Commerce website, a customer should be able to see if you have a certain product in your store by just clicking three times. Not convinced? Go and try it on Amazon!
To sum up: Make is easy for your readers
A little more on that background colours. First of all, if your background is very jazzy and bright, it’s going to hurt people’s eyes while reading your content. These include bright green, yellow, and orange, and light blue block colors, a mix of them or anything that distracts the reader. Using picture background is also not a great idea. Especially if it is a small picture or pattern and has been tiled on the page. Just NO! You can use block colors such as white, pale colors, grey, black or their sober variants.
When you use a black background, don’t use white text. It sort of pulses when you are reading it, and hurts your eyes, especially if it’s small. Use a gold color instead. If you don’t want to use gold, you can get around this by having a black outer background than a white background behind the text. Sorted!
To sum up: Keep it calm, don’t jazz it up
7. Paint still exists?
When you are designing a logo, don’t use MS Paint. It usually ends up with a horrible quality logo without any good color combination or text quality. Instead, download any free trial graphic program and use that to design your logo. There are also a few free online text designing sites (e.g. CoolText) or if you are ready to spend $5, you might get it designed on sites like fiverr. There’s not much more to say on this one, but just don’t use Paint!
To sum up: Make sure your logo is of good quality
8. Content Image Quality
I can’t stress this enough. Never ever use low quality pictures on your website. Have you ever seen low picture quality on any of the biggie websites or blogs? At times, it may be even better to totally avoid them if you don’t have quality images with you. You don’t see large companies using bad quality pictures on their website, so why should you? On the other hand, don’t use very high quality, high resolution images unless you are running a Photography website that features your portfolio. Obviously nobody wants to wait for several minutes for your website to load. You may also include pictures from any royalty free image site as they will have a variety of resolutions and qualities to choose from your picture of choice. However, be sure to read the terms and conditions thoroughly before reusing any of them.
To sum up: Make sure to use optimum quality images
9. Steer clear of a competitor’s design
If you have a clear competitor, don’t go about using the same color combination, styling and fonts (or even the same or similar logo style) as them. You want to be different from them, not a knockoff version. It is very easy to see a competitor’s website and think that the design is really good and you wouldn’t do it better. Further, it’s even easier to copy the entire style content and imitate the same in no time. But you could be wrong. I’m sure if you think independently – away from others’ design – for a few seconds, you could come up with something very unique in terms of the overall styling. So be different, it shows that you are a next generation blogger and not a copy cat.
To sum up: Be different
10. What you criticize in others, correct in yourself
If you browse a website, and immediately start hating a thing or two (e.g. fonts, colors) about it, make sure your website isn’t doing this too. Before you criticize anyone, correct your own website first.
To sum up: Sort your design before you sort others
If you are not sure about your blog design, there are lots of forums or review websites where people will review your website and give you tips. My website, The Website Doctor etc offers this reviewing service for free. So just stop by them and have your blog or website reviewed.
This article is contributed by Pritam Nagrale who primarily blogs about Make Money ideas, Online/Offline businesses and Blogging tips. Do visit his blog to know more about him