The phrase “well designed” can have a different meaning to each person. So we won’t get into colors, icons, themes, etc. A well designed blog will be defined as one that attracts visitors and search engines. Most blogs are built on a platform that is search engine friendly, so we will focus on a design that is “visitor friendly”:
If you have a branded website, make sure your blog maintains brand equity and identity.
When choosing a theme, keep the growth of your blog in mind. Choose a template with the appropriate number of columns and width best suited for what you want to do. If your blog is business related, ensure that your call to action is easy to locate.
Keep your blog layout clean and navigation easy. The average online user has a short attention span and does not like to be overwhelmed when visiting a website or blog.
If you have ads, keep them neatly organized and make it easy for the user to know they are ads. Many blogs and websites have ads right above the article or blog entry, this can confuse the user.
Many of the major blog providers have a nice selection of blog themes you can make your own. There are many Web 2.0 blog designs to choose from, these will give your blog a modern look.
Depending on what your blog is about, you may also want to stick to the simplest blog design just to get your message across. Many writers use plain themes to highlight their writing styles.
Do something creative with your header. The header is usually the first thing the visitor sees. Many blogs provide the ability to choose a template and then upload your own custom header.
Create an easy way for the user to go through previous entries on your blog, this is why blogs have archives.
Don’t make your blog overwhelming. Again, don’t over do it with links. When there are too many links, your user does not know where to start.
Don’t place ads everywhere you see a blank space. Ads create revenue, but they also turn users away. If you have to place ads, do it wisely.
Don’t over do it with widgets, plug-ins, and add-ons. Just because they look cool, they may not be suited for your blog.
Don’t turn off comments. What’s the point of a blog if readers cannot participate, you might as well just have a website. You should moderate them or choose to only allow comments from users that have certain accounts.
Don’t just start a blog because everybody is talking about them. There are too many blogs that were created in the heat of the moment and never got passed the initial profile completion.
If your blog is business related, don’t try to “sell” your reader at every opportunity.
A well designed blog is one that limits all the things that annoy the majority of internet users. What annoys you when you visit a website or blog?