1. Focus on Readability
People visit blog because they want to read or watch the content. They don’t really care about visual aspects, as long as the design is still usable. Site elements should enhance and support contents, instead of distracting people from it.
2. Use <h1> Tag for Post Titles
Because search engines prioritize on text enclosed in heading tags, you should use <h1> tags for the title. This is especially useful if your post title is keyword-rich, which can make a strong impact on your site placement in the search engine result.
3. Organize your Sidebars
On some blogs, the sidebars seem to go on forever; they may even go beyond the page content. You shouldn’t clutter the sidebars and they will be more effective if you put only useful widgets and relevant information. Ideally, your sidebars should extend as far as the content goes. They shouldn’t be too long or too short.
4. The Blog Should Represent your Personality
Because blogs are less formal than traditional sites, you can show off your personality a little more. Let your charming personality shines through the blog design.
5. Incorporate all Elements into the Design
In some cases, blog owners fail to effectively incorporate elements into the design. Blog platforms offer elements that are usually unavailable in contemporary sites, such as posts, categories, comments, archives and widgets. If you find it difficult to effectively incorporate an element into the design, you may not need it in your blog.
6. Integrate Advertising Effectively
If you want to put ads in your site, make sure it integrates well with the rest of the site. If you want to use text ads, make sure link colors and font colors are entirely consistent with your design. If you include a banner, you should style them in a way that can tie them with your design.
7. Improve your Post Images
This is often overlooked by many blog owners. You should apply CSS to images, because it won’t be too difficult to do and can save you plenty of time in the long run. Additionally, CSS can significantly improve the appearance of your site. You can apply a hover effect or add a border. You may also use styles for image caption. Whatever you do, try not to ignore this technique.
8. Allow People to Subscribe Easily
Make sure people can subscribe to your RSS easily. One effective way is to put a large RSS icon in the sidebar or anywhere above the fold, which can encourage people to subscribe. To further improve the subscription rates, you should allow people to subscribe by email.
9. Integrate your Blog with Social Media
You may need to integrate your Twitter feed with your blog, by putting it in the header, footer or sidebar. It’s a good way to attract more Twitter followers. If you often use YouTube or Flickr, post your latest videos or images to allow visitors access your multimedia files more easily. You should do this if your social media feeds have some relations with contents in your blog. Some blogging platforms also make it easier for visitors to share your contents to their friends, so it is a good idea to use this feature.
10. Prioritize Performance
Although users increasingly have faster Internet connections, you shouldn’t disregard the importance of short loading time. If you create very large pages, the waiting time will still be noticeable even if your users use DSL connections. After all, if users mistakenly believe that your site fails to load, then the “Back” button will be very tempting.