I had planned on being part of a panel for the Book Blog conference but was unable to participate :( However, as Blog Design was the topic I was being asked to think about, it is now on my mind. I’m going to share a few basics with you, in a 4- part series.
I’m not a professional web designer. However, if you add up all the websites I’ve made (actively used or otherwise) I’ve easily made over 30 of them. And my biggest pet peeve about going to any website—blog or otherwise—is crappy web design.
Basic Blog design
The biggest things I want to highlight are these:
- You’ve got to make your blog easy to navigate. By “navigate” I mean find stuff.
- Make it easy to spread your links around, and people will be more likely to do so
- If you want people to take you seriously, act serious.
Now let’s look at these in more detail:
1—If a publisher or author comes to your blog, what’s the first thing they’re going to look for? Probably the basics: your review/acceptance policy, some of your past reviews (so they can see your style), your contact information. That’s all they really want to know right now. So how do you present that information in an appropriate easy way? Keep reading, I’ll get to it (eventually).
2—If you have a million ways of spreading links and sharing (ie twitter, goodreads, facebook stumble-upon, digg etc.) it makes people go “ahh! too much! forget it!” Make it easy.
3—If you aren’t professional about the way you organize your blog, people won’t take you seriously. If people don’t take you seriously, why should they send you books? The kinds of blogs that turn me away are these: hot pink text, lots of exclamation points, smiley’s in the reviews, headers that don’t fit (or don’t look good) in the header box. It’s a psychological thing, guys. You want people to take you seriously? At least use your blog to make people think that you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t).
Next post in the series: Sidebar designs.