Your blog layout is important. Get it right and people will focus on your content and be more likely to return. Get it wrong and people will hardly ever return because your blog layout has made it difficult to read or, in some cases, find your content. In this post I want to talk about one of the layout choices I made when setting up this blog and why I made it.
If your blog layout is hard to read, nobody will
The first thing to consider is your color choices. When you think about the colors you want for your blog forget for a moment about the colors you really love.
For example that pastel shade your kitchen is painted. It may look great on your kitchen walls but using it for a background color on your blog will suck out loud. This goes double for text colors.
You want high contrast colors that make reading easy. This is why my text is flat black on a white background. It’s just plain easier to read.
I can’t begin to think of how many Blogspot blogs, MySpace pages or YouTube channel pages I have seen where somebody decided that pink text on a pastel blue background looked good.
How about yellow on purple? Or yellow on light tan? Dark blue on Black anyone? They might be your favorite colors in all of creation but they’re bloody hard to read.
Look at most newspapers and magazines and you’ll find a great key to a good blog layout. The single most common color combination most of them use is black text on a white background and there is good reason for it. Print publications have been doing this for a LONG time and they know what works.
They use the black text on white because it’s easy to read (and because white ink and black paper are more expensive). They know that if you have any difficulty reading it, you probably won’t pay attention to it in the future and you will certainly not buy a subscription to it.
Another good example is to take a look at other blogs. Professional “big time” blogs that have been around a while and have a huge following.
One such example is Problogger. It’s been around for years and has built up a strong following. Somehow I think that if they had decided to use dark blue text on a black background it wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular or profitable as it is.
Who would want to try to read something that looks like a bruise? That’s a bad case of eyestrain just begging to happen.
For another example take a look at Huffington Post. It’s another one of those “big time” professional blogs with a huge following that has been around for years. Again you will see black text on a white background.
Their text is not some pastel shades of pink or yellow and their background doesn’t swallow the text and drown it out. There are no cutesy images in the background that distract you from the text or worse, make it damn near invisible. I don’t particularly agree with the politics that appears there but their presentation is spot on.
The simple fact is that black text on white background is about the easiest to read color combination there is with the opposite combination coming in at a close second.
When somebody comes to your site you don’t want them to have any trouble reading your copy. In fact you want them totally engrossed in it and ready to check back the next day looking for a new post. If they have trouble reading what you’ve written they are not going to be very focused on what you have to say and will certainly not be inclined to return.
That is why I strongly recommend using black text on a white background. This ease of reading is why I also recommend that you use a font size of no less than 12 points, though generally no larger than 16 points at the very most.
In my next post I’ll go over my choices about how many columns and the width I wanted to use.
In the mean time, take it easy, I’m outta here.