When you are a website owner, you are instantly confronted with a lot of things to do. Between developing content, designing headers and all the in between you are now confronted with how your blog is actually laid out. It isn’t something many of us think of when we first start up. Our only thought is, do we want 2 columns, 3 columns and do I want them on the right or the left or both. Beyond that, we don’t think heavily about our layouts.
Of course, blogs are becoming very fancy and inputting a lot of different widgets. Headers seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but is this actually helping us or hurting us?
Does Your Layout Really Matter?
Yes ladies and gents it does!
When you’re creating a blog you first off don’t want one of those gigantic headers that may look pretty but not really do much for your readers. This is quality space that can be used to help get more content above the fold of your page and take away from the quality of your website.
Another thing we are seeing often is navigations that are jam packed full. Whatever happened to having the important things. These are the most important pages you want to appear on your navigation bar:
- Main Topic #1
- Main Topic #2
- Main Topic #3
If you are a website plus a blog, take out a main topic and put your blog onto that navigation. Having a smaller navigation allows people to know what they can find instantly on your blog and get them exactly where they want. This can also help you avoid having 200 different categories. You don’t need a category for cookies, cakes & chocolate. Summarize it down to food or recipes, unless you are a foodie blog that is and then having the separate categories for food types is beneficial for you.
Your layout is the first thing people see. If it is all cluttered and too much going on, this could deter readers and in many instances advertising opportunities. People don’t want to advertise on a website that is jam packed full. It’s merely impossible to stand out when there are 50 other things around you. Simple designs, simple layouts.
The above layout is very simple, easy to navigate and you know exactly what you can do instantly. You are introduced to the first blog post and also have the navigation right away in front of you. It is a simple theme, yet very creative at the same time.
How Many Sidebars is Good?
This is a question we hear a lot.
How many sidebars should I have?
Personally, one. If you’re a blog you technically only need one. The right side is the most common side to have the sidebar on. This is an area you can place your recent posts feed, social media buttons and a few advertisements. Don’t go over board. It won’t benefit you any. You want people reading your content don’t you? Why put all the focus elsewhere then?
There are sites that do have two sidebars and it is fine. It is just important to keep them clean. Mainly, double sidebars are used on blogs that have a static homepage that doesn’t have your recent blog posts appearing. The double sidebar is utilized to highlight various areas of your website and allow increased advertising. Generally, double sidebars are used on business websites as they do require more space.
What is Above the Fold?
Above the fold is what people see without touching their mouse to scroll. Everything they see is all they see above the fold. This is the area of opportunity to get people to continue down your page. If it is nothing but header and cluttered navigations, you aren’t setting an awesome impression right away. Keep the headers to an acceptable size and tone down those navigations. We don’t need to see all 20 categories right then. If you want to have your categories in your navigation, consider implementing a drop down on your categories label on the navigation. This looks cleaner and much more organized.
Your above the fold is the most important area of your blog. This is what gets people continuing through your site. Make them want to continue and attract their attention right away or you could miss out on readers navigating through your blog.
The best way to think of your blog is this is your store front. It is the first thing people see when they walk into your store and you want to impress them. Keep your layout clean and appealing. This will not only benefit you visually but also having a clean design can be beneficial for ranking purposes as well. Put some effort into your blog, this is what people see instantly and develop their opinions on you right away.