Judging a Blog by it's Cover...Er... Design

They say don't judge a book by its cover. But we do. And as humans, we always will.


We're visual creatures. We need to see to believe. We need to be intrigued to continue. We need curiosity to advance.

And as such, you need to focus on design. Having a designer as an alter-ego makes me prone to notice many aspects of design a non-designer may not. But there's a universal truth to design that every human being understands: if its ugly, we won't look.

And today, I want to talk about your blog design.

If you're a book reviewer or author, chances are you have a blog - and if you're an author without a blog, please get one. But that's a topic for another day.

I come from a time where colors weren't as bright as they are now. Where a million different colors weren't sitting at my fingertips with just a six-digit number sequence. While there are pros to having such color and design freedom, there are cons too.

-Going blind. You're eccentric, we get it, but that doesn't mean your blog's background should match that bright yellow dress that you absolutely love. A computer screen, in case you didn't know, runs on a form of electricity, and, as most electrics do, it glows. So that bright yellow? Just became neon. And is pretty much the same as forcing me to stare at the sun. The chances of me clicking out of your website/blog are very strong. And it's not just yellow - its any color that makes you squint. Does that mean you shouldn't use yellow? Of course not. But there's a way to use it without the color glaring in a reader's eyes.

-Declutter. Blogs have sidebars, as you know. I highly recommend having just one simply so its easier on the eyes - to your right or left, whichever works best for you. Your blog's sidebar is like a bulletin, where you pin useful links, giveaways, events and such for easy reference. You don't need a multitude of buttons and useless text. And those scrolling widgets where a bunch of buttons scroll through a little box? *rubs eyes* They hurt.

-Uniform it. Think of your blog as a staircase. Every step should be uniform. If one was bigger than the rest, you would notice - even if the step is way ahead or way behind. Your fonts should be the same size throughout the post and throughout all the posts on your blog. Sure, sometimes you need to add bigger text and that's okay, but when I look at post one and post two and they've got completely different sizes AND fonts, I notice the lack of diligence, and I'll be quick to assume that the content itself lacks diligence too. The easiest way to ensure a seamless post is to create the said post in your blog's HTML editor, it may seem daunting at first, but it's really very easy. When you want to separate text groups into paragraphs, simply including these two bits of code and you'll be fine: <br /><br />.

There are hundreds of book blogs out there and millions of blogs. Readers lose interest faster than Thor loses interest in a new gadget. Ensure that you and your blog are remembered, favorited and revisited by posting quality content and keeping the visual aspect of your site memorable - in a good way.


  1. Good advice! I think I can tick the "yes" box to most of these...although my sidebar is a bit overloaded at the moment. I rotate things on the sidebar, so hopefully it'll clear out come May. Neon text on blogs KILLS the eyes. Aaaah. I wish everyone knew that.

  2. I'd just like to add: those horrible widgets that automatically play a song while you're on the site. Those drive me insane, and they're risky for the reader, too. You never know when they might stumble across the site at work or in class-- or be browsing the web at 2 AM and scare the living daylights out of themselves. You'd think it wouldn't bear mentioning, but I still come across blogs with that feature, and I can't stand it.

    But I have a question for you, Cap:

    What sorts of tools/widgets/text would you recommend always go on a sidebar-- or contrary, what sorts would you recommend we avoid like the plague? Or is it really a case-by-case basis?

  3. Blog design is so so so important. Another thing I hate is when blogs have a super dark background with light text on it, because it's just hard on my eyes!