10 Blog Mistakes You’re Making With Your Design (And How to Fix Them!)
10 Blog Mistakes You’re Making With Your Design (And How to Fix Them!)

We all make mistakes, even blog mistakes.

I know I’ve designed a site or two in my day that looked like Rembrandt to me but, to my readers, looked like a Jackson Pollock.

Recently, I’ve been learning more about a concept called UX, which stands for “user experience”. UX is all about how users interact with something, such as a product, service or website that includes the person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use and efficiency.

UX is important in keeping visitors on your site and converting them into loyal followers/paying customers. If a visitor has a hard time navigating your page and reading your blog, they are more likely to leave and never come back.

Knowing about UX and user experience doesn’t take a degree in web design – or any knowledge of HTML and CSS for that matter. It’s all about understanding the perspective of your reader with they visit your site.

So to make sure your site is user-friendly, check to see if you are making any of these blog mistakes:

Easy-to-Fix Blog Mistakes

Don’t take it this far!

1. Chunking Your Content

Readers are notorious for only skimming through blog content to find the information they are looking for. When you chunk together your text without spacing it out, they will likely take one look at it and flee.

Writing a blog post is different than writing an essay. The 2-3 sentences per paragraph rule no longer applies – you need to make the content visually appealing as well as concise and informative.

Oftentimes, if a reader is looking for an answer to their question and sees a huge block of text, they’re going to skip out and try another resource.

How To Fix It:

Space your sentences for easier readability. Also, add in headings, images and bullet lists to help break up content. Double check your content on a mobile device as well, since this is how most readers are visiting blogs.

 


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2. Using Too Many Pop-Ups

Yes, you want to expose your lead magnets to your visitors and beef up your subscriber list, but having too many pop-ups is off-putting. To readers, it’s like the equivalent of using capslock in a text conversation – they’re just going to feel yelled at.

Alternatively, you don’t want to throw the same popup in your readers face every time they make a move on your blog. This will lead to them either blocking the popups and missing out on your offers or peacing out of your blog permanently.

Trust me, I’ve made huge U-turns on sites that annoy me with ads and popups.

How To Fix It:

Set your pop-ups to only appear after a specified length of time. For example, you can set them to only pop-up every 5 days. Also, try to limit your site to only one pop-up.

3. Splashing Around Too Many Colors

When my daughter designs a house in the Sims, it is a whirlwind of colors and textures and nothing makes sense. Why? Because she can.

But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – especially in web design.

You want to use a color scheme that pleases the reader’s eyeballs, not tries to burn them out of their head. Long gone are the hay-days of web design where lime green was an acceptable heading color (paired with Comic Sans, of course).

How To Fix It:

Design your brand’s palette using three main colors: one bold, one complementary and one subdued. When changing the colors of your headings, links, logo, etc., use the bold and complementary colors. Stick to the subdued one for backgrounds.

4. Including Obnoxious Backgrounds

Another hay-day moment: Once Tripod and Geocities hit the mainstream and every man and his dog could make a website (which some people did make websites for their dogs), all bets were off in the design department.

Can you believe that people used to use animated backgrounds? Yes! Animated backgrounds!

While those days are far behind us (I hope), it can still be easy to fall into the trap of adding fancy and obnoxious backgrounds to your site just to make it look cool.

It may look cool, but readers will be instantly turned-off.

How To Fix It:

Stick to neutral colors for your backgrounds to make sure the text is ready to read. For patterned backgrounds, where no text appears, use muted colors and simple patterns. I love this background maker that allows you to control the opacity, color and size of the pattern!

5. Not Using Navigational Menus

Navigation is so important for your website, since it acts as a roadmap for your readers and helps to direct them around your site. Having a navigational menu helps to keep readers on your site, giving them an easy way to access more of your information and explore your site.

Plus, good navigation helps with SEO by allowing search bots to more easily index your site by increasing its usability and visibility.

Overall, you shouldn’t make your readers work too hard to find what they are looking for – and more!

How To Fix It:

Create a vertical navigation menu for the top of your page that allows readers to access your about page, contact page, blog page and social media accounts. Check out this article from WP Beginners on how to create a menu.

6. Ignoring Mobile Responsiveness

When I design my sites, I use my laptop. However, most people access blogs through their mobile devices which is a whole different ball of wax when it comes to layout and design.

What looks amazing on your desktop may look like a steaming pile on your phone – all due to CSS rules when it comes to display sizes.

While you may get fancy with your site design on a laptop or desktop, the look may get lost in translation on smaller screens.

How To Fix It:

Look for a responsive theme to install to your WordPress. These themes are set-up to accommodate smaller screens such as mobile phones and tablets. When you go to WordPress’ Customizer (Dashboard-Appearance-Customizer), you can toggle different screen views with the little buttons at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

7. Overloading Your Sidebar with Widgets

Widgets are so much fun! But they can be so dangerous!

If you can imagine it, there’s likely a widget for it. Widgets are little dooeys that you can add to the content of your site, usually in the sidebar, to enrich your reader’s experience.

Add too many, however, and that reader will be visually overloaded and likely not pay attention to anything important in your sidebar – which is prime real estate on a blog.

How To Fix It:

Limit the widgets in your sidebar to these key 4: an about me blurb, an opt-in form, social media buttons and popular posts. If you feel the need to add more widgets, be mindful of maintaining white space so you don’t give your readers a case of vertigo.

8. It’s Impossible to Contact You

Giving readers a way to contact you is important in both building relationships with your readers (and turning them into followers or customers) and making connections and building networks to increase your blog’s traffic.

For example, I do a lot of blogger outreach for my site SpiritSoulMe. It’s a contributor blog, so I often contact other holistic living bloggers to write content that will help build their backlinks and domain authority.

However, that’s hard to do if there’s no way of getting in touch with the site owner. šŸ™

Readers may want to ask you questions, seek your advice, give you feedback or collaborate with you on projects. If there’s no way of contacting you, you’re missing out.

How To Fix It:

Create a contact page with a simple contact form so readers can reach out to you. The plugin WPForms is super easy to install and use! Just go to your WordPress dashboard, hover over plugins and click “Add New”. Search for WPForms, install and activate. You can create forms and integrate them into a page.

9. Outbound Links Don’t Open in a New Tab

When a reader lands on your blog, you want to keep them there as long as possible. This is what will turn passive readers into loyal followers and customers.

Outbound linking (linking to sites outside of your own in your content) is a useful SEO tool and a great way to cite resources. However, if you’re letting those links open in the same tab as your site, you’re going to lose your reader.

Instead, you want them to open in a new tab so that your readers can easily go back to your content with having to go back through their browsing history.

How To Fix It:

When you create an outbound link in your content, click on it and select the little gear icon. This will open the link settings and allow you to tick off a box that says “Open in New Tab”. If you’re using Gutenberg, click on the link and slide the button for the same option.

10. Your Fonts are Unclear

Oh, fonts are just as fun as colors, backgrounds and widgets – especially since Google Fonts lets you easily add some amazing fonts to your site!

But with great power comes great responsibility and you want to make sure you’re not overloading your site with too many fancy fonts. Remember, you want to make your information and content clear and easy to read.

Otherwise, your readers are going to take one look at the mess of fonts and typefaces and bounce.

How To Fix It:

Just like choosing a color palette, you want to stick to only key fonts and make sure they are readable! Especially when it comes to your main content – choose a basic font such as Open Sans or Georgia. When it comes to headings, you can get a bit fancier but make sure the font is still easy to read.

Fix Your Blog Mistakes!

These blog mistakes are innocent ones and very easily fixed!

If you’re not sure how the UX of your site measures up (bias and all that), have a friend or family member visit your site on a computer and mobile device to give you feedback on how it looks and feels.

Remember, the whole driving force behind traffic is getting people onto your site and keeping them there.

Your turn: What blog mistakes have you made in the past? Share your stories with us in the comments!

Coding, design, and writing are my happy places. I can lose all track of time when Iā€™m working on my blogs.

I hope here at MNC you will find the answers to your questions and some inspiration to make your blog or site really totally cool!

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