Imagine you’re having this awesome conversation with someone online and then you’re visiting their website. You want to support them. Maybe even sign up for their newsletter. But when the page loads, you’re a little bit horrified and question who would have advised them to design their blog or website like this. We have all had that moment. Of course, you can’t argue about someone’s taste and maybe it is only your own perception that makes you dislike that design
So here are five things that turn me off your website and which are usually easily fixed.
1. Too Much Content on the Sidebar
You want to give your reader some kind of direction around your blog. So you put your archive links, your category links on your sidebar. That’s great. But you also want to let your reader know about your social media profiles. And to which blogging clubs you belong. There’s also this other network that you’re a part of and it really needs to go there as well. Plus, some affiliate links… Stop! Do a ranking of the things on your sidebar and decide which ones are the most important to you. The rest needs to go somewhere else. Put a link in your navigation to page on which you can let your readers know about all your networks and connections. If the reader wants to know, he or she will find out.
2. Too Many Colors and Patterns
This is another big thing on this list. If you’re using too many colors and different patterns in your design, your reader won’t know where to look first. Colors and patterns are, as design elements, extremely important in guiding your reader through your content. You don’t want to lose your reader (remember what we’ve said about simple views). Instead of choosing a multitude of colors, try to focus on a simple color palette and use those colors to enhance your design rather than overpower it. The same thing goes for patterns. You can, for example, choose a simple pattern for your background. This is already a step to making your website your own.
3. No White Space
This one goes hand in hand with the previous two points. You want your reader to take something away from your content. However, if your design is completely overpowering your awesome posts, your reader will click away without engaging with your content. What you need to remember is that white space (space where there is nothing) is just as integral to your design as any other element that you want to include. It also makes your reader focus on the most important aspects of your sit.
4. Flashing GIFs
I absolutely adore GIFs. I love using them because they sometimes capture what I’m trying to say way better than words ever could. But imagine you’re visiting a site for the first time and the very first thing you see is a flashing GIF. Not only do you have to keep in mind readers with health problems who could suffer from it, but you also need to remember point 4. You’re turning away your reader and this is the one thing we definitely don’t want. Use GIFs in your blog posts, but use them sparingly. Then you’ll be able to unleash their full power.
5. No Dates on Your Posts
Admittedly, this is not necessarily a deal breaker for me. I will still be able to enjoy your blog and your content. But when I’m looking for something, I would like to know that I’m not reading content that is four years old and not relevant anymore (for example, if you’re looking for a WordPress coding tutorial). That content is, in most cases, not really relevant anymore. So, try to find a theme that, in some way, displays the date of your posts so that I can always tell what your newest content is.