When preparing for a new blog launch there are quite a few things to consider. What immediately comes to mind for many is how the blog will ultimately look.

Everyone would like for their blogs to be beautiful works of art and unique from all the others. Some level of individuality is a must. But there are other, more important aspects of the design to consider as well. It has to function and feel comfortable for the visitor.

We may think that we are building our blogs for ourselves when in fact, it is the reader who must be given the first consideration.

Your blog is your storefront, and if those passing by do not find it appealing. They will not come in for a closer look around.

Here are 10 design tips to consider BEFORE the blog launch:

1. Blog theme

Themes are available by the hundreds and you will need to decide what type of impression you want your visitors to have when they arrive. Do not allow yourself to become bogged down with the selection process, as this could go on for some time.

It is more important to get up and running so you can move on to the design and layout, so select 3 or 4 themes, walk away and be prepared to grab one when you return. Keep in mind, no theme is permanent and you have the option to change at any time.

When using a free theme, if possible, look to see when it was last updated by the theme developer and find out how many times this theme has been downloaded. No matter how attractive, you may want to select another if the current choice has been downloaded like 10,000 times.

Free themes can be found at WordPress.org’s Free Themes Directory or a host of other sites on the internet. Just Google “free wordpress themes” and you will have more than you really need to look at.

You may also opt to purchase a Premium theme, again not at all hard to find.

2. Design a decent header

This is the most prominent element of your blog and the first thing that will catch the eye of your potential reader. It is the awning above the store front and should not only look inviting, but deliver a message in a matter of seconds.

Much like free themes, free headers are available in large quantities. Here is one resource at Free Web Page Headers. Apply the same selection process rules to avoid getting lost in there with all of that eye candy.

Got skills?

Create your own header. Graphics are really not that difficult to create, I have been making all of my own for years. Hit me on the Contact page if you have an interest in this.

3. Navigation

This is a very important decision, one that plays a major role in how long someone may remain on your blog and if they will ever return. Blogs (and websites alike) that have sloppy or cumbersome navigation systems will turn off a reader quickly.

People should not have to actually think about how to find their way around your blog. Navigation should be extremely easy with links located consistently in one place.

Links within your content should all be one color and should change to one other color when clicked on. Avoid any temptation to get fancy and have links of varying colors throughout your blog as this confuses the reader and is quite unattractive.

4. White space

You will want plenty of this, as it gives a feel of spaciousness and a clean look. Depending on your theme selection, you may have no white color at all, and this is okay, but do make an attempt to keep the site as “open” as possible.

You may have observed the fact that many of the highly successful blogs have lots of white space, which makes the blog easy to read and provides a nice backdrop for graphic elements. There is a certain professional feel to this as well, sort of like reading from a sheet of really nice bond paper.

5. Color schemes

As a matter of choice, I do not use colors that are too bright as they tend to turn away many readers, plus, it really is just not my style. Ultimately this is a choice you will have to make, but generally speaking, colors should me muted but complimentary. You should also stay with just a couple of accent colors. Too many serve as a distraction and pull the readers eyes away from your content, if they stayed long enough to even get that far.

6. Font size selection

Your content should be easily read so be certain to check the font size and style, allowing for those who have less than 20/20 vision. Every reader’s eyesight is not 20/20 so many may not bother to try to read what is not presented in a way that they can easily focus onto.

7. Functionality

Now this where you will need assistance from a few friends or family members. Have them test drive your new creation and provide you with some honest feedback about how it feels to use the site.

Tell them that your success depends on their feedback, and that you do not want your feelings spared for the sake of a feel good moment.

I do not recommend that you do this test yourself because you will never see what many others may experience. Of course it looks okay to you, you created it in the first place.  :-)

A different perspective is a must to obtain the data you need to be certain your design has a broad appeal.

8. RSS

No blog is complete without an RSS feed. All WordPress blogs come with this feature built in, but be certain that the feature is functioning properly, as this is how many subscribers will get your updates.

9. Page structure

Update that About page right away so that people will get to know who you are and what you represent. Other pages like Articles and Resources may be added later, but the About page must be updated and ready when the doors open because first time visitors will make this one of their stops.

10. No clutter zone

There are tons of widgets, badges, Fan boxes, word clouds and other items of distraction that you can use within your overall scheme. Be very judicious here and keep things as plain and simple as possible. You running a blog or a pawn shop?

While tempting, too many things confuse the reader, as they will not know what you are trying to present to them.

The focus should be on your content and not an overabundance of eye-candy.

Bonus Tip

Save yourself some valuable real estate and wasted effort by keeping banner ads to a minimum. Unless you have floods of traffic, which is unlikely since you are just about to launch, those banner ads will most likely not generate very much revenue if anything at all.

Closing out

These are some of the key design tips to consider while preparing for a new blog launch and there are many others, depending on your niche and intended purpose.

Remember to fully test your blog’s functionality before going live.

Feel free to test this blog’s functionality and stay updated by selecting the RSS Feed. :-)

You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Keep Blogging!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Did you like this post? <> Please Share it:

54 Responses to 10 Blog Launch Tips

  1. Gordie says:

    Hey, Jimi.
    I want to say good on you for choosing a larger font. It’s great for older people and those with poorer site. I’ve seen some sites that have tiny font and then coming across a site like yours is so refreshing. I also for that reason made the font on my site larger. It makes it more accessible to more people.
    .-= Gordie´s last blog ..5 Emotional States That Result In Bad Decisions. =-.

  2. Gordie says:

    Hey, Jimi.
    I want to say good on you for choosing a larger font. It’s great for older people and those with poorer site. I’ve seen some sites that have tiny font and then coming across a site like yours is so refreshing. I also for that reason made the font on my site larger. It makes it more accessible to more people.
    .-= Gordie´s last blog ..5 Emotional States That Result In Bad Decisions. =-.

  3. Sudeep says:

    Hey ,
    Hmmm you made me think in regards to large font for sure. Thanks for that. Another suggestion would be to defiantly add some widgets for stumble upon and twitter. What do you think?
    .-= Sudeep´s last blog ..Vrksasana =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hi Sudeep,
      good move on the larger font for sure.
      I think a few widgets for social media promotion are great. Depending on one’s layout, they can look quite nice. The flip side is that too many sites have gone overboard on this, which really lessens your click through rate because there are too many decisions to make. Readers do not want to have to make too many choices.
      Just my opinion.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..10 Time Management Tips =-.

  4. Sudeep says:

    Hey ,
    Hmmm you made me think in regards to large font for sure. Thanks for that. Another suggestion would be to defiantly add some widgets for stumble upon and twitter. What do you think?
    .-= Sudeep´s last blog ..Vrksasana =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hi Sudeep,
      good move on the larger font for sure.
      I think a few widgets for social media promotion are great. Depending on one’s layout, they can look quite nice. The flip side is that too many sites have gone overboard on this, which really lessens your click through rate because there are too many decisions to make. Readers do not want to have to make too many choices.
      Just my opinion.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..10 Time Management Tips =-.

  5. Patty Reiser says:

    I really liked your closing sentence call to action. You have some great tips here. And like your blog they are straight to the point and uncluttered.
    .-= Patty Reiser´s last blog ..Project 365: Day 24 =-.

  6. Patty Reiser says:

    I really liked your closing sentence call to action. You have some great tips here. And like your blog they are straight to the point and uncluttered.
    .-= Patty Reiser´s last blog ..Project 365: Day 24 =-.

  7. Hi Jimi,
    Nice tips. I also prefer white as the most important color for my blog. Another tip I consider very important is to select a very easy to see position for the articles. Readers should easily find the content in order to consume it. A new blog has very few seconds to catch attention. ;)
    .-= Isaac – Life is simpler´s last blog ..3 rules to be healthy while working hard =-.

  8. Hi Jimi,
    Nice tips. I also prefer white as the most important color for my blog. Another tip I consider very important is to select a very easy to see position for the articles. Readers should easily find the content in order to consume it. A new blog has very few seconds to catch attention. ;)
    .-= Isaac – Life is simpler´s last blog ..3 rules to be healthy while working hard =-.

  9. I just hate those 10 tip posts, because it causes me to have to analyse my own blog in case I am breaking my own tips.

    So as I was reading you tips I had to go to my blog and have a look. There are few things that can change, but they remain top secret for now.

    mm That’s just me saying I won’t admit ot anything

    Great post and thanks Jimi
    .-= Robert Bravery´s last blog ..Carnaval of Blogging – January 25, 2010 =-.

  10. I just hate those 10 tip posts, because it causes me to have to analyse my own blog in case I am breaking my own tips.

    So as I was reading you tips I had to go to my blog and have a look. There are few things that can change, but they remain top secret for now.

    mm That’s just me saying I won’t admit ot anything

    Great post and thanks Jimi
    .-= Robert Bravery´s last blog ..Carnaval of Blogging – January 25, 2010 =-.

  11. Keith says:

    Great article Jimi, especially the ads part. I don’t really see a need for any ads at startup, add them gradually as traffic increases if at all.
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..It’s Easy To Make Money Online =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hey Keith,
      how are you, man?
      Banner ads at start-up only serve as window dressing. Like you said, adding some in after the blog has been seasoned and traffic increases significantly may be an option.

      I would not want to discourage anyone from trying them but eventually, they will likely pull them down for lack of production.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..10 Time Management Tips =-.

  12. Keith says:

    Great article Jimi, especially the ads part. I don’t really see a need for any ads at startup, add them gradually as traffic increases if at all.
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..It’s Easy To Make Money Online =-.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hey Keith,
      how are you, man?
      Banner ads at start-up only serve as window dressing. Like you said, adding some in after the blog has been seasoned and traffic increases significantly may be an option.

      I would not want to discourage anyone from trying them but eventually, they will likely pull them down for lack of production.
      .-= Jimi Jones´s last blog ..10 Time Management Tips =-.

  13. Karl Foxley says:

    Great collection of tips.

    I have found one thing that people often overlook (this includes me) when choosing a theme is whether it offers the page layouts that you want. Some themes do not come with a full page template (no sidebar) and they then need to create one for themselves. This can be difficult for a newbie who isn’t comfortable playing around with code.

    This is a must: ‘Now this where you will need assistance from a few friends or family members. Have them test drive your new creation and provide you with some honest feedback about how it feels to use the site…’ it’s amazing the feedback you’ll get from people, especially if you have a mix of Internet experience levels. On that final note, it’s always a good idea to mix that up with someone who is impartial and doesn’t mind hurting your feelings with their brutal honesty. :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

    Karl
    .-= Karl Foxley´s last blog ..Guest Blogging For Fresh Content And Optimised Backlinks =-.

  14. Karl Foxley says:

    Great collection of tips.

    I have found one thing that people often overlook (this includes me) when choosing a theme is whether it offers the page layouts that you want. Some themes do not come with a full page template (no sidebar) and they then need to create one for themselves. This can be difficult for a newbie who isn’t comfortable playing around with code.

    This is a must: ‘Now this where you will need assistance from a few friends or family members. Have them test drive your new creation and provide you with some honest feedback about how it feels to use the site…’ it’s amazing the feedback you’ll get from people, especially if you have a mix of Internet experience levels. On that final note, it’s always a good idea to mix that up with someone who is impartial and doesn’t mind hurting your feelings with their brutal honesty. :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

    Karl
    .-= Karl Foxley´s last blog ..Guest Blogging For Fresh Content And Optimised Backlinks =-.

  15. Anne says:

    Another thumbs up for the big fonts!
    I really agree with not getting stuck at choosing a theme – just pick one that you like and move on. You can always change it later after you’ve build some traffic.
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Know of a Good Program for Domainoholics? =-.

  16. Anne says:

    Another thumbs up for the big fonts!
    I really agree with not getting stuck at choosing a theme – just pick one that you like and move on. You can always change it later after you’ve build some traffic.
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Know of a Good Program for Domainoholics? =-.

  17. Good topic Jimi,

    handy tips too, would just like to echo Gordie on the font front. Making it slightly bigger makes it all so easy to read. Good job dude
    .-= TheInfoPreneur´s last blog ..Why You Should Treat Your Site As A Sniper Rifle =-.

  18. Good topic Jimi,

    handy tips too, would just like to echo Gordie on the font front. Making it slightly bigger makes it all so easy to read. Good job dude
    .-= TheInfoPreneur´s last blog ..Why You Should Treat Your Site As A Sniper Rifle =-.

  19. UGG boots says:

    I am very interested in the write’s view on the leisure. As people’s living conditions are increasingly favorable, diversified recreations are accepted by people. Here are some sits can buy to leisure-related products.

  20. Prowordpress says:

    Hi jimi, your article very informative
    Thank you very much
    Prowordpress´s last blog post ..TheStyle Premium WordPress Theme

  21. Joshua says:

    Everybody wants to have a blog these days, and this article does provide an insight as to how exactly things are done, from themes to font navigations and plugins. This will indeed help in people getting more out of their existing blogs.
    Joshua´s last blog post ..Plumbing Practice Test

  22. I would like to give my own piece of advice to people, who are going to launch a blog in the nearest future. First of all, you should understand that blogging is long term process and it may take a lot of your time and work before your web resource becomes popular and begins bringing revenue. So, be patient. I think that it is better to consider blogging as your hobby. So, beleive me one day this hobby will turn into your online business and you will become a successful online entrepreneur.
    Terje Sannarnes´s last blog post ..How Social Networks Can Change the Life on an Online Entrepreneur

  23. Shy Girl says:

    Yeah… I strongly agree with you and maybe that’s the reason why my site has not been approved in google adsense because it’s full of widgets.. :)
    Shy Girl´s last blog post ..Does Big Butt Prolongs Life

  24. Cheolsu says:

    Jimi, Those are some really useful tips for people who are new are new to blogging. I must admit that getting a decent traffic after creating a blog can take time.
    Cheolsu´s last blog post ..FaceB

  25. Moms Mabley says:

    Really good article, Interesting and useful, apart from this I have a small business at Hagerstown in MD. Yesterday I was reading a business magazine & got to know something interesting & inspiring. I really feel to share with you guys. I read about Kaleil Isaza Tuzman & got to know that Isaza Tuzman is best known as an entrepreneur and co-founder of govWorks.com. He started his own business in early age. He has vast experience of entrepreneurship & now he is the CEO & chairman of the board of KIT Digital. KIT Digital is one of the largest video software and service provider worldwide. I really got inspired by him. Hats Off to him.

Leave a Reply