Some people say that they don’t need too much design because their blog is nothing more than just pure text.
What do they think web design is all about?
Well, it’s not all about fancy graphics, textures and flashy effects.
Design is every single character on your blog, a space between your paragraphs, an underlined link or your background color. Design is both what you see and what you don’t see. Design evokes emotions and can create unforgettable user experiences.
The heavy-content websites like blogs and online magazines require more design and are more difficult to lay out than any other kind of website.
Let’s see how a good design can help you to spread your content, attract a larger audience and improve the conversion – three crucial things for every content marketer.
Improve reading experience
You spend time and money on producing awesome content. You can write the most interesting articles on the web but nobody is going to read it if you use a light gray 11 pixels font on a white background. It really hurts.
A good design can make reading your content a very pleasurable experience and convince a lot of people to come back. Bigger font size, shorter paragraphs and funny/interesting illustrations can pique your reader’s interest and they will be more likely to share it with others.
Have ever read Jason Fried’s book Rework? You would probably be surprised how this book is designed. The chapters are very short and even the author admits that he removed a big part of the book content to make it as short as possible. Additionally, there are full-page funny illustrations and a lot of whitespace around the text.
It made a lot of sense to me and that was one of the best book reading experiences I’ve ever had.
Increase the conversion rate
Whatever your conversion target is, a good design can help you achieve your goal or multiply the results.
If you want to get more subscribers to your email newsletter, there are many crucial design aspects that you may want to consider. Every little detail may improve your results. Think about the sign up box layout, size, position and even colors or some graphical elements. Learn more about creating email newsletter boxes that work in my previous post: “Design the Email Newsletter Sign-Up Box That Works.”
Are you selling online products? You will need a good design to create promotional banners, landing pages and even the product design itself. If it’s an ebook, focus on the cover design.
A lot of people make their decisions based on how the product’s box is presented. You definitely want to make a great first impression with your product.
Define your visual brand
Branding is not reserved only for big companies. You’re never too small. You should keep a consistent look and feel between your blog, online products and an email newsletter you regularly send out.
The brand is not merely a logo somewhere in the corner. A good brand should describe the type styles, colors and even spacing between the elements.
Let your designer define your visual brand and use it everywhere. Be very specific. You don’t want to describe your brand color as ‘red’. Rather, use the exact hex decimal or RGB code that your designer can help you choose.
“It doesn’t matter, it’s just a red color.”
Well, it all matters! If you change your brand colors from website to website and product to product, it will create an inconsistent look and won’t evoke the same brand-feeling effect that you want your visitors to feel on their very first impression.
Can you imagine the “red” color of Target to be in different shades in different locations? You would probably notice a change like that. However, it’s always the same and this is why you feel so familiar with it.
All of these small details might seem to be barely noticeable but they’ll create a consistent look and feel of your brand to your visitors. You want to make your colors and type styles easily recognizable.
As you can see, design is much more than just pretty graphics. A well-designed blog can help you improve the reading experience and increase the conversion rate.
Moreover, you should look deeper and carefully design your own visual brand that will help you build trust and make your content recognizable.
Keep in mind that most people make their decisions based on their emotions and gut feelings. If you want them back, they need to feel good on your website. You can easily achieve this thanks to a great visual experience regarding your website and products.
Last but not least, I asked two well-known bloggers and content marketers how design helps them be successful:
Chris Garrett, www.ChrisG.com
Rafal’s new design first of all gave me a more modern, professional first-impression, which is vital if you want people to stick around and take you seriously. The second boost was to the number of people who join my email list, which is my main way of sharing exclusive content with readers. Email sign up forms were intentionally located and designed to be appealing and highly visible, and have been hugely successful.
Gregory Ciotti, www.sparringmind.com
The biggest reason a lot of writers cast aside web design or consider it “not important” is that they are under this false assumption that their blog is simply a collection of articles.
Your blog is a user-interface, one that all readers have to interact with if they are going to read your content and (hopefully) take actions to buy something from you or subscribe.
Your site’s design is thus much more important than being a book cover (aka, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”) because it’s tied into how your content is read and interacted with.