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Posted on September 28, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

Have you ever noticed that you can spot some amateur blogs as soon as the site loads (if it ever loads)? They're the ones with a thousand widgets in the sidebar, every other word in bold, italics or some funky color, and animations.  Oh, the animations.  Yes, well, it's also easy to spot a professional looking blog, so let's talk about some things I've had to learn the hard way over the years to quickly make your website more aesthetically pleasing.

 

Choose a color pallete, and stick to it.  If you don't happen to have been born with a gift for decorating, there are plenty of color pallete generators online.  Please note that this does not mean you need to stick to a color "theme" like we did in high school with all of those wonderful two-color pom-poms, uniforms, and spirit paraphernalia.  If you have a color theme for your business logo, you can incorporate those colors into your color pallete, but you don't have to limit yourself to just those two colors.  You can use a full range of colors, just so they complement each other in intensity, brightness, and hue, etc.  It's easier than it sounds, just use that link above to Google a color pallete generator, and find one you like.

 

Choose a font and grammar style guide and stick to it. As a WebRev customer, this will be handled for you, and a lot of blogging templates have these style-guides embedded for headers and post titles.  Within your posts and articles, however, you'll want to keep the "flourish" to your content, rather than the font presentation.  Keep in mind that browsers read special characters differently, and if you try to get too fancy, some of your readers may just see gibberish in their browser.  Also, colored text is usually reserved for the hyperlinks, so it's best not to color your font unless you have a really good reason.  Your readers will become distracted if they keep trying to click on your colored text, only to find out there is no link.  Unlike in academic writng, there is no industry standard for what is "correct" in the way of section headings within a post  - just be sure to be as consistent as possible if you're going to use larger font or a different type-font.

 

Using professionally prepared graphics and images is best.  If you need to do your own, keep in mind that if your content is going to be content heavy, you have a little more freed to get "fancy" with the graphics in your website theme.  If your content is going to include a lot of photos or videos, you will want to keep your theme as sleek as possible so as not to distract from the images you want people to focus on.

 

Any animations should focus the reader on your most important content.  If you have animated .gifs all over your site, drawing the reader's attention to your adspace, to your blog roll (oh, please tell me you aren't still using one of those), your header, your footer...and pretty much every thing except the content you want them to focus on, your content may not be read.  Also, if all of your animations and scripts make the site take more than a couple of seconds to download, your reader may just decide to go read something else (they have thousands of other options).

 

Focus on function over form.  Yes, I know this is a post about aesthetics, but the truth is that most readers would much rather prefer for you to have a very basic, "boring" website that they can easily navigate than a beautiful, fancy one that won't load and on which they can't find anything if it ever does.  Aesthetics are important, but they are like the icing and your content is the cake.  Make sure you readers aren't just enjoying the icing, and throwing away the cake.

 

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