The first step toward creating a great blog is to choose a blogging platform, and there are a lot of great ones out there that make blogging so easy you can start writing and posting to the web within minutes. Once you’ve decided to launch a blog and chosen a blog interface, whether it’s custom-designed, self-hosted, or a popular service like WordPress, Typepad or Blogger, it’s time to face the initially daunting aspects of design and content.
1. Choose an appropriate layout and design
If your site is going to be very informational, with multiple fact boxes and links, then a 3-column layout may work best. It will give you more space to post information, and you will be able to place titles and boxes higher on the page so readers will see them when they first log on.
However, if you plan to write in a personal essay style, the 3-column layout is too busy-it will distract readers from your message. For this type of blog, a simple 2-column layout is best, one for writing, and one for links and information.
Choose a color scheme that is similar to your website, but give some thought to what colors mean to people. Strong colors imply action and confidence, pastels are soothing, dark colors have connotations of danger and mystery.
Busy backgrounds-plaids and prints-draw the eye away from content and slow down the page loading time. Also, backgrounds that look to others like grandma’s wallpaper may be intuitively perceived as unprofessional. Use these designs sparingly, in thin blocks or borders, to add emphasis and visual interest.
2. Simplify the sidebar
Don’t feel you have to use every option and widget available. If a calendar function or photo albums are not pertinent to your blog, then don’t use them.
Do use pictures in your sidebar. It breaks up the text and draws attention to important links. Long lists of links are boring and hard to read, so a long blogroll should go at the end of the sidebar. Put your shortest and most pertinent lists at the top. If you have a lot of friendly links to share, try to categorize them, or at least alphabetize.