five reasons why i left your blog immediately

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Five Design Mistakes Bloggers Make

as you know by now, im a designer.

i live + breathe design.. well, no.. i live + breathe good design, exceptional design even.

art school has trained my eyes to look at something + instantly see the good in the design, or more times than most, the bad. my eyes can pick up when something isn’t kerned (kerning: (v.) adjusting the spacing between letters or characters.) properly, or when something is off by a pixel or two. being this nit picky about design would of course cross over into me being ridiculously nit picky about blog design.

usually when i find a new blog, the first five seconds of landing on the page will determine if your blog makes my subscription reader or gets lost amongst the interwebs. i guess in this instance.. we can say i judge a book by it’s cover. *hangs head in shame.. kinda.*

if it’s not aesthetically in pleasing for my taste, i probably will leave if the content isn’t that interesting.. if it’s well designed, it gets added to the reader regardless the content. so here are my top five reasons i’d leave your site in a hurry:

1.
you have music on autoplay.
not to mention, you don’t have the control options above the fold.

no matter what music is playing, i came on your site to read.. not be distracted by what you currently like to listen to. if you really want me to listen, make a music playlist post. you’ve then got my ear.

2.
you’re using lobster, papyrus, comic sans or some other typeface that may be aesthetically unpleasing for 2013.

if all else fails, helvetica can be your friend. hell, get fancy + try futura.. anything but lobster. if you’re looking for some aesthetically pleasing webfonts, try google or typekit. i’ll discuss more about good typefaces in future post to come.

3.
you don’t believe in white space.

your blog needs to breathe, white space allows that. let your blog breathe, don’t let a little white space here + there freak you out, instead embrace it. your readers will thank you.

4.
instead of a color scheme, you just let the colors vomit all over your page.

i’ve been on quite a few sites that should have some type of ‘may call epilepsy’ warning on them. there’s nothing wrong with colors – use them until you can’t use them anymore, but use them in good taste. come up with five colors that play well with each other, designate a primary color + let the other colors accent that one.

5.
i can’t find the simple things needed.

whereas this isn’t really that of an aesthetic thing, this is just more vital for your blog where the design can help call out these features. if you don’t have your important info, such as your topics, your contact info, social links or about above the fold, i’ll probably just leave. before reading content, i like to have a brief intro about the blogger (says the girl who has yet to fill out her about page.. i’m workin’ on that), maybe know what her topics will include & social links so i can follow if needed. the moment i have to ask ‘wait.. where is..’ i’m probably leaving.

long story, short

white space with the perfect mixture of colors + great type will aesthetically draw people in. you don’t have to do the most. less is literally always more, at least in the world of design. this isn’t 2000, people don’t want to hear playlist when visiting a site in which they’re supposed to read content – unless your blog is a music blog, then at least take the autopay off. get that player out of here, make monthly or weekly playlist to share if you’re that passionate about you’re music. remember: if you’re looking to work with other bloggers + brands, make sure all your vital info is above the fold.

what are some things that will have you immediately leave a blog?

*photo source

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  • Rochelle Sodipo Washington

    Hale Berry, Hallelujah!

    • L.

      LOL! *Meek Mill voice* PREACH!

  • “You just let the colors vomit all over your page.” Bwahahahaha. Welll, damn!

    • L.

      LOL! I’m just saying.. I have the tendency of not sugarcoating things. Sometimes you gotta tell people how it is.

  • KiwiMami

    I used to like Lobster font no lie…but yeah all over the blog no bueno! Yes a black background blog is very hard to read(guilty of this circa ’09). Great read!!

    • L.

      Glad you enjoyed! Yea Lobster all over + black backgrounds w. like grey text just hurt my heart. Oh gawd!

  • cute and to the point! THANKS…..I think I am ok

    • L.

      Glad you liked & I visited your page. You are good! Love the layout of your page. You go girl! Lol

  • Troy Carmichael

    It’s amazing how many people still embed playlists on their blogs (although it’s mainly personal tumblrs I encounter) but still it’s. so. annoying. Any bright or visual background and light words combo is no no for me. I want to rip my eyes out anytime I visit a blog where someone has a photo (God forbid it’s tiled) as the background; the content ends up competing with it.

    Question: I have a blog geared towards Copywriters. In the beginning I had the bright idea to forgo pictures on the landing page for each post. I wanted to focus on the blog headlines pulling readers in. However I do use photos and graphics inside blog posts. From a visual standpoint, do you think that’s good design? Do landing pages need to have visual elements?

    • L.

      Honestly, I would definitely use photos on the landing page. Whereas, I’m a sucker for witty headlines — I’m a bigger sucker for witty headlines on images. I feel like nowadays with so many blogs out, headlines may not be enough to draw people in.

      People tend to be visual people, so I would pull them in by the visuals. By having visuals, you’re also making it easier for people to Pin your post + get you more readers. So yea, my advice despite it being a copywriting blog.. Keep visuals on the landing page to draw people in. A witty headline + an interesting graphic = enough visual stimulation to pull the reader into the actual post.

      Hope this helps!

  • Love it!!! I’m currently obsessed with mint green and it’s my background color but nice and subtle. (or at least I think so…lol) I finally have my ish categorized and way to find my other social media stuff nice and handy. Now when I can afford it I want to have a professional like you re-do it!

    • L.

      Mint is SO in this season. But yeaa, I live for clear categories and just being able to find things so GO YOU! lol. But yes, I’m looking to launch a new business to help bloggers w. designs in the future! I will definitely keep you posted!

  • guyanesesista

    I was guilty of the busy background, comic sans as my header, and just being too busy with the social media badges. I gradually toned it down till a few weeks ago when I came up with what I think is a good design especially compared to where I started. I just thought of myself as reader visiting my blog and made it more pleasing to the eye. Oh and I NEVER liked music on a page, who’s bright idea was that?

    • L.

      Right? Music that plays immediately once I enter the site has me leave immediately! But yes, I’m sure we were all guilty of some of the things listed, but at least you started toning it down. I like to view my blogs monthly as a ‘reader’ and see if there’s anything confusing or off about the design and fix it accordingly.

  • Great post! If the background on a blog or site is black I leave immediately. My eyes are too sensitive to even attempt to read on a dark background. And music players are a huge pet peeve. I thinks it’s ok to have one (I do on my Tumblr, ONLY my Tumblr) but have auto-play turned off. If the reader feels like sampling your playlist, give them the option to turn it on, not have it blasting as soon as they land on your page.

    • L.

      Yes, dark backgrounds hurt my heart. And yes, I know a lot of people that have playlist on Tumblr.. That’s cool but like you said, give the reader the option to turn it off! I sometimes forget I have my speakers way up and I’ll enter a page + the music will start playing instantly, almost giving me a heart attack.. I be like OH NO #aintnobodygottimeforthat!

  • kgstyle

    Dark blogs with white letters and blogs that ramble on for a long time….
    Blogs with little pictures…

    • L.

      Yes, yes, yes! Blogs w. little pictures not the same width as the rest of the content makes me SO SO sad.

      • kgstyle

        I learned that the hard way..now I make sure all of my pics match in width. ……..

        • L.

          I constantly tell people that makes a big difference. You’ll be surprised how just assuring the width of your pictures matches the width of your content will make the whole blog look cleaner.

  • haley

    i’m a visual person as well, so pictures draw me in and lack of pictures in general is something that makes me leave after the first post unless the writing is really really amazing. Of course i agree with everyone–instant play music usually scares the hell out of me because for some reason my volume is usually up super loud every time i click over to a blog with music–every freaking time. like…who does that? weird wonky color schemes and super-duper cutesy blogs usually get a skim-over but my eyes can only take so much cutesy-ness. I’m very into content focused blogs with minimal extra stuff (like multiple sidebars with random colorful distracting ads–not my favorite.) anyway..I came over from BLM (via facebook) and I’m loving your blog so far!

    xhaley
    haleyhere.blogspot.com

    • L.

      Hey Haley!
      Thank you for stopping by! Yessss, girl.. like you my speakers are always on dumb loud so when I go to a site w. autoplaying music I nearly have a heart attack! And yeaaa, I’m not really for the cutesy-cutesy blogs (unless you’re like a kid’s blog — that may be the only exception).

  • Ty (SexySingleMommy)

    Great points. I am guilty of the black background. I just can’t stand all white (for me anyway). I agree with the music. I never understood that reasoning

    • L.

      lol yea, people + their music.. smh! but as far as black background, since black is so bold it can definitely scare people off. for my clients that hate white.. i usually try to find a nice gray subtle gray w. black text.

  • Nein

    On thing that makes me leave a blog quickly is he blogger’s inability to write. For example: not using sentence case, incorrectly typing ellipses, using symbols instead of actual punctuation, and obvious grammatical errors. I think some people think these things are cute, minor, or acceptable because they’re 20 and communicate entirely through text messages. In reality, I find it insulting when I am taking the time and attention to consume someone’s creation, and they have not had the respect for themselves (or me) to craft it carefully.

    • L.

      yea, that’s another thing that can bother me as well. but i won’t notice any of that if the website is designed horrible.

      now, personally.. with this blog i’ve intentionally stopped using sentence casing. aesthetically, i prefer how lowercase looks against all cap headlines — so that was a conscious decision i’ve made on my part + not a lack of respect i have for myself.

      • Nein

        It’s a design decision you’re free to make, but it actually has a negative impact on comprehension. Sentence case is not a design decision that book publishers and english teachers have all agreed upon for aesthetic reasons, but it’s an intrinsic component of the written english language evolved from it’s latin roots.

        Proper grammar helps your point carry more weight and helps make your arguments more clear and specific. I actually agree with much of what you’ve said, but little things are distractions that impair comprehension. One example would be that a website is not designed “horrible”, but “horribly”. Also, an ellipsis is three dots: “…” not two. It actually represent omitted words, not a pause (like a comma) the way you’ve used it.

        Assuming these are all conscious decisions you’ve made, and not the result of a lack of respect you have for either yourself, your ideas, or your reader, I am then forced to conclude that the lack of respect if actually for the english language. Again, I would not belabor this point if I didn’t fundamentally agree with what I believe are your points.

        • L.

          once again, thank you for all your advice + expert knowledge of the english language. it’s much appreciated. but on this blog, in 2013, i’m taking a more causal approach to my typing style. so when you see me do things like this.. just know i wasn’t going for an ellipsis, but more of a pause as that’s how people tend to read it. don’t look at this blog as an essay waiting to be critiqued, but more of me as a friend speaking to you (a friend). sometimes, it’s not going to be proper grammar. sometimes i WILL type things such as, “i be like..” that’s just what i do. i write how i talk.

  • guyanesesista

    Wait. Come to think of it, I think I actually did use lobster in my header at some point. *_*

    • L.

      *dramatic gasp + fans oneself to prevent fainting* It’s okay, it’s okay! LOL. You are forgiven for your design sins.

  • I cried at Lobster. I forgot all about that font. Am I allowed to say using Scriptina is also a crime or is it too soon? Love these tips! I cannot begin to discuss #5. I thought having a link to your RSS feed or having your name on your home page was slightly mandatory. I have left many blogs with potential because that information was no where to be found.

    • L.

      Lol! In 2013, I think it may be time to retire Scriptina. I used to LIVE by the typeface — but now it’s taking that Lobster route w. some many people using it tasteless. But if you can pull it off, DO YOU BOO! lmao! And yes, #5 as simple as it seems, it’s almost like common sense — you’d think everyone would get it, but sadly.. they don’t.

  • I just found your blog.
    Hilarious but great points. I’m not a fan of the autoplay music either..especially late at night when I’m just browsing and get jolted with loud music.
    On another note….*goes to see what crimes I may be committing* :/

    • L.

      LOL! Aww we all have committed these crimes at least once in our lives. Ain’t no shame! I’m just trying to make more bloggers consciously aware of how their design can really make or break people staying on their site!

  • Yes GAWD!!! As a tech person and a designed this ish IRKS my nerver! I’m a very visual person, folks don’t be understanding that all you have is your eyes online!!! Kudos to you for writing it up!!!

    • L.

      Thank you Tori for stopping by & reading! πŸ™‚

  • Yes!!!!!!!!

  • pntszdinFluence

    Excellent post! I wholeheartedly agree.

  • I totally agree with numbers 2 & 3, especially. LOVE your blog design, BTW.

    • L.

      Thank you Shana! Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

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  • I just came across your blog and am in absolute love with it! Great advice and ideas from the heart! Fantastic post – I always hate it when I visit a blog and music starts playing and I have no idea where it’s coming from! Ack! Will definitely be a regular reader πŸ™‚

    • L.

      Hey Jessica! Thanks for stopping by! Glad you’re enjoying! And yesssss girl, yesss.. when music starts and I can’t find how to turn it off immediately.. I leave!

  • Love a black background. Won’t lie and have used it at the request of my clients but I balance with colors that stand out. One client wanted a black and white site, that’s it. I tried subtle grey but she balked. Music makes me wana throw my laptop. It’s so obnoxious . If a blog looks like your lil cousin did it, I’m out. If your last post was months (or years ago), I’m x’ing out the box.

  • Lauren Hall

    My sister in law is a graphic designer and thanks to her I have white space if not then I would have way to many colors!

    • L.

      LOL! Yayyy for your sister-in-law. White space just makes everything a little more breathable.

  • Kimberly Marie

    ok…girl WHY am I just seeing this post. I am so late but…

    “you have music on autoplay.
    not to mention, you don’t have the control options above the fold.”

    This should never happen EVER in 2014. Ever. But it does. I hate when I can’t figure out why some random video or music is playing on a website. Especially when I’m listening to something calm, then all of a sudden intrusive music is violating my eardrums. I am offended by ALL of these things and more lol.

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