6 Ways to Make Your Blog More Beautiful (and Effective)

138 amazing comments

beautiful blog
Even the best content runs into trouble when the blog it’s on is so ugly that readers leave before giving it a chance.

The good news is that there are lots of ways we can spruce up our blogs in order to make them more appealing, effective and engaging by taking advantage of plugins, tools and some little tricks of the trade.

It’s amazing what a few cosmetic changes can do for your blog’s performance and your readers’ satisfaction.

Oh, and make sure you read to the end if you’re feeling really brave!

How to make your blog more beautiful

If your blog is hosted on WordPress you’ll probably find this list is a bit more tailored to you.

That being said, I’ve tried to include some other more general tips that apply to any blog, regardless of where it is hosted.

1. Change your font to a deliberate typographical style

I’m always a little bit surprised at how many bloggers use ugly fonts that are difficult to read. After all, the point of a blog is its content and, as such, we should make sure at least that looks good.

While I regularly fluctuate between loving and hating the font here on Blog Tyrant, I do try to listen to feedback and observe trends about the size and style of the text to ensure that it is something readers enjoy and find easy to look at.

Typography is more than just the font – it’s the way you match it to other colors and styles on your site, and how all of those things relate to your brand as a whole.

font pairing

My friends over at Reliable PSD put together an amazing collection of Google Font pairings that let you look at how certain fonts match with each other to create a different look and vibe.

I highly recommend spending some time scrolling through them and seeing whether your font needs to be change in order to make your content more readable, and to make your brand more memorable. This is a very basic but often overlook part of a beautiful blog.

2. Find or make consistent images and photos

If you’ve been reading Blog Tyrant for a while you’ll know that we’ve been transitioning to a little character that finds himself in certain situations.

blog imagesWhile the evolution of that style hasn’t been 100% deliberate, the goal was to move away from the “couch photo” that used to be on the homepage – it was effective as a branding tool but difficult to incorporate into the graphics of each week’s post.

The images that you use on your blog are so important – using the wrong style or type can have bad consequences for readership and, in some cases, even cause you legal issues if you use a photo that you’re not supposed to.

As we talked about in our guide on finding images for your blog a few times, the best thing to do is create your own images or take your own photos because it is original content that is appreciated by Google from an SEO point of view, and readers from an engagement point of view.

It’s important that your images and photos all have a consistent feel to them – it’s not just about having great quality ones. The idea is that it enhances your text, but also helps people to recognize your brand as soon as they see it.

Head over to a site like 99Designs and hold a contest to see if you can find a visual artists or graphic designer that might be able to help you come up with something that you use again and again.

Or, if you’re a D-I-Y kind of a person, consider learning a bit of Photoshop or at least get an app like Word Swag that lets you do something interesting things with text and images.

3. Hire a designer to bring it all together

If you want to take the second point a little bit further, you can hire a designer to help you create a look and brand that brings all of your goals together.

One of my favorite stories about this process was written up by Pat Flynn when he redesigned his already very popular blog – always a nerve-wracking event because you don’t want to ruin anything.

smart passive redesign

I really love this post because it shows you how much time and care he and his designer put into figuring out what would work. It was clear he didn’t just want a nice design, he wanted something that looked good and also functioned effectively as a marketing tool, hence the heat map image above.

This process would not have been cheap. That being said, the potential money your blog could make by having a more effective design could make the costs worthwhile in no time at all. As always, weigh it up with your accountant (or spouse!) and make a plan.

4. Embed content to make it more interactive

Another simple tip to make your blog more beautiful and effective is to find ways to embed content into your posts as opposed to just taking screen shots or using some other lower quality solution.

For example, Twitter allows you to embed Tweets so as to have it appear in your post but also still function as it would on Twitter in terms of getting likes, retweets, etc.

This is often a good idea because it makes your blog more interactive and engaging, and also is usually optimized by the original site for all different devices.

You’ll find this type of function on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and many more sites, and often you can change the size and a lot of the settings that you blog uses. You can also use plugins like Code Embed which allows you to put different snippets of code in your WordPress posts.

5. Remove as much stuff as is possible and effective

We talk about this quite a lot, but so many bloggers clog up their sidebars and footers and headers with stuff that doesn’t need to be there and only detracts from the main event – the content.

For example, in this post on building a user friendly blog and this one on not using ads on your blog we talk about how too much clutter can actually prevent people from taking an action. Too much choice can be paralyzing.

This all comes back to your blogging strategy and the goals you have for your blog. There really is no need to have more than one or two things in your sidebar and footer. That is, your blog should really only have a single call to action.

free video

Here on Blog Tyrant I’ve tried to keep it ultra-simple by having one call to action at the bottom of each post and on the homepage. While it’s not the most beautiful design in the world, it seems to work well partly because it is a single offer and the process is very simple to follow and it also helps with load time.

6. Take an honest look at your theme

While this may seem obvious for some, it’s really important that you choose the right theme for your blog.

In fact, if you take a look at the majority of new blogs on the market you’ll notice that they have very out of date templates. This is a real shame because it sets you off on a very bad foot.

So how do you know if your theme is probably not the best choice? Well, to understand better I did something really embarrassing and looked up the Blog Tyrant theme from 2011…

old blog tyrant

We can see something that is present on a lot of blogs, space that is blank but not deliberately. For example, the image is not as wide as the content, the sidebar has no real function, and there are a multitude of borders around things that serve no real purpose.

You’ll also note the exceedingly small font (make yours at least 16px) and font pairing that doesn’t really match or have anything to do with the branding at the time. It’s all a bit grim.

mobile friendly

You’ll also want to look at things like Google’s mobile friendly test and other sites that let you see how your blog looks on mobile devices. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do by yourself, which leads us nicely on to the conclusion of this article.

So, what can we do about it?

Instead of going over all the aspects that can go wrong with a blog’s theme or template, I thought it might be useful to open up the blog comments to a good old community critique session!

If you’re brave, leave a comment below and let us know your concerns about your theme and let’s see if anyone out there (myself included) can give you some helpful feedback. We’ve done this before and it resulted in some really productive conversations.

So, please leave a comment below if you’d like to ask a question or get someone from the community to potentially take a look at your blog’s design and give feedback.

Top image ยฉ Daniel Villeneuve.

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138 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Bruno Etchepare

    Nice tips, thanks for sharing!


    1. Ramsay

      No probs!


  • Sharon

    Thanks so much for these tips Ramsey…I can’t wait to implement the one about fonts.

    I would really love it if someone could take a look at my blog (it’s an online magazine) and tell me if the theme works. I have been thinking of changing it, but I have been worried about messing things up.
    It’s http://www.corallifestylemagazine.com

    Thank you so much!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Sharon. My first tip would be to make a bit better use of that header area. There’s a lot of white space. Might be worth putting the logo on the left of your menu and pushing it all up a bit.


      1. Sharon

        Thank you so much, Ramsay! I will definitely look into that. I really appreciate your looking into this.


        1. Careerdost

          Colors and Theme looks wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚

          We also have a few suggestion for you Sharon.

          1. There is a lot of space that is unused in the right side can’t we put some social share icons or some of your top highlights or a call-to-action button.
          2. This is just a Hover effect thing for your menu buttons… right now the grey font color is not giving it a good contrast try making it white (only for rollover) – Red looks amazing with white. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Best,
          Careerdost.in


    2. Tammi

      Sharon,
      I looked up your page too and just wanted to note that it was a bit long of a load time on my end anyway. I’m sure Ramsay would have some suggestions to help with that if it wasn’t just me who noticed that.


      1. Adan Ramie

        It was a long load for me, too! Maybe fewer images would help. It is visually striking, though, which is nice.


    3. Nikolay Topalov

      Hi Sharon ,
      As Ramsey said it would be really cool invention for your blog if you implement some logo or a nice header image , but I recommend you also check guides for speeding up your website! And mostly the images scalling and the compression of your images with some stuff! Actually that’s why is internet! You can find a lot of awesomeblogs like BlogTyrant to learn from. By the way I really like the design of your magazine blog ! It even makes me wonder should I try to use magazine theme for a different kind of blogging!
      Still I want to cangradulate you for the good job, but don’t forget to clear some small details of the speeding it up too. I guess Ramsey would give you some suggestions about that.


  • Marcin Kordowski

    Thanks for the sharing! We should always remember that people have
    different sense of style and if we would like to change something in our blog we should to match with our users sense of style .


    1. Ramsay

      That is a good point. Hard to implement sometimes.


  • Andrea Torti

    Personally speaking, I find this font pretty readable ๐Ÿ™‚

    That said, graphic choices and somewhat the whole blogging strategy are always a balance of two needs – what you like or feel right and what your potential readers like or feel right.

    That’s why feedback should always be welcome.


    1. Ramsay

      Totally agree about the feedback. It’s important.


  • Mike

    I am always reviewing design elements-font pairings. Whether we like it or not people respond to appearances strongly. Good call.
    What do you think of Elementor by the way Ramsay?


    1. Ramsay

      I personally prefer WP Visual Composer but I do hear good things about Elementor. Yourself?


      1. Mike

        I definitely prefer it to WP composer, way easier to deal with plus it does not generate shortcodes-so the content remains if you deactivate it, it is impressive.


  • Anyaogu Ikechukwu

    Nice Tip Ramsey

    I want my blog to look like yours. How can I get your blog theme?


    1. Ramsay

      You can’t. I made this one myself. There are some similar ones available at WordPress, however. Just search for single column and minimal.


  • Shaikh Masood Alam

    Hi Ramsay, if we don’t apply ads on our blog or website, How we earn for living?
    What you recommend?
    1. Affiliate
    2. Service Provide
    3. Own Ebook or Course Sell

    Please provide your valuable insight on this question.
    BTW, Great post and inspire to redesign my blogs.


    1. Ramsay

      You might like to check out this post: http://www.blogtyrant.com/blogging-strategy/


  • William

    I always learn a lot from your blog posts. On my main waesite/blog my theme is all about a Whole Foods Lifestyle however it touches a little on other parts of a healthy lifestyle including aging. After reading your blog on “too much stuff on my sidebar” I removed about 6 items but there are still a couple remaining that perhaps should go. The font is Arial 14 and I am in the process of going back over old posts because I found that I had no set pattern. The little chef in the header is mine, I had him drawn along with six other little chef images that I use on my blog from time to time. I think I can expand on him a little to make him look more like he is cooking etc. If someone wants to take a look and let me know what they think I would appreciate it. I do have a tec guy trying to change it from http to https but he is having a little trouble because the code is showing up in my header when he makes the changes so I may need to change the header.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi William.

      Nice work on the https early move!

      I would see if you designer can get you a retina-ready version of your logo as it’s a bit blurry on my screen.

      I would also try to get a bit more of your own photos in the mix to help with the consistent branding.

      Other than that, nice job!


      1. William

        Thanks, I started to work on the suggestions, I did think that the header was a tad blurry but thought it was my glasses (eyesight)

        I’ll need to work on the photos, I don’t have many of myself at the moment.


  • Dev3lop

    Perfect! I’ve been doing design for 15 years now, more so mixing that into my analytics, web design, and I feel the best thing for me to do in design is always think I’m not the best – and ask for feedback!
    https://dev3lop.com – I’d love some feedback on the primary landing page, I’m working on having GoPro wrap up a testimony and I really feel that could help me finalize a lot of traffic coming in.

    Please take a look into some of the service pages, like https://dev3lop.com/business-intelligence/
    https://dev3lop.com/website-services/
    https://dev3lop.com/SEO-experts/

    On each three I’m attempting a similar but subtly different user flow to determine the flow… And I’d greatly appreciate any feedback beyond a few sentences, and I’ll return the favor as verbose as I possible can.

    Thanks for the opportunity yet again!
    Tyler Garrett
    Founder of Dev3lop


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Tyler.

      Looking good. I’d really recommend having some case studies or testimonials on those landing pages and then integrating them into a little bit of a story that explains what the client can expect from the process. I think that would make it a little easier to reach out, as a potential client.


    2. Dev3lop

      Okay, very good idea. I’ve jumped into your MENU idea too. Cleaned it down to 3 clickables. Then also took your idea to build out the menus deeper. Which I believe will now increase the chances of people finding content. Sorta building around your model too. Big thanks.

      https://dev3lop.com/services/tableau-consulting/ Here’s the GoPro one near the top… Just to clarify – You’re saying I should put it inside of the content header?


  • Bridget

    I need to look into the Code Embed idea – that’s a great tip!

    I still consider my blog new and am working hard on consistent branding and building a list… my blog header definitely needs to be refined but what are some outside tips??
    http://www.thismomlife.co


    1. Max

      I love your blog. Tiny suggestion from a design perspective, how about a sticky sidebar so there isn’t so much “white space” to the right when scrolling down?


      1. Bridget

        Thank you, just set up sticky sidebar!


        1. Ramsay

          How well does that top “click below” graphic work under the header?


          1. Bridget

            Good question, I do not know. I will have to set up a way to track and then analyze the effectiveness.


  • Amrita

    The blog design concept which I try to focus on is :Content focussed. Anything which distracts I am trying to remove.


    1. Ramsay

      Good point!


  • Lisa Frideborg

    Great pointers here as usual, Ramsay. I had no idea you could embed tweets (doh!). I think my site is probably too cluttered but I kind of depend on the ad revenue at the moment. I welcome constructive criticism from any of you for my main site, http://angelorum.co – Thank you blogging family and than you, Ramsay for another great blog post!


    1. Max

      First thing I’d say, Lisa, is that your blog took a LONG time to load. Not sure whether this is only happening for me, or if you should look at switching hosts or using a content delivery network?


      1. Lisa Frideborg

        Thanks, Max – I will look into speeding things up!


        1. Ramsay

          Hey Lisa. How well does your top email submit form convert?


    2. Liz Gauffreau

      Your blog took a really long time to load for me as well.


  • Hannah

    Hi – I definitely have a few different things going on in my sidebar, but I like them as an option if people are not interested in the post they are reading, they can navigate to something that might catch their eye. Not sure how others feel about that?

    Would love any and all feedback on my page: http://www.cestsimple.co


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Hannah.

      Looking good. I would suggest making a bit more of an “offer” for your mailing list, somehow.

      Also, as your content width is very wide, I’d consider making the font a lot bigger.

      Lastly, make sure your on-site SEO is all good. There doesn’t seem to be any title tags appearing for the site – it just shows the domain name in my browser.


      1. Hannah

        Hi Ramsay – Thanks for the feedback. Agreed I need to get an offer up, as it’s quite a new blog this is still on the to-do list.

        And have not done much SEO either…will put it on the list!


    2. Marie-Aude Preau

      Hannah, I love your blog! and your story and your courage to move to another country with a different language than yours.
      I am from France and live in the USA for 30 years now. I understand your dilemma and frustration.
      You must be in a touristic area b/c most french people don’t speak any English or hardly at all.
      Enjoy your life and keep writing.
      Your blog seems great to me. It loaded pretty fast on my iPhone. Was simple to understand what it was about right away. And did not feel overloaded with stuff or ads, etc.


  • Pedro ::: Astute Copy Blogging

    Hey Ramsay,

    Awesome blog post, as always ๐Ÿ™‚

    There’s always that conflict between what works and what is good looking. But I suppose one can have both good looking and effective. Personally, I use Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed theme because I want a blog that screams top quality, is good looking and is effective. Have I succeeded ? Time will tell. Am I on the right track? I sincerely hope so.

    Your thoughts, anybody? Here is the blog: https://www.astutecopyblogging.com

    Best regards,

    Pedro


    1. Ramsay

      Looks good, man. All I’d say is that there is a lot going on. The sidebar is very full. I’m not sure what to focus on. Might need a simpler goal for the blog as a whole? But if it’s working, keep going!


  • Arvind

    The first thing a blog should have a “SEO friendly design or layout”….the reader or visitor should feel like home to find anything on the blog easily…I think blog design helps in attracting visitors and the content helps in engaging them…beautiful design and effective content should go hand in hand…thanks for such amazing post Ryan…!!


    1. Ramsay

      *Ramsay ๐Ÿ˜‰


    2. Ryan Biddulph

      Ummm…..uhhhh….I apologize for any potential subconscious programming Ramsay LOL ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Ramsay

        Ha.


  • Teresa Messick

    Thank you! I’m a new follower and have spent the last few days pouring over your posts and I’m a bit overwhelmed, but inspired! When it comes to technology, I’m a pair of mom jeans in a skinny jean world!

    I started blogging a few years ago just as a creative outlet. I’ve changed my theme and blog name three times trying to find the right fit for what I like to write about. I finally settled on purchasing a domain using my name because frankly I was wasting a lot of money on domains. Unfortunately, I lost everything I had written over the years when I made the last blog change, so I’m starting over. At this point, I’m still using Blogger, but since reading your posts I am considering shifting to your recommendations. I’ve never considered using my blog to create income, but with two children entering college in the next two years, I’m considering it now! I’ve got no money to waste, so I want to get it right the first time. Looking forward to learning more!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey!

      No need to move from Blogger if you’re happy there.

      Checked your blog and there is no site title in the browser. I’m not sure where that setting is in Blogger.

      I would just recommend building a mailing list as soon as you can. Having an engaged mailing list is a good long term protection from all those little issues you mentioned.


  • Shafi Khan

    I don’t know if it sounds too cheesy, but whenever I get an email notification from you, I know it’ll be something helpful.

    You post less but your contents are top notch that relates to readers. My blog has a good design (at least I think so) but if you can suggest anything, please do.

    Link – http://www.mybloglift.com/


    1. Ramsay

      Thank you for the kind words. I would just recommend getting a retina-ready logo. It’s a bit blurry on my Mac.


      1. Shafi Khan

        Thanks, Ramsey. Would implement that ASAP.


  • Val

    Excellent article as always Ramsay! I would love mine to be critiqued. Thank you!
    http://www.mapleleopard.com


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Val. Are you noticing any issues? Looks good to me.


    2. Careerdost

      Val, everything looks elegant. ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you don’t mind, we have a small suggestion: The little tiny grey Arrow pointing in the bottom should move to the extreme right (since, it is blocking the content) and if possible make it a little thick arrow.

      Rest everything looks great! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Best,
      Careerdost.in


  • John Shaw

    Honest feedback, i love most of your blogs but…

    *I* find the grey type, and blocky fonts on your blog hard to read on my screen and not attractive at all. The link colour has no definition and doesn’t really shout click-me.

    Breaking the blog up with graphics, especially ads, takes my reading eye off the topic and personally get why it’s there although that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

    I think that taste is always a debatable subject. But it’s why I don’t visit here half as often as I used to.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi John.

      Thanks for the feedback. May I ask what browser you use where the font is difficult to read? I’d love to know.

      Also, may I ask what ads you are referring to?


      1. John Shaw

        Phone Ramsey, nearly always on my phone. I’m older and need definition.

        I skim past them so if they aren’t ads they certainly look like them… hang on…

        Yup – FREE – training video – which says to my cynical and suspicious mind that I’m about to get pitched at…

        I didn’t look at any others.

        I get this is doing the job by my interaction counting as conversion, but, I’m not buying. Although we’ll see. ๐Ÿ˜‰


        1. Ramsay

          Hey John.

          Thanks for the feedback – I’ve never been told that they look like ads before and as I only have one promotion on here I thought it would be okay.

          I’m going to look into a new font color.


  • Mania Mavridou

    A brilliant post again, exactly on my area of expertize!
    I couldn’t agree more!
    I’m not going to say much. Actually, I’ve already written about and explained the power of image marketing thoroughly, in the following, successful post:
    http://millo.co/common-mistake-can-sabotage-business-3-seconds

    p.s.
    Fantastic, classy work with font pairs from my ‘friends’ David and Lou at Reliable PSD!


    1. Marie-Aude Preau

      Mania, just a heads up…. like many other websites/blog today, you have the free offer that pops up and it cannot be canceled on my iPhone.
      So I end up leaving the blog frustrated without reading it.
      I find those free offer annoying in general.
      How can I be interested in any offer so quickly when I haven’t read anything yet of interest??


      1. Mania Mavridou

        Sorry to hear that, Marie-Aude!
        Millo is not my blog however, but a blog I’m writing for.
        I’ll let them know, it’s true that there’s a problem with popups and smartphones. They probably already know about it.
        I would also recommend to read my article on pc or laptop, because it’s a long post and itwill be really tiring reading it on a small screen.


  • Scott Kindred

    Ramsay,

    Loved your share of the collection of Google Font pairings from Reliable PSD — a really great way to narrow down your website’s typography for a style guide. I’m going through a long-overdue website revamp now, and really the typography and use of white space is at the center of it.

    By the way, I “liked” your Start A Blog tweet that was embedded above. Neat feature. I’m going to start using it ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      That font thing by Reliable PSD is amazing. Must have taken them so damn long.


  • Max

    Another fantastic article. Ramsay, you’re the only blogger who can excite me when sending an email about a new post. Thank you.

    I’d love to hear what people think about my blog. I have quite a plain and simple design at the moment, but I know there’s room for improvement. Slowly building my SEO and working hard to write something every week, but there’s definitely more I can do! Any comments appreciated.


    1. Bridget

      I like the clean design. The feedback I would have is it is hard to get a sense of “who” is promoting these posts/blog. As a reader, I want to know the “who” behind the product before I buy (if you end up selling a product).


    2. Ramsay

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Really love the simplicity of the design but, like below, I think it might go a little too far.

      I’d make your title text a little smaller, and maybe center it as you don’t have a sidebar. Then maybe at least add a link up the top to read your story or give a place for people to subscribe.


  • Karen

    Hi Ramsay, thank you for another great article… I look forward to getting these in my inbox everyday! I’m feeling brave, so here’s my brand new blog for any comments or feedback http://writingforcash.com many thanks, Karen


    1. Ramsay

      Great domain name!

      For me, the homepage is too complicated. I would absolutely use that large image area for email sign ups or to send people to a landing page, and then make the rest of the homepage just one or two articles. Keep it simple.

      Your about page could use a photo of yourself to build trust, and I’d lose the stock image. Other than that it’s great!


      1. Karen Forsman

        Thanks Ramsay, I really appreciate the feedback and will definitely go and make those changes. Thanks so much, Cheers, Karen ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Jo-Elle | The Yorkshire Pudding

    Thanks Ramsay, insightful as usual! I’ve double checked and I think I’m ok *she says with gritted teeth hoping all is good back at base!* Would love to know otherwise if anyone dare venture into the pink….not meant to be rude, just a comment on my branding ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks again x


    1. Steve

      Hi Jo-Elle,

      Youโ€™ve clearly done a lot of work and I mean this to be as constructive as possible. Maybe it isnโ€™t an issue for others but for me it took too long to establish what the site was offering and I canโ€™t stay on a site that needs me to double read each word because the font is too small or too fancy.

      The first thing that stood out to me was your domain name. It doesnโ€™t give me any indication of what your site is about, possibly Yorkshire puddings?

      Re domain names – I will always believe that unless you are already an established brand and people know who you are or what you do or you have money to get established very quickly then your domain name MUST shout out what you offer or what you do instantly,

      Once I clicked through I was directed to and landed on a page that still doesnโ€™t tell me what the site is about. It offers some free stuff that seems to be related to stress.

      At this stage I have no idea what Iโ€™m looking at.

      Only once I click on โ€˜Websiteโ€™ do I actually get an idea that this is possibly a lifestyle site or a spiritual site or a well-being site or a blogging site. Lots of options and nothing specific that pops out.

      I then had trouble in reading the fancy fonts.

      All meant to be constructive.

      Perhaps others see it differently but from a new reader perspective those are the things that I noticed and they actually prevented me from browsing any further.


      1. Jo-Elle | The Yorkshire Pudding

        Steve you absolute diamond! Thank you so much for the feedback! I will work on all your pointers (not going to be able to change the domain name and branding because it’s taken so long to implement but taking your point completely on that!) thank you! And btw I’m not easily offended but thank you for the kid-glove approach in case I was! So excited to make these changes xxx


        1. Ramsay

          Lovely feedback and good discussion. I’d love to see those fonts simplified and the outcome for the blog made more obvious. I think that would be an awesome addition to what you’ve created. Keep us posted!


          1. Jo-Elle | The Yorkshire Pudding

            Thanks Ramsay! Looking forward to making those changes this week and seeing the difference! Eeeep!!! xoxo


  • Laura Routh

    Hi Ramsay! The timing of your post is interesting because I just changed themes a couple of months ago, but I haven’t had time to finish the process. I do like the font of this theme so much better than my last one, though; it was too small before, although I’m not sure if I need the index page that serves as my landing page. And not all of the art plays well together when you see it all spread out, such as on the blog page. I can change all of this and need to work on it after I publish my upcoming post this weekend. I think I also need a separate about page instead of the bit at the bottom of the landing page. And the search bar at the bottom needs to go too! I would appreciate hearing your thoughts, also. This theme is quite versatile, so I can easily make changes. I’m not up for changing themes, however–at least not at the moment. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Looks lovely! My only tip would maybe to make that logo area a bit less imposing. Takes up a lot of real estate above the fold.


      1. Laura Routh

        Thanks! I can do that with this theme. You’re kind, Ramsay, because my blog needs a lot of work. It seems I’m developing more of a magazine style blog with different sections. I see it as a long term project that might not produce financial rewards until further down the road. But I’m passionate about reading and writing about the environment. I guess that’s something! By the way, I like your font. I don’t have a problem reading it at all.


        1. Ramsay

          Thanks!


  • chris

    I’ve been working on a new version of my site in a test area (linked below). I’d love to know what you think of ONLY the HOME page. The other pages are still in progress. I do plan on overlaying a photo of myself at the top of the page on the right side.
    http://www.btmtestplatform.com/


    1. Ramsay

      Absolutely love it! Only thing I’d change is photos with the testimonials.


  • Matt

    To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been crazy about your font. But obviously that hasn’t stopped me from being a regular reader. However, I really like the featured images into your posts. Most blogs use pointless, cheesy stock photos, so it’s refreshing to see something different. I think it helps build your brand. Your cartoon guy reminds me of the ghost-like character Glen used to use on his Viperchill blog.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Matt. Few people said that about the font now so maybe it’s time to change.


  • krista O'Reilly-Davi-Digui

    I often consider switching to a minimalist theme. I wonder if I should remove everything from my sidebar (or maybe all but search, FB and Instagram links?)- at least for homepage. I’d happily take thoughtful feedback on the overall feel of my site! Thank you.


    1. Ramsay

      I think it works. Are those email opt-ins converting well?


      1. Krista

        Sorry for the delayed response. The email opt-in at the top of my home page and the one at the end of posts are both quite new…and I am not sure they have made a difference yet. The regular Mail Chimp one at my side bar has done all the work so far (but I don’t have great opt-in overall).


  • Rick Rouse

    As always, great food for thought here, Ramsay. I’ve been in the process of simplifying my tech blog but I’m finding it hard to figure out what I should eliminate. I feel like all the Menu links are necessary, but they look a it cramped. Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

    http://www.RicksDailyTips.com


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Rick.

      Your bio is really trustworthy. I’d expand your sidebar to double the length and add a bit about how you can help people there. Then instead of the top links about reviews etc. you could have a couple of nice buttons there under the bio. Bit like Neil Patels: http://neilpatel.com/blog/can-learn-best-6-lead-magnet-tools/

      Also, might be time for a logo refresh as it’s a bit blurry on retina.

      As always, test to see what works!


  • Linda Joyce

    Hi Ramsay,

    I guess I was feeling “really brave” ๐Ÿ™‚ Good teaser! Some excellent points to consider also. I bought a new theme a few months back so have recently considered many of these issues. Compared to your extremely minimalist theme, mine is very busy, and I may need to take a harder look at that.

    I do love your orange cartoon blogger who reappears with a lot of regularity. Your font choice and size are great too, but I agree with a couple of the folks above. The gray font color doesn’t have enough contrast, and I strain to read it.

    One can never turn down an opportunity for feedback and comments, right? So I’ll put my site out there and hope for some great insights.

    https://RetiredAndEarningOnline.com

    Thanks for the engaging post!


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Linda.

      I’d get rid of the categories in the sidebar and maybe make your logo a bit smaller. As you can see on my site, the header really only is a small part of it all. I don’t think they should be so prevalent.

      The rest looks great!


  • Seth

    Your content is extensive but not overly complex.
    I have a perfectionist problem but started to jump in anyway and start my blog.
    The last thing I want to do is hold myself back by making simple, rookie mistakes.
    I’d love it if you had a look at my blog and see if you had some suggestions for monetizing (i am not peddling a product just my writings-my product is my writing) and if my them is working for me-do I need an overhaul?
    THanks!


    1. Ramsay

      Think you need to put something about you or about the site on the blog more prominently. The rest is really good – but needs something personal.


  • Fortune Mateta

    Hi Ramsey,

    Firstly, thank you for the helpful information you always provide.

    Secondly, the advice on this post comes at the right time as I’m tinkering with the design of my website. So l will definitely refer to your hints.

    Again, thank you for your generous heart.


    1. Ramsay

      You’re welcome!


  • Seshu

    Ramsay,

    Your #6 is my #1. For Tiffinbox – https://tiffinbox.org – I moved from Thesis to a Genesis child theme and that’s made the biggest difference. It’s mobile-ready out of the box, light on code and infinitely malleable. Thanks for this post. I will be sharing it with my friends in the photography industry. Curiously, as visual communicators they spend less time on their web design than they really need to.


    1. Ramsay

      How are you finding Genesis?


  • Marie-Aude Preau

    Hi Ramsey,
    I love all your post. Always well thought out and meaningful. I also like the fact that you don’t bombard your audience with post after post but pace them and give us quality instead of quantity.
    I am getting ready to start a blog and nothing to really show for at this time.
    I am finishing writing a book or / and ebook (not sure yet) a self help guide for traumatic brain injuries and concussion to heal naturally and fully. So my blog will be to help sell the book and help people living this life altering crisis.
    I am appreciative of all the good guidelines you have on your blog that I will use.
    Thanks again!
    Ps: Your blog looks great since the no sidebar change!


    1. Ramsay

      It sounds like your blog will help a lot of people. I wish you luck!


  • Steve

    Hi Ramsay.

    I think we all need to ask ourselves a simple question – Do I want people to remember me for my logo and pretty blog colours or do I want them to remember me for the content I gave them?

    Iโ€™m not a big fan of the current trend for the importance of aesthetics and fancy layouts or colour branded themes.

    Pretty and pleasing doesnโ€™t generally solve any problems that people have and ultimately people are reading your website or blog because they have a problem or they are looking for a solution or an answer.

    That may sounds obvious to most reading this and is nothing new but i think bloggers start wearing blinkers after a while and they forget that they have readers and concentrate on looking good rather than being good.

    The reality is that they really arenโ€™t interested in your logo or font style unless they are the logo and font style police or they are another blogger critiquing your blog.

    The flow, relevancy and helpfulness of your information is far more important to them.

    The important thing here is to only provide the necessary visuals that satisfy those needs as soon as someone lands on your site. Anything else is just a distraction and candyfloss.

    We are a visual and emotional species and we know that we have become scanners and skimmers.

    When we are searching for a solution we are visually receptive to the things that solve our immediate problems and not to those that give us temporary joy or pleasure.

    The images we see and the words we read must satisfy us visually and emotionally instantly and then lead us on a relevant journey that is free from other distractions.

    Instantly empathising and discussing the readers immediate problem is the corner stone for any site.

    Do you understand my problem? Can you talk to me about my problem? Can you solve my problem?

    Unless your logo, fonts and any other distractions have a positive and direct impact on those then donโ€™t concern yourself too much with them.

    Persona hooks. What we crave and what we are searching for must grab us straight away or we leave and find it elsewhere.

    If your best content is your fancy design then that is all youโ€™ll be remembered for.


    1. Ramsay

      This is a fantastic comment and I really agree that it’s not about the logo. That’s a small part of a whole brand. Unfortunately, small business owners love to make the logo as big as possible.


  • Saksham Kumar

    Great post.. Before reading this I didn’t focused on my bog typography but I will spend time on that also.. Really helpful this is.


  • Yoo Need More Jodi

    Thanks for the super helpful post, Ramsay! My blog, http://www.youneedlifeskills.com would benefit from a review. I have 2 things I’m noticing but I’m not sure if it’s because the blog is my new baby or they are legitimate issues.

    My load time and the bit of white space at the top concern me. I’d love to get feedback on them.

    Thanks for all the work you do!


    1. Ramsay

      I actually like the header – works with the theme style. I think the background image is a little distracting though – have you tried it with just white?


      1. Yoo Need More Jodi

        I did try white but I just changed it to see if it would remove the space that is bothering me. I’ll change it back and see if it fixes anything.

        Thank you so much for taking a look and for your feedback! Because I appreciate how busy you must be, I’m super glad you were able to!


  • Julie Ann

    Thanks for the font size tip, I just changed my theme and noticed it was set to 11! I like the new theme, but feel like it’s missing some “wow”. I would be super appreciative for any feedback anyone has ๐Ÿ™‚ http://saltsugarsea.com


    1. Ramsay

      I really like it. If it was me I would remove the tags in sidebar, remove the social bar at the top (you have them elsewhere), remove the search bar, maybe condense your start here into one page and add it to main menu.


      1. Julie Ann

        Hmmm, yes. I think that will do nicely. Thanks so much for the suggestions!


  • Lisa

    Hi Ramsey! I just started blogging and would love feedback on my site. I am using a free theme, but am thinking about purchasing one. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    http://www.makinglifericher.com


    1. Ramsay

      Theme is great, looking good. I’d just halve the size of your logo so that at least some content is visible when the page loads. Also, think you should emphasize a mailing list a bit more.


  • Shantanu Sinha

    Hello Ramsay,

    Great piece of information over here ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blogging world is so big that, various people do have their own way of crafting their blogs.

    I came to see every day hundred of blogs and they all have different designs for their web site, some looks pleasant
    while some creates a confusion, as too messy fonts and much more images destroy it.

    I am going to dig deep in Code embed ideas, thats look promising to me.

    Thanks for the share.

    Shantanu.


    1. Ramsay

      Hope it helps!


  • Liton Biswas

    In my opinion, a new blog should focus on creating content first. After sometime when the blog starts to earn money then it should be redesigned by experienced designer.


    1. Ramsay

      Yep, it can go that way too.


  • Annie Caldwell

    Hi Ramsay, Thanks for the tips, I have implemented these tips on my blog http://briskconversion.com/ and now it looks amazing, thanks for letting us know how we can make our precious blog more attractive and beautiful.


    1. Ramsay

      I’m glad it was useful!


  • Linda

    Hi Ramsay,
    You know I’ve had this problem with removing my ads on my site because I was “attached” to them. Well, I finally did it (applause) and changed my theme to Pat’s Genesis theme as well. I do know that the last tab that says Posts/comments does not belong there but don’t know how to remove it because it’s not in my menu and on my other site (https://successonlinesite.com) it’s not there either.
    Anyway, I’m not here for the technical advice (I know I’ll figure that out some time or the other), but also would love just taking a peek at my site and telling me how it is looking now?
    Thanks
    Blessings in abundance
    Linda


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Linda.

      Looking good! I would just try to simplify as much as possible. Less options, less links, etc. Try to make it as simple as possible for people to reach the goal.


      1. Linda

        Thanks Ramsay, I’m going to look into that next. Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out, I really appreciate it.

        Linda


  • tejas sahu

    font always matter while designing our blog. totally agree with you


  • Sander

    Hi Ramsey!

    I’ve been following Blog Tyrant for a while now, and I must say I’m very impressed by the way you constantly put out high-quality posts.

    Anyway, I’m currently using a common WordPress theme called Twenty Sixteen. Would you have any recommendations based on my landing page? Would you say it’s worth it to have a designer create a custom theme? (What would a decent price for that be, given the fact that I’m a starting blogger?)

    Thanks in advance!


    1. Liz Gauffreau

      I really like your welcome message! (Both how it looks and the message it conveys. ) I knew immediately what your blog was about. Well-done!


    2. Ramsay

      That is why I love WordPress! I love what you’ve done with the theme. Simple. Clean. Clear. Keep it up.


  • Louise Jewell

    Hey Ramsay,

    I designed and launched (can’t believe I actually did that!) my professional website a few months ago with the helpful guidance of mentors like yourself (Thanks for providing such helpful and engaging articles!).

    A recent article you sent out addressed the need to eliminate clutter (my words!) in the menu bar . . . and I did just that.

    Any helpful feedback and comments would be welcomed!

    With gratitude,
    Louise


    1. Ramsay

      So glad you’ve found some of the info here useful.

      Theme is looking lovely. I like it a lot. I’d recommend maybe removing the “last name” field in your email opt-in as a lot of people don’t like sharing that much info due to privacy.

      My only other suggestion would be to maybe change your header fonts. It looks like times (maybe georgia) and I think it’s a bit too “common” for a nice brand like yours. Maybe something like American Typewriter or a similar style. You can discover lots in Google Fonts.


      1. Louise Jewell

        Thanks for your helpful and thoughtful feedback and recommendations, Ramsey. I will get on that!


  • Dave

    Gbam!
    You hit it directly in the head, Ramsay.
    I must say I was touched when I was reading through your article (word for word) especially the part about graphics.

    I couldn’t believe the amount of ingredients we unknowingly throw away when we choose to ‘create a site’ and forgets to ‘design the site’.
    It’s true that people have different sense of style, and with that in mind, we should endeavour to match our design with our users sense of style.

    What you like or feel right and what your potential readers like or feel right, may be different. So feedback still remains the only solution to a balanced design.

    Thank you for your #observation!
    That was something I overlooked for many years.
    Just tested it, and loving it.

    http://www.4abcgrowth.com โ€“ Iโ€™d love some feedback on the overall design of the site.

    When you have the time, glance through and le me know what you think.

    Perfection is a process…


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Dave.

      Great work so far!

      I’d really recommend simplifying your font to something a bit more suited to long form text. Maybe Source Sans Pro or Open Sans?

      I also think the header is a little bit “dark” for your brand and clashes with the green. Maybe something a bit simpler like a white background and so on? I think some small changes to the font and background color could make a big difference.


      1. Dave

        Done! Ramsay.

        I followed your instructions and it is wonderful.

        I am so grateful that you were able to take the time to make a thorough observation of my site.

        You are wonderful.

        I now fully understand that there is no other better way to test a design apart from FEEDBACKS.

        Thank you so much.

        Hoping to hear from you, after your glance at my new design!


  • Ryan Biddulph

    #5 was beyond huge for me Ramsay. I trimmed the fat to get where I am today, especially with my blog sidebar. Clean, streamlined and simple, my blog design became clear and powerful by realizing that less is more in almost every case. At its core, your sidebar really only needs an email opt in form. From there, a few other elements are helpful. I add a Seen At banner, link to contact me, a few eBook ads and selfies from paradise. All aligned with my brand, and helpful adds of course, but no need for anything beyond that.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah, I really think a little intro/photo/opt-in is about all a sidebar needs these days.


  • Anand

    Very Informative Ram,

    Clean font and clean design are one of the main components which keep users on the site.

    I had mentioned you earlier that your blog design is soothing and clean which gives serene comfort to eyes while reading it.

    Regards
    Anand


  • Amanda Slaight

    Hi Ramsay, thanks for the informative. I am going follow this tips on my blog.


  • Adan Ramie

    I’d love to get some comments on my blog’s theme! I know it needs work, because I’m committing some of these offenses in my blog right now. I had no idea that using those handy widgets WordPress allows would detract so much from my posts. I’m definitely going to improve that in the future. Thanks for a great post!

    If anyone wants to give me some feedback, you can find my blog at http://www.AdanRamie.com.


  • Jessica

    Well here’s my blog.

    http://www.familyinfarawayplaces.com

    I don’t like the layout. It’s my 3rd layout in a year and a half. I’m in the process of having my logo designed so I don’t want to make too many changes in font, color, etc yet until I have it and then I can match it. I’m thinking of having just a landing page to start instead of my blog posts on the front page though but not really sure what I could have there instead.


  • Kat Lewis

    Hi Ramsay!

    I have been reading (and re-reading) so many of your posts…and actually absorbing a lot of the information. Boy, I still have a lot to learn.

    So, after reading through this particular post, I made a few changes to my blog. Specifically changing my font to please the majority of my readers (can’t please everyone, sorry) and removing things from my sidebar. The biggest update: changing my theme to one that is simple and clean. And one that I like. Next up will be adding an opt-in (more on this below).

    But I have a little dilemma. As much as I would like to get rid of my sidebar all-together, I think I need it. I use it to give specific information my readers want.

    That’s not really my dilemma. My issue is how I should present the information in my sidebar.

    As you can see, I have leads listed in the sidebar but when someone clicks the lead they leave my site. I would love it if my readers stayed on my site as long as possible, so I am considering removing the leads and replacing with a link to a new page that will have all the leads. Additionally, I am considering adding in my sidebar an opt-in so my readers can get the leads sent to them via email. So, to visualize, my sidebar would have a section titled “LEADS” with something like “a week’s worth of leads in one place. Take a look” as the text. Under that, the opt-in.

    As you are my new favorite go-to blog for strategic traffic and design building, I wanted to pick your brain and get your off-the-cuff opinion on what you might do if you were me.

    Anyhoo…mind taking a quick peek? thewaryworker.com


  • David

    Making a blog stand out in looks is definitely a way to grab one’s attention … great post!


  • Careerdost

    Yes. Typography is the very crucial essence. We always invest lot of time in deciding the fonts, colors and themes.

    We almost forgot Embedding content. Thanks a lot Ramsay for reminding. Your posts always bring something nice on the table. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Best,
    Careerdost.in


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