Blog Diaries: How To Choose The Right Layout For Your Website or Blog
So you're ready to launch your website or blog. But do you know what kind of a layout you want or what type of a design will work for you? Choosing the right layout can be like choosing an ice cream flavor that you gotta stick with every day for the foreseeable future. Or like deciding upon a new house. After all, your website/blog is going to be home to your business info and online activities. And it plays a very important part in how your brand is perceived by your ideal audience.
You start looking at templates and there are so many options to choose from! You're inspired by a minimal layout that a friend's site has but you really love the fancy header you saw on Pinterest recently. Oh but Apple's new hero image header is just awesome!
No matter how much you like a wide variety of designs, you can have only one at a time. More importantly, all kinds of website layouts are not right for everyone. A lot of thought needs to be put into selecting a theme that will help you achieve your goals. So how do you decide what's right for you? Here's my step-by-step guide to help you along the way.
1. Your LogoThis should be a no-brainer, but it's not. First and Foremost is your logo. You need to select your website or blog design based on what your logo looks like - because you need your logo to look its best on your site. If it's a wide logo, you'll need more width to display it, if it's a small icon-style logo, you can go with a more minimal header with just a small square box area allotted to your logo. If it's got more height than width, you might want to consider a web template that has a side header.
Action Item:If you don't have a logo that you love, get a custom logo designed. Move on to choosing your website template only after you have finalized your logo.
2. Your AudienceWhen selecting a design for your website, ask yourself - 1. Who's your target audience? 2. Are you designing your website hoping to get business online or is it meant to be purely informational? 2. Is your website design going to help your visitors find what they want or is it going to confuse them? Just because some really stylish website has a really cool minimal header with no up-front navigation links & a small stamp-style icon for a logo, doesn't mean that a similar approach will work for you. There are several factors that may vary in every case. For example, the site you were inspired by may be a well-known brand worldwide so it might not need to display their complete logo and may use just a symbol whereas you could be a start-up that's yet looking to make a good name online and so would need extra efforts to make the logo recognizable/memorable. It will be an investment in the beginning but it's important to hire a good web designer that can help you get the best possible results from your online presence.
3. Ease of UseYou want to make it super easy for you to use your website. Because, for example, a certain website/blog you like may look really fancy with lots happening but they might have a team of people (with a wide skill set) managing it whereas you might be managing your website yourself. So you need to make sure, you are comfortable using your website and the layout you choose. You don't want to go for a fancy layout that will take up a lot of your time to maintain & update, especially if you have a blog.
4. TypographyNext is your font choice. Between Script fonts, Sans Serif, Serif and many other styles, you need to select the font/font combination that works best for you. There are studies that suggest that Serif fonts tend to generate trust while Sans Serif fonts promote a sense of neatness. So you need to do some research on what suits your particular field the best. Here's an excellent article explaining how fonts influence how much your visitor trusts you and how they perceive your brand in general. This infographic by Dorey Design group summarizes the theory really well.
What's your take?Did you think about any of these factors when you got your website/blog designed? What other factors do you think play a role? Do feel free to share your thoughts & experiences using the comments section below.