Let’s face it. All the killer content in the world won’t do you much good if your overall design sends your readers screaming off into the dark night of cyberspace. After all, your blog’s design is the first thing visitor’s see, before they ever read a word or check out a post. And let’s face it. You’re an attorney. Not a profession exactly known for its stylishness or fashion-forward thinking. So, how do you know if your law firm’s blog’s design is a thing of beauty, or should be appearing on “What Not to Wear”? Here’s 4 things to consider when either designing your firm’s new blog, or evaluating your existing one:
- Keep it simple – Is your design simple, uncluttered, showcasing the words on the page and not the graphic talents of your blog designer or theme? If not, it should be. White space is your friend, as it gives your text and images the room they need to shine. Removing any distracting graphics, dead links, funky sidebar stuff and any other clutter has the same effect – it puts the focus on the content and not on the blog itself. Your blog design should also keep fonts to a minimum. Some experts in the blogging industry say 3, some say no more than 4. I advise one for content, one for links and/or titles, and at least one for adding emphasis. And while we’re on the topic of fonts – keep it legible and easily read. If you can’t read the text for the font choice, it’s a bad font choice. The biggest baddest no-no I often see in blog design is in the choice of color. If your blog is dark, make your text light. If your background is light, make your text dark. Subtle backgrounds work best with most blog designs, too, as they allow images and other graphic content to take center stage.
- Keep it easy on the eyes – Readers don’t typically read blog content all the way through. They scan – skim over – to discover what, if anything, is of use to them. If your blog content is not designed with scanning in mind, you’ll lose many readers. Design your blog content with breaks – subheadings, numbered or bulleted lists, graphics – that allow the reader to determine what, or even if, they want to read the entire post. It also helps with linking and sharing of content. They can more easily find what they’re looking for and will be, therefore, more apt to repost or link back to your content.
- Keep it easy to use – A well-organized blog is a well-liked, well-read blog. Why? Readers and visitors can easily find what they’ve come looking for. Use your blog design’s integral organizational tools – categories, tags, recent posts, most popular posts – for starters. Having content organized and indexed makes it easy to find and read. Next, look at your navigation. Can the visitor easily get from one part of your blog to another? Many readers may come from Facebook, Twitter, a fellow blogger’s link, and they’ll have to know how to be able to get around once they land. Can they find the “About” section, or the Contact form? Can they sign up for your email list, or subscribe to an RSS feed? Look at your blog as though you were seeing it for the first time. It will definitely help in discovering whether your blog design is user-friendly, or a user’s nightmare.
- Keep it memorable – Don’t settle for whatever free theme is popular this month. Don’t leave your personality, or your law firm’s personality, behind in the dust. And make sure your blog readers know what it is you want them to do once they finish reading. Making a customized header with brand or logo or even just a photo of you is better than the generic one that came with your theme. Have a custom theme or blog design made for you. They are more reasonably priced than you might think. And make sure your calls to action are distinct enough that readers know what to do – where to go, who to call, how to contact you – once they’ve completed their visit to your blog. Creating a memorable blog design will guarantee future return visits and converting readers into clients.
Blog design doesn’t have to be a thing of nightmares or dread. It also doesn’t have to take up days and days of your time, either. Keeping the 4 key factors of blog design in mind when creating or evaluating your law firm’s blog will help you forge a blog that will keep readers coming back, visit after visit. And if you decide that blog design just isn’t for you, or if the last guy to work on your blog gave it the blog design equivalent of leisure suits and disco shoes, let us help you out. We do WordPress development, including design, here at Best Legal Practices. We can help turn that dowdy blog design into a best-dressed diva.