Since redesigning my blog’s homepage, I’ve been tweaking it here and there like nobody’s business.
Just when I think I’ve achieved the look and feel that I want, there’s something else that needs tweaking and adjusting.
When I initially redesigned my blog’s homepage back in October of last year (2014), I aimed to achieve four things.
- Focus on my unique value proposition
- Content organisation or cleanliness
I’m a huge fan of simplicity and flat design as you might have guessed, I like to keep up with modern trends.
I personally hate landing on the homepage of a blog that looks like it were designed by someone that is still stuck in the 90’s, that’s just me.
If you put a lot of time and effort in creating valuable content, and more importantly, if you value your readership, you’d make a darn well big effort to make sure that when someone visits your homepage, or any page for that matter, they’re not greeted with total clutter, confusion and masses of texts in about 500 different colours all over the place.
OK enough chanting, time for me to share with you some possible reasons why your blog’s homepage might suck, and what you can do about it to fix it.
In addition, I’ll also be sharing with you a link to a blog (or a website even), that I think is setting a good example in one way or another, or I might share a link to a blog or website that I think should be locked behind bars forever 🙂
Let’s get to it.
5 Reasons Why Your Blog’s Homepage Design Needs A Major Makeover
#1. Your choice of UI colours suck – I hate to break it to you but your choice in colours is appalling.
You might think that barely visible neon green headline text titles or hyperlinks over a fluorescent yellow background is cool, or using cool animated effects in your site logo is eye-catching, but your readers really don’t think so. If anything I bet they think it’s darn well annoying.
Fix it – Using high contrast colours is a great idea, but ensure they’re not going to permanently impair your visitors vision after browsing your blog for just a few minutes.
Flat design UI colours are in big time, and what’s more, whilst they are much easier on the eyes, they can also make your blog homepage look visually appealing.
For some truly awesome flat UI colour inspiration check out this site.
Check this out: Here’s a link to what is probably one of the worst looking website’s I’ve ever seen, my eyes were literally screaming for white space, after just 10 seconds of viewing the homepage, so please beware: Penny Juice
#2. Your content organisation sucks – So when peeps land on your homepage, they’re greeted with a million options and fancy gimmicks all thrown in their face.
Their eyeballs literally wonder all over the screen and they’re trying to figure out what the hell your blog is about, with NO avail by the way.
You have chunks of texts, images, icons, multi-coloured links, animated ads, banners and other crap all over the place, boy who organised the content layout of your blog? I mean where’s the clarity?
Take a look at your home page right now and ask yourself, be honest please, how can I make this better? Probably by getting rid of half the trash you have on there.
Fix it – Start from a complete blank canvas if you can, or hire someone to do the job for you.
Make a list of all the essential things you want to feature on your homepage, i.e. your unique value proposition, your email opt-in form, your call to actions, your best images and other multi-media, your social proof, products and services etc.
Once you’ve selected the elements that really matter, start organising your content by putting the most important elements at the top, i.e. your unique value proposition what ever that might be, your email opt-in form, services etc.
Clarity my friend is the name of the game, if you visit the homepage of this blog and you don’t immediately know what it’s about or what I’m offering, then shame on me for getting it wrong, and shame on me for organising my content incorrectly.
Check this out: Here’s a link to a website that I think has a homepage that is well structured, and the content nicely organised, get inspired and visit: Branded3
#3. Your typography sucks even more than your design – You’re using the most unattractive font style that simply doesn’t fit in with the rest of your homepage design, but most critically, your typography is light in colour and so small that reading it is more of a challenge than anything else.
This is something I see all of the time, and sometimes I feel like contacting the blog owner just to let him or her know how hard it was to read their blog.
Look, it’s 2015 not 2005 anymore where using the smallest sized font in the world was the trend. If you’re using typography that could potentially suck, it’s time to make some changes and make it unsuck!
Fix it – Choose a font style that’s modern and easy on the old eyes. Choose one that complements the rest of your blog’s homepage design. Font sizes 12 to 14 is simply not good enough in most cases these days, you need to be looking at font sizes of 16 or more.
It’s all about making your site accessible by more people, making your site ‘user friendly’.
The font size that I use for this blog is a minimum of 17 for the homepage, and 18 for the rest of the site.
In addition to using clear and stylish fonts, ensure you have adequate line spacing too, that’s the gap between each line of text just in case you’re wondering, and choose a font colour that’s easy to read; black or very dark grey over white background is usually best, but you can also use other contrasts, for example, light fonts on dark backgrounds.
Check this out: Now here’s a blogger that has their homepage typography down to a ‘T’: Chris Brogan Dot Com
#4. Your homepage content is darn well boring! – OK so you have well organised blocks of texts, 1 sorry looking photo of yourself and absolutely nothing else going on in your homepage. Is that really boring?
Fix it – Actually there is nothing wrong with that at all, in fact my homepage is text-heavy (mostly written stuff), in my opinion it’s how the textual content is presented that matters.
Use infographics, attractive content boxes, buttons, links and add some professional photos of yourself on your blog’s homepage, you are the face of your brand as a blogger remember, so be sure to use a cool image of yourself, greet your visitors properly.
In addition you can also incorporate a video into your homepage, use smart social sharing icon designs, and if you’ve been featured or mentioned anywhere else online in your niche industry, consider adding some small logo icons or even links to those other sources too.
#5. Your homepage takes a month of Sunday’s to load – Oops, this isn’t good, it’s now Monday morning and I’ve been waiting since Friday for your blog’s homepage to load. OK that’s just me being silly and over-exaggerating again, but you get my drift right?
Just remember, the more elements you have on your homepage, the longer it will take for the page to load, and I don’t mean just the visible stuff either, I also mean the stuff that people can’t see too, scripts and stuff.
Fix it – Really? OK here goes, less is best that’s pretty obvious if you hadn’t gathered that by now.
Focus on the most critical elements for your homepage and get rid of the gimmicks. You don’t need to go overboard on the content for your homepage, you have other pages to direct visitors to remember, like your about page and services page.
Also if you have a lot of different HTML codes embedded in your homepage, tracking scripts or any other codes, get rid of them if possible.
Content sliders can also have a negative impact on your homepage loading times too. Images that haven’t been optimised properly and other multi-media, so keep all of those things in mind.
Generally you should always try and do things to improve the performance of your site, I won’t talk about them in this post now, but I will put something together in the near future for sure.
So there you have it peeps, definitely some food for thought I think. Take a look at your current homepage and figure out how you can really make it stand out.
Build a homepage that helps you connect with your audience, one that helps you sell and one that represents your brand in a positive way.
Remember that elements placed above the fold in your blog’s homepage, grabs 80% of your visitors attention. And it’s not just about the content on your homepage, it’s also about the presentation of that content.
- Do let me know your thoughts on the tips above.
- Do you just display a list of your latest posts, or use a static page for your blog’s homepage?
- If you use a static page, are you using UI colours that are friendly on the eyes, and colours that represents your brand image in any way?
- If you use a static page, what are the most important elements you feel to display above the fold?
Until the next time peeps, happy blogging.
Your friend Fabrizio
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