Good Design Looks Good. Period.

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stunning It’s the final saga in our quest to decide What Makes Good Blog Design? and today we are coming to one simple truth, good design looks good. That much is obvious, but good looks are for more than just looking at.

You don’t design a blog to print it out and hang it on your wall to be admired and you don’t design it to keep up with the Joneses. Stunning designs are good simply because they get you more readers.

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Achieve User Goals Through Usable Design

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Yesterday, we talked about achieving your own goals through your blog’s design. Of course, you won’t achieve anything if you’re putting your visitors off. The key is to balance your goals with your reader’s goals.

What do they want from your blog?

There is more to it than simply reading the current page. A reader may want to do a whole host of things on your site. Most blogs are very similar though, so what a reader wants to do on one blog is usually the same thing they’d want to do on any other blog.

I would consider the following to be a bare bones version of the usual priority list for a blog reader. The bolded words are the actions, and beneath them are some of the questions that a reader might ask at that point. Your job is to make those questions as easy to answer as possible.

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How to Achieve Site Goals Through Design

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prominent Photo by pshanEvery site has a reason for being online. It has a purpose. Good design takes into account that purpose, and then works towards it.

Site goals are what you want your visitors to do on your site. It is important to make the distinction between what you want, and what they want (Although the two may often overlap).

For instance, your readers may not originally want to sign up to your newsletter, but if you want it enough, you just might persuade them.

The first stage in creating a great design is to lay out your blog’s goals. My advice is to scribble down everything that you would like to gain from your site (RSS readers, advert clicks, sales leads etc.), then take that list and order it by importance. It is important to think this through now because it will make decision making during the actual design much, much easier.

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The Personal Side of Personal Blog Design

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Personal blog design. In the hubbub of blogging advice and tips, personal blogs often get overlooked. Business blogs seem to take all the attention, even though there are a good deal more personal blogs than business ones online. This seems to have extended into design advice as well but let’s change that.

What makes personal blog design unique?

To answer this, ask yourself: what makes a blog a personal blog? The answer: anything and everything! Your personal blog can be whatever you want it to be. It’s yours. The level of freedom you have with your content is unparalleled and that same level of freedom extends into your blog’s design.

That is what makes personal blog design unique.

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Design Review: Darjan Panic

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Darjan Panic Darjan Panic is a freelance designer, with a very unique looking blog. There is nothing conventional in this blog’s design. It’s different, and it’s bold. What better candidate for a review?

What Has Been Done Well?

  • Logo. The Darjan Panic logo is perfect. It is easily memorable, clearly shows the site’s initials, and looks great as part of the actual design. It is the very first thing you will notice upon arriving at the site, and for good reason. You’ll even find it being used effectively as a bullet point! In short, it meets all of David Airey’s criteria for a great logo.

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Redesign for the Right Reasons at the Right Time

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Time to RedesignRedesigning has become a hot topic in the blogosphere, largely because of the redesigns of two of the most popular blogs, ProBlogger and John Chow.com. One blogger went as far as to dub 2007, Year of the Redesigns. Why should time be a factor in a redesign?

Redesigning for the Wrong Reasons

There are many reasons for a blog redesign. However, not all of these are good reasons, and what’s more is that they are no different than they have always been. What makes now so special? Hype.

One of the most frequently mentioned benefits is the hype and attention that a redesign obtains. The amount of attention that John Chow has received cannot be denied, but lest we forget, you are not John Chow. The same level of attention will not be repeated on you. If anything, you will receive less attention than ever as your blog will be lost between the dozens of others changing themes.

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Weekly Wrap-up: Why Redesign A Blog?

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Modern
Image by Ctd 2005
It began with ProBlogger. It became “newsworthy” with John Chow. It has been peppered with countless other blogs along the way. Redesigning seems to be all the rage this Summmer, but why redesign your blog?

The obvious reason is of course to simply make your blog better. When you first create a design it seems great, but over time you notice the cracks in the wall. Eventually the number of cracks builds up to a point where a redesign seems the logical choice. This certainly seems to have been the case with the fantastic ProBlogger redesign, and to this end, Simple Thoughts have put together a good list of 9 Redesign Ideas.

However, this isn’t the only reason. Among Ben Cook’s 5 Reasons For A Blog Redesign he has hit the nail on the head in one respect. Ben lists “Buzz” and “Linkbait” as his first two reasons for a redesign, and this is undoubtedly true in the case of John Chow.

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