New Philosophy on Purposeful Blog Design

March 4, 2015

Rebecca Parsons

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Good blog design is about conversion of readers toward your goal(s). Once a blogger recognizes this, the design elements are created with purpose and intent. Having a goal is crucial to creating the type of experience you want for your readers. It is also central to monetizing. This new philosophy leads to purposeful blog design.

Blogging is changing; or perhaps it is growing up. As more bloggers and brands come to understand the power of the platform, it is leaving its gangly adolescence behind in favor of a more adult commercial approach. Bloggers who hope to survive and thrive must become more business savvy, as brands become more demanding of quality professional relationships.

As a blog stylist, the first question I ask a client is, “What are your blogging goals?” That may seem a little counter-intuitive when requesting a new look. However, I assure you it is the most important aspect.

  •      If you want to earn income with ads, the design must focus on viewability*.
  •      If you want to build an email list, the design will focus on driving visitors to the opt-in.
  •      If you want viewers to see how creative you are, the design will lead readers to your most creative posts.
  •      If you want to sell your cookbook or printables, the design must have a clear call to action.

When the blog stylist or designer has a clear understanding of your goals and the principles of design, you have a good chance of achieving them. If you simply bought a theme and added your header, you many have a more difficult time reaching your goals. When looking for a blog stylist or designer, look at their ability to convey complex ideas with a simple yet powerful visual concept.

“Design thinking merely takes the core components of design-its human factors focus, its empathetic anthropological viewpoint, its iteration and speed and other core concepts, abstracts and formalizes them and applies them to a broad array of spaces, including the business process itself. It is a very powerful methodology, a strategic methodology. Why would anyone turn away from using design thinking?” — Bruce Nussbaum, Design vs. Design Thinking–The Talent Battle Continues 

Applying design thinking (concept) to the blogosphere is a noble challenge and a vast opportunity. Designers who focus solely on design (form) may be missing the innovation, elevation, and evolution of the platform. Jessie Scanlon of Bloomberg Design Channel says the freshest, best design usually takes place on the borders of two or more disciplines. The cross-pollination of blogger goals and design thinking requires a designer to synthesize the relevance of each as they create. That is when magic happens, and the readers are not left wondering what to do. They have a clear visual path to follow.

I challenge you to take a critical look at your design with your blogging goals in mind. Here are some questions to ask as you review:

  1.     Is there a clear path to your desired goal (i.e., opt-in box, ads, top posts, etc.)?
  2.     What does the design say about you?
  3.     Are you answering your target audiences’ needs/wants?
  4.     What is the blog’s unique value?

The new philosophy means that good blog design has given way to effective blog design. A shrewd blog stylist or designer will create with your goals, topic, value proposition, and audience in mind. Once you and your designer understand and embrace these, the design will convey the goals…often more powerfully than words.

*Viewability is the cornerstone of advertising effectiveness. In order for digital marketing to make any impact, the advertising must first have the opportunity to be viewed by consumers. However, nearly half of all digital ads today are not viewable. In 2014, in an effort to raise advertising accountability, the MRC lifted its advisory against transacting on viewable impressions. As a result, advertisers’ focus has shifted from a “served” impression to a “viewable” impression, setting the baseline for any advertising objective. ­­ –


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