Do you need to Modernise your Site’s Look & Feel?

Modernise by Hans CC0 Public doamin from Pixabay

There is a great deal of infor­ma­tion avail­able on the web, much of which is avail­able on blogs. Blogs are writ­ten in all parts of the world. Hav­ing only one lan­guage, Eng­lish, is not a lim­i­ta­tion. It is in fact a pos­i­tive as most peo­ple love to write Eng­lish, and it gives me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see how peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate in this lan­guage. The lan­guage that will, one day, become the com­mon lan­guage of the plan­et. Do you need to spend time and mod­ernise your blog?

 

Time to Modernise you Site?

 

Hav­ing seen a lot of blogs I am con­stant­ly amazed at how many blogs, even seri­ous and influ­en­tial ones, sim­ply use the default set­tings, oper­ate with min­i­mal cus­tomi­sa­tion. Each site site need to look spe­cial, find their own style. Visu­al appeal mat­ters.

Do you need to mod­ernise your site? This is a vital ques­tion to ask, periodically.

The chal­lenge of updat­ing your blog is not sim­ply about adding new mate­r­i­al, it is about hav­ing the right visu­al appeal that caus­es vis­i­tors to stay. Today, read­ers use their smart-phones as fre­quent­ly as their PC or Mac. Your site should also appeal to the search engines as well as people.

Don’t assume that your read­er is just here to read your piece on the mat­ing habits of black wid­ow spi­ders. Assume they also wish to know some­thing about taran­tu­las and oth­er species of spi­der as well as oth­er things arach­nol­o­gists are inter­est­ed in. I know some of you just jumped back, not wish­ing to know any­thing about that type of being. Your blog is about some­thing else entire­ly. Yet, the rules are the same what­ev­er the sub­ject. You will have read­ers you need to entice to return, time and again. 

The appeal of your site is not mere­ly in the words used, but includes the visu­al aspects of the site.

 

Ensure your Blog Grows

 

Grow by Robert1709 CC0 Public Domain from PixabayChristi­na Gillick writes in The Dai­ly Egg “Think of your web­site as a gar­den. If it’s left unat­tend­ed, weeds will grow and your plants are like­ly to shriv­el up and die”. Web­sites do need main­te­nance and atten­tion, the same is true of blogs. The tools you use, such as the plug-ins, should be reg­u­lar­ly checked. Fail­ure to mod­ernise can leave you blog out of date and out of style.

Blog growth is not sim­ply about adding your lat­est mas­ter­piece, but pro­vid­ing the right look and feel. If you have a web­site for your busi­ness and have an asso­ci­at­ed blog, hav­ing a con­sis­tent visu­al appeal for both is vital. They should not be iden­ti­cal. For exam­ple Coca Cola has a food blog as a part of their web­site. They allow cus­tomers to share their recipes that include their famous drink. This site is not iden­ti­cal to the main site, but is clear­ly a cru­cial part of the Coca Cola journey.

 

Manifestation of a Great Idea

 

Many blogs are the man­i­fes­ta­tion of great ideas by busi­ness own­ers, that do not have a web site. It high­lights the owner’s pro­fes­sion­al stand­ing. Dis­play­ing the things they work on. Shar­ing chal­lenges and doc­u­ment­ing achieve­ments. Both great rea­sons for blog­ging. Many of the ear­li­est blogs, not sur­pris­ing­ly, were about tech­nol­o­gy chal­lenges, pro­vid­ing assis­tance for peo­ple imple­ment­ing soft­ware solutions.

Although not sanc­tioned by the com­pa­ny employ­ing them, soft­ware devel­op­ers would help peo­ple fix prob­lems or pro­vide workarounds. These types of site still exist today, but they have also been cre­at­ed for many oth­er indus­tries. Anoth­er exam­ple is a post about the check­list of the key records your tax accoun­tant will need to pre­pare your accounts. The expert will be able to tell their cus­tomer why each is required, in order that they under­stand the process better.

These sites espe­cial­ly, are a brand­ing tool and how they look says much about the author and the spe­cial­ist ser­vices they pro­vide. They should exude pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Show charts, tex­tu­al snip­pets, dia­grams etc. that act to pro­vide the read­er con­fi­dence that the writer knows the sub­ject discussed.

 

Up-to-Date?

Up to date by Geralt CC0 Public Domain

The tools you use on your site offer as much val­ue as your writ­ing. They han­dle every­day tasks like speed, SEO, data back­ups, visu­al appeal etc.

How often do you update your Word­Press soft­ware?

The pri­ma­ry rea­son to stay updat­ed is that devel­op­ers fix bugs, add new fea­tures, improve per­for­mance, enhance exist­ing fea­tures, and stay up to date with new indus­try stan­dards with each new release of the soft­ware. One of the major rea­sons to update is con­tin­ued site secu­ri­ty. Word­Press sites, because of the pop­u­lar­i­ty of the sys­tem, do suf­fer from hacking.

Apply all the lat­est updates for all of the plug-ins and wid­gets you use. Do you have a back-up process in place? This all sounds ter­ri­bly tech­ni­cal, but it is an easy process. 

 

Using the Right Tools?

 

Peri­od­i­cal­ly, check the tools still ben­e­fit your site. This is some­thing you should check annu­al­ly. For exam­ple if you have an SEO plug-in search once a year to ensure  that it is still a good plug-in to be using. If nec­es­sary, take advice from a blog spe­cial­ist, like myself, as to which are the best plug-ins to use.

There are many free wid­gets and plug-ins avail­able to per­form most jobs you need per­form­ing. The need to mod­ernise your site is in part dri­ven by the tools you use.

Ensure the tools you use are reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed and that you con­tin­ue to use the best tools for the job. Last year’s plu­g­ins do not always offer the same val­ue as the lat­est ones. If the plug-in has not been updat­ed for more than a year it is pos­si­ble the tool may not work cor­rect­ly with the lat­est ver­sion of WordPress.

Check your site is up to date and you are using the right tools. You should per­form this check at least a cou­ple of times a year.

 

 

Responsive Design

 

Does your indus­try have a colour that defines it? You may find it sur­pris­ing that many do. They are reflect­ed in the logos used. Take a look at the fol­low­ing table which is based on logo colours:

 

Indus­try colours for logos

Indus­try

Colour

Bank­ing

Blue, Green, or Black

Infor­ma­tion Technology

Blue, Green, Orange, Red

Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals

Orange, Red, Blue

Auto

Sil­ver, Blue, Red, Black

Steel

Sil­ver, Blue, Black

DIY

Orange, Blue, White

Gov­ern­ment

Green, Black, Blue, Red, and Gold.

There are good psy­cho­log­i­cal rea­sons why com­pa­nies in each indus­try choose the colours they use. Blue, for exam­ple is sup­posed to show sta­bil­i­ty. Many com­pa­nies fol­low the colour schemes of the lead­ers in their indus­try. A quick look at the com­mon logos of your indus­try could tell you the colour scheme you may wish to consider.

When People Buy by FastCompanyThe themes you use are an impor­tant com­po­nent of the suc­cess of your blog. They bring colour and style. You can do a lot with your blog with both the aid of the theme you select and the plu­g­ins you install. The theme you select needs to be respon­sive to the reader’s needs. Your read­ers will con­sid­er visu­al appear­ance, the graph­ic “when peo­ple buy” (repro­duced from Fast Com­pa­ny) shows the impact visu­al appearance.

 

How Readers See Your Blog

 

The same basic prin­ci­ple impacts how peo­ple see your blog. The colour scheme mat­ters and should appeal to peo­ple in your indus­try sec­tor. For exam­ple if your blog is about tires (or tyres for my British friends) then the colour may match one of the lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers. For exam­ple the yel­low and blue of GoodYear, the yel­low and black of Con­ti­nen­tal Tire, the Fire­stone red, or anoth­er of your favourites.

The colour scheme you select helps peo­ple iden­ti­fy with your site. Don’t just pick for first theme you see. Shop around. It should show­case your site in the best pos­si­ble light.

Are your audi­ence read­ing your work on a smart-phone? Many do today. Phones, tablets, lap­tops, and desk­tops each have dif­fer­ences in how they dis­play your site. Side menus dis­ap­pear in some devices, appear­ing after the post. That is why hav­ing a respon­sive site is nec­es­sary, it responds to the devices used by your read­ers. Flex­i­bil­i­ty mat­ters. It is all about the theme you select. 

Take some time and under­stand how your site looks on each type of device (if you have access to them). To mod­ernise your blog you need to look at each aspect. I don’t have access to every type of device, but I know a com­put­er store that does. I have tak­en a look when mak­ing changes.

 

8 Tips to Modernise your Blog

 

Will your read­er remain inter­est­ed in your site? Here are a few tips sug­gest­ed to keep them interested:

  • Keep it sim­ple and functional.

  • Use con­trast­ing or com­pli­men­ta­ry colours.

  • Use video, pic­tures and diagrams.

  • Does it have white space? By default Word­Press takes out extra lines and white space. Adding pic­tures and dia­grams can put it back in. Some plug-ins give you more con­trol over display.

  • Avoid three dimen­sion­al ele­ments like shad­ow or gra­di­ents. When a reader’s con­nec­tion is slow these take time to render.

  • Use a font and size that is easy to read and con­sis­tent through all your work.

  • Make scrolling easy. Gen­er­al­ly the reader’s plat­form will take care of this — don’t add clever alternatives.

  • Take style tips from look­ing at oth­er sites in your spe­cial­i­ty. Which ones are ugly? Which have great style? Try to mir­ror the good look­ing sites.

To get the right set­tings may take a lit­tle exper­i­men­ta­tion to get right. Make a tweak, look at the impact it has on your site. If the change is hor­rid, then go back to the way it was before. If it looks good keep it.

 

Have Someone Else Critique your Site

 

Inspect by GraphicMama Team CC0 Public DomainAsk some­one else to look at your site and you will get all types of com­ment. It is impor­tant to ask the right ques­tion to get action­able respons­es. Ask­ing a ques­tion should focus their atten­tion. For exam­ple “Does the colour scheme match the content?” 

Of course if you ask sev­er­al peo­ple the same ques­tion you should get dif­fer­ent answers. If they give the same sug­ges­tion then clear­ly some­thing needs to be changed. How do they sug­gest you change it? All is valid input to future changes you may make. If you do change things take it slow­ly, one step at a time. Remem­ber white text on a white back­ground becomes invis­i­ble, not help­ful for the human eye.

 

Other Useful Pages for You

If you are look­ing at more tips about site style then take a look at these pages:

 

 

If you like this post then make a dona­tion to the upkeep of Gob­blede­Goox . #Fol­low Peter on Twit­ter. What are your thoughts about blog style? Do you need to mod­ernise your site? Some­thing to con­tribute? Please leave a comment. 
 
The images here were either cre­at­ed or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a pub­lic domain loca­tion, such as Pix­abay. The “When Peo­ple Buy” graph was sourced from FastCompany.
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