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 Failure to modern­ise can leave you blog out of date and out of style.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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