Simplicity in Blog Design

This article is part of Social Media & Marketing Tips for Authors  series and addresses the specific needs of Christian Authors.

When creating a web site or blog as your author site, it’s important to keep things simple. Your web site is your virtual property, your home on the web.  Just as in the real world, your home or office address should be attractive and well maintained. Simplicity in the web design is key.

In a recent CopyBlogger article  The Amish Guide to Intelligent Web Design, Pamela Wilson describes “…how to achieve the kind of simplicity that leads to a sophisticated, ultra-functional website…”  by contrasting web design with the ‘plain’ life of the Amish. She identifies the following key factors for creating an inviting, eye-catching site.


Start with a well-proportioned theme
By this I mean plenty of white space, and an open, airy feel. You want your words and images to be surrounded by open space like you’d put a matte around a beautiful painting.

Use a reduced color palette
Using a design style whose goal is to let your content shine through. Your message should be the star of the show, and your design style shouldn’t detract from the purpose of your pages.

Lighten up your sidebar
It’s tempting to cram your sidebar full of all sorts of ads, social media icons, opt-in forms and affiliate banners. They [the Amish] state their offerings simply, and present them in uncluttered surroundings so the customer has space to think and reallysee what’s there.

Many bloggers think that listing as many buttons, badges, and graphic links on their sites attract visitors. These widgets on the sidebars of websites are interesting and do catch the attention of the reader, but too often they prove to be a bit of a distraction for the reader and actually take away from the beauty of your site.

So, why do so many fill up the white spaces on their websites and blogs? There are a few reasons.

  • Because first impressions matter and we think if we display more widgets, badges and buttons others will assume that we have greater value.
  • Because we like to show off, we like to be impossible to miss. But, just as in real life, outrageous people (and blogs) tend to annoy us rather than engage us.
  • Because we underestimate the power of simplicity. The Amish lifestyle attracts us not because of the excess but because of the ordinary.

Of course, each web site is as different as each real home address. Some property owners prefer a very vivid landscape and others simply want their property to appear well-maintained and well-kept with wide open spaces. As long as it your home is well-kept, a certain amount of flowers are easy on the eye but if your lawn is entirely flowers, we cannot see anything about the homeowner because of the excess of flowers.

What’s your take on busy blogs and websites?

1 Comment

  1. Karen
    Mar 28, 2012

    Was wondering … what is your “take” on my website/blog? I’m just getting started. Hoping to get my historical fiction published. I wanted my site to give the feel of my books about Georgia and Florida. The time period is the 1800’s.


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