As a blog ghostwriter, editor, consultant and trainer, my most important job is to take away whatever's getting between your message and its intended audience, whether that's:
Blog design is out of my jurisdiction – and rightly so! I'm the first to acknowledge that I don't have the skills (or patience) for design or layout. I know what I like, but only when I see it. I don't necessarily know how to make it happen, or even how to describe to someone else how to make it happen.
I also know what I don't like, and what I see as a hindrance to getting your message across.
If I can't read it, I won't get it
What makes your content harder to read?
- Poor contrast between the background colour and the font colour (I find it particularly challenging to read white text against a dark or black background, or light grey text against a white background)
- Font size that is too small to read comfortably, especially for older viewers or people using special screens because of accessbility issues
If I can't find it, I can't share it
What makes it harder to find specific information on a site or page?
- Images, effects or clutter that takes too much attention away from the information your user is there to find
- Plugins, addons or other tools that make your site slower to load (hint: try Google's free page speed tool to see how your site is doing)
- Navigation menus that change from page-to-page
Luckily, readers can address some of these challenges themselves by adjusting font size and colours in web browsers, but do you really want to put the onus on them?
Most of us are in too much of a hurry to get to our next task (and that's a topic for another post or maybe another blog). I know that I've clicked away from several sites recently when I couldn't easily read the text or a page wasn't loading quickly enough.
So before you add the latest cool tool, snazzy graphic or subtle tone to your blog, be sure you're not putting an obstacle between your message and your reader.