Blog designs that have a ton of widgets, photos, links and more are actually NOT what you want. Here’s why a minimalist approach to your blog is better.
1. Your Blog Will Be Super Slow (Or It Will Break)
If you have a ton of widgets, pictures, autoplaying audio and other junk (and yes, we mean to use the word junk), your blog is going to load very, very slowly. Or it might not load at all. This will make readers angry and they often won’t wait for a site to load. The more widgets and stuff you have, the slower your blog will be. Most of the time, these widgets are completely useless to your visitors, so they’re really not worth the wait (even if you think they look cool).
Ditch as many widgets and extra stuff as you can and use the “KISS” approach for your blog – “keep it simple, stupid.”
2. Your Blog Will Look Like Crap
You want your blog to be pretty. You want people to come to your blog and enjoy the web design you worked so hard on and the color scheme that took forever to pick out because you wanted it to be “just right.” That’s awesome, but the minute you throw a bunch of widgets and other stuff on your blog, it’s going to start looking like crap.
No one is going to pay attention to your carefully selected color scheme, your expensive stock photos, or how awesome your blog design looks. They’re going to be distracted by all the junk you have on your sidebars and they’re not going to know where to focus. They will be completely overwhelmed by all the stuff on your blog and probably won’t make it off the home page, if they even stick around at all.
3. Your Readers Won’t Be Able To Focus On Your Content
If your readers have too much stuff to look at on your blog, they’re not going to be reading your content. They’re going to be totally distracted. They’ll be looking at all your useless widgets, and even if your content is stellar, they’re not even going to get to read the first paragraph because their brain has just been ninja’d by the 500 ads, popups, flashing widgets and other stuff that they can’t concentrate.
Opting for minimal as opposed to busy is a great way to help your readers focus on the real star of your blog – the content. Too many widgets and flashy thingies may make people suspicious that you’re trying to distract them from crappy content. If you really are trying to do that, then either write better content yourself or have someone else do it. A good blog isn’t about how many cool widgets and things you can put on it, it’s about content. Your content needs to be kick ass and your blog needs to showcase it.
4. Your Readers Will Leave (And Never Come Back)
Nobody wants to stay on a slowly loading, busy blog. It’s disorganized, disheveled and kind of like working at a desk where you can’t find the pencils or an eraser because everything is piled on top of each other. If you have a cluttered blog, your readers will leave ASAP (especially if your page is taking forever to load) and they’ll likely never come back.
If you don’t care that your bounce rate is close to 100% and your traffic is next to nil, feel free to put as many shiny bells and whistles in your sidebars as you want. Just be aware that no one is going to be looking at them but you.
5. You Can’t Quickly Find The Cause Of A Problem
As a blogger, your site is going to break now and then. And you’ll have to deal with it, whether you know the cause or not. It’s called troubleshooting and it’s your new best friend. Ok, not really. But the more widgets, advertisements, music players and flashy thingies you have on your site, the harder it will be to find just what it is that is broken and where to fix it.
It’s like having a key ring with a hundred keys on it, but you only need one. You have to try each key before you find the right one, and hours later after it’s pouring down rain, you’re soaked to the bone and your dog has been howling at the door because you’ve spent the better part of the evening trying to get in the house, you finally find the right one and make it in the house. 56 keys later.
Throw away the proverbial 95 useless keys and only keep the ones you really need on hand. Like the one for your car. And your safety deposit box. Keep the things that are valuable on your blog and ditch the ones that don’t do anything for you or your visitors, and when you have to troubleshoot your blog, it will be far easier and take much less time.