While templates may seem the simplest route, adding a little personal brand to the layout can take your blog to the next level.

This week we asked: Does your blog design gel with your personal brand?

1. Yes, it’s obvious that it’s mine – 2%

2. Somewhat, I think it’s a decent reflection – 58%

3. No, it’s just a generic template – 40%

My Thoughts: It seems the majority of you (about 60%) have put at least some thought into your blog design. Good for you. It’s important to remember that as much as content might be king, design should never be overlooked.

The biggest missed opportunity in blog design is the lack of branding. It takes only a few extra minutes to incorporate your logo or signature colors into the banners and headlines (same with your Twitter page—if you have one) to set yourself apart from the competition. A few other suggestions?

  • Make sure your logo or tagline plays a prominent role as soon as the page appears.
  • Stick with the same colors and fonts as your website, brochure or business cards, (no need to look like a twin sister, but it should look like a family member).
  • Be organized in the way you think out placement of buttons such as “search” or “archives” and make sure they are easily spotted.
  • Make sure headlines look like headlines and not simply blocks of copy and use links or quotes to enhance the readability of your posts. 

I recently came across this quote from Michael Martin of Pro Blog Design and thought it made a great point about balancing content and design:

People come to your blog to read articles and the easier they are to read, the better. A design that obscures the content will only turn visitors away.

Black Pearl: For more on increasing the readability of your blog from a design point of view, here’s the rest of Mr. Martin’s article "30 Ways to Improve Readability." It’s a short post but includes a lot of solid, smart, simple advice for bloggers.