How To Design A Blog That Converts

How To Design A Blog That Converts

How to design a blog? No, I am not going to teach HTML and CSS here. But hang on you’ve got some juicy stuff in this post.

First impression – it matters a lot.

I can clearly remember my first encounter with any person. Its hard for me to forget if the impression they made is bad, ,especially.

If someone “wow”ed me on our first meet, sure the person is gonna be my friend as long as possible.

First impression is that chance you get to express yourself.

If you make it bad you’re gonna appear bad for the person you encountered; it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad in real life.


Why am I telling this to you? A lot of my blog readers ask me: How to design a blog?

Your blog’s design will help you make that good (or bad) impression about your business to someone who visits it for the first time. No your content won’t.

I know, you believe that content is king. It is indeed.

But, will the king be recognized if he is dressed in a sack cloth with no ornaments, no crown and is walking by the road side, alone?

A king will only be recognized as a “King” if he appears in his own costumes and as a king.

So is your blog. You have to do justice to your awesome content (assuming you create awesome content) by supporting it with a clean and a professional design that “wow”s your readers.

I am going to discuss below a few important factors you should consider for an amazing blog design that will wow your readers and convert them. I am going in, straight to the point.

Design a clean blog

Clean blog design

Think this is a no-brainer? If so, just do some random browsing on the internet to find blogs in various niches and tell me what percent of them have a clean design!

All the content is treated with very less respect; that’s all I can say!

Now, go back to your blog and take a closer look. Step aside. Forget that it is your own blog. Visit it as one of your casual readers. Are you amazed by the clean design?

If you think that every ad banner that makes a few pennies per month is so important, think again.

You are missing that great opportunity to showcase your great content and capture leads. You are missing out on conversions!

Here are the simple things you can do to maintain a clean and a professional blog:

1. Get a professional theme like Thesis or Genesis. Free themes are usually clumsy.2. Reduce the number of ads. In most cases, this will solve the problem altogether.

3. Reduce the number of details, especially on your homepage.

4. Pay attention to your sidebar. Remove those unnecessary widgets.

5. Give importance to your content and let the rest stay aside.

Design a blog that assists easy navigation

No, I am not talking about placing one or two navigation bars in your blog. Although that is pretty much needed for most blogs/websites.

I am talking about the EASE of navigating through your blog.

If a reader ends up in one of your blog posts, deep inside your blog (say, from a search engine), would he/she be able to navigate to other important pages of your blog?

If the reader wants to know more about you, he/she will look for a link to your About page. Is there a link to your About page on all your pages?

Similarly, are there links to Contact, Home, Blog pages?

And if you have any money-making pages that are important for conversion, can your visitors get to that page from any page on your blog?

Go back to your blog and analyze.

Will this WOW your readers? Yes, because they will have an amazing user experience if you design your blog in a way that your readers are not left confused.

A confused reader will only bounce off. Don’t forget the “ease of navigation element” in your blog design.

Design your blog to convert

I’ve saved the most important for the last. Almost 50% of the blog audits or consultations I do are from clients who want their blog to convert.

Most of them say: I get XXXK hits on my blog per month. This is a huge number. But I am not getting even 1% of them to be my clients. I am not generating income.

Lesson: Traffic is NOT equal to money. Your ability to convert that traffic will show you the money.

While there are a handful of aspects that will contribute to conversion, one of the most crucial factors is your blog design.

And this is one of the easiest factors that can be implemented once and be forgotten. Your blog design will work for you 24/7 to get you clients and business (assuming you have awesome content in there!).

Naturally, a blog that is designed to convert will offer the user/reader a great experience.

Such a blog will cut down the BS, offer great value to the readers and will direct them to action points (without leaving them confused).

It is a win-win.

In my opinion, a blog that cuts off the BS and teaches people something valuable will wow the reader and will help with great conversion.

So how can you implement this in your blog design?

1. Have clear call to actions. Make them enticing. Make them un-annoying, yet enticing enough for the reader to click through. And, oh, don’t forget to make them beautiful. Two plugins will help you on this (i) Immediate List Building Pro (read my review), and (ii) Optin Skin.

2. Create specific landing pages for specific purposes and design those pages such that they have only one purpose. For instance, if you have an email optin page, let that page serve ONE purpose – to make people optin to your list. Don’t add adverts, put up a sidebar and sell your video course on that page.

3. Stand out from the crowd. Make your blog unique in terms of design. People will easily remember you.

In short, a blog that is designed to convert will cut off the flab and get to the point. That’s what most readers consider to be amazing, including myself.

How to design a blog: Takeaway

While you could have read numerous posts on how to design a blog, I’m sure you’ve picked up one, two or three unique tips from this post.

Most of these tips are simple, but they’re very effective.

And it wouldn’t have occurred to you that a clean blog, a blog that assists easy navigation and a blog that is designed to convert will have to be incorporated into your blog design.

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  1. KoundeenyaKoundeenya says

    Having an opt in form placed in the right folds can really help us with conversions. Besides, call to action buttons and how we guide them, makes them do accordingly.

    I recently found out “Welcome Gates”, a beautiful and free plugin to grow lists. It is just so awesome and useful.

    Thank you

  2. SamuelSamuel says

    Good stuff there Jane!

    Design is the other side of conversion :)

    Conversion should be on the mind of the blogger all of the time and he should be tweaking his blog all of the time to optimize his conversion.

    I like your suggestion of themes!

  3. SamSam says

    Thanks for sharing these all tips for make a clean and useful blog for your readers and if your blog is useful for readers only then if you will use original content.

  4. Vishnu AniyanVishnu Aniyan says

    Well i was thinking to Re-design my blog.
    Just perfect time to read this very informative post. Thanks JANE :-)
    As you have said i am trying to create a new blog design that assists easy to navigation and to convert .
    Hope to complete it’s work before end of this month.

  5. Harleena Singh says

    Always love the info shared Jane!

    Yes indeed, you answered a question most people would be asking, and there can be no one better than you for doing so. :)

    I too have been playing with the design of my blog and am trying to make a few changes because I believe one should keep trying out different things till they suit you and your readers – isn’t it?

    I agree with the clean-clear look and I noticed the changes you made to your blog too. I guess the reading becomes easier when you have a clear looking blog and if the navigation is easy too. Having a unique or different looking blog helps indeed. I’ve yet to check out the two plugins you mentioned, which I would soon do.

    Thanks for sharing. :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Blog Anniversary – Making Merry this Christmas and New YearMy Profile

    • Jane Sheeba says

      Yes Harleena, when you focus on a cleaner design, you do your content great justice. You are able to present your work/expertise to your readers without distracting them – and in my opinion, this is a very crucial thing!

  6. GoodTraderGoodTrader says

    Ensure that the blog visitor has a good experience and want to return is crucial to get the conversion. We need to establish a relationship of trust with the visitor to facilitate conversion and a clean design makes it easier.

    • Jane Sheeba says

      Yes exactly – with a cleaner and a user friendly design it becomes SO easy to establish relationships (of course, top-notch content is another crucial factor here).

  7. Gaori Agarawal says

    Hi Jane,
    I totally agree with your point about the importance of a clean blog design. Whenever I visit a site and see too many ads and banners and constant pop ups, my instinctive reaction is to go for the cancel tab!
    On the other hand, if a site has a clean and pleasant design, one is more likely to hang around to explore more. Since it comes across as being ‘reader centric’ , one is more likely to opt in for subscriptions or recommendations.
    Gaori Agarawal recently posted..Are You The ‘Work From Home’ Type?My Profile

    • Jane Sheeba says

      Yes Goari – whenever your blog’s design annoys your readers, you have to work really hard in vain to make them stick with you – let alone converting them!

    • Jane Sheeba says

      The coolest thing about blending your design with your goals is that you can seamlessly convey your value prop to your readers without putting much effort into it – you can easily blend it in your design.

  8. Claudinei says

    Great content Jane!

    Sure I have a lot of work to be done to let my website better for convertions! I have recently joined a multilevel company here in Brazil and I am very interested in learn how to attract and convert people to my opportunity!

    Thank you for this so important article.

  9. SireSire says

    I personally don’t like Thesis because you need to learn Hooks to be able to use it’s full potential. I still use it for one of my blogs because I don’t like to waste my money. I prefer the theme I’m now using so much I use it for all my blogs, other than the one that uses Thesis 😉

    I do agree though that a professionally designed theme is important because it’s so much better to have one that makes you stand out from the crowd.

  10. igbalaye Olayemiigbalaye Olayemi says

    One of the thing that can bring success to a particular blog is the designing and must be properly done because that’s what your readers or visitors will see in the first instance and this will make them to proceed to read your posts and even come back for more.

  11. BogdanBogdan says

    Indeed, the design do matter. That’s why Premium Themes are sold that well, and that’s why web design is still a profitable business.
    Regarding the number of ads, I think is OK to display as many as needed, as long as they don’t interfere with the reader. I mean, if they are displayed on a sidebar, not within the text itself.

  12. Sarah ParkSarah Park says

    Wonderful post Jane! It is never easy to start in this business since there are a lot of competitors to beat. But with proper knowledge, and of course, good quality articles things will eventually turn out okay.

  13. Prateek Bansal says

    The way you have written the Post is something what all Bloggers must do. People think that adsense is the only way to make money from Blogging. If we know how to make a conversion Page and make money from selling Products then we can make 100 times more money then adsense or any other advertisement.

  14. Khaja moinKhaja moin says

    Agree that design is very essential for a blog. And it must be tried lot`s of time. What I see is bloggers select the color which they like and make it live.
    Color matters more when you`re trying to get leads.
    You need to try with different colors, track them and compare them altogether.
    For this GA is not enough, if you`re very serious about blogging business then get Clicky or anyother tool which can give more info about users movement.

    I started my day reading a post on A/B testing :)


  15. SonaliSonali says

    I am designing my own website and I find this selection so inspiring! I love the newer looks that are a little grungy and where the elements and icons to select are in unexpected places.

  16. RaviRavi says

    Designing a Clean Blog obviously attract Visitors as it seems that Author has spent time and money for it and hence readers think that Articles will be Genuine. So readers Engagement increases.

  17. JuliaJulia says

    So, clean design is one of the factor to convert best.
    May I ask your opinion Jane? what do you think about mine?
    If there is something I need to add maybe or something I need to change. I would love to know a word from someone like you Jane.
    Thank you Jane.

  18. Eric says

    Yes a well designed theme is a must! like you shared first impressions are everything. I really think that Genesis is the way to go. I really enjoyed your last 3 points to have a clear call to action, create landing pages, and stand out from the crowd!

    Thanks for sharing,


  19. Harish KrishnaHarish Krishna says

    As a blogger, I personally expect elegance in the design. Though the site doesn’t have much loaded CSS or so forth, clean design is always catchy. Nice one Jane!

  20. PankajPankaj says

    Really useful tips, Certainly tips are quite simple and normal but generally works great to have a nice looking blog. After all first impression is the last impression.

  21. PoonamPoonam says

    Hi Jane
    It is extremely interesting for me to read that post. Thanks the author for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.
    Thanks for post it.

  22. RaviRavi says

    Keeping BLog Design Clean and Easily readable Content works for Me. Most of the new visitors gets attracted by Blog Templates and I have observed it

  23. Carissa Dunphy says

    Excellent tips! The first impression is the most important. There are so many websites now that if you give a bad first impression in any way, the visitor will just go to another site. Very important!

  24. susan boylesusan boyle says

    I started with PLR products I used to sell them without any tweak or changes. Giving away such free reports from website or in JV give away programs can easily build large email list which can be used to promote your main PLR package, Click Bank Products or CPA network offers.

  25. Priya NPriya N says

    Blog design is really an important part here & you have explained this very well with the example. I love thesis them & I use it on most of my blog because its very easy to create sites with this. Although it comes at a high cost but you can also consider other themes like Genesis as you have mentioned.
    Thanks Jane for explaining this.

  26. harshitharshit says

    this is really a great post jane, i am also facing the same issue with my blog. I experimented some themes on my blog but not happy till now my blog is about various topics any suggestion you have.

  27. PatrikPatrik says

    Navigation as well as conversion indeed is the name of the game. Blogging is never easy affair especially for those who are tyros like me. This indeed in an eye opener and I can continue with the game as detailed so authoritatively by you

  28. Neil ButterfieldNeil Butterfield says

    Nice post Jane. You certainly walk the walk and talk the talk judging by the look and feel of your blog :-)

  29. Disha SharmaDisha Sharma says

    Good & well designing matter for a Blog. I do see another blogs & specially blog themes than I came to know what kind of blog design should be.

  30. christinachristina says

    Social media has really become important in search engine optimizations. I thinks it cool because it’s a way to get to real people.

    Read more: When Social Media SEO Strategies Toe the Black Hat Territory

  31. LeeLee says

    Hi Jane I am in the process of trying to tweak my blog now. I have been mainly trying to get it to rank and it is starting to do ok that way. Now I want to try and monetize it so your post has been very helpful. Will go back and see what I can improve.

    Thanks lee

  32. AaynaAayna says

    A brilliant post!! These are great tips which can certainly aid in creating an amazing blog. A minute alteration in the design of the blog is capable of refreshing the look of the blog and provide the readers a pleasant change. Thanks for the share.

  33. Fatima says

    I really appreciate how you have explained all tips in a very concise manner; helpful indeed! Web designs have to be appealing and catchy. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Sai Charan says

    Hi Jane
    i thought to tweak by blog bit and this post will really help me
    Few bloggers wont consider our blog theme as a criteria to attract readers, but it does matters a lot.

  35. Amal RafeeqAmal Rafeeq says

    Hi Jane.
    You made me realize that I actually had a bunch of useless and even annoying widgets in my sidebar. I really liked the part where you used “The King” as an example.
    Well written :)
    And Good Luck to you!

  36. Michael KohnMichael Kohn says

    Thank you for your tips Jane..I’ always looking to build clean blogs, but sometimes I need a third parties judge to wake up!!

  37. JamieJamie says

    Great tips to remember Jane. Clean designs and easy navigation are definitely important, that’s for sure !


  38. rangaranga says

    I think blog design is not a one shot outcome especially for newbies. It takes time to come out with a nice design. It is a multi-trial and error effort and requires frequent changes to arrive at unique and well designed blog…Thanx..

  39. Rahul KuntalaRahul Kuntala says

    I definitely agree with your point Jane, design matters A LOT to impress the first time visitors.

    There’s no other way to quickly build a great impression on the online readers except having an alluring blog design (which you and me have ;)).

    Two cents from my side: “Great design is the simple design”, don’t clutter it by using too many widgets under the sun and make it unique by using top notch fonts.

  40. LeeLee says

    Hi Jane
    Have read this post a couple of times now I have been getting I creased traffic to my blog but not really the increase in revenue that I would of hoped. So it is time for a few changes definatly going to have a look at my landing pages as I had only set them up to encourage people on my blog and hadn’t really optimised them.

    So for great info thanks lee

  41. sunilsunil says

    nice post above how the new blog is design . I fully agree with the fact that 1st impression is last impression and 1st impression must be impressive. in above post i like your content as well as font of your blog compare to other blog

    recently posted anandmaratha

  42. CristiCristi says

    Well yeah totally agree with your points. Design of a blog is very important because whenever every new visitor visits a blog first thing he/she could recognize is its design. In simple we can say first impression is best impression.

    thanks for the tips.

  43. MattMatt says

    Hey Jane !
    Blog design is very important for conversion, indeed.
    You have shared awesome concept in this post. I just want to add one more thing that design should be changed with the passage of time. I am not talking about the change of the whole design and aesthetic, I am talking about a little bit change in design, just like facebook which has changed the design of profile and added timeline instead.
    Nice Idea you have shared.

  44. SudiptoSudipto says

    Hey Jane,
    Nice post with great information and I totally agree with you that design is one the important part of a successful blog and it helps to attracts readers to our blog. Thanks for sharing this post.

  45. Deepak MehraDeepak Mehra says

    Hi Jane,

    I like your article. these all the technique of blogging really impressive and useful for me.

    Thanks for share with me!!

  46. Ivan VucicIvan Vucic says

    Thank you for the input into designing blog, i used simple clean theme for my blog and i am going to build from there.

  47. deepakdeepak says

    Hi Jane,

    This is nice and attractive post. I like your skills of given the detail knowledge about designing..

    Thanks for share with me!!

  48. SarahSarah says

    Excellent post. You really dialed that in. It’s the simple principles that worked for people that have already been where we are heading and desire to be that we should pay close attention to.Thanks for keeping it real and I always look forward to your next post!

  49. Jason WrightJason Wright says

    Content is king, but just having content is not enough. Your site has to be easily navigable, and content too should be easily readable. And after all these, the readers must identify themselves with the content and the viewpoint of the author.

  50. AndersonAnderson says

    I really enjoyed this fantastic post, I used to think that “content is king “, but after reading your article now i have come to know that the importance of designing :) Simple .. without dressing king is nothing and same as like that without designing content is nothing! Thanks for sharing this post!

  51. Larry Irvine says

    Jane -> you are just too wicked: That image at the top of your post with the word juicy in italics right by it was not fair!
    Anyway, I have gotten a bunch of mileage out of a couple other theme packages over the last few years: ithemes and weaver pro. Mostly weaver pro lately because it is SO modifiable.
    Great post AND images!
    Larry Irvine recently posted..New Irvine’s Auto Repair WebsiteMy Profile

  52. DishaDisha says

    Hi Jane Sheeba, I recently create my WordPress blog (website) but I am in trouble. Actually I have some issue with my blog ! I want to install a good looking WordPress theme but I am not getting any sources from where I can download & install WordPress theme in my blog. Please share your experience Jane & tell us how to download install WordPress theme.

  53. Vivek Baghel says

    Hi this is really inspirational post. I have a WordPress Blog & I just install WordPress theme so my blog just look okay. Now I’m really happy to know Design a Blog & Now I’m going to try this :)

  54. Ruthida Namubiru says

    Hello Jane,

    I came to your page through a blog comment on my blog. I must say I have enjoyed reading your posts. Being a blogger myself, I appreciate the value you are sharing with us.

    This particular post about blog post about design is very good. Much as the content on the blog matters, the visual aspect should be appealing too such that one would want to stay longer and even come back another time.

    Thanks again,

  55. piyush001piyush001 says

    its a mind blowing article.. and you also provide a awesome look for your blog.. so on my opinion blog designing is really good for blogs health and also give a attractive look on it..

  56. Edgar WilliamsonEdgar Williamson says

    Face value is an important aspect in blogging. It will only have two effects, whether it will attract the reader at first look or it will annoy the reader and click the quit button. So as a blogger, the design must be appropriate and attractive to the readers.

  57. Vivek says

    Hi Jane,
    Blog design is important & necessary ! I do have seen many blog those have same blogs theme which looks really embarrassing ! so Blog design is must & i think Blog design should be attractive & unique than others.

  58. Hannah says

    Design is necessary for all bloggers guys. If a person want to make a blogger then first he thought about blogger design. Design play very important roll.

  59. Adam Dukes says

    Some great points. I am from the camp where “less is more” for blogs. My site is plain with a lot of white. I took off the sidebar on my blog posts, but am thinking of adding it back on. I didn’t want them to be distracted reading my post, but I am not getting the opt-ins I would like with the traffic I am generating.

  60. shakaibshakaib says

    Another awesome article Jane Sheeba, really informative! I think a blog with an SEO friendly design can be a success factor for any blogger. Just to get an SEO friendly and attractive design theme, I changed my theme 4 to 5 times and now I am happy with it.

  61. Gouri Shanker says

    Having a clear design with right contents really helps a lot in converting traffic into money . And your wrtting style is also have to be unique as well as having a different call to action phrase really does help .

  62. Jane BrownJane Brown says


    Your blog theme should unique and content should be useful and helpful for the readers as it attracts the readers.

    Jane Brown

  63. Alia says

    Having a good and clean blog theme has played a crucial role in bringing more traffic as some of blogs are having such a design that everyone likes to visit it again and again. Isn’t it ?

  64. Ritu says

    Your post is very Nice. thanks for shearing I have a WordPress Blog & I just install WordPress theme so my blog just look okay.This particular post about blog post about design is very good. Much as the content on the blog matters, i think Blog design should be attractive & unique than others.

  65. James Dazouloute says

    Thank You So Much Jane For Posting This! None of us who are Bloggers can ever get enough tips about Designing Our Blog. And I especially love the tip about control of your Ads. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on a Site with great content, but the Ads are at the top of the article, then in the middle, and then on the bottom and sides… And then the Ads scroll down with you. I Just Click Out And Away every time. Great Post, thank you again, James.

  66. Tharun says

    That madam that was really helpful to me. Previously I have been using a free theme. But you made to go for premium and thanks to your presentation. You reviled some important tips like first impression is best. Yes, visitors come from search engines but we don’t find on which page they are landing. So each and every page with quality content gives good impression. Thanks these would be considered as more informative post for me. Thanks again and thumbs up to PBS.
    Tharun recently posted..Create Password Protected Post in WordPress Without PluginMy Profile

  67. Syed AlySyed Aly says

    hello jane,

    After reading your post on how to design. I must say its worth to read all hot topics on your site. Its helping me alot. As you Queen of guest blogging, I love the way you explain Everything very simply .

  68. Aqib ShahzadAqib Shahzad says

    Hi Jane,
    You have shared Nice stuff here, a better design can helps us to get more sale and attract more readers towards our blog.

  69. Riya KhuranaRiya Khurana says

    i got surprised when i read line “w/o Html & CSS”,is it possible to make it..
    but after reading your article,i can say it can be possible…
    thanks for such a fantastic article…

  70. Swadhin Agrawal says

    ma’am thank you so much for this wonderful post that might end up helping many others like me but if you had some tips for people on blogspot blogs would be so kind . Ma’am I know this could take a toll on your most precious time but I would be really grateful if you visit my blog and give me your valuable suggestions. I really need an able guidance like yours.

  71. SidSid says

    Yea you are right. As for the layout i will recommend Genesis, as i think Genesis is far batter than Thesis, but it is slightly a lil bit difficult to configure, design and modify Genesis. Both have their own specific pro and cons. Everyone has his own point of view about both of them. What would you suggest?

  72. Harpal Singh says

    Nice tips. Most important factor that every designer should keep in mind is to “make the User Interface & Navigation user friendly”. The main content should be in focus so that user can find / get it easily. We should think for our users rather than just adding s & Java scripts.

  73. Anil Agarwal says

    Hi Jane,

    First impression is the last impression when it comes to capturing online audience attention.

    Without a doubt, having captivating design helps you grow your traffic, sales and traffic. I personally use and recommend search engine friendly designs like Genesis, Thesis etc. As they not only help you easily craft your design but also designed by the top coders to create a search friendly website.

    Great share as usual Jane.

  74. Archana says

    Hey Jane, I am a newbie and was thinking to start a blog but was very confused regarding what points I should be considering while designing a blog. As first impression is he last impression. I also want same for my blog aslo and your article helped me alot.

  75. Kamlesh Sharma says

    Yes indeed, you answered a question most people would be asking, and there can be no one better than you for doing so. :)
    I agree with the clean-clear look and I noticed the changes you made to your blog too. I guess the reading becomes easier when you have a clear looking blog and if the navigation is easy too. Having a unique or different looking blog helps indeed. I’ve yet to check out the two plugins you mentioned, which I would soon do.

    I too have been playing with the design of my blog and am trying to make a few changes because I believe one should keep trying out different things till they suit you and your readers – isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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