Whether you’re building your own site or tweaking an existing theme, here are some easy things to keep in mind!
1. Commit To Your Aesthetic
A basic rule of thumb is to pick an aesthetic and stick to it! Commit to it and don’t pussyfoot around. This also means making sure that all your elements are cohesive and look as though they’re a part of the same theme.
This isn’t to say you can’t mix aesthetics (i.e. if you want something both feminine and modern, it’s perfectly do-able). But you have to keep that in mind and make sure all the elements reflect that, and belong together. Fonts should be kept to a minimum and work well together.
Cohesion is key.
2. Make Text Easy To Read
Your font should be at least 16 pt. Remember that small font sizes are even harder to read on a tablet or phone, and more and more people are going to be viewing your site on mobile.
Keep each line of text between 15 to 20 words, and make sure to air them out using an appropriate line height.
3. Use Color (Strategically)
Color adds a lot. You can use a unique color palette to make your site memorable.
Another way of using color to your advantage is sparingly adding a pop of color to the elements you want to bring attention to. If you choose to do this, the rest of your color palette should be neutral.
4. Keep Navigation Simple
Your navigation should be in an obvious spot and feel intuitive. Confusing navigation will make most users bounce.
Only what’s strictly essential should be a part of your main navigation, so make sure your items are narrowed down and keep it simple!
5. Don’t Forget Negative Space
Use negative (or white) space as part of your design.
Give the elements room to breathe so they don’t feel cramped together. Space everything out appropriately using margins, padding, line height, or in some cases letter spacing.
6. Make It Responsive
This should be a given, but absolutely make sure that your design is responsive!
Over 50% of my readers are on a mobile device. The number of tablet-users exploded within the past couple of years, and continues to grow.
If your design doesn’t adapt to tablets or phones, not only will it make a bad impression and be unreadable by many, but your site won’t show up on Google to non-desktop-users.
7. Customize It
Customize more than is required. Make the headings, quotations, and lists stand out using unique elements that are cohesive with your design.
Tweaking the CSS to make them special is enough, but also consider creating your own graphics!