A hot topic among blogging designers is whether or not to create custom blog post designs. If you are unfamiliar with the concept behind custom blog post designs, check out HeartDirected.com, a recent gallery site started by DesignInformer.com‘s Jad Limcaco. Custom designed blog posts can be a great addition to any blog, but I also started thinking the other day about a few setbacks that custom post designs might pose for blogging designers. Below I have compiled a few Pros and Cons on the issue. After reading through them be sure to let us know how you feel about custom blog post designs.
In defense of custom blog post designs (pros):
They look better
Perhaps the most obvious reason in support of a custom-designed blog post, when a blogger takes time to create a custom style sheet for his post, it is more visually appealing. This also helps frequent blog readers overcome boredom sometimes caused by monotony. It also allows for the blogger, usually a designer as well, to experiment with new design techniques.
They make it easier to organize information
Many times, a custom blog post can help you organize the specific information found in your article. Many times, you would prefer to use custom columns, text-wrapping, or other techniques to help readers understand your message more easily.
They help you communicate more deeply
In addition to helping you organize information, a custom blog post design can help you emphasize certain phrases, elements, or main points. In addition, using custom colors, graphics and layout styles can help you communicate a distinct message with each blog post. Designers are visual learner and tend to also be visual teachers. If you can get a message across visually as well as in writing, you will be more successful.
They help avoid monotony
Many times your readers can get bored with the look of your blog. Adding custom post designs will break the monotony and make the reading experience more entertaining and memorable.
In defense of blog post consistency (cons)
They weaken branding
When you are constantly designing custom templates for each blog post, readers may not even realize they have visited your site before. This can be very detrimental to your branding strategy–which could be potentially harmful to new design blogs especially.
They provide less consistency
People naturally enjoy consistency. The like to know what they are going to get. By keeping your design consistent, you invite your readers to be more comfortable while reading your blog.
They allow readers to concentrate on content
Without any fancy custom designs, you and your readers can focus on the textual content that your blog provides. This helps you spend more time creating compelling and interesting content for your loyal readers.
They take more time to create
If you thought blogging in general was time consuming, try creating a custom post design for each article that you write. Depending on your skills with CSS and wordpress, your custom post could take as much as three or four times as long to complete.
They hurt your advertisers
Unless you can find a way to incorporate your blog advertisements in to your custom post design, your advertisers are taking a painful hit when you use custom blog post designs. While advertising may not be the primary focus behind your blog, those that depend on advertisers to keep their blog alive should consider the disservice they are doing for their advertisers when they create custom post designs.
They make your navigation suffer
A custom post design means many times you steer away from the traditional navigation of your site. Whether your readers are used to finding links in your sidebar, in the top navigation, or elsewhere, they will have a hard time navigating your site once you change the appearance for each post.
They involve a steep learning curve
Creating custom blog post designs for popular CMSs like wordpress, typekit, or blogger, are extremely difficult. While wordpress might be the most simple to understand due to the plugins available, you still need a firm understanding of how your wordpress theme works and how the plugin affects the appearance.
So what should you do?
After reading this article perhaps you are still asking yourself what you should do on your design blog: custom designed posts or consistency. The correct answer is: there is no correct answer. You have to do what fits your style, the purpose of you blog, the goals you have for your blog, etc. Ultimately you have to ask yourself: “Is what I am doing on my blog going to help me reach my goals?”
Let us know what you decide to do and why by contributing to the conversation.