I personally prefer one column themes with a minimal second column. Most information that is put on my sidebar(s) is extraneous and could be placed elsewhere. I have also found that some of that information deters from the original content of the blog. The landing page concept is nice for search engine traffic where extra links and information on the content might help you draw in the user to explore some more. However, the face of the blog is cleaner and chock full of good stuff to read with lesser distractions.
He asks his readers what they think. What do you think?
I believe that above everything else, your blog must “look” like what you want it to look like. It must reflect who you are and what you blog about. The choice of how many sidebars the blog requires must service those points.
The single most important feature on your blog is the navigation. Today’s web visitor rarely enters through the front door of your blog. They come in through your posts. As important as the blog title, post title, content, and other contextual information is, if the visitor cannot move where they arrive to other places on your blog, how will they ever know of all the other wonderful things you have done here?
The sidebar is a critical player in generating that movement.
It’s true that navigational links can be in the header, which often feature core links are like Pages and categories. Yes, there is a new trend to stuff all your links into your footer, but who really ever scrolls down that far? Honestly? Critical navigation links in your blog’s footer are often overlooked.
How many links do you need in your sidebar to achieve the navigational aids your blog needs? And how much other stuff will you be cramming into your sidebar?
The more crap in your sidebar, the longer it is. Thus a two sidebar system (3 column) might be a better choice so you can spread your stuff around.
One of the commenters said they like the 3 column layout because they have a 20-inch monitor and they like the wide format. That’s nice, but self-serving. It doesn’t take into account the millions of Internet users still stuck at 800×600 screen views. Yes, the number of wide screen and higher resolution users are increasing, faster than ever before, but what do your readers use and where are they coming from? It’s critical to take your readers’ needs into consideration when planning and choosing your blog design.
Much of the world is still using technology from 5 or more years ago. It’s just too expensive to upgrade hardware and software when your paycheck is equivalent to USD $100 a month, or less. In many places in Europe and the Middle East, I’ve seen fast and powerful CPUs connected to monitors left over from the Windows 95 wave. Getting anything beyond 800×600 is a miracle. These folks aren’t into huge screens or lots of colors. They want access to the web for the information, not the pretty blogs.
Check your blog stats. Do you have screen resolution, location, and other information that tells you more about what technology your visitors are using. If most of your readers arrive on your blog with the latest and greatest technology, then cater to them. If they don’t, don’t.
Make your blog design and layout meet their needs.
So, how many columns work best for blogs? I think it’s the number that works for the blog and the blog design while providing the most usable access to the content on the blog.
What do you think? Do you have a preference?
- Navigating Your WordPress Site
- WordPress Design Details
- Designing a Rainbow – Sexy Hot Colors
- CSS Bar Graphs and Charts
- Rules of Smart and Successful Web Development and Web Design
- Usability Isn’t Expensive. It’s Practical. Usability is Useful.
- A Study on the Art of a Well-Designed Weblog
- In Search of the Perfect Layout
- When the Blog Breaks: Fixing Your Broken Blog
- CSS and Web Page Design List of Resources
- Attention WordPress Theme Designers: Designing Themes for WordPressMU
- Designing Themes for WordPressMU – Fill In All The Details
- WordPress Theme Designers: Slapping You Upside the Head
- WordPress Design Details
- CSS: Studying Your CSS Styles
- Finding Your CSS Styles in WordPress
- My WordPress Theme is Broken
- The Secret of Successful Editing of WordPress Themes
- Designing a WordPress Theme From Scratch
- Designing a WordPress Theme – Building a Sandbox
Site Search Tags: web design, web page design, blog design, design columns, wordpress theme, design tips, design advice, web design tips, designing your blog, how many columns, sidebar, sidebar tips
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network Subscribe Subscribe by Email