Well, maybe not one of those items.
I want you to grab a piece of paper and load up the front page of your site in a browser. Zoom in so you can really see it up close and personal.
Title the first list “Front Page” and start counting every design element, navigation block, text blog, every widget, call to action, and graphic you can see on the front page of the site. Inside and around the content.
Don’t count words. Count visuals. What catches your eye. For multiple post pageviews, count each post. Add it to the list.
If your site has a static front page, when you are done, move to the blog page and title a column “Blog” and start counting.
If you feel creative, instead of making a list, print out each pageview and number each visual element. Note that not all graphic design elements on a web page will print, so your print version may look different from the browser view.
One you have your list, group like items together. You may have one element in multiple groups.
For example, in my article, “Blog Exercises: To Comment or Not to Comment,” I came up with the following totals.
- Logos: 4
- Badges: 14
- Social Icons: 13
- Navigation blocks/lists: 11
- Calls to Action: 22
- Graphic Design Elements: 30
- Lists: 10
- Posts: 1
- Headings: 11
Here is a breakdown of how I counted all the pieces.
- Logos: I counted my main logo, the two Blog Exercises logo/badges, and my signature as logos as they represent my site’s identity.
- Badges: Badges are the logo-like badges I use to promote article topics and series such as Blog Exercises and the various article series in my sidebar.
- Social Icons: There are social media icons in the sidebar, signature, and feeds in my sidebar. The social media icons at the bottom of my posts were not counted. I’ve designed them to sit under a drop down menu, so the menu item got one point in my score card list as the icons aren’t visible by default.
- Navigation Blocks: Navigation blocks on my site consist of the list of Pages and key information in the sidebar, the various nav lists in the sidebar including categories and links to popular posts, etc., and the list of categories and tags at the bottom of the post in the post meta data section, and the list of related posts in the post content.
- Calls to Action: Calls to Action are graphic elements to encourage a reader to take action on the web page, to direct them to a specific action that rewards me, and hopefully them. The Calls to Action on that post are the Classes and Workshops and Books links, promoting my classes and books, the badges featuring article topics and series encouraging visitors to check them out, the email subscription, feed icons, social media “Reach Out and Touch Someone Social” menu, Like This, the “Thank You to Lorelle” graphic that links to my Amazon Wish List (just in case you’d like to show your appreciation for all my hard work – pain, suffering, worn to the bone blogging… ), and the incoming feeds from my other sites in the sidebar.
- Graphic Design Elements: Not including my logo, I counted 30 graphic design elements on that post. Most of these are the hurricane spiral graphic found in my headings. I also counted the blockquotes and their graphic, background teal color, and the gradient color in the content area (did you even notice that?).
- Lists: I counted only 10 lists on this post and in my design, distinctive visual blocks of information. Some of my posts have many more, so this is a number that will change depending upon the pageview.
- Posts: As this is a single post pageview, there is only one post in view.
- Headings: Headings are your post title, subtitles in your post, and the titles of sections in your sidebar. They are visual design elements, too.
I’ve done this before but this time frightened me. The numbers felt huge. I’m going to go through my site and make some serious changes soon. What about you?
Your blog exercise is to count all the visual design elements on each major pageview of your site and examine the results.
Is there a point when the count represents too many? Too few?
That’s up to you. Unless you investigate all the parts and pieces of your site, it’s hard to know how many is too many or too few.
Re-examine the purpose of your site and reason for blogging. Remember I told you that every pixel matters on your site.Every word, every graphic, every color, everything matters on your site. It conveys a message to your readers that this is the place with the answers.
Does every item on your list send that message? Does it shout or whisper? Does it work as a single message or does it need the whole crowd of design elements to sing together as a choir?
There are no right or wrong answers in this blog exercise. There is only site, and self, examination.
I’d love to hear about your score cards and your observations on the results.