Blog Design – How the Top 50 Look

Smashing Magazine has published a two-part study in which they analyzed the design choices of the 50 most popular blogs (according to Technorati):

True to the name of our blog, I’m going to take look at a handful of writing-related trends this study found:

  • 76% had no ads in the articles. This finding seems like common sense to me.  If a blog is how we maintain a conversation, a mid-post sales pitch might “ruin the mood.”
  • More than 50% show between 10 and 18 posts on their start page.   This number of posts seems just right.  Too many posts and readers are scrolling endlessly; too few posts and readers are clicking endlessly. 
  • 34% used 85-94 characters per line. While this number of characters may seem longish, it’s consistent with a 2005 usability study that found readers are able to read long lines faster than they read short lines.  Given that many blog subscribers scan, these longer lines help.
  • 98% of the top blogs used dark text on a white background.  And so they should.

Do you like how our blog looks?  Send your feedback – we can take it! We think it looks great.  Many thanks to Kim Bieler Graphic Design for our blog’s logo and to photographer Michael G. Stewart for the glamorous headshots!

(And another thanks to Chris Raymond for posting to the DC Web Women list about this Smashing Magazine design study.)

–Leslie O’Flahavan

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