This series has introduced you to the ten Cs of blogging, a framework to bring you one step closer to the blog you have always wanted. In earlier posts, Consistency, Continuity, Community, Content, and Comments have been reviewed. Each of these concepts focused on practical aspects of blogging that can be applied to any type of blog, art or otherwise. Today we turn our attention to an aspect that is particularly integral to art blogs: Composition.
In general, composition refers to the arrangement of the visual elements within a piece of art. A viewer is drawn in by an effective composition, which also serves to direct the viewer’s eyes to the different components of the artwork. In terms of blogs, composition relates to the visual design of your site. As the portal to your artwork and to what there is to learn about you as the artist, it makes intuitive sense that the design of your blog ought to reflect your creative aesthetic and be visually inviting and compelling. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and the look of your blog says it all.
In my survey, 97% of respondents said that they notice the physical composition of the art blogs that they visit and 38% described that aspect as very important to them. Interestingly, nearly 20% said that the design of the blog determines whether they actually visit or not. Given these numbers, now is the time to take a critical look at your blog’s composition. With all the talk of branding these days, you want the choices you make in designing your blog to represent you as an artist, differentiate you from others, and invite the viewer in.
There are many options for site composition within every blogging platform. You do not have to know much about code to be able to quickly and easily create a design that meets your individual needs. As a start, consider the following elements: banner image, background and text color, font design and size, column number, image size, and sidebar content. There are literally an endless number of combinations that you can create but the most important combination is one that reflects and appeals to you.
Two aspects of composition bear highlighting. The first is the sidebar of the blog—valuable real estate that all too often goes unnoticed. In the survey, 70% of respondents look through the sidebar less than half the times they visit and 16% never look at all. Find ways to make the sidebar a must-visit part of your blog by making it visually appealing, providing good content, and adding an interactive element.
The second aspect worth addressing is not visual at all but rather auditory: the use of background music. 57% of those surveyed say they dislike hearing music playing and typically press the mute button and an additional 23% dislike it and simply leave the blog. Again, make the choice that you are comfortable with but keep these statistics in mind as you chose.
Homework: Find a blog buddy, another blogger whose creative style resonates with yours, whom you’ve gotten to know, and whom you feel you can trust. Each of you should then place a critical (but constructive and loving) eye on the other’s blog site and (gently) trade feedback. Notice that the font might be too small for many eyes? Mention that. Not enough visual space between items on the sidebar? Share that. If you decide to do this, be open to the suggestions made but in the end, go with own gut. It is after all, Your Blog, Your Way.
Next month: Censoring
You can listen to a podcast with Seth right here.
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