11 Blog Design Mistakes that are Stopping Your Readers from Engaging

11 Blog Design Mistakes that are Stopping Your Readers from Engaging

Blog design??
Does the design of my blog really matter?

It does.

Aside from aesthetics; good, organized blog will encourage your readers to engage with your content. This will ultimately result in more likes, comments, and even leads.

According to Blue Corona, 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.

It’s common sense.

If it’s still not convincing you on re-thinking about your blog design, then let me tell you about a research-

Elizabeth Sillence, Pam Briggs, Lesley Fishwick, Peter Harris did research on the ways in which people evaluate the trustworthiness of health information and advice that are found online.

(source of the real research)

Their main question was-

“Do different design and information content factors influence trust and mistrust of online health sites?”

They chose 15 women who were in various stages of the menopause. They were interested in finding more about their situation.

The researchers observed them while they were searching the internet for various information and advice for 4 weeks.

Participants reviewed different sites. They were asked which sites they found trusting and credible and which weren’t that good? And why?

The result was pretty amazing. The research shows that- “First impressions are 94% design-related.”

Which means whenever they were told to review a site, and what they thought about it at first?

Almost all the responses were design related.

design factors related to rejection of website

So, it’s clear that visual appeal and usability has a strong influence on the visitor’s first impression.

The same study featured content factors that were more important than design features to the participant based on which they described some sites as trustworthy and likable.

Content factors for trusted website

People use their first impression to decide whether or not they should look more into the site, then decide if one website is credible or not by it’s content.

Your blog should have both of these qualities.

It should have the visual appeal and also the content standard your readers are hoping for.

let’s talk about mistakes you are making with your blog design that is ruining the first impressions of your readers and ultimately driving them away from your website.

And I am willing to bet that you can’t go through these 11 things and not pick one mistake that you made in your blog design.

Unless you hired a pro who knows how to strategically design a site for better conversion rate and usability.

I am writing this blog post because I want you to know what are things right or not right for your blog. You’ll walk away with better knowledge of how to optimize your blog design to improve engagement and conversion.

11 mistakes at a glance:

  1. Your blog isn’t friends with mobile
  2. Content has no structure, just a block of text
  3. Lack of whitespace
  4. Your blog takes forever to load
  5. Your Content isn’t skimmable
  6. Readers can’t read your small text
  7. Popups popups popups, ew!
  8. No images
  9. Cluttered Sidebars
  10. Blog’s colors are too harsh on the eyes
  11. Too many advertisements, too many distractions

In more details here-

  1. Your Blog isn’t Friends with Mobile

Now, in 2019, I hope, I don’t have to convince you of the importance of making your website mobile-friendly.

According to Net Market ShareGoogle drives 96% of mobile search traffic, followed by Yahoo at 2% and Bing at 1%.

What’s more interesting, according to Chart Beat
Mobile users are much more engaging than a desktop user when it comes to visiting a new website and clicking through an article to read.

The data shows that- “the average mobile homepage visitor spends 40% more time actively engaging than their desktop counterpart (22 engaged seconds vs. 16 on the desktop).”

Chart Beat also mentions-

“Looking at clickthrough data used by our heads-up display, we saw that mobile homepage visitors click through to articles 68% of the time, compared to 57% on desktop. Whereas desktop homepage readers scroll more of the page but appear to be skimmers of content, mobile readers are more engaged in reading the homepage articles by clicking from the mobile homepage into content.”

mobile user vs desktop user
This tells us, the bloggers how important it is to make our blog responsive to mobile devices.

So, make sure your readers can easily read, scan and interact with your content in mobile devices. 

Now, it’s pretty standard to have mobile-friendliness feature in website themes. But you should check every time you make any changes.

2. Content has no structure, just a block of text

There is a misconception that people don’t read online anymore.

People do read, they don’t just read boring text.

If your content has no structure or a good flow to it.


Readers will come across your content and they will see a big block of text like this and they will bounce.

Because they will be like- nah! I don’t have time for this.

In an article of Impactbnd.com, Kaitlyn Petro wrote about a study that-

“15 minutes were given to some people to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.”

People are more likely to read well-structure, broken up text, paired with good visuals.

Because keeping readers engaged is important to blogging, you need to make sure you are giving them reasons to stay.

3. Lack of whitespace

When it comes to building something from scratch like a blog.

We tend to overthink everything.

  • We think we need the best, beautiful design for our blog.
  • The sidebar needs to 1 cm little closer to the content.
  • Navigation should have links to every page.
  • The home page should have everything because we don’t know what the visitor might like to see.
  • Colors everywhere.

    why meme


Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

The white space of the internet is a great tool, you can actually use it to your advantage.

You can manage and direct your visitor’s attention to the things that matter to you.

4. Your blog takes forever to load:

Slow loading time is the ultimate killer of your website’s conversion.

According to Google-
53% of visits are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.

You have worked so hard to create a blog post. But if it doesn’t load on time or takes too long to load, then all that work won’t see fruition.

You have to make sure that your page loads quickly.

Test your site load time here in these-


These websites also give you suggestions on what you can do to improve site speed.

5. Your Content isn’t skimmable

Reading A book vs reading online is very different.

Most of the people scan a web page first to decide if they want to read in more details.

They don’t have time to read line by line.

Unless you have established good authority with your readers and they are excited to know what you wrote.

Anyway, you should make every one of your content reader-friendly.

Use subheadings to breakpoints, small paragraphs and maybe use some color/visuals to point out a specific text.

In this fast-paced time, make sure your blog post is skimmable or you will lose lots of your readers.

6. Readers can’t read your small text

Small text is hard to read, sometimes it gives me headaches.

Glaring blue screens are bad enough, small text will be making it worse.

Optimal text sizes for web page that I use are-

  • Paragraphs- 21.7px
  • Heading 1- 38 px
  • Heading 2- 32px
  • Heading 3- 25px

Check out some of the popular blog and their font size-







7. Popups popups popups, ew!

According to a study70% of Americans say they get annoyed by irrelevant pop-up ads.

Despite that popups is a great lead generator. (If done right)

The average conversion rate for all pop-ups is 3.09% which is higher than the ads. (source)

It turns out people like pop-ups if they are designed properly and relevant to the web page they are on, people will not be annoyed.

That’s why you have to be very strategic about when and what pops up should your viewers see.

You don’t need anything fancy for a popup. Simple 2 line of text popup can do wonders for you.

For starters create only one popup.

And set different triggers for the popup to appear. But don’t show more than 2 popups on one page.

For more popup strategy check out this article:

How to Use Popups: A Beginner’s Guide with Best Practices

8. No images

Okay…you can get away with having no images in your website…
like these two sites-





These two websites are elegant and on point.  

But if your writing long form or lots of content on your blog. You should add a bit more glamour and visual appeals.

You can customize your images to make it look like a custom. That will be very good for your blog.
If you can maintain a certain color or visual uniform in your blog it will look professional and branded.

Free or stock photography has been used and abused so much that it now feels a little lazy now.

9. Cluttered Sidebars

Personally, I don’t like sidebars. I think they are useless.

Studies suggest they are actually good for conversions.

I don’t like them but that’s just me.

Sidebars can bring you leads but they have to simple and to the point.

Derek Halpern, expert marketer, and entrepreneur talks about this in his blog- social triggers.
He said- “When you’re dealing with a blog, it’s true. Sidebar clutter does destroy your conversion rates.”

According to him, every blog sidebar should have-

-an opt-in form (at the top of the sidebar)
-links to resource pages (preferably right under the opt-in form)
-links to popular articles

“Anything else is a potential distraction.”- Derek says

And if you are running ads, you can place one ad in the sidebar. Don’t put more than one.

10. Blog’s colors are too harsh on the eye

In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with colors but what you can do is, go overboard.

Less is always more.

You can choose only 2 colors and create an elegant website.

Don’t choose more than 5 colors. More colors will just be a crowd.

Also, you should avoid bright colors, that are just too flashy.

Read this article to choose better colors for your website


11. Too many advertisements, too many distractions

Okay, I get it. You want to monetize your traffic.

And advertising is the easiest way.

But you have to know when it is too much.

Research shows– 68% of searchers would want to block a site from search results because it has too many ads.

Please. Please.. Don’t put an advertisement in the middle of the blog post.

It’s just unpleasing, annoying and sometimes the ad shows inappropriate things, totally irrelevant to the content.

This will destroy your reader’s view of you and your blog.

This is distracting. You are literally irritating your readers.

Read this article to know why-

13 Reasons Why Blog Ads Suck for Monetizing Your Site (And What to Do Instead)

There are some places you can display ads-
(try to limit 2 ads per page)

  • One in a sidebar that should disappear upon scrolling more into the blog post.
  • One at the end of the blog post, but it should have a little distance from the last line of the blog post.
  • One in a floating bar. (only have one floating bar, either at the top or at the bottom.)

Good example:

That’s it. I am done, these are the 11 mistakes that most of the bloggers making with their blog design.

Now it’s your turn-

Comment down below and let me know-

what mistakes you are making with your blog?

Or which one you didn’t know that it was a mistake?

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Great tips! I absolutely agree with you about too much clutter and constant pop-ups. I am going to review my blog and see what things I can improve, including adding a small sidebar.

    1. Hi, Mary, thanks for your comment.

      It’s awesome that you are going to use the ”sidebar” tip.

      Let me know, how it goes for?


  2. Appreciate the research that went into this. A lot of good points. I definitely need to work on making my site more mobile responsive. I’m not the biggest fan of sidebars either, but one thing they do is condense the reading space. I personally found this post a little hard to read (and harder to skim) because of how long each line extends across the screen (I’m on desktop). Everything else was great!

    1. Hey, Gigi, thanks for your comment.
      I didn’t know the lines were too long.

      I will fix that.


  3. Drives me nuts when a website isn’t skimmable or the font size is too small! Great tips, backed by good research.

    1. Hi, Maggie, thanks for your comment.

      Small texts are so irritating, especially when I am reading without my glasses. 🤓


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