Giving cool real estate products, tools and news a Big Encore

Continuing with the theme of how to run a proper real estate or mortgage broker blog, here are some tips on how to make yours easy on the eyes…

Many blog hosting platforms (like WordPress and Blogger) offer a number of pre-designed layouts to choose from that can be further customized to suit your needs. But, just like you don’t want an under-designed blog, you also don’t want yours to be over-designed either. After all, the entire point is to have a quick-loading site that’s extremely readable. Here are five quick suggestions to move you in the right direction:

Change the background color from simple white or black. Most templates start out with one of these two. By going into the “design options” section of your blog hosting platform, you’ll be able to change this. You can either upload a repeating logo or pattern, or change the color to something that matches well with your overall color scheme. This gives your blog some personality and helps it stand out from the crowd.

Set a text block color that contrasts. Once you choose a color for the background, make sure that your text blocks, where the type will go, are white, and your type font is set as black. These will float over the background, and you want them to be as readable as possible. You could also go with a black text block and white type font, but these can sometimes be hard to read, especially on older computers. You have to remember that your blog will be read by people with all types of computers, not just newer ones with fancy graphics cards.

Decide on a two or three column layout. Some pre-designed layouts come with one or the other, but others allow you to choose. Before deciding, think of how much information that you want displayed at once. A three column layout allows you to have one column of sales listings, one column of important information (“contact me” buttons, a tag cloud, listing of categories,etc) and one wider column for the blog content itself. For a simpler look, choose a two-column design, but keep in mind that this limits the number of allowable widgets. Speaking of which…

Limit your widgets. These are the gizmos that go in the sidebar(s) of your blog. While you do need some important ones, keep in mind that too many will cause the page to load slowly, causing you to lose some readers before they even get to see your content.  Before deciding which ones to use, examine a few of the blogs that you read every day. Make note of which widgets they use, then come up with a list of the ones that you absolutely need.

Add a logo. Every good blog has a logo of some sort. Whether it’s simply your business logo or a complicated graphic-artist commissioned piece, you need to have something permanently at the top page of your blog announcing what your blog is about to your readers.