The Benefits of a Style Guide for Your Blog - dummies

The Benefits of a Style Guide for Your Blog

By Melissa Culbertson

You might think that spending time on creating a style guide seems like a complicated process that only bigger blogs need. Or that such a guide just adds to your to-do list. The truth is any blogger can benefit from a style guide — and it’s really easy to create one.

As your blog grows, you’ll find yourself looking for ways to be more productive. Having a style guide saves you time so you aren’t pouring through your blog or your design files trying to remember what exact shade of blue you use in your header or whether you capitalize a certain word. You can peek at your style guide for the answer — and then quickly get to work.

If you build your guide bit by bit as you work through your blog design, you’ll hardly feel like you did any extra work at all.

Build a foundation of reference material

As you start redesigning your blog — or even build a design from scratch — you make decisions that guide how you want your blog to look and your content formatted. However, as time goes on, you might find you don’t remember to always use the guides you created in the first place.

Luckily, you don’t have to remember everything because (wait for it) a style guide remembers for you. By building a style guide as a foundation, you have just one file to reference versus searching for something in a design file, your blog, or somewhere else altogether.

Plus, if you decide to extend your blog’s design into other places — say, custom graphics for your Facebook page or for a business card — you’ll pat yourself on the back for having all your blog’s styles in one place.

Your style guide is an excellent resource if you ever collaborate with someone on a project for your blog. For example, if you work with a designer to help you create a custom Twitter background, you can share your style guide with the designer, so he or she knows exactly what colors your blog design uses.

If anyone writes a guest post for your blog, you can share a modified version of your guide (or paste it into an e-mail) to outline how you capitalize your post titles, what size the post images should be, and other post guidelines.

Create consistency throughout your blog

Consistency is one of the core design principles of good design and branding. Consistency gives your blog a polished, professional look.

Blog readers often subconsciously notice inconsistencies in blog design and content, such as the difference in two shades of blue or the fact that you wrote USA and U.S.A. in the same blog post. Although these inconsistencies most likely won’t deter a reader from returning to your blog, the inconsistencies do add up and take their toll in the following ways:

  • From a writing perspective, inconsistencies within blog posts are like little speed bumps, slowing down your reader and hindering concentration.

  • From a blog design perspective, inconsistencies can give your blog a sloppy feel, even if your reader can’t quite place exactly why.

  • Good marketing and public relations representatives you may want to partner with do notice consistency. Your blog writing and design are, in a way, your personal brand. If you pay attention to the details in your blog, you have a better chance of attracting partners who value a similar attention to detail and standards for quality.

A style guide gives you an easy way to maintain consistency because your design and content decisions all live in one document. When you have a guide to reference, you make it easier on yourself (and others) to keep your blog brand strong.