The header on your website or blog is the first thing a visitor notices. Why not make this first impression, the best impression, and make your visitors into readers? The way you use this header space determines to an extent, whether your visitor wants to stay and read your website or blog, or just wants to leave.
Following are 6 common header mistakes which you should avoid making, if you want to attract more readers.
1. Having/Using no Header at all
This is a common mistake newbie bloggers make, since creating a good header needs careful thought and some hard work. They think they’ll skip it for now and create it later. That later never seems to come.
You surely know that a picture speaks a thousand words. It’s also said that images/visuals impact you 60,000 times faster than mere text. The blog post is an excerpt from an Amazon hardcover book (Do-it Yourself Billion Dollar Business Graphics). So, make sure to use your blog header to your advantage.
If you’re not using a header, log into your blog’s dashboard and add a nice looking header image.
2. Using an Image-only Header
Many bloggers have a header image, but they don’t use any text on the header. Having just a header image isn’t bad, but without a title and tagline, your visitors won’t know what your blog is about. This text also helps your blog rank in search engines. Your visitors would run away from your blog as soon as they come, when they see your blog is headless! Everyone fears a headless guy, don’t they? 🙂
Some bloggers add the title and tagline as part of the image itself. This isn’t a mistake, but again, doing so won’t help your blog rank in search engines.
3. Using a Very Long Header
The header is surely the first thing your visitors look at, when landing on your blog the first time. But, if the header covers up half the screen or more, and they have to scroll the page to read anything, they would tend to move away from your blog. The top 768 pixels on your blog homepage is called “above the fold” area, and is very important.
Here’s another one from Hello Bloggerz:
Size is an important consideration while designing the header of a blog. The typical header width for a 2 column design and a 3 column design are 800×850 pixels and 950×1000 pixels. The height of a blog header, on the other hand, should not exceed 200 pixels. Anything that consumes more than half the screen must be avoided.
I’ve tried with up to 300 pixels long header but 200 pixels seems better. My current header is at 150 pixels, though. If your blog header’s height is more than 200 pixels, edit it using any image editor (I recommend SNAGIT from TechSmith), and resize it to be 200 pixels or less.
4. Using the Wrong Colors for Title/Tagline Text
Till some time ago, I had many colors on my blog. My blog title and tagline text colors were also hard to read, due to the header image I had used. The color of the header image was such that whichever color text I chose, some part of it was too difficult to read.
So, choose a header image wisely and then also choose good, matching colors for the title/tagline. Make sure it’s easy to read. You can refer to this color combination chart or this other chart before choosing your title/tagline color.
5. Using a Rotating Header
Many themes have an option to rotate between different header images. Even native WordPress has this option. To newbies, this would look like a cool option to use. But, it distracts your blog visitors. If you use a single header, your blog visitors would better remember your blog. Having a single header image also helps your business branding.
If you’re using a rotating header, choose a single header from among them. You may change this header image later, if you don’t like the one you used. That’s fine.
6. Copying the Header From Someone Else’s Blog
You were browsing some websites and blogs and one day, hit upon a blog whose header you love and adore to see. So, you save the header image and use it as your own blog header. And, you thought it was cool. Not so!
One thing is, copying or using images from other sites and blogs without the site owner’s permission is a crime. You can be penalized for doing this. Secondly, it doesn’t look and feel nice to do such a thing. If someone landed on your blog who has seen the same header elsewhere, he won’t feel so good, viewing your header.
If you copied the header from another blog, consider removing it and using your own header image. You may also use a free image from one of the several free photo websites recently listed on Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog.
Let me know if you have seen any other header mistakes, which I missed, in the comments below.