Why do so many blogs look the same?

If you’ve been snooping around the internet for a while, you’ll start to get a bit blog-blind.

What do I mean?

Well, think: what was the last blog you visited that really stood out? Are you getting so lost in a haze of hyper-feminine brush text that you can’t even read what the blog title is? Or have you seen the same image so many times that you get déjà vu every time you go online?

Here are a few reasons why we’ve started to look the same.

 

The Internet has grown up

Back in the day, web designers used to let rip… with weird results.

Now that the Internet has grown up, and every established company has a web property and knows how to squeeze every last cent out of it, there are established conventions that are more or less followed when designing websites.

​These conventions make websites and blogs easy to read, understand and navigate. It might be boring, but it’s generally for the best.

We’re copying one another

Yep, we’re just plain old copying each other. On purpose. You’ve seen a successful blogger whose site you love, so you’ve gone out and found a template that looks like it.

Like when you see someone in a dress you love, so you go find it, buy it, and then dread running into them when you’re both wearing the same thing.

Hey, the truth is that this is a natural by-product of the lowered barrier to entry that web publishing has experienced. Most bloggers are simply regular people who like to write, not coders. Creating a fantastically unique site from scratch would be impossible for them, just like most people go shopping instead of designing and sewing their own clothes, and that’s ok; after all, you don’t expect everyone to walk around naked just because they can’t run up a frock on their own.

Unless you’re developing your site from scratch, you’ll probably end up bumping into someone who’s wearing your dress. Just try to customise it a bit so it’s not so obvious (think chunky jewellery… and by that I probably mean changing your fonts, colours and widgets).



We’re all playing by Pinterest’s rules.

​Ever spend any time on Pinterest?

You’ll risk overdosing on brush script fonts, flowers and PINK.

Pinterest is a huge driver of traffic to blogs, so we’re all dancing to their tune: all vertical images (usually 735 x 1103 or longer), flat lay photography, and things that women are meant to like.

Spending too much time on Pinterest gives me the visual equivalent of eating too many sugared almonds after a wedding… it hurts my teeth.

There are definite trends towards visual hegemony in the blogging world - why?
Carefully planned to fit perfectly into Pinterest’s optimum size and ratio, this stock image is no different from the rest.

 

 

Stock photos have taken over the world

We’re all swamped with all of the things we’re told we need to do for the sake of our blogs. Is it any wonder we have no time or energy to take our own photos?

I’m not going to knock stock photography. With my other blogs, especially when I first started, I’m not gonna lie – my photography stank. I’m a writer and a painter. I’m not a photographer. So yes, stock photography has saved many a blogger’s butt, including mine.

But… I’m sick of seeing the same photographs over and over andoverandoverandover. I’m sure you are too, or you will be once you start hanging out on Pinterest more. If you need to use a stock photograph, try to make sure it’s one that hasn’t been overused, or try to edit, crop, flip or change it a bit to be more personal.

This is one that’s easy to get wrong, as even if you source a little-used photograph for your article, it can become popular after the fact. However, if you’re settling on the first few images that pop up in Canva, then you can be sure that lots of people are doing the same.

That’s why we’re all starting to look the same…

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on what works well when it comes to blog design and using those principles for yourself. Still, we ought to try for a bit of originality… although remember, the thing has to be legible if you want to actually get and keep readers.

 

Personally, I’m pushing it a bit with my current typeface of choice – it’s nearly illegible but I love it! Very, very naughty.

​Well, what do you think? Is looking the same a good, or bad thing?

 

Further reading:

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Start A Blog

How Bloggers Fake Popularity (And How You Can Do It Too)

How To Name Your Blog Without Sounding Like A Fool

Rise Of The Bots: Why Your Auto DMs On Twitter Aren’t Fooling Anyone

The Psychology Of Blog Post Titles: How Being Mean Gets You Readers

Why do so many blogs look the same? Exploring hegemony in the visual language of blogging.

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