Simplicity is better: some suggestions for a clean blog layout

In the past week I received many good comments about the design of my
blog and some visitors asked to me suggestions about how to improve
their site layout. I want to share with you some tips I think
interesting about this topic. These are not general rules but only
simple suggestions which can help you in order to make your site more

Simplicity is better
simple. Don't use complex site structure for your informative blog
(like my site for example). A vertical orientation with two main
columns is the better solutions, linear and simple to manage. If you
need for help to design the page layout take a look at this post: Conceptual design for site's layout

Background and text color for content.
Use a white background (#FFFFFF) with black/gray scale text for the content. You can use black color (#000000) in order to emphasize title of posts and gray scale color (#444444, #555555...)
for text (but don't use a gray too bright!). Other color combinations,
such as background black and text white, are more indicated for
design-oriented sites such as on-line portfolio or similar.

Use colors but don't abuse them.
are nice but if poorly used they make a webpage very unsightly. If you
have some dubts about colors you used on your site, take a look at Adobe Kuler an useful web application to create harmonious color themes online for your blog/site.

Don't add. Remove.
all things are not really useful to attract traffic or earn money.
Don't amuse your readers from content and don't fill your page with
advertisements. Two ads block (below post title and on sidebar) are a good solution to perform good incomes.

Widget invasion
Widgets like MyBlogLog Recent Readers
are funny but don't use them only because give "color" to the page.
They can help you to attract more visitors if used in a good way.

Tell "who you are".
Tell your visitors "who you are" in a section on top of the page. Add links to your identity on social network sites like digg, delicious, technorati. Use a small section on right side of your template, below who you are, with icons and a short description. If this can help you, take ispiration from my social network section.

Giant feed icon. Why?
feed subscribers are important. But is not necessary use giant icon to
say "subscribe my feed!". Your readers are not blind and if the content
of your site is good you will find new subscribers also using a small

Social Networks buttons war.
In the
past two months, I tryed to use a lot of social buttons combinations.
Now I found a good compromise, using only digg and delicious buttons. I
use digg to promote my posts immediately after I published them so, in
general, I receive a lot of traffic in the first two hour after
submission. At the same time, all readers who find the post interesting
add it to delicious and when the post become popular I receive a lot of
traffic for many days after.
Take a look for example at this post, Digg-like navigation bar using CSS, popular on delicious and which drive a lot of daily traffic on this site.

That's all. I hope you can find this informations useful :)