Too often one comes across a website that has been crammed with every item under the sun. This is a sure sign of a rank amateur. The viewer needs to be able to breath between bites of the site. When looking at designing a website one really needs to pick and choose and spread things out.
The best thing you can do is start with a list of things you want. Then cut that list down to what you must have. Those are the items that need to be on the home page.
The rest you need to divide into categories and then make up supplementary pages for that info.
Any design needs plenty of flow and white space around all the objects on it. If you look at the way you are presenting the page you will need your navigation and logo up top. A means of joining your newsletter, Twitter and RSS feed. Your current blog post should appear in the central position which photos to enhance it and a list of categories and pages on the one side. This list can be either left or right. If you have a small photo gallery there it will add value, but it is not essential as you do have a photo. These items should be well spaced and not over crowded. Keeping up to date and on target with the current trends of news will help keep the flow going as well.
Personally, I am in favor of having more pages than crowded pages. The main item is that you need a good flow of your information by using a good navigation system which uses color buttons to attract attention to the items you want highlighted. If you use unusual means of navigation it needs to make the routing clear to any visitor and to attract attention.
Items of importance need to stand out, and all pages need to have clear and proper linking to cover the whole website. You generally have about 30 to 40 seconds to attract your visitor’s attention. Clear headlines and sub headlines are needed that give a visitor the crux of the subject so that the attention is grabbed and people read further.
Use of clear and readable text is of great import. Around this text, you should have white space, which is not necessarily white, but a breathing space between items. This means your design flows from one item to the next item as a whole page giving the site an overall cohesive design.
I think we have all viewed sites that really don’t hold together but just need a few tweaks to get it right. You need attention grabbers and this is usually in the form of graphics or photographs. You should never use unnecessary fill in photos, but you do need relevant photos that attract attention.
Plain black and white does not attract attention, unless you incorporate a way of really attractive graphic design or a magnificent example of black and white photography.Your design layout is of major import as this can make or break your site.