Web Design: Is centering a content section a good idea?

I have a design where the header and footer are 1170px wide. (Standard Twitter Bootstrap 12 column container size.)

I have been reading about the ideal width for good readability and discovered that the content width should not be more than 600-700px wide. The problem I am facing is this-

Except for the blog which has a sidebar all other pages have content sections which are 600px wide (trying to follow above guideline). So if I align it to the left then there is empty space on the right and if I align it to the center then it doesn’t line-up with the header and the footer and it feels like it is floating

Here’s what these pages look like. Quickly mocked up since I can’t use actual design. it’s for a online course website.

How does one approach this layout issue?
Should I forcefully create sidebar content so that content + sidebar can line-up with header and footer (like the blog pages) or is it alright to center align the content boxes on these pages (include pages like about us, terms of use, my dashboard, my profile, my payments which currently have a single column of content)

I can’t reduce the width because the homepage and blog articles are able to use the entire 1170px by the design. Is there a guideline or good practice for such situations?


Im on the fence drinking a soda about posting this as an answer but the answer I am going to provide you, I might make into a reference later on when others ask this similar question..

As you stated you’re already in the design phase… If you followed a proper workflow (since you haven’t mentioned IF you had a mockup, content evaluation, wireframe event) I am going to say this is a prime example of why PLANNING is key to an effective website. Now, like many, they battle to make their site work and look appealing to the eye but face issues with poorly laid out content and unhappy clients.

That said in the above paragraph, I doubt any answer would be helpful. I say that not trying to be rude but you need to step back a few steps and evaluate your content, structure, and THEN design. Since we don’t know your content load, future plan of the site, how it operates and what it is to do I am going to assume, based on your question the following:

(include pages like about us, terms of use, my dashboard, my profile,
my payments which currently have a single column of content)

Typically people do use navigation elements, but you may face issues in the tablet and phone realm. Based on the quoted above you mention currency so I would evaluate a sidebar with a cart perhaps. Again, not know what the content is, how it is being designed I cant make an effective suggestion because you may have content redundancy and if I’m at a site and see the same thing 4+ times, unless its crucial to the site, I’m going to assume it was poorly done.

To answer the title of your question: Is centering a content section a good idea? Depends on the design of the site and what the client wants. That’s another thing that hasn’t been mentioned. You state you’re in the design phase with this issue but instead of deciding the design step back and wireframe.. Play with the content, if you have it.. If you own the site, step back and look at how you want the site to function and flow.

Source : Link , Question Author : thedigitalmonk , Answer Author : DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ

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