Beautiful, stylish design can make such a difference to your blog. Like it or not, even the best writing can be overlooked in a sea of bright colours and poorly selected fonts. There’s a saying that we ‘eat with our eye’s first’ and I think that goes for blogs too, you consume the blog with your eye’s first and then begin to read, if you are not put off that is.
Do you feel your blog could do with a make over? My blog has changed so much since I published my first post and each time it has been redesigned I have done it myself and here’s how you can too.
Do your research.
Look at lots of blogs, decide what you like about them and what you don’t like as much. Look at your own blog and identify the bits that don’t make you happy anymore. Do you like someone elses sidebar layout? What about their author bio box? Or the font they use? By using them as inspiration you are not copying, you are just narrowing down what you want and getting your creative juices flowing. If you are a visual person sketch out your ideas and see how they fit together.
Find a theme that works for you
You can buy themes from many places and some design subscriptions even give them away in their newsletters (sign up to Creative Market and you get emailed freebies). Etsy is another place to look. Mine came from Theme Forest, who offer a great range of themes for around £50.
Make sure the theme functions how you want it to. How many menus do you need? Do you want a slider image?
Does it reflect you?
Check that when people land on your blog they are going to get a feel of you, your family and your personality. You want to give them an idea straight away of what your content will be.
Are you happy with the background that comes with your theme? Do you want to leave it plain white? I knew I wanted white (makes text easy to read) and that I would put the colour into my header. I used Picmonkey to check what the hex code was for my chosen colour and made a note. This allowed me to be able to match all the other aspects to exactly the colour of my background. I made my header in PicMonkey too, as it allows you to use your own fonts (I bought my font from Creative Market and installed it on my Mac, then it shows up in Picmonkey).
You can get your header illustrated, use photographs or just stick to text. Illustrations can date your design and means you need to redo it as your child grows, this might not be an issue but it is something to bear in mind. When your design is finished you will need to do resized versions for all your social media platforms and your email signature.
While in Canva/PicMonkey you need to design a new blog badge. You can use this site to turn the image into the code for a ‘grab my badge’ button, if you are not sure of how html works.
A Favicon is the little image or letter that appears by the blog or website name in the top tab. So the Pinterest one is the white P in the red circle. You will need to change this from the generic theme one. Just find a small section of your design which represents your blog or the initials and create a small image to drop into the favicon section of your customiser.
Create a style guide for your blog
Even if it is just on a word document, write down all the information you will need. For example, what fonts have you used? What sizes? The hex codes of the various colours. Having this information together will make the customising task much easier.
Customise what you can before it’s live
Before you make your new theme live you can customise some of it. So have a play around and see what you can amend in the preview mode, this will leave you less to do when you hit publish. Try to publish your new theme when you think your blog traffic will be low, so that you have some time to quickly drop things over and adjust colours, before anyone notices.
If you think all this is a little out of your comfort zone there are many companies that offer stylish web design and calling in the professionals would certainly be an investment, especially if your techie skills are a bit rusty.
Does your blog need a makeover? Would you do it yourself or consider a professional?
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
Image: Alexander Filonchik