Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest blogger, Allie Lehman. Learn more about her in the bio below this post.
Are you happy with the way your blog is designed? Do your readers enjoy visiting daily? Perhaps you’re not ready to make the jump and hire a designer/developer for your blog design. That’s totally fine! There are a lot of tutorials, tips, and advice if you’re tackling it all yourself. Today I’ve compiled a few resources and tips for the self-learners out there!
Get a Consultation
Just because you aren’t ready to hire a blog designer doesn’t mean you can’t get their advice! If you know of a local designer, reach out to them and ask them for a consultation. I’ve had many bloggers do this and I’m more than happy to meet with them over coffee for a small fee. During a consultation, ask them these questions:
- If you were to re-design my blog, what elements would you change?
- How can I improve my blog header?
- Does my navigation make sense? Is my blog easy to navigate?
- Are there are any resources you would suggest as I start making these changes?
Gather Your Tools:
You won’t get too far without tools. You can’t expect to have a great blog design if you’re not using some type of editing software. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on Photoshop, I would suggest checking out Pixlr, Pixelmator, Picasa, Gimp, or Photoshop Elements. To read a few reviews about these products, check out this post I wrote a few weeks ago about blogging on a budget.
Establish a Color Scheme:
What colors are you going to pull from when creating the different elements on your blog? Just because you love the color blue doesn’t mean your problem has been solved. If you have a basic idea of the colors that you want, I would suggest using sites like ColourLovers, Color Scheme Designer, or Kuler.
Focus on your header:
Your header is what your readers will see first. Make sure that it fits your content. If you’re blogging as a professional, we don’t need to see a cropped photo of you while on vacation. Remember: simple is best. If you really enjoy the background color of your blog, keep your header background the same color! Here are some great tutorials on creating your header using some of the editing software that I mentioned above (please note that I don’t necessarily think all of these designs are all that great but they do a great job at showing you how to use the tools):
- Video tutorial on creating a blog header in Pixelmator
- How to create a blog header in Picasa by Blissfully Domestic
- How to make a banner for your blog using Gimp by Simply Amusing Designs
Utilize Your Sidebar:
Your sidebar is a magical thing! It stays static no matter what post or page you’re reading! Take a look at your stats and analytics. What posts or series are the most popular? Make a list and then create links or graphics on your sidebar to push people to click around. Creating graphics can be easy (especially if you just designed your own header). Depending on what blogging platform you’re using, adding content to your sidebar is pretty simple:
- How to add image titles to your sidebar in Blogger
- How to add content to your sidebar in Typepad
- How to add content to your sidebar in WordPress
Spice up your posts:
After you’ve addressed some key areas on your blog, you should really compliment the updated design by making sure your posts are visually appealing and original in content. It’s good to step away from the computer to come up with your best ideas. Click here to read my post a few weeks ago here on Savvy Sexy Social which outlines how to make your posts more attractive. Some other great resources include:
- PuglyPixel’s Free Resources
- Favigen Favicon Generator
- Learn how to pair and combine fonts for the web
- Learn how to code!
I hope these resources help when tackling your own blog design. Or maybe it completely overwhelmed you and now you’re ready to hire your own designer! Either way, it’s a great thing when you start to become intentional with your blog.