You may or may not have realized this by now, but your blog design definitely impacts your readership. If your blog is hard to read, too cluttered/messy, or genuinely painful on the eyes people wont continue following and/or visiting. You may keep a few dedicated friends/bloggy bffs visiting out of sheer love for you, but if you want to increase your readership and build a larger and wider circle of readers, you have to be aesthetically pleasing.
I know they say "you can't judge a book by it's cover" but I'll be the first to admit that I do judge blogs by their design. It doesn't mean I wont keep following you (because goodness knows I probably love your face) but I can usually tell the blogs level of professionalism within the first few minutes. Advertisers/sponsors and other readers can too.
The colors you choose are going to make a big difference in what your design looks like. Make sure you pick a color theme and stick to it as best you can throughout you're whole design. A color scheme really can have as many colors as you like in it, as long as they look good together and seem to have some kind of order to them. Usually I would recommend picking 2-3 colors and going with that-as it's a really clean look, but if you want more colors-go for it! Just stick with colors that go well-such as all pastels, all bright colors, all dark colors, etc.
Also, when choosing the background and basic post font colors, make sure to make it easy to read. Dark colored words on a white background, or light colored words on a dark background. If it's not easy to read people generally wont read it...
When I was helping Carrie of The Carrie Gland with her design, she came well prepared. She used a website called Color Scheme Designer to pick four colors she kind of liked together, and then as we worked through it she ended up choosing the Purple from her original choice, with black and gray as her scheme. The great thing about that site is it will help you choose colors and shades that go better together than others, and it's a resource I'm going to be using more often.
Just a few blogs who's color schemes I admire:
When choosing a basic font for things such as typing and titles, it's best to go with something basic. The curly or cursive fonts look cute, yes, but are also harder to read and less professional looking. If you like it and don't care-go for it (I'm not here to judge) just understand that some people may have a hard time reading and thus may not come back as often.
When choosing fonts for your design, you should generally choose three. One cursive/fancy font, one bold font, and one basic font. Personally I used a cursive and bold font for my header, then the basic font for my info graphic. I also then used the same cursive font for my gadget headers (and these topic images above!) Just make sure your fonts look good together, and go with your color scheme. This doesn't always apply, sometimes you find different combinations that work great-it's just a general suggestion for getting started.
You can find a lot of fonts for free places like dafont.com (which I use), just make sure to read the terms some of the fonts include, as some may allow you to use it for everything, and some may only allow you to use it for personal use and require a license for profit use.
Just a few blogs who's font choices I admire:
What Jean Likes | High-Heeled Love | Little Chief Honeybee | Kitty and Buck | We Took the Road Less Traveled
Just a few blogs with expressive graphic blog headers:
Living a Goddess Life | Your Charmed Life | Mermaidens | Lazy Explorers | Life and Lemons | Lena B, Actually
Just a few blogs with simple & elegant blog headers:
Wifessionals | Chaotic Goddess Swaps | A Beautiful Mess | The Anna Delores Blog | Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles
Blog design can be hard to pull off if you're not skilled with web design tools and creating graphics, in which case there are tons of blog designers out there! It just depends on what kind of look you're going for-and how much you want to spend. The more you spend the more you're going to get, but you can also go simple and keep it cheaper-but still have a really good look.
For example, Dana from The Wonder Forest does AMAZING blog design in her shop Envye. She can do just about any type of coding for just about any service-but since she's so good and well sought after her prices are a bit higher (though well worth it if you can afford it! Seriously awesome.).
I also do blog design, but mine is less expensive because there's a lot of her skill that I don't have yet, but I can do some really great simple and inexpensive designs for those on a lower budget. :) You can check out some examples of my work by thumbing through my Designs, and you can order work from me through my Etsy store:
Use code NEWBLOGGER for 20% off your purchase of $25 or more!
Whomever you choose, you should always look through their designs and prices to find out what fits you best. There are a few other blog designers I love, and if you want to check them out they are:
Here are some great DIY Design Resources and Tutorials to help you do your own blog design should you not want to hire a designer.
- How to Center Post Titles, Gadgets, and Dates in Blogger.
- How to create Image Maps (multiple links in one image)
- How to make Headers & Navbars using PicMonkey
- Create Your Own Social Media Icons
- The Blogger's HTML Cheat Sheet
- The Cutest Blog on the Block (Backgrounds)
- A Large List of Free Stuff from B.You Blog
- 40 Free Social Media Icons for Bloggers
Because I love you all and want to help with your design, I'm giving away one design package which includes a custom header, matching buttons/ads in 3 sizes, social media icons, a blog intro graphic. I'll even help you set it up and choose colors/a background that match it! I'll also give three other winners a custom set of buttons/advertisements in 3 sizes using their photo!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to residents worldwise and ends on 5/15/13.
Entries will be verified-make sure to follow the instructions.
See above RC widget for full rules and regulations.
Other Lessons in the New Blogger Series: