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.
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.
Your blog header should introduce your blog and show new readers a little of what to expect from you and your personality. The blog header should also fit within your chosen color scheme and font. Make it stand out-and make it represent you! It can be simple and elegant or unique and witty, it can be just words or include a graphic that expresses exactly what your blog is about! You'll also see that most of those blogs also have buttons that either match their header, or go along with the theme well! Buttons are great for people to show their love for you-or you can use them for your ad spots.I find examples show you better than me trying to explain it:
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.
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:
- 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