How to Design Your Blog: Basics

I remember when I was still learning how to blog. I know my way around a computer but I’m not a website designer so when it came time to design my blog, I was more than a little nervous. If you find yourself where I was and you’re ready to design your blog but you don’t know where to start, I hope this ongoing series about how to design your blog will give you the confidence you need to create a blog that both reflects your personality and style and attracts readers to your site. When you’re blogging for cash, it’s important to view your blog as an investment and design is certainly a vital part of that. Let’s start with some basic blog design tips that will set the stage for future posts where we’ll cover this topic in more detail.

Design Your Blog Ideas

Design Your Blog Ideas

Bookmark Well-Designed Blogs

As you’re trying to figure out how to design your blog, make a list of your favorite blogs (if you’re like me, you already have them bookmarked so it should be pretty easy). Visit those blogs but this time, instead of reading the content, write down what you notice about the blog design. Document answers to questions like:

  • What is the first thing your eye goes to?
  • What colors are used?
  • How many photos are on the homepage?
  • How are blog posts displayed?
  • How is content organized?

Well-designed blogs make effective use of white space, don’t overwhelm readers with sidebar ads and don’t leave you feeling like the author verbally threw up on your laptop screen.

Design Your Blog with Your Personality in Mind

With a few good blogs in mind, start thinking, from a design perspective, about what you can do to both reflect your personality, style or passion and what kind of design will set your blog out from others that might be competing for your readers’ attention. Is everyone else using text-heavy, notepad-type blog designs? Design your blog to stand out with a modern magazine style or a photo-intensive layout. What are you passionate about? What is the purpose of your blog? Let those answers guide you as you design your blog. Remember, no matter what type of design you choose for your blog, keep it simple. Use lots of white space, employ clean, powerful lines and maximize your photos. Design your blog for skimming, perusing, sharing or whatever supports your purpose.

But What if I’m Not a Web Designer?

Don’t worry, neither am I! If you’re not a web designer, that’s okay. Most bloggers aren’t. Thankfully today there are thousands upon thousands of powerful themes that do the heavy lifting for you. If you know your way around a WordPress dashboard, you’ll be fine. Check out Studiopress, DIY Themes or Elegant Themes for a variety of professional themes. Prices for themes can run anywhere from $30 to $150 and generally the more expensive themes that operate on popular frameworks like Thesis or Genesis will offer loads of available support. To help get you started at an affordable price, Blogelina also offers our popular Blog Set-Up Service.  The best thing to do is bump around, check out as many demos as you can and ask lots of questions of the theme designers before you purchase one.

While you may be hesitant to spend money on your blog in the beginning, spending a little on your blog design upfront should more than pay itself off in the long run as visitors get to know your blog as a professional-looking one that’s fun to visit and easy to navigate.

What is one of your favorite blogs when it comes to design? What stands out to you about it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of: SOCIALisBETTER

(Note: There are links in this post that contain my referral link. Read my disclosure policy.)

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Comments

    • Tanya says

      Get a great theme like one of those mentioned above! Try to find one that is already very close to what you’re wanting so you won’t have to make a lot of changes afterward. Hope that helps!

  1. Amanda says

    I LOVE clean white lines. There are two types that draw me… the ‘homey’ ones that make you feel like you’re reading your grandma’s scrapbook (not too busy though!), and the ‘down-to’business’ ones that are just strictly information, pictures, and outlined in boldface.

    • Tanya says

      Finding the theme that fits your blog is a great place to start – then a little tweaking and here can really make it your own!

    • Tanya says

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Michele! Once you get your blog up, be sure to stop back by and share a link so we can check it out!

  2. shawn says

    I like the theme I’m using now, WP Twenty-Eleven, and it’s a free one, but what I don’t like about WP (or maybe its just that I don’t know how to use it) is that when you add a picture, it is either to the right or left, but how can I get it to just be where I want it to be? Ha. I don’t know how to get it to wrap text, so my pictures are always just at the top or bottom.
    shawn recently posted..Allegory Contest Begins August 2, 2013

    • Tanya says

      Shawn, have you tried center aligning the image? This would put the text at the top and bottom of the image.

  3. Regina Partain says

    Hi Tanya
    Thanks so much for this information. All great tips. I am working on some organization at the moment for blog, etsy and pinterest. I can see this being of great service to me. Over the next few days I will work on a plan to implement these suggestions. Thanks so much for sharing and for all that you do to help the rest of us. I appreciate you!
    Regina Partain recently posted..Wired Wednesday – Okra and Buttons

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