New blog owners who prefer a professional solution tend to outsource their blog design needs to experienced professionals. This is a good option if you have a reasonably sized budget but no time or technical know-how. We can help you with designing your blog, but if you prefer to do it yourself, here are some guidelines.
Blog Design & Planning
- Sidebar Design – Great blogs normally have sidebars that are well designed to showcase the site’s best content and make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. By placing the right widgets in an optimal order, a blog’s appearance will automatically be enhanced, as long as there is a solid information architecture grounded by lots of properly tagged and categorized posts.
- Editorial Content – What’s your Blog About? The words for these posts should flow fluidly and you should be able to put down your thoughts with ease. If you have problems churning out these posts, its time to go back to the drawing board about the content plan for your blog.
- Content Before Visual Design – Does this mean that great looking blogs with cool designs are not important? No. The visual appeal of a blog does have an impact on visitors and most of the top bloggers have well-designed sites. The point that new bloggers should realize is that good content is much more important than good blog design. A blog with outstanding content and a basic design will definitely trump one that looks spectacular but has poor quality posts.
- Free Blogs – The simplest way to start a blog is to get a free blog by opening an account at Blogger or one of the many free blog providers. You can then choose and customize a blog design or theme according to how you would like your blog to look. This is the route most beginners take. It is free and easy, but there are limitations on certain types of content and applications that are not permitted to be uploaded onto the platform and hence your blog.
- Free Blog Software – If you have some knowledge of web design and hosting, you can setup your own blog for free by installing open source blogging software such as WordPress and using one of the many free or premium blog themes to style the design. This is the best option for anyone who doesn’t want their blog to be hosted and controlled by any blogging platform.
- Custom Designed Blog – It is also possible to create a custom blog from scratch without the use of any existing blog application or software. This is quite rare and not applicable for most bloggers as it is costly and may have technological limitations compared to using open-source solutions that are supported by lots of developers who are continually adding new blog design features and upgrades.
- Colors – As with any other website, a blog’s color scheme is one of the main creative features that has a big effect on the overall visual design. To create a good looking blog, make sure that the colors for the background, header, sidebars, text, titles, links and all other relevant areas have attractive and complementing colors.
- Columns – The number of columns in a blog has a significant impact on the site navigation, information architecture and general design. Blog themes typically allow for anywhere between one to four columns, where two and three columns are the norm.
- Sidebars – Together with the number of columns, you will need to decide on whether you prefer the sidebar to be on the right or left column. In addition, you can opt sidebars with a fixed or flexible width.
- Features – There are more and more features that can be built into blog themes. A lot of these come with the free themes while others are only available in Premium and custom-made themes. Before confirming a theme, it is advisable to reflect on what your chosen theme can do versus the ever increasing range of features offered by other themes.
- What’s you blog about? – The words for these posts should flow fluidly and you should be able to put down your thoughts with ease. If you have problems churning out these posts, its time to go back to the drawing board about the content plan for your blog. In other words, if you wanted to create a blog on gourmet French cooking but found it difficult to write a decent article, it may be a sign that you are not sufficiently knowledgeable on the topic, or you don’t have much to say about it. Either way, you should reconsider the blog’s content direction and focus on what you’re passionate about.
- Be sure you’re passionate about the topic. – Instead of authentic French food, you may find it easier to talk about the local restaurants where you’ve dined in your area, especially as you can take good quality photos of the dishes to populate your posts with interesting and useful images as well. You can also include a map to the restaurant by using the embed feature from Google maps to add further depth to your posts. So, if you’re not a literary maestro, you can still publish a great blog by designing the content in your posts to suit your abilities.
- Confirm the editorial content. – Once you’ve got 10 to 20 posts written, you should be quite clear on what you can and like to write about in order to confirm the information architecture of the site. This will allow you to fix the categories for the posts and how you can use tags to help readers find related posts about a certain topic. For example, let’s say you live in London, and you dine in a mixture of French, Italian, Chinese and Indian eateries, where some are fine dining restaurants while others are diners and affordable eateries. In such a scenario, you may have two types of categories set up, where one of them covers the type of food and the other the type of restaurant. So, a post reviewing a classy Indian meal will be assigned to multiple categories, in the ‘Indian Food’ category and the ‘Fine Dining’ category as well.
Contact us to get your blog design started today!