Guest Post: Spruce Up Your Blog!

Have you ever wondered how to create a more beautiful yet functional blog without spending a fortune? Today, an experienced blog designer shares some fabulous and easy-to-implement tips at Create With Joy!
 

Hello! My name is Melanie, and I am a custom blog designer at Elegant Custom Blogs. I am so delighted to guest post here today at Create with Joy! Today, I would like to share with you some ideas on how you can spruce up your blog design for very little money (or for free!). I would also like to give advice on some common mistakes I see when working with bloggers on their blog designs.

Be YOU!

Your blog design is the way that others learn more about you online. You may have readers who you have never met in real life, but your readers get a real sense of who you are and what you like based on both your blog posts and your blog design. Your blog design should showcase your unique personality! I see many bloggers who have a “favorite” blog that they admire, and they work so hard to make their own blog look like their “blog hero’s” blog. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking a certain style of blog or incorporating favorite aspects of someone else’s style. However, your blog should be as unique as possible so that people will remember it. If you click through 50 links in a linky party, what sets your blog design apart so that people will remember it?

In blog design, different is good.

Being different is what makes your blog memorable and sets you apart from the crowd. So don’t be afraid to be uniquely YOU!

What Is Your Blog’s Purpose?

If you have a photography blog, or even a food/craft blog which showcases many photos in blog posts, I would recommend making your blog design as simple as possible. I would encourage you to use perhaps even a solid white background so that your photos really “pop”.

If you plan to seek sponsors/advertisers for your blog, I would recommend clearing your home page of any extra buttons and moving them instead, to a separate Blogger page. This allows your sponsors to have their paid ads “front and center”. It is very easy to add extra pages in Blogger. From the “Posting” tab, just select “Edit Pages” and you can add pages for blog party buttons, an “About Me” page, “Favorites”, etc.

Design Your Blog With Your Purpose In Mind

Is Your Blog Easy to Read?
I encourage bloggers to use light-colored or white backgrounds if possible for their blog post area. This allows your blog posts to be more easily readable. Also, be sure that your font is large enough to read easily. No one want to read a blog if they are squinting the whole time! Try to avoid using a bright font (like neon pink or red) for your blog post text because it is very hard to read.

Whitespace, Whitespace, Whitespace…

If your blog feels cluttered and stressful, people will close it. I encourage you to make your blog as spacious and clean as possible, including lots of open space. Let your readers relax and breathe…. The simpler and less “cluttered” your blog is, the better, in my opinion.

White Space Enhances Your Blog’s Readability

Who Are You, Again?

Your blog readers want to know who you are! The biggest {FREE} improvement you can add to your blog right now is an “About Me” page (see above on how to add pages). In the “About Me” page, introduce yourself to your readers and let them know a little about you – your interests, family, favorite kind of doughnut… Readers love to know who you are. They don’t want a mystery person behind a curtain writing to them. Be sure to include an email address so you can receive fan mail!

Also, be sure to give your users a way to subscribe to your blog – either through email, Google Friend Connect, or Networked Blogs in Facebook.

Do Your Readers Relate To You? If Not, Add An About Page!

Use Caution…

Be extremely careful with the use of flashing buttons and music. I have heard from various surveys I have done that the biggest turn-off to “some” readers is automatic music and flashing buttons. I personally don’t have a problem with it, but use it cautiously…

Biggest Bang for the Buck

I don’t know if I should admit this (since I am a custom blog designer) but …. You may not need a whole custom blog design overhaul. If you can only afford to get professional help with one area on your blog design, invest in your HEADER. Your header is the first thing people see on your blog and the last impression they leave your blog with. A custom-designed, memorable header will set you apart from other blogs a million times more than the standard Blogger rectangle with your blog title in the middle. Most blog designers (including me) offer stand-alone headers for a price that is much less than an entire custom design.

First Impressions Count! Invest In A Unique Header

Any questions? Need blog advice? Don’t be afraid to stop over at my site (Elegant Custom Blogs) and drop me an email. I will be happy to do my best to help!

17 Responses to “Guest Post: Spruce Up Your Blog!”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. ShanimalsCrackers.blogspot.com says:

    I wish someone would offer to re-do my header for free. *hint, hint*

    🙂

  2. The Redhead Riter says:

    Excellent advice! Deciding the purpose of your blog is by far the most important first step. Without a goal, the blog aimlessly roams and can quickly fizzle out.

    Also, The Paper Princess entered this lovely blog for the Saturday Stalker to stalk and…You were stalked tonight!!! So everyone is going to stalk your blog this week. Congratulations! I would have written you an email instead of leaving a comment, but I can't find an email button. Here's your stalking post http://www.theredheadriter.com/

  3. shah says:

    Oh I just popped by their website after reading this great post – If I hadn't recently had my blog designed I'd have been interested. Esp with the discount! Have a great weekend and many thank for stopping by my blog Ramona. Shah. X

  4. Canadian Coupon Mom says:

    Hi! Stopping by from Lucas`s journey blog hop. Im already following on GFC.. Great guest post. I`m one of those people who do not like music on the site.. I listen to music a lot when blogging and it wrecks what im listening to.

    http://www.canadiancouponmom.ca

  5. Cherie K. Miller says:

    Stopping by on the blog hop today – check out my video about the tornadoes that hit the south. I volunteer at the Etowah Valley Humane Society and we have 5 dogs that were left homeless – Hoss, Heidi, Dozer and Goldie & Marley. They all need homes…

    http://www.Pet-peeves.org

    Thanks for sharing your best advice on having a beautiful blog – and demonstrating it with your own.

  6. BARBIE says:

    Great blog tips! Thanks for sharing.

  7. aprilraechelle* says:

    Hello, there!! New follower from the Saturday Spotlight, hope you'll come on over and look around at my page 🙂 I'm new to this, and have tons of tabs that I'm trying to fulfill with some awesome Blogging Mommies.

    Name's April, 23, 2 kids, and a hubby- a dog and a cat. I'm about to start working again for the first time in over 2 years, unpaid, but it's going to be awesome. My life is crazy and chaotic, and so is my blog- hope you enjoy!! 🙂

    facebook:
    twitter: createachange8
    website:

    XO-aprilraechelle*

  8. Emily Joyce says:

    Great advice! Especially the tip about whitespace and simplicity.

  9. LessThanPerfectParents says:

    Following you from the blog hop!

    http://www.lessthanperfectparents.com

  10. BellaVida says:

    Hi, I just landed here from the Wild Card Weekend blog hop. I'm already a follower on GFC.

    Great guest post. Kiss it = Keep it simple

    Bella Vida by Letty
    Have a great weekend.

  11. Marilyn Rock says:

    This was so informative – thank you!

  12. Melanie says:

    Thank you SO much for allowing me to guest post! What a treat! I hope that these tips will be helpful 🙂

    Blessings!
    Melanie

  13. mmc67 says:

    I am your newest follower from the Welcome To The Weekend Blog Hop. Hope you come check out my blog at http://www.thatshakerofsalt.com

  14. WynnieBee says:

    Great post. There's been times I've admired someone else's blog and wanted to be more like them but when I look at my blog once again I realize that it is unique and definitely me – which is what I wanted when I started it. A blog is a work in progress – thanks so much for the good advice : D

  15. Kara says:

    My biggest advice is visit Melanie for help 🙂

    She's incredible when it comes to design, especially if you aren't sure what you want/need exactly…

    I completely agree about the music and flashing buttons…

  16. Michelle says:

    great guest post! Thanks for the tips. Thanks "Paper Princess" for stopping by the S&R weekend hop! See you next weekend. Have a great week!
    Michelle
    Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life

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