How to make your blog look awesome!
Your blog’s template is the backbone of your blog design. It’s what controls your overall layout (and often, if you’re using a free theme, your colour scheme), so it’s essential you spend time picking the right one. There are many free blog templates out there, but if you’re serious about your blog and want it to look unique, it may be worth paying a designer to create you one of your own.
For example, do you want your categories to be displayed as a header bar, a side bar or a drop down menu? Do you want your homepage to display your recent posts in full, or just an image and a short teaser line with a link to ‘read more’? Do you want any fancy fonts for titles and such?
And don’t forget, your blog template needs to be responsive if you want your blog to look as good on mobiles and tablets as it does on an ol’ fashioned PC!
Browse your favourite blogs to see how they have laid things out, and use the links below for tips, inspiration and the best free blog templates:
Your blog logo (or header, as some peeps call it) is really important to your blog design because it’s one of the first things readers see when they land on your blog. And you can easily separate the high-quality blogs from the low-quality ones by looking at their logo. A well-designed, custom logo is a sign of a blogger who really cares about their website, which is attractive to both readers and brands alike.
Your logo is a major part of your branding, so consider all the places you’ll be using it, such as on your blog, on social media and on your business cards. If you want a wide blog header for example but also intend to use it as your Twitter or Facebook page’s profile image, you might need a second, squarer version designed too.
Look at some of your favourite blog’s logos for inspiration, and check the links below for tips, how-tos and free fonts you can use to design your own logo:
Sidebars – almost all blogs have one, and some even have two! But what do you put in there and how do you avoid it looking cluttered?
Your sidebar will (probably – depending on your template) be visible on every page of your blog, and unlike your footer bar it’s going to get seen by most of your readers as they scroll through a post. So that makes it an excellent place to promote the pages or blog posts that you most want your readers to know about and click on. It’s also an ideal space to offer advertising, if you’re trying to monetise your blog.
Most bloggers start their sidebar with a headshot (see the Blog Headshot section of this guide for tips on getting it right). If you don’t have a category menu across the top of your blog, offering one near the top of your sidebar lets readers find what they’re looking for easily – along with a prominent search bar!
Other things you might want to share in your sidebar are your social media links (perhaps buy or design some that match your blog’s colour scheme and general look), your most popular posts and an option to subscribe by email. Check out the links below for plenty more tips, inspiration and advice to make your blog sidebar look awesome:
A blog signature is a great way to sign off your posts in style, and adds another professional-looking touch to your blog’s overall design. Blog signatures needn’t be expensive, and if you have a tablet and a programme such as OneNote you can even create your own one for free – if your handwriting is cool enough that is!
Provided of course that you’re happy for your name to be shared online, signing a post with your name makes it more personable – and it’s particularly helpful if you have regular guest posters or columnists too, to make it obvious who wrote what.
Take a look at how your favourite bloggers end their posts, and check out these links for blog signature inspiration and design advice:
Some free themes won’t allow you to change the colour scheme, others will. If you’re paying a designer you will of course be able to choose the colours. You want to avoid a colour scheme that makes things difficult to read (like yellow text on a white background) or which just looks awful (like yellow text on a black background).
Most bloggers choose to stick with a plain white background but other colours can look good too, just keep them pale behind where your text is so that it’s readable. You don’t have to stick to just one colour either – plenty of blogs pick 2, 3 or even 4 colours that complement each other nicely, or if you’re set on a certain colour like green for your eco-friendly blog, why not use a few shades together?
Your colour scheme should tie into all aspects of your blog design, such as titles, social media buttons and your logo. Use it on social media too – it’s a part of your branding just like your logo! Here are some tips to help you choose and implement a great colour scheme on your blog:
One thing that separates a blog from an online magazine is that it’s a more personalised space – if your readers can get to feel like they know you, your blog will be a more welcoming space and they’ll be more likely to become loyal followers. On social media, followers want to feel like they’re interacting with a real person, not a faceless website.
An easy way to make your blog more personal is to show your face! It makes sense to put your photo on your ‘about’ page, but many bloggers also put it in their sidebar so that it’s instantly visible to people landing on your site. It’s also a more personal social media profile image than your logo – that can go in the header image instead on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Your headshot should be a crisp, high-res shot to make your blog look professional. You want to get across your personality and, if you’re a fashion or beauty blogger, your signature look too! You might want to overlay design elements to fit in with the overall look and feel of your blog. Check out the links below for advice on taking and designing a great blog headshot: