This blog post is part of the blogging series we started here a few weeks ago for those of you who are new bloggers, thinking about starting a blog, or revamping your blog like me. If you have missed out on these posts you can visit An Unsuccessful Blogger's Income Report, Blogging Mistakes: Choosing a Domain Name, and Blogging Mistakes: Choosing the Wrong Blog Platform.
If you take my advice then you will be using a WordPress self-hosted blog. I am not a blog design expert or a WordPress expert in any area. Remember I just moved over to WordPress last month so these tips are based on what I learned through that process and hope in some way they can help you as well. BlueHost offers WordPress auto install with WordPress updates within 24 hours. This service right now starts at $12.49 for the first month with a 30 day money back guarantee. Here are ten wordpress blog design tips I learned from going through this process.
- WordPress offers both free and premium themes. The premium themes are less commonly used and usually offer more support. There are plenty of good free themes to choose from as well however. Probably one of the most popular themes is the Genesis theme (which is what I use). The Thesis Theme is another really popular one among bloggers. Besides those, if you want to take a look around and find something specific to what you want then Elegant Themes, Studio Press, and Theme Isle are great places to look.
- Consider what type of design you want for your header image. Depending on your technical skills and what kind of image you want you may need to hire a designer. I have used Kat Robertson from eDesign Pro in the past and can highly recommend her.
- There is no right or wrong as far as design goes. A lot of it depends on your own personal design preferences. Spend some time looking around at other blogs that you really love the look of and take note of which theme they are using, if they used a blog designer, and what features you like about the blog.
- Navigation is a key factor in blog design. If your visitors can not navigate your blog easily then they will quickly leave. You want them to explore your blog and you want them to be able to find everything they need easily.
- Decide on a color scheme that is not too crazy. You want the colors to be understated with only 2-3 colors used throughout so that it does not distract your visitors.
- Don't clutter up your sidebar too much. Choose wisely what takes up that space, everything should either be benefiting you monetarily or by helping your visitors navigate your blog and keep them coming back(i.e. subscription, social networks, etc). Don't feel lie you need to fill up space, if it doesn't have value it doesn't need to be there.
- Decide on categories for your blog. You can create parent categories and subcategories. Create your menu and select where you want your menu located within your theme.
- Within your widgets menu you can add widgets to your sidebar to customize it. This can be things like your search box or recent posts list.
- Make sure your blog subscription tool is near the very top of your blog design. If users have to search for it, they won't subscribe.
- Add in plugins to customize your blog. There are SO many plugins it is easy to get carried away but if you add in too many plugins it will slow down your blog loading time.