A feature in which I share my dubious blogging wisdom with you.
Welcome back to the Blogging Tips feature! I have written numerous posts on blogging and have given my advice and shared what worked for me personally. It’s an introduction of sorts to blogging, and you can find all of it HERE.
I have been thinking a lot about blog designs and how my own personal blog has evolved and how it looks now versus how it looked when I first started it. I personally think that the way your blog looks is really important because it’s the first thing people see when they open it up. So today on blogging tips – we make all of your blogs super pretty. And I’ll split this into two parts – organization and aesthetic.
I don’t know about you but the number one thing I try to do on my blog is have it be organized. This will make your blog look and feel well put together and it will make navigation through it a thousand times easier and better. So things to think about:
Menus and bars
Since we are all using WordPress, we can talk about themes! Choosing the right theme is super important and it’s usually the number one thing you do when you start your blog. Everyone has a different preference and we’ll talk about colors and looks later, but the one thing that you want to keep in mind when you are picking a theme is to have it be well organized, and not just that – have it be organized in a way that suits your needs.
For example, I think having a header menu is really important. This makes navigation through your blog super easy and you can add every single thing that people might need when they open up your blog. This is how mine looks right now:
As you can see, I have a home page, an about page and a contact & review policy page. I think these three are the main ones you need and they should always be the first listed pages for people to navigate to. When people come to your blog to look for review options, they need a quick way to contact you and see what you are all about, so that’s why these should be listed first.
Next, I have a reviews tab, since this is a book reviewing blog and after that, I have a couple of tabs that are unique to my blog and something that I like for people to navigate to once they open up the blog – so there’s a discussions tab, a features tab (which I highly suggest you make – here’s a post all about Features) and a blogging tips tab (that’s where you’re at right now).
One thing you should definitely take advantage of when making a header menu is levels. You can make top-level categories (like my reviews bar) and then list other categories under it, like this:
When you hover over my reviews tab, I have other related categories under it. This looks nice plus it makes it easier for people to navigate to certain pages of your blog that are related. So people can scroll through my reviews or they can go to the review index (please make this!) and look for a specific review.
Another thing to look for in a theme is a sidebar. Like the header menu, sidebars make it so much easier to list important stuff right there on the page, so people can find things they are looking for without a lot of fuss. Things I think you NEED to include:
I think your social media should be listed at the top of the page. When I go to a familiar blog to look for their other social media, I want that to be quick and I don’t want to spend more than a minute on looking, because I’ll give up. So make your social media visible.
People always forget to include a search option for their blogs. This has made my life difficult when I look for certain things on people’s blogs. So you need a search bar. You do. And putting it in the sidebar can make it easily accessible, while also having it not be too intrusive to the design.
Other stuff is definitely not necessary and I think you should add things that work for you specifically. I have my Instagram feed on there, archives, recent posts etc. Always think about things you want to see on a blog when you are there and then just add that. Also, use other people’s blogs for inspiration, since there are so many lovely people who nail the organizational aspect of their blog.
This is something that took me a while to get a hang of – but you need to have categories on your blog. It will help with everything that you do. It will make the blog easier to navigate, it will help you organize the header bar, and it just makes sense. Don’t throw everything into the default “uncategorized” category, because it will be a pain in the ass to go through. So categorize every single post in categories that make sense.
Now for the superficial part of your blog looks, and arguably my most favorite. This is closely tied to your “brand” and the way to make your blog instantly recognizable.
Colors and Fonts
Try to get your blog to look well-put-together by using a color scheme that looks good together and then be consistent with it. For example, I use the same color of pink on all of my stuff (I even know its RGB code by heart). All my titles are in it, I use it in my graphics, everything on my blog is in that same color. So make your color scheme consistent throughout your blog. It will make everything look coherent and pretty.
Same goes for fonts. Use the same font on your graphics and on your posts. I use Lobster Two on everything and it again makes everything look good together.
This is arguably everyone’s favorite thing about my blog, so I will do a brief introduction to graphics and then if you want, I will make a comprehensive tutorial (like my Edelweiss one) on how to make these.
First thing to look for is – vectors. There are a lot of sites to use to find free vector graphics (I personally use Freepik). You will find a bunch of different vector graphics – just search for flowers, for example, and then you will see a bunch of flower graphics:
The trickier part is learning how to edit them. Find a vector editing program (like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape) and just learn the basics – and you’ll be able to add your own text and then have beautiful separators, like mine:
As you know, WordPress allows you to put featured images onto your posts. Be sure to make these look pretty, but also make them all the same. This helps with the overall coherent look of your blog and also that’s the first thing that people see on a post so you make sure that it 1. tells them what the post is about but also 2. looks nice. Mine is a mix of text and an old instagram post:
And those are my tips on making your blogs look all nice and pretty. Be sure to let me know your thoughts and tips in the comments below and also, make sure you let me know about anything you might want to see in a future blogging tips post!
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