If you are thinking about starting a blog or are in the beginning stages of blogging, then this post is for you! One of the most fun and creative things about setting up your blog is designing it! You get to make your own choices for everything, so your blog can reflect you as a person. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but I hope these blog design tips can help you relax and have fun in creating your blog.
This is the second part in a series of posts on blogging for beginners. If you are not to the designing stage of blogging yet, I suggest you start with our first post!
Check out part 1 in our series of blogging for beginners posts: Blogging for Beginners: 5 Things To Do Before Launching Your Blog
Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links. This just means that we make a little money if you buy something through one of our links. It does not cost you any more to purchase an item through our links. It just helps support this blog so we can continue to bring you more content like this.
Some parts of this post will only be helpful if you are using WordPress, but there are still many things that apply to newbie bloggers that are using other platforms like Wix or Squarespace.
If you need help navigating and setting up WordPress, I highly recommend signing up for Bree’s WordPress course!
- It is FREE!
- You work at your own pace
- Bree is available for questions
- It has pictures and step by step instructions
Blog Design Tip #1 Brand yourself
When you think of different brands, what stands out about them?
Do you think of the colors they use like red for Target or Netflix?
What about the fonts? If I mention the brand Disney, can you picture the font they use in their logo?
All companies use branding to set themselves apart from the competition.
You may not see your blog as a brand, but in order to market your blog (get people to read your posts, like them, comment on them, etc.), you need to set yourself apart from other bloggers.
Part of what sets you apart is your experiences, your niche, and your unique perspective on topics. Besides these factors, there are other things that you can use to create your own brand.
Here are some of the things you need to decide on in order to create a brand:
- brand colors
- writing style
- blog tagline
Download your FREE blog branding guide below to walk you through the branding process.
You can print it or type right into it on your computer!
Choosing Brand Colors
What colors do you associate with your topic(s)?
For example, if you were to write a blog all about teaching preschool, you might use bright colors like red, blue, yellow, etc.
If you don’t associate certain colors with your topic(s), think about what colors you like that work well together.
I didn’t really associate any specific colors with living a thrifty lifestyle, but I already had in mind the type of logo I wanted and knew what colors would go well with that.
My color palette is pastel colors that I associate with the 1950’s because my logo is retro-looking. I really like vintage things, so I chose my logo and colors based on something that I enjoy.
You should come up with at least 3 colors that you can associate with your brand. You may use one color more than the others, but it’s a good idea to come up with a color palette that you can use when designing your blog and images.
My colors are light pink/peach, light blue, and light yellow. There is also a certain shade of dark gray that I like to use with my main 3 colors.
Once you choose your colors, you should write down the hex codes of your colors. A hex code is just the 6 digits that represent a color in HTML code.
For example, I use #ABDDD8 for the blue color on my blog.
This is a great website that you can use to choose colors that have the hex codes labeled.
You will probably use a couple different fonts for your blog.
You will have a font that you use for the body of each of your blog posts. This font should be super easy to read on a desktop or mobile device. A sans serif font works well for your main text. Sans serif just means that the font has a smooth look with no extra lines on it.
You can also choose a different font for the title and headings of your posts. I use a serif font for my headings because it makes them stand out more against the body text.
You may also have a different font for your logo, which is totally fine!
I would just suggest that you don’t go font crazy on your blog because you want it to have a cohesive look.
Note: if you are planning on using Pinterest for your blog, you don’t have to use the same fonts on your pins!
The fonts you use need to be free for commercial use.
Creating a Logo
You should have some type of logo associated with your blog. It doesn’t have to be a picture, but you should have something.
Many brands use cool fonts to create a logo using their website name.
Others have a picture with their website name together.
Look at some of your favorite brands and blogs and to see what other people have for their logos.
You don’t have to be super creative to come up with one. Just think of images that connect with your topic(s).
Bloggers that use their name as their website name often times just use a fancy font to write their name and use that as their logo.
If you choose to use an image in your logo, make sure that your picture is either one that you have created or one that is not copyrighted.
There are lots of public domain graphics that you can use.
Pixabay is one of my favorite sites for free images.
I used Canva to create my logo. This is a free tool for you to use to create all sorts of graphics.
Choosing a Writing Style
One of the awesome things about blogging is the fact that you can write like you talk.
There is nothing wrong with academic writing, but blogging allows you to get very creative and real with your readers.
When you are thinking about how you talk and what your audience needs, then you can decide on a writing style.
Maybe you like to make jokes or use puns when you normally talk, then this might be something you would want to include in your blog writing style!
The more your readers can get a sense of your personality the better!
If you have more than one person who is going to be writing blog posts, then you may have more than one writing style.
Don’t be afraid to use phrases and words that you normally would use in your everyday life.
Be yourself, and your readers will be able to relate with your better! 🙂
Writing a Blog Tagline
A tagline is the short phrase that usually accompanies your logo or the name of your blog.
This phrase explains what your blog is generally about in as few words as possible.
Our tagline for this blog is “Making life more affordable.”
We want our readers to know that typically our posts help you make smart financial decisions so that you can afford the things you want in life.
When coming up with your tagline, ask yourself the following question:
What do I want my readers to take away from my blog?
Blog Design Tip #2 Pick a theme that works for your topic
Free or Paid?
On WordPress there are hundreds of themes that you can choose from.
Each theme has different features, so make sure you are choosing one that fits you.
Some people may tell you that you should buy a premium theme to begin with, but others will say that it’s okay to start out using a free theme.
We use a free theme for our blog because we don’t want to spend the money on a premium one yet.
It really is up to you what you want to do.
There really are some good free themes out there though, so don’t feel like you have to spend a bunch of money on one.
You can choose for your blog to have whatever layout you would like.
Here are some things to think about when choosing a theme:
Do you want your readers to start on a certain page?
Do you want your recent blog posts on the home page?
Does it make sense to have a gallery of pictures on your home page?
What you blog about is important to the design for your blog.
A blogger who writes about photography and showcases her work may want to use a theme where the home page has a gallery of her work.
While a food blogger may want to have categories of different types of recipes.
It really depends on what you like and what makes sense for your audience.
I tested out several different themes until I found one that I liked.
Blog Design Tip #3 Organize your blog with your reader in mind
It is so frustrating to find a blog that has a lot of interesting posts but is so difficult to navigate.
If I want to find a certain post or category of posts on your blog, it shouldn’t be that hard!
When I was designing this blog, I thought about what categories our posts would fall into. I created menus with categories and sub categories in order for our readers to be able to find other posts on our site.
These are our 7 categories:
- how to
We have sub categories for four of our categories, but not all of them.
Your blog posts should fall into some type of category. You don’t have to have as many categories as we do, but you should have some.
What topics are you going to write about?
Decide on at least 3 categories that you can create for your blog.
Can you think of any subcategories?
The more organized your blog is, the easier it will be to navigate.
When choosing a theme, I wanted our blog to have two menus. One menu is things like our about page, legal pages, contact form, etc.
The other menu is where the different categories are listed.
Besides your categories, you will have other pages that need to be easy to find.
Most blogs have at least the following pages:
- about me page
- contact page
You should have an about me page that allows your readers to get to know you some. This helps readers to relate to you, and it helps build trust with your audience.
A contact page can be pretty simple, but it is a good idea to have so that readers and companies can contact you easily.
Some other pages you might have could be a home page, a start here page, tools & resources, and a resource library. These are all optional, but they give your reader even more things to check out on your blog.
Blog Design Tip #4 Add widgets to your blog
Depending on your theme and what plugins you have, there will be different widget options available.
Widgets are things that you add to your blog that your reader can interact with.
Some examples of widgets are:
- social media follow buttons
- archives of old blog posts
- search bar
- related posts
- social media widgets
- email subscribe button
If you can use a widget instead of a plugin, I would recommend doing that. Having too many plugins can slow down your blog.
We have widgets on the right side and bottom of our page.
What questions do you still have when it comes to designing your blog? Comment down below or shoot us a message with your questions!
Don’t forget to download your FREE branding guide!