If you’re anything like me, you crave change! Designing and changing the look of things around here is something that I frequently do to improve the user experience and ensure that my content is presented in the best way possible. As I’ve rebranded and refreshed the Bliss & Faith site, it has been through quite a bit of changes over the past few months, but as a creative and designer, I’m never satisfied. Not being satisfied isn’t a bad thing, however, it simply means that maintaining my site and keeping up the appearance of it is a priority to me.
In my quest to grow my little corner of the web into a thriving resource for creative female entrepreneurs, I realized how important it is for me to have a cohesive, strong, and clean design. This is essential, because the way in which my content is presented is a direct reflection of my brand. Everything from the minimalist layout to optimizing my blog for SEO, has everything to do with my brand being perceived as trustworthy and professional.
While I can consult and brand others all day long, its most hardest for me to do it for myself. It takes for me to approach it slowly and diligently. This is one of those times where I just can’t drive in head first, but rather dip my feet in little by little. You, yourself may need to do the same when it comes to your blog design, or even brand. I’ll talk more about branding in the coming months, as it is something I’m very passionate, especially as a part of my business.
However, today I’m going to hit a few wickets on how to easy spruce up your design if you’re feeling the need to do so or still brainstorming the direction you want to take your blog. A little bit goes a long way, and by starting small you give yourself plenty of time to let your creative juices flow or tell a designer exactly what you want. As a designer, one of the hardest things to do is to try to create something for someone who has no idea of what they want. I know what I like, what I would do, but do you?
So whether you are doing it yourself or have hired someone, these tips will help to get you going.
1. Start from top to bottom.
Your header, is in essence, the focal point of your blog. It is the first thing people see when they visit, and one of the main things that will give visitors an idea of who you are.
Here are a few things to consider when creating your header:
- Is your header attention getting?
- Does it represent you?
- Is it consistent with the rest of your design
- What feelings, emotions, thoughts do you feel it conveys and evokes when you look at it?
- Do you think that your header makes people want to know more about you?
2. Consistency is key!
From the font to color scheme, to additional design elements on your blog, you want it to flow. There’s nothing worst that visiting a site that has an inconsistent design. This is an immediate turn-off, and can even be seen as unprofessional. You want visitors to know you value your space, and just like keeping yourself looking presentable at all times, you want your blog to be as well.
- Unclutter that sidebar
- Make use of additional Pages
- Have an organized navigation bar. If you have two, that’s fine, but don’t have 15 links in them. Use parent pages and drop-down options when organizing your bar.
3. Give everything a title.
This means that your sidebar should be broken down into different sections.
Consider using the following title in your sidebar:
These are just some of the titles you can use to title different elements in your sidebar. By doing this, it gives the appearance of a neat and organized sidebar, that is easy navigable.
4. Utilize that footer.
The poor footer oftentimes gets forgotten, but it’s such an important area. You can put almost anything in the footer. Most blog designs allow for footer widgets, where you can additional social media buttons, ad space, and pretty much whatever else you may not want to display in the sidebar. Your footer and respective widgets appear on every page of your site, so it’s part of your prime real estate.
5. Set featured images.
Some designs do this automatically, but other times you may have to manually do this. When someone lands on your page, they want some visual stimulation to give them a reason to stay a while and click around. While content is king and words are great, people respond to visual aids. Think about shopping, what grabs your attention? The words on the sign, or the colors, graphics, and other design elements that catch your eye, and then make you read the words. Same thing with design. It’s all about the visual.
Note: You don’t have to use fancy graphics, stock images, or photos all the time. Use a simple graphic, just words overlaid on a pop of color with a border is just fine. It only takes minutes to create, and adds that something extra to your post. However, if you want to go fancy, by all means do. Just makes sure it isn’t distracting and does detract away from your content.
Making these minor changes or keeping these considerations in mind can do wonders for your blog. Not only that, it can do wonders for your motivation and inspiration. I know for a fact that every time I re-design or refresh my blog, I’m that much more encouraged to take my blog to the next level. It’s so easy to fall off, so these few things might just give you what you need, at least visually, to stay encouraged and keep putting awesome content out there for both your current and potential audience!
Want to know more about how to step your blog design up? Get on my mailing list to receive my free 30-page Build An Authentic Brand Guide, exclusive blogging, branding, and design tips, freebies, and more!
You can also drop by my design space take a look at my services. I’m more than happy to help!
I once told my husband that I am my own worst client. Forget every story you’ve ever read on Clients From Hell or Not Always Right, when designing for myself I top all of them. And like you, I am constantly changing, tweaking and modifying. Great tips by the way.
You know! Its ridiculous, because I really am my own worst client. Its one of the things that put me off from revamping my own site for months, meanwhile I was pumping out tons of premade themes. I just didn’t even want to deal with myself, lol! I’m glad someone can relate…I knew I couldn’t be the only one. 🙂
I’m going to be doing a blog redesign this weekend. I actually bought one! I’m so excited to use it. I love it.
Yay, that’s so awesome! I can’t wait to check your new design out! 🙂 Sometimes a new design is just what you need to get the creative juice flowing and your motivation up. Always works for me!
I love these tips, I find it is so easy to visit other blogs and know what I don’t like but much harder to put my finger on what it is I do like. Sometimes I think it’s hard to see our own space with fresh eyes and see it as new visitors do.
I’m loving your hot pink btw – my 2nd favourite colour!
Thanks so much, I’m so glad you like the tips! I couldn’t agree more with you, its so day when its others’ blogs, but so hard when its our own.
Pink is my fave color, and of course gold too. I always have to have a metallic in there somewhere! 🙂
I’m so lost in the sauce when it comes to WordPress design 🙁 I spent some time trying to figure out how to add ads to the bottom of my footer… FAIL.
Whaaa! Right now my blog is sparse but I don’t want to clutter it up… always the balance.
Great tips, by the way! I will be pinning this for sure.
Girl, I’ve had my fair share of “breaking” my site! Its one of the reasons I learned blog design. I spent 4 hours on the phone one time with my host company while my blog was down, all because of a piece of code from an ad. I ended up figuring it out myself, despite talking to like 2 people. Craziness! After that I really started to dig into design and here I am today!
I think its great that your blog has a clean look right now, best to start with a clean palette, because between buttons, ads, and other design elements they can get cluttered quick. I have to do a purge almost monthly, because I end up adding little things here and there, and before I know it my site starts looking cluttered.
If you ever need help with your design, even if its just tweaking, I’m than happy to help lady! 🙂
Thank you, sweetheart! Right now, I’m thinking I want to move all my I’m a member of to the bottom of my blog, do you think that’s a good idea?
Anyway, glad you shared this post with the Mommy Monday Community, this was so very helpful.
Wonderful tips and seriously couldn’t agree more. Am pinning your post and sharing on my J9 Designs FB page for those who subscribe for more blog advice here. You nailed it Tenns!! 🙂
Thanks so much Janine! I really appreciate you sharing as well! 🙂
Stopping by from The Party Bunch link party. Great tips! I feel that we should all review our site every few months to stay current.
I couldn’t agree more! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂
I agree. I’m like you too, I crave a constant change – blog design, layout even the style and way of how I take my images.. a bit OCD much? lol
you have some great points hun, thanks for sharing ::)
x Shanna | http://www.mycurvesandlashes.blogspot.co.uk
Not OCD at all, lol! I’m right there with you! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂
Visiting from That Friday Blog Hop! What a great list! Going through my blog sometimes gets pretty overwhelming, but this list breaks it down into simple tasks. Tackling blog design seems a little bit less intimidating now. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much Brittany! It can totally get overwhelming, believe you me! I’m so glad these tips were helpful to you. 🙂
Great post. I am fairly new to the blogger world and it is so easy to end up with lots of badges that can take the focus away from your content. I really enjoyed reading the post as I could feel the passion you have for what you do!
Found you at the SITS girls! #SITSSharefest
Thanks so much Mary! Badges can totally clutter your blog. I always try to put them on a separate page, unless it is required that they have to be on my front page. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading. And yes, I’m extremely passionate about what I do, I love it!
Great tips! Thank you! I feel like I’m always wanting to redo things on my blog/website but then don’t because I end up doing a WHOLE revamp when I do and it’s just so time consuming. Thanks for all the tips.
Thanks so much Heather! The process never ends, lol! A revamp can take up a lot of time, so that’s why its great to do things along the way. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Tenns, as always, great post. I need to make better use of my footers and I want to add pictures linked to my best articles on my sidebar!! I better get to work! Thanks for stopping by Let’s Get Real this week. Be sure to come next week!!
Thanks so much Elizabeth! Yes, it does look like you have a bit of work to do, but I know you’ll totally get it done! I’ll be sure to stop by back and link up again! 🙂
Great ideas! I am always changing my design, too. I am determined to do it all on my own, and am just never satisfied with the overall appearance. Currently working on redesigning my category structure and breaking the menu into two for easier navigation!
Thanks so much Michelle! I know exactly what you mean! Easier navigation is everything, it all comes down to good content and the user experience!
Visiting from SITS! Great advice! I thought I was the only one with ADD with web designs. I have changed my business website quite a few times and my blog has been tweaked several times, too. I always see something to change or rearrange based on an idea I have. I don’t know if it’s boredom or reinventing, but it keeps me happy!
Thanks so much Serena! Ha, you’re not the only one at all…I’m right there with you! I always see something that I need to tweak or change too, and until I do it, it drive me crazy. I think part of mines is boredom and the rest my ever-going, creative mind.
Great tips! I never had someone design my blog professionally though I was itching to do have it done. But right now, Im pretty happy with what it looks like. It went through a lot of revisions over the years haha
Thanks so much Viviene! I’m so glad my post gave you the confidence to dive and change up things with your blog. That’s awesome!
I wish I would have come across this post sooner. I am currently paying for someone to redo my site. Thanks for linking up at Mommy needs a time out.
Aww, well I’m sure your site will turn out lovely! You can always keep this tips on hand for down the road. You never know when they’ll turn up handy!
These are GREAT tips!
Thanks so much!
Great tips Tenns. Thanks for sharing. I am having a fight with fonts on my blog right now. It is the wierdest thing. My fonts never look like the ones I selected. They are always changing…by themselves. Go figure.
Thanks so much! That’s so weird about your fonts. I’d be happy to help you out if you want to email me your exact issue that your experiencing in more detail. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be a plugin if you’re self-hosted WordPress.
Hi Tenns – These are excellent tips. Thanks so much for sharing them with the Let’s Get Real party. I’m pinning them to our group board.
Thanks so much! Always happy to share!
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Thanks for these tips. I’m in the process of planning a redesign because my current Studiopress WP theme is not mobile friendly. So there are big decisions to be made about expanding or contracting all my different websites. Its such a big job to switch the theme that I need to clear all my other work to do it. I think your advice of clear and uncluttered is great.
Great tips. I’m always rethinking my blog design to help visitors know right away a little about me. And yes, I do think that the header is one of the biggest and most important component in blog design. Also, the footer – I know I always look at other people’s footers, so I’m sure there are those who look at mine as well – I think it’s worth the while to put social links down there too!
Thanks for the tips. I’m currently trying to figure out if I have everything done “right” so it’s nice to get someone else’s opinion on the subject!
You’re very welcome, Sam! I know exactly where you’re coming from. I don’t know, however, if any of us ever have everything on our sites exactly “right”. As long as you’re implementing good practices with your content and design, you should be just fine! Our sites are works in progresses and ever evolving.