Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blog design and layout - 30 lessons in blogging



I don't claim to be a designer, but I have learnt a lot over the years about tools you can use to design your blog.  Since my blog is a creative blog where I encourage people to try things for themselves, that is how I've looked at my own blog design. It has grown with my blog over the years and is a reflection of me and my own personal tastes.

You can choose to pay a designer to create a fabulous look for your blog, or you can choose to create that look for yourself. 

Here are some of the things I've learned:


Basic structure of your blog

In Blogger you can play with the layout, the size of your post column, the size of our sidebar etc and the colour scheme. I've just gradually played around with this, trying out different things until I liked what I saw. There are also different themes and designs. Plenty to play around with to find what suits you.

I also had a wordpress blog for a year, to test it out.  I played around with that too - so many options there of layouts and themes. You really can customize your blog to suit you and your posts.


Blog header

My header has changed several times over the years.
 I posted this tutorial a couple of years ago showing the basics of how I created mine. I would also recommend LunaPic for some extra interesting effects for your backgrounds!

Pictures
Great images are so important on your blog. Particularly a creative blog. A great image is more likely to be 'pinned', clicked on from a linky party, or stand out in a link to social media.

There are plenty of great photo editing tools out there. I use Picmonkey to create collages and header images with borders and titles. Like this simple example for one of my tutorials.

I've also recently started using a website called Canva for creating infographics, after reading they are one of the most pinned images!
That is what I'm using for the title images for these
 '30 lessons in blogging' posts, like this example from my first post:



Navigation
Your blog not only has to look good to readers, but it has to be easy to navigate and find all the fabulous posts, information and resources you build up.  I spent a lot of time setting up my main pages - and the clickable buttons to link to them that I use under my header.  I have lots more pages than this, which are listed in my 'pages widget' further down my sidebar.  I felt however, that I wanted only a few main pages displayed at the top of my blog - and there are links within those to other pages.
So for example my "100+ Free Sewing Tutorials" page takes you to a page where there are 8 themes of tutorials to choose from - each of which has its own dedicated page, with the tutorial main pictures and links on.

I also have different links to pages and posts via images and text links in my sidebar. Plenty of different ways that people can find my posts and tutorials!

Again, it's important to find what works for your own blog. Even if what you want doesn't fit with the basic Blogger template - there is always a way - just Google it and there is likely to be someone has done it before and made a nice tutorial for you to follow!


A Final Word
I am constantly looking at my own and other blogs and playing around with ideas for the design and layout. At the moment, I'm really happy with what I've created, but next week...who knows!


How about you?
Did you design your own blog?  Have you learned any tips and tricks you can share?
Take a look at your site now and see if it is really how you want your blog to look!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jill. I really need to improve my blog. I learned a lot from the tips that you had previously posted on your blog, I wouldn't have ever known about certain things. Thanks for the extra help. I truly don't have money to hire my own designer!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and try to respond to them all. Thanks for taking the time !