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When I wrote about ten tips for beginning bloggers, one of the tips I meant to include was about blog design. But I get distracted (SQUIRREL!). I was so full of ideas for that post I may need to make a part two!
For now, I want to talk about some easy and free blog design.
What Is Blog Design?
Blog design is what your blog looks like when someone stops by to visit. As much as we want it to be all about the writing … honestly, if a blog looks bad, I’m probably not going to stick around.
I had a generic Blogger design when I started blogging in 2006–and for at least a year and half. I didn’t know any better, and I didn’t know that anyone was reading my blog anyway.
If you are just writing for family to keep up with your kids or a journal only you want to read, you can stop reading here. As with my tips for blogging, these tips are really for people who want to generate traffic to their blog.
That said, if you are interested in increasing your traffic and your blog looks like one of these:
… you may want to consider some design. (Any identifying information obviously blurred or distorted to protect the innocent.)
Blog Design Options
Your mind may go to paid blog design first thing. My current design I paid for, and I think it’s well worth the money! (Jo-Lynne from DCR Design created it for me.) For a year or more before that, however, I had a free but very unique design.
I can’t find it anymore, but it was based off this illustration:
For a blog subtitled Trying to Be the Housewife I’m Not, I think this was a GREAT find for a template. And I never saw another blog with the same design, even though it was free!
To recap, we have three choices in design: generic templates served by your blogging platform (Blogger or WordPress, likely) [free]; paid design from a skilled designer [not free]; or free design found online [free, but takes time].
Where to Find Free Blog Designs
My favorite way to find free blog design is simply to Google “free blogger template.” If your blog has a theme or niche, I would throw that term in there as well. Let’s say your blog is about fashion and is hosted by Blogger. (Honestly, I don’t know very much about WordPress, so I’m going to stick with what I know here.) So you would search (on Swagbucks, of course!) for “free blogger template fashion.” Let’s see what we find.
Pretty quickly, I found all of these free designs.
The third one I found by going to a site that had “fashion” templates. On the sidebar, it listed their different themes, and I clicked on “shopping,” since the two are pretty related in my mind.
I think all three of those are pretty cute and unique and would be way more interesting and relevant than any of those above.
Alternately, you can use backgrounds from a site like these, which may not be as unique but are at least a little different from every blog out there:
I will continue this next week with how to implement the design on your site!
I’m adding this post to Things I Love Thursday, because I love a blog that looks good! And don’t forget to prepare your posts for Why I Friday! Also, I hope you will take this as helpful, not critical. There was so much I didn’t know when I was starting out with blogging, and I want to share information.