I blog for fun, to learn, be a part of a community, to document our lives, to resource others and to inspire a little bit along the way. That all said, I am really interested in making my blog a better, nicer place. I like aesthetics and I can appreciate that as people, we are very visual and only have a few seconds to make a first impression.
In person, that impression can be made in many different ways, in the warmth of your smile, the tone of your voice, your appearance and hygiene, your body language. When it comes to your website you only have a few seconds and those seconds are usually taken up with the visual appearance of your blog.
Last week I sent out an email to our Christchurch bloggers and I offered them the opportunity to have anything fixed up by me for their website because I was interested in helping them. Most of them jumped at the chance and since then I've straightened and created headers, alined boxes down sidebars and made buttons for Facebook and Twitter connections and the like. All of my designs and fixings have been very simple, but it shocked me that most people didn't even know what a pixel was.
Now, I'm not graphic design whizz, and my own website isn't perfect. Everything I know has been self or husband taught, but I have spent many years creating blog headers, keeping a website and designing church advertisements. I've picked up a few things along the way and I wanted to share them with you.
My sharing over the next little while is going to be very basic and easy to follow.
So here I am, giving a basic run down on the main elements of your blog so you can do it yourself. If you can't DIY, I'm giving you an opportunity later on to have something designed by me (so stay tuned).
What Will You Learn?
I will be covering making your own blog headers on free internet based software, creating your own blog link tool and box to share the code along with some tips on keeping your blog maintained and looking fresh along with the opportunity to have me take care of it all for you (or I have the name of an amazing designer who can).
Todays Tips For Your Side Bar
Keep your side bars fresh and relevant.
- Do include a clear about me and a "landing space" for new readers.
What's a landing space? Its a place your new readers can rest their eyes and know about you in a glance. Its a place they will go to "next" to find out more about you. Give them that space to land. Include a few sentences to sum up you and your blog and direct them to where they should go next - Popular posts? Things they must know about you? Meet the family?
What is the most important thing for your new readers to find when they come to your page? This should be included near the top of your side bar.
- You want your new reader to see the best of you, so keep it fresh and new.
Chuck out those old blog awards from 2007, you want readers to know the now you, not the old you. Do you have a new post to add to your popular posts repertoire?
Every few months I add something new or update my side bar, this keeps it slightly different and gives a very loyal reader something new to notice and look at. It also means if my information is changing and easily accessible people will spend more time on my page.
Don't go overboard and change your whole design every week (like I did for a while). You want your whole image to represent you and be recognisable to a returning reader so they remember you.
- Keep all of your icons in your side bar aligned. You definitely don't want some things to the left, others to the right and a couple in the center. Have them all in the same space (center is good).
To align them in the center, go into the HTML widget in your blogger template and add
at the beginning of the code andright at the end. Save and repeat for all of your HTML widgets.
How to find out the size of your blog header
What do you think about this new basic blog design series? Is there a thing or two you think you could learn? What would you love to know how to do? Leave a message in the comments and I might just be able to help! :)