Blogging Boot Camp Day 3
It’s all About You and Your Individual Design Choices
There is a lot to take in for this lesson, so most of it you can watch in the video.
By the end of this lesson, you should see your blog taking shape and becoming your own.
Your design is the personal touch you give to your blog to define your brand. The design of your blog allows people to differentiate you from others.
Let's dig in a little and take a look at designs and themes..
Designs and Themes
When you first upload WordPress you find yourself with the default WordPress theme. As good as WordPress is, people rarely stick with the standard theme and choose to go with an alternative for individuality.
There is a lot of debate about what type of theme to use and which theme is better than the next. Personally I am a big fan of individual designs with a premium theme such as the Elegant Themes DIVI which is what I currently use.
This setup allows for a greater scope of individuality, thus creating a blog design which you and you alone own allowing for complete individuality.
When first starting out if you have a low budget, as we have discussed it is a good idea to go for a free theme. But as you progress, you will change, I guarantee it.
The great thing about WordPress is you can add a new theme without disrupting your site too much.
Having a good looking, functional blog really does add value. You don’t have to have an all singing all dancing blog with flashing banners and garish colours.
Your blog should look professional, and read even better...
There is no need to fill your blog with ad after ad and affiliate banner after affiliate banner. This will just annoy the reader.
Depending on your niche and the primary function of your blog, you can build the look and feel of your blog and tailor it to how you want e.g. If you have a blog that has a primary function of readability. It would be wise to design your blog for this purpose.
Use less or no ads, a strategic opt-in placement such as a popup and good clean layout to focus on content.
"Be honest with yourself when viewing your blog and design. Ask yourself if this is what you would like to see as the reader?"
Here are a few tips you should take into consideration when looking at your blog design:
Take your navigation into consideration - Give your reader a few options but not too many. You don’t have to create a new category or a new page for every post. Keep your navigation neat and tidy with limited options. If a reader can’t find a specific item, you can add a search bar. No one likes clutter.
Your contact info is important - Have your contact info where your readers can see it and use it. Don’t think that people won’t want to talk to you. After all you run a social blog, you need to build a community and speaking to people is part of it.
Don’t overuse bold fonts and unreadable fonts - Most newbies have a
tendency to create oversized and strange fonts. Your font does not have to be huge but it does have to be readable, the average reader is not blind, nor do they want to see fancy unreadable italics either.
Take a color scheme and stick with it - Newspapers and magazines are a great example of this. Their color schemes for articles never change. Black/grey on white design with the odd sub heading in an alternative, but never outlandish color. Simplicity is the key here. Don't have a rainbow of color on the screen make it look nice.
Treat your sidebar with respect - There is a place for everything on your blog and your side bar is the 3rd most important part of your blog, next to the title space and content. It remains on every post and is seen a lot. Remove all unnecessary widgets and content that don’t directly relate to your blog or serve purpose. Less is more in this case.
Create an about me page – As I mentioned earlier, your blog is a social platform, so an about me page is going to help you out hugely. Why? It’s the second most viewed page on your blog next to your home page.
Add social media sharing options - There are a multitude of social sharing plugins you can use, so use them. You want your readers to share your content with the social media platforms used by other people interested in your stuff, so make it as easy as possible to do so.
*Remember - Don’t add stuff on your blog you don’t need or use. Your blog is your blog, it’s your house so keep it clean. Don’t add plugins, social media buttons, widgets and graphics that aren’t going to get used, or worse, don’t know what they do.
Just because you have seen things on other blogs doesn’t mean you should have every new shiny object that comes along.
Keep it real and keep it tidy.
Ok, that's about all for today's lesson. I hope you enjoyed it.
What you should have taken away from this lesson is:
1. Your blog design, menus and pages
2. Uploading images and see your blog taking shape