Style Your Blog – Tips for a Pretty + Effective Blog
As Content is King, does it even matter what your blog looks like? Surely people will read your brilliantly crafted blog posts and nothing else will matter? I am afraid not, in this competitive world of blogging, the visual aspects of a blog DO matter.
Remember your blog’s style will be partly guided by your ideal audience. So it’s important to make sure you’re clear on who your ideal audience is, so you can create a blog style which will be enticing to them.
REASONS WHY VISUALS MATTER
- Readership – Text being too small, using a font which is difficult to read, having a poor post layout or cluttered side bar can all contribute to making a blog hard to read. If it’s hard to read, or unappealing, you’re going to have to be twice as good as everyone else to attract readers. A blog that doesn’t shine visually means that you risk people moving on and not coming back. People usually decide within the first few seconds of landing on a blog, whether they wish to stay and read more and this is what makes the visuals key.
- Professionalism – If you want to work with brands, then your blog needs to be attractive to the masses. Your own personal design likes and dislikes are important, but the look of your blog needs to be appealing to as many people as possible, so that brands will be confident in working with you.
- A reflection of you – Your readers identify with YOU and so your blog design should give something of yourself away. Otherwise you could just become another faceless blog.
HOW TO CREATE A STYLISH BLOG
To have a stylish, pretty or beautiful blog doesn’t mean it has to conform to the popular trend of white and minimalistic. I do like blogs with this design ethos, but is that you? Does it reflect you? I’m certainly not a white, put together, person so my blog isn’t designed like this. So here are my tips on how to style your blog.
- First things first, creating a stylish blog doesn’t have to cost the earth. You can probably even do a lot of it yourself. In the past I have used the wonderful illustrator Helen Braid from Ellie Illustrates and it was (at the time) less than £100 for a hand drawn image that reflects us a family. My current branding was more expensive at around £250, but I have also done headers myself in Canva or paid someone from Fiverr around $11 to do a typography based header.
- Be inspired – If you are starting a blog or planning a make over, try creating a mood board of design elements you like. A good way of doing this is to create a secret Pinterest board; that way you can just add to it when inspiration strikes. How do you want your blog to look? Which fonts do you like? What colours attract you? Which sort of image styles appeal to you? Just keep pinning inspiring design aspects to this board and it will become clear what your overall design aesthetic should be.
- Background colour/pattern – The text should be easy to read over your chosen background. I would advise against a strong background colour. It makes text difficult to read and on the whole doesn’t looks as professional as a simple white background.
GET YOUR STYLE GUIDE TEMPLATE – I have a style guide template for you to print and use for your own blog. Details at the bottom of the post.
- Wide images – I have covered blog post images in a previous post, so just to say that they should be as wide as your template allows (but for speed of loading reduce them to the correct size, mine are always 1000 px wide.)
- Colour match – Your blog will look more stylish and professional if you colour match to your header/blog colours. When you add text to an image you can match it to your brand colours. You can follow the colour match tutorial, which I gave in my PicMonkey tips post.
- Easy/attractive navigation – Make it easy for people to find the posts they want. Don’t just rely on your categories, which can look a bit dull in a drop down or cloud. You could display your top types of post as an image in your side bar. For example, if your recipes get lots of hits, then create a little recipe image badge and pop it in your sidebar linking it to your recipe category. It will look good and hopefully drive some more traffic.
- De-clutter your side bar – It can be quite easy to keep adding to your side bar, which just adds to the clutter. Remove anything you don’t really need, for a sleeker look. Keep on top of this too by making a note to check every few weeks.
WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT?
- Square justified text – In my opinion posts look so much better if the text is square justified and the pictures, picture captions and highlighted points are centred. If you updated WordPress and lost the square justify button, you need to add the ‘Who stole the justify button’ plugin and it will pop back into your editing panel.
- Reduce any annoyances – Auto music and pop ups can be really annoying to readers. Pop ups can be a super useful way of getting people on your email list, but make sure they are well timed, not invasive and can be easily clicked away on mobiles. The Milo Tree pop up is one which is great for mobile viewing since Googles updates and crack down on some pop-ups.
- Change the type face – You can change the typeface of all the fonts on your blog by installing the WP Google fonts plugin. I’m drawn to fonts such as Lato, Raleway and Oxygen. Go for something which is clear, light, open and professional.
- Improve your images – Great pictures go a long way to adding to the beauty of a blog; so try to improve your photography. You don’t need a posh DSLR to take good pictures, some of my favourite pictures I have taken with my iPhone.
- Header/avatar – Be consistent in your images and use the same images across all your platforms. Your face should be included in all of your bios, as people want to connect with real people not logos. You can always use your blog header as your background image, with your face picture as your profile picture.
OTHER TIPS THAT CAN HELP?
- Add value to your images – Adding type to images, not only makes them pinnable, but can add your blog style to the image. Consider pairing up fonts for maximum benefit. There are lots of articles on font pairing and this site is a really good tool to help you make the right match.
- Format of your posts – Decide how you want your posts to look and stick to it. Do you use headers? What size? Make a note of all of these details, so that you can keep consistency. Will you include a signature line and follow me buttons? Which order will you display these in? Note it all down in the Style Guide for your blog (see below!).
- A consistent message across social media platforms – For example, are you always going to use the same filter for your Instagram images? Do you tweet your blog posts with an image? All these things adds to the style of your blog. Think about it as a way to build your brand.
- Practicality – There’s no point in your blog being pretty if it doesn’t deliver on practicality. Are your social media icons, contact details, email sign up, search bar and categories easy to find? If not, then make it so!
I hope these tips help you create a pretty and stylish space online.
GET YOUR STYLE GUIDE TEMPLATE
I hope these tips help you create a pretty and stylish space online.
Style Guide Creation Kit
GET YOUR'S NOW