Welcome to the second post in the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series. Throughout the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series both myself and a group of bloggers will be sharing our experiences and advice upon a range of blogging related topics, this week we are focusing upon themes, layouts and blog design.
Blog Design – Does It Really Matter?
Regardless of how a reader may arrive at your site/ blog, first impressions are often heavily influenced by appearance over content. Opinions are generally formed in the matter of seconds, not minutes. Creating a good impression is therefore critical.
Whilst design is obviously hugely important, there are a wide range of other factors which will determine a blog’s success. Sure, readers like to view an attractive layout and design but thankfully quality content holds far more importance as it is precisely this that keeps readers returning.
Those of us that frequently read blogs have grown to expect particular designs, layouts, styles and standards in terms of appearance. When compared with a general website however, blogs are far less innovative as their key focus is content over appearance.
Themes & Layouts
There are masses of blogs which are carefully crafted with beautiful designs but these are the exception to the rule. It seems most blogs these days are clean, simple and content focused. With there being thousands of customisable themes and layouts either free or at a cost blogs are able to change their layout and design frequently with ease.
Bloggers like to keep their sites fresh as with regular updates and readers returning on a daily basis bloggers often feel the need to update their blogs ‘look’ to keep readers interest. Rather than wasting time tinkering and tailoring with blog design, blog themes are far easier to swiftly alter these days. However, in my opinion one thing that will maintain importance no matter what theme you may select will be the logo or header.
I personally paid for a Pipdig theme to use for my blog, it is customisable matching my desired colour scheme, easy to use and most importantly provides a clean and effective appearance which is easy to navigate and to read.
Since purchasing my current layout I have seen quite a few other options which I also fancy but due to financial constraints will be holding off from buying for now. Having discussed future blog design ideas with other bloggers I was reminded that content far outweighs appearance and ultimately I agreed with their opinions so for now RachelSwirl will remain as it is although I have altered fonts and such like to keep the blog fresh for readers.
Blog Logos/ Header Design
Whether you chose to create your own or to pay somebody else to design a logo for your brand, it is important that your layout/ design coincides with your logo through matching colours, schemes and such like.
A blog logo may be used throughout your site, social media pages, emails, newsletters, business cards and such like. It is therefore fairly crucial that your logo is clean, legible, appealing, recognisable, eye drawing, professional and of course stands out from the crowd.
When I first began blogging I created an logo which looking back was far too colourful and busy. After reading and looking closely at many other blogs I became aware that my logo needed to change. I fell in love with ‘Ellie Illustrates‘ beautiful blog designs and whilst I still wonder whether I should go all out and pay for a full rebranding, I opted instead to save some pennies and to do it for myself.
I probably spent far too much time working on my logo and blog design in general however, in my opinion it rated as important.
I began by drawing individual images which at the time seemed to relate to my life as a parent and also as a blogger. Sketches of my daughters dolls house, the children’s wooden door plaques, the bunting hung around the house, cupcakes, cups of coffee, my newly purchased Macbook Pro and my trusty IPhone along with numerous other images were each drawn onto paper.
I then selected a few of my favourites to add to my logo. Following this I used watercolours to create a splash of colour for the logo back drop. Having scanned, edited and layered my images as I felt right I then downloaded some fonts to add text completing my logo design.
I later created numerous matching logos in differing sizes and shapes to suit social media icons, business cards and such like. I’m fairly happy with the finished product but am certain that over time my logo will continue to develop and evolve.
The Bigger Picture
To summarise, blog design, layout and themes are something which bloggers continue to dabble with and to develop over time. Whilst a great deal of time and effort goes into designing a blog, ultimately appearance isn’t all that as ‘content’ will always remain key. After all, it is content that usually first attracts readers and content that will guarantee their return.
Bloggers Talking Blog Design
I asked a number of other bloggers a number of other bloggers for their thoughts upon their own blog design, here are some of their responses:
“I don’t have a logo yet and I’m still using a free WordPress theme which I do like as it’s simple. However I do need to create a side bar so you can see older posts. I may just change my theme. I’d say I’ve spent a good few hours behind the scenes of my blog but no I’m definitely not happy with it yet.”
“I don’t have a logo yet and need to make time to look into it. I use a PipDig theme, I’m really happy with it and it was easy to set up and add pages to etc.”
“I did my logo myself using a free design website. I wanted a nice clean look but added the people/tree to show a little about who we are! My favourite layouts are the Pipdig themes, I love how customisable they are but still look fresh and easy to navigate. When I decided to go self-hosted I took the plunge and bought a Pipdig theme – I love it! I get so many comments about the look of my site and I attribute them all to having a decent theme. In terms of changes, there are a few tweaks here and there that I’d like to do but I’m pretty happy with it overall. I think my design allows my content and photos to stand out on the page and ultimately, that’s what I want!”
“I bought a theme from Pipdig, absolutely worth the money. They did everything and the difference is amazing. There are a few tweaks, like follow buttons, that I’d like to change but basically I’m really happy. I do need a logo though.”
“My Logo and header were designed for me by a friend, who just sent them to me out of the blue, saying that’s what my blog made her think off. I’ve always stuck with a fairly basic theme, because I don’t like things too look to complicated for occasional readers, in case it puts them off! I have spent a lot of time tweaking my blog layout to make it as user-friendly as possible, and, over all I’m pretty happy with it. Although I sometimes wonder if it looks a lot less fancy than other blogs! I can’t see me changing my header anytime soon, I’m quite sentimental about it!”
Should you fancy being part of the series and sharing some of your own ideas or expertise then please feel free to join the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ Facebook group’, we’d love to hear from you! Alternatively you can get in touch via email, drop me a message via social media or add your comments below.