If you’ve followed the articles in this series, you should have a blog by now and your first article. Now you are probably wondering, how to change this. How to make your blog as pretty as one of those blogs you’ve seen on the internet (or like this one, I want to believe it’s pretty). Here are some tips on how to do it.
Articles in this series so far:
1. The Introduction
2. How to create your first blog
3. How to write your first post
4. How to design your blog
Other Blogging Tips:
1. Tying your domain name to your Bluehost hosting
2. How to never run out of blogging ideas
3. WordPress plugins for every blogger
4. How to make money blogging
5. The best and cheapest hosting for bloggers
What is your brand about?
The first thing, before stylizing your blog, is to find out what is your brand about. What is a brand you might ask? Brand is pretty much everything that people connect with you and your products. Let’s take CocaCola as an example. Their branding is the red color of that certain shade, their log, the fact they are a drinks company, their cans and bottles are of a certain shape etc. All of that you connect with CocaCola. Now you need to think, what your brand is about. What are or will be some things people will connect with it when they see them. If they think of a certain shade of color blue, for example, is it something that will make your site or products pop up in their mind?
Think of some small things. Have a brainstorming session and try to think of as many things about your brand as you can and then find a way to connect them. For my site, you can see the logo is a light bulb with a euro sign in it. The euro is of color yellow, just like coins, but also as the color of light. This made it simple to choose the right color scheme for my website and I theme everything around it. Anyway, let’s customize your website.
Your first theme customizations
When you are on your WordPress site, not your dashboard but the site itself, you should see the customize button in the top bar.
Click on it and you’ll see a new side-bar pop up. You will be also brought to the customization section of your web page.
Here we will make all the changes. To change your colours, for example, you will usually find the colours section in the General Settings -> Colors. How many of these you can change or if any depends solely on the theme you picked when creating your blog. If you ever want to change your theme, go to your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance -> Themes and at the top click Add New.
Here you should see a list of themes. Every theme, you can preview and then install without the need to change anything on your blog. If you liked your old one more, you can then install it back so feel free to experiment.
As I mentioned above, color is one of the things you want to focus on. Don’t pick colors that you like, but pick colors that go well together. I recommend looking up color theory. There are many ways to make colors pleasing to the eye. If you want to keep things simple, pick one color and stick to it. Simple doesn’t equal bad. Just make sure it’s easily readable.
Now that you changed your colors, you might notice your website looks kind of empty. The preview of the theme you chose looked professional and colorful, filled with big, tasty images that just made the theme pop. Now you barely recognize it. Do not worry though, this is about to change. Depending on what your site is about, you need the right photos for it.
If your blog is about photography, well, you’re in luck. You can (and should) use your highest quality photos to decorate your site. For the rest of us, we’ll have to use stock photography.
DO NOT LOOK UP YOUR PICTURES ON GOOGLE IMAGES! YOU WILL GET SUED!
Okay, that’s a bit of a hyperbolic statement. You can look up images for your website there, but make sure that when you do, you click the little Tools button at the top, right under your search bar, and then go to Usage Rights and select Commercial & Other licenses.
These are pictures that you should be safe to use. Myself though, I don’t recommend this method. It can be painfully long. Rather than that, use the stock photo sites as I said. Don’t worry, there are several free ones. For example, look up Unsplash (my favorite), Pixabay or Pexels.
Things to know about images
Once you are on a stock photo website, look up pictures that correspond to your theme and brand. For me, I am usually looking up finance-related things. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t look up anything else. The most important thing is for the pictures to be connected in some way to the content you are posting or your website. If you are putting the images in your post, make sure they make sense in the context and that they are necessary.
When you are downloading a photo, make sure you follow the rules of the website. Usually there are some. In most cases you can’t just download a photo and use it right away.
If you are using stock photos, make sure to reduce their size. These photos are usually taken in the highest quality possible, so they can be used for many different projects. Websites though, don’t need such big quality. If you’ve read the article WordPress plugins for every blogger, you will know I recommended the plugging Smush for exactly that reason. You can also find other plugins that will add images with one click and resize them for you in the process.
Resizing is necessary, otherwise, your page will take forever to load and people will get up and leave. Well, they will be probably reading the article in their bed or on their toilet so probably no getting up will be involved. Google will also not show your website to as many people. It knows how long it loads for an average user. To see this stat, install Site Kit (I talk about it in the article mentioned in the previous paragraph) and check your stats.
Text and other media
I talked about this part in the previous article How to write your first post so I won’t mention this as much here, but one thing I didn’t mention is that there are plugins that can make your text look prettier. You can have big letters like in a book or you can have two columns for your text, like you’d see in a magazine. Once you click that little plus in your post (it shows up every time you start a new paragraph) and write “text”. You should see the following. If not, you can install a plugin such as WP Blog Post Layouts.
When it comes to other media, I’d recommend using it if you have it. It captures the reader’s attention more than just text alone. We are talking about anything interactive or even a video. These things make your blog stand out. Just make sure they have something to do with your article.
And that’s pretty much it. I know this article was pretty much generalized, but it is impossible for me to let you know how to exactly stylize your blog to make it fit your brand. Hopefully, you now know where to change the colours, how to pick a different theme if you need to, where to look for images and how to use them properly. If you need any help, just hit me up in the comments below or send me an e-mail and I’ll try to help. Otherwise, just experiment, experiment and most importantly, experiment!
You will find out later your blog is going to change with time. You’ll always find something that you could make better and so you will. Just go through the customization options of your theme and if necessary, look into custom CSS stuff. But that might be an article for another day as it is pretty advanced.
For now, thank you for reading this article, you lovely and beautiful person. If you are enjoying this series, please let me know below or share the article around. It helps my blog and keeps me motivated to create more articles for you. It’s a win-win situation. Now, if you’d like to, here are some of my other articles. Otherwise, I hope you’ll have a wonderful day/night!