As a blogger, you need to ensure that your blog and posts don’t only read well but look good too. How many times have you clicked on a link, only to be presented with a website that looks as though it hasn’t had an update since 2003? We totally judge a book by its cover, and the better a website looks, the more we trust the information that’s on it.
But don’t worry – you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a website designer. You can create an incredible blog at a fraction of the cost, even if you have no design skills to speak of. Here are 6 ways in which you can make your blog look amazing on a limited budget.
1. Choose a Modern Template
The template you use for your site is like the tree you pick at Christmas – if you pick the wrong one, you can dress it up as much as you like, but you’ll still be able to see the big gap between the branches.
Instead, make sure you pick the right template. If you’re using a site like Wix or Squarespace, you’ll struggle to go wrong here, but most people will choose to use WordPress. Free WordPress sites have come a long way, so if you’re really strapped for cash, simply edit one of those.
However, for less than $100, you can buy a premium theme that will give you a professional look instantly. My personal recommendation is to use Elegant Themes. I have found these to all be beautiful and easy to customize. Specifically, I use Divi. Divi is Elegant Themes’ flagship theme and visual page builder. It's the most widely used premium WordPress theme in the world. Divi is more than just a theme, it's a website building framework that makes it possible to design beautiful websites without ever touching a single line of code and without installing and configuring dozens of disjointed plugins.
Check out my website for further examples:
2. Make the Most of Featured Images
Most blog templates make good use of featured images to draw visitors’ eyes to your posts. This is the image that appears on any thumbnail for your blog post, as well as on previews when your blog posts are shared on social media. Your image is your opportunity to capture new readers, so make sure you use a good one. The best way to make the most of featured images are:
Make sure any photos you take are well-lit
Keep them on-topic, even if it’s just the “feel” of the photo
Keep your ideal audience in mind when you choose your image
If you’re not a good photographer, use copyright-free stock images (you can find free images on sites like Unsplash
Use sites like Canva to add graphics or text to your images
3. Be Intentional With Your Colors
Another important aspect of a blog is your color scheme. We can be tempted to use many different colors, or sometimes very few, both of which can be difficult to pull off. You need to be intentional with your use of colors on your site. Generally, it’s a good idea to choose black or white as your background color and then build other complementary colors around that. Keep the brightest colors for accents (such as links) only. If you need help, Coolors.co is a great site for generating ideas or your palette, and they can also generate a palette from a photo.
4. Increase White Space
It may feel like leaving blank space on your blog is a waste, but white space (any negative space on your blog – it doesn’t have to be white) allows you to focus readers’ attention toward the main body of your site. All you need to do to increase white space is to eliminate any distractions, such as links to old posts and low performing ads, that simply clutter your blog and reduce site flow.
(If you’ve ever battled through popups and other things on a particularly bad recipe blog or news site, you’ll know what this looks like.)
Think about what action you want readers to take when they arrive on your blog and make that front and center, surrounded by white space. This makes it more likely that any visitor to your site will read your whole post rather than getting distracted by other elements. Traditionally, blogs would have a sidebar on the righthand side, but don’t feel pressure to do the same. Having no sidebar at all will keep your audience focused on the content of your site.
5. Maximize Readability
It is important to make your blog as readable as possible with smart font choices. Visitors to your blog don’t want to have to read minute fonts with unusual spacing. With a standard font size and spacing, and headings at relevant spots, you can increase your blog's flow and make it more appealing to read.
Choose a font that you can use for every piece of content you create so that, once again, it is recognizable as your brand. Stick to sans serif fonts for body text, and leave the serif fonts for headlines.
A good structure for each blog post you do is vital for ensuring that you maintain your audience’s attention and prevent them from getting overwhelmed with large blocks of text. Avoid walls of text at all costs. In fact, broken up text will be much easier to read on a mobile device.
You should also be sure to include text elements like bullet points and subheadings where appropriate. This helps to highlight the blog post's key points and allows visitors to read posts more quickly.
If you intend to monetize your blog with ads, make sure you don’t litter your content with them. You want to keep your reader around, so make it as easy as possible for them to consume your content!
These simple ways will not only help you make your blog look amazing, but they’ll also help you keep visitors around, too. The longer your visitors stay on your blog, the better your site will rank, and the more likely they are to come back. It’s a win-win!
Until next time!
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