How to Design and Customize Your Blog
You can make your blog’s appearance truly your own, by designing and customizing it to convey the image you’d like. If you have your own blog designed for you or if you create the presentation yourself, seek ways to make your blog stand out from the rest.
If you’re a business, make sure your logo is on your blog. If this is a personal blog, try to incorporate some photos. Even if you use a default template, you may be able to put an identifying graphic or element on the site that differentiates you from other blogs.
The average blog has four distinct areas, each with a specific purpose, in which to place and customize content:
Logos: Clean, crisp logos can hold a visitor’s attention long enough to get him interested in reading your blog. Typically, a logo is located near the top of each blog page. Many logos include an illustrated element and a special font treatment of the blog name.
Headers: Located at the top of blog pages, the header of any blog contains the name of your blog. The title should explain what your blog is about or who you are as the main writer of the blog. The header might also help your visitors find their way around and provide them with quick links to special areas that you want highlighted on your site. On many blogs, the logo is also contained in the header.
Sidebars: Sidebars usually become a major focus for the site and contain things like navigational links, special highlighting graphics that point to social networking sites, lists of blogs you read (blogrolls), archive links, or anything that you want to share with your visitors outside the context of a blog post. Sidebars are usually included on every page of your blog and are consistent from page to page.
Footers: Footers live at the bottom of each blog page and sometimes feature only a copyright message. More advanced bloggers have been expanding the use of footers to include links to content within their sites.
Settings you can customize in your publishing interface are the easiest things to change because you can simply point and click to make your choices. If design customization is important to you, you might even want to choose your blog software specifically for the customization features available in the control panel.
Here are some of the items blog software lets you tweak via the control panel:
Flare: Flare is anything that people jam onto their blogs and Web sites that blinks, flashes, and attracts a reader’s attention. Flare is typically placed in your blog’s sidebar.
Some flare is great, but avoid overwhelming your readers with too much. Including animated graphics just because they’re cool isn’t a good idea.
Color and spacing: Some blog software allows you to change the background and text colors on your blog, as well as the size of your text and the font that is used – quick and easy ways to change the personality of your blog.
Keep an eye on your blog for readability, especially in the size and color of the text in your blog posts. Your blog posts should be the easiest text to read and shouldn’t blend in with the background of your blog design. Space out the text sufficiently to keep it readable and distinct from other elements on the page.
Photos and clip art: Graphics add visual interest to your blog. In fact, including a great photo with each blog post might be an easy substitute to redesigning your blog. Photos should add value to your posts and be formatted attractively. Add a border around your images for even more impact.
Link colors: Lots of blog software lets you set the color of your links in three different states: a link before it’s clicked, as it’s clicked, and after it’s clicked. You can give your blog personality by using a cool link color, but make sure that the color is recognizably different from other text colors and stands out. Always consider links in any design you choose.
Test what the printed version of your blog looks like. Your visitors may want to print your valuable blog posts!