I’ve been reading a lot of new blogs recently. It’s great to get some fresh voices in the mix, and to hear some new opinions.
But for Pete’s sake, customize your blog theme. The first time I come to a blog, I shouldn’t see the exact same theme in the exactly same layout and colors I’ve seen on fifteen other blogs. This is especially true if you’ve paid a lot of money for an expensive theme.
Readers get impression of your blog and its author not only from the writing, but also the visual layout of the blog. If your blog looks like a website from 1996, chances are I’m wondering if you’re even writing in this decade, rather than focusing on your content.
It’s not that difficult to customize a blog theme. Here are four things you can do:
- Change the background: Most blogs have options to change the background. Neon pink may not be the best color, but you can choose a color, pattern or image that works well for you. I’m a big fan of white and other light colors because dark text is easy to read on them, but there are multiple ways to pull off a readable blog on a different colored background.
- Make a cool logo or header: You don’t have to be an amazing graphic artist to make an awesome header for your blog. Start by adding some text on some free clip art. You can even just make text look cool with a bunch of free fonts online. Unless you’re dead set on a complex idea, start simple. If you find out you’re good at these things, you can always change it later. Also, if you have cash laying around, and your blog means that much to you, you can always find a designer to make something awesome.
- Customize the layout: WordPress offers widgets a bunch of ways to change how the layout of your site looks. Tumblr has themes with lots of different layouts. Make your layout clean enough so people can find things, but make it cool enough so people have something to look at. No one wants to read six screens of text without anything else to look at.
- Use Different Fonts: What font is used to display the text makes a big difference in how a blog looks and feels. I use fonts from Google’s Font Directory for my headlines and blog post titles. Typekit also offers a whole bunch of fonts for web use. The small change makes a world of difference from the default Arial or Times. Changing the font gives your site a bit more personality. Some themes have this built into the functionality, but with others it might take some CSS coding. If you do change any fonts though, make sure what you use is readable. This is especially true if you change the color of the font and the background. If people can’t read your blog, no one will care how nice it looks.
- Make it reflect you: My blog is in black and white because I see the internet and its imbecile denizens in black and white. Other people use bright and happy colors because they are bright, happy and mindless people. Make the blog design suit you and your blog topic. All the changes yous hould make should enhance your content and people’s willingness to read it.
It’s not too hard to start changing how your blog looks. Learning some basic HTML and CSS will make a huge difference in your understanding of how your blog and the internet works. Always save a back up, so if you do mess something up, you can go back to what worked.
But for the love of all that’s holy on the internet, try something with your blog after you apply a theme. You want to stand out from the crowd, not look like just another blog of pointless drivel. Even if you fail, you can always go back to that bland theme you spent way too much money on.