You have your own reasons, but I realized, after weeks of researching and brewing up my blog revamp:
One thing which we could give to our readers when they visit our blog is a sense of comfort, familiarity and that happy, at-home feeling.
That homey, all-familiar feels right after clicking the link. You see the familiar header and the familiar layout. Familiar fonts. Familiar sidebar. Familiar style. You have absorbed the branding of the blog.
I think I lacked this element. I was always changing my whole layout, often wandering what theme to take on next because I wasn’t satisfied enough of my current theme. I was wasting time on reconstruction my blog rather than on working on my blog calendar and I thought it wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t helping in establishing my brand. Maybe I wasn’t sure on what I am trying to do with my blog.
So, I’ve taken a blog change seriously this time in the hopes of focusing on more important things. Let me share to you on how you could make blog changes which can keep you from future, unnecessary blog changes.
Image Source: [x]
1. Pick your most favorite blogs and study them.
Take a lead from blogs that you like. Figure out what lures you into visiting them again and again. Is it the clean and adorable layout? The interesting and useful content? The engaging way that the blogger writes? The crisp pictures that could have you scrolling all day long?
Take notes about these. Figuring out what your readers might want involves figuring out what you want in a blog you read because after all, you yourself is a reader. For my daily dose of inspiration, I created a
2. Choose WordPress.
WordPress makes your blogging life more productive and flexible. Think of all the plug-ins which can allow you to manage your subscribers, send newsletters and improve your SEO. WordPress is more SEO-friendly and it exposes your work to like-minded bloggers. (I get several likes on my blog posts and a growing subscriber list on my blog. I figured it was because of the tags and the SEO by Yoast Plug-in).
I used to be on Blogger before because I wanted to change the fonts, layout and colors for free, but I’ve seen elegantly designed WP blogs which I cannot do on Blogger. So, I tried WP for my poetry blog, but the changes that I can do is limited. So, I sucked it all in and purchased hosting and migrated my blog to WP.
I am more than happy ever since.
3. Purchase hosting.
Yeah, so I spit it out on the previous number. Being merely on wordpress.com is good, but you cannot have the authority to add advertisement spots or change your layout or even the fonts.
So to have overall control on your website, research which hosting suits you. In my case, I’ve purchased iPage.
4. Plan your blog structure.
So, what are you trying to create? Do you want an online journal with plain blog entries? Do you want your homepage to showcase your services? What categories are you writing on? What are its sub topics? Do you want the menu to focus on blog menu or would you want to include categories on it? Do you want a subscription box at the bottom? If you do, what will you send your readers weekly? Do you want to do a blog series so you could send out weekly newsletters?
There’s a lot to think about, right? But the important thing here is just to know what you want your blog to do or be.
5. Visualize the overall look of your website.
Now that you know the main structures of your blog, you can now get creative. Grab a ballpen or a colored pen or a pencil and sketch your blog. Where will the sidebar go? What will the header look like? Where will the share buttons position?
It can be not as detailed, but at
6. Pick a flexible theme.
For non-designers like me, I can only rely on Theme Forest and Google for help. I can not design my own homepage from scratch, but I can at least look for a theme that will fit my #4 and #5 goal.
Honestly, I always have a hard time finding for that one layout because I love a couple or even more of them. With my site, I have used the Basic Arcade by Bavotasan. It suits me well. I love everything in it, especially the shortcodes.
7. Stick to a color palette and a set of font styles.
After picking out a theme, you can pick out your blog color. Limit it to 4 or 5. You can stick to the original design’s color or you could edit the existing ones through a child theme or the Edit CSS section of your Dashboard.
The reason behind this is to maintain the mood of your blog and to avoid your page looking messy.
8. Pick out widgets smartly.
WordPress offers a lot of widgets for its users — from fancy social shares to downright I-mean-business ones. You don’t have to install every widget that you like because widgets can slow down your site’s loading time. Just pick out the essential ones.
Also, before installing a widget, be sure that you have done enough research about it. You could always download, install, activate and try it for yourself, but sometimes, you may download one with malware.
I learned the hard way. I kept on installing widgets then iPage suspended my account because of malware. I didn’t even have the chance to back it up. Well, my fault anyway.
9. Bring out your branding.
You started from #1 (other blogs), but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to copy everything! Just pick out some pointers, apply it to your own blog and add your personal touch like a change in color or font. You could design the header as a start to set the overall mood of your blog. Your site’s look also affect your personal brand big time so be sure that you have added your style here and there.
10. Back up.
Smart bloggers always back up. Imagine the horror if your site url is displaying a huge Error 404 again and again one sour day. Imagine if you don’t have a copy of your posts, your subscribers and your layout. Are you starting out from scratch once again?
I knew I did when my 6-post blog with 800+ subscribers went missing a couple of months ago. Yes, what a bummer. My blogger friends recommend Vault Press. You just have to pay $5.00 a month for an ultimate back up. I have this back up for free through the plug in WordPress Back up to DropBox. Of course, I still have my risks as this is just a paid one. I have yet to explore the pros and cons of having this WPB2D app.
So, I just want to share the lessons that I have derived from being a too lazy blogger. I have changed, my dears. I just side-blog, but of course, the effort and money that I have put into my online treasures do matter. I hope I have given you a fair warning and I hope thess blog changes can help you from future, unnecessary blog changes.
This time, I am taking blogging seriously.