Once you’ve figured out what your blog will be about and you’ve picked a platform and created it, it’s now on to the fun part: picking a design! There is an endless amount of templates to choose from for both Blogger and WordPress.org (WordPress.com provides you with templates you can buy), and although you can get one hand designed for you, I would suggest picking a pre-made one to start out with. I have spent many hours looking at different blog designs on Etsy. Although you can pick any design you want, there are some things no matter what the template looks like that you are going to want to have. Here are six things you should look for + do when picking a blog design!
Tip: If you see a blog design you like on someones blog, scroll down to the bottom and you can 9 times out of 10 find out who designed it. If you click on the name you’ll be taken to their website and you can scroll through their designs!
Since almost every looks at everything on their phone now, it’s important that the design is mobile responsive. This means that no matter what device they are viewing your blog on (cellphone, tablet, desktop), it will fit the screen and be easy to navigate. If you don’t get a mobile responsive template, people will have to keep on pinching the screen to see your posts and will likely have an issue scrolling. To determine if it is mobile responsive, read the description of the template. If it doesn’t say it is, chances are it is not responsive.
You always want to see a live demo of the design before you buy it. A photo is nice, but being able to actually scroll through the blog design and see where everything is is better. This will give you an idea of how it will look with your content in it. Test out what each page will look like, what the comments will look like, and what happens if you search for something or select a category. You should also always look at the blog template on your cellphone as well as the desktop, since the design does slightly change on each. To do so just copy the link to the live demo, message or email it to yourself, and open it up on each device. Do the same thing you did on the computer on your phone to see what everything looks like. It’s better to make sure you love the design before you buy it!
When picking a design make sure it has a clean layout that lets your blog content shine. Knowing before you look for designs if you want a side bar on the left or right, or if you only want your blog posts on the page and everything else at the bottom, will help make things much easier. As you can see with my design on my home page I have a side bar on the right, but when you click on an individual post it disappears. Having fancy features can be all great, but if it is too complex for your readers they will stop visiting your blog.
Always make sure your blog has the navigate buttons you want (Home, About etc). If you want a drop down menu on the top make sure that design has it since not all of them do. You should also double check that social media icons come with the design so this way you can link up each of your accounts to them. This allows people to easily get to each of your blogs social media pages.
You always want to look at the font of the template. Make sure it isn’t too small or hard to read. You also always want to double check that you can change the font of both the posts and your blog name. Not all designs let you, so if it doesn’t make sure you love all the fonts, colors, etc!
You don’t have to necessarily splurge for a blog template. Although keep in mind the price of the template will determine how many features you have, and sometimes cheaper isn’t always better. A good range for a template is $15-$60, although you will find ones that are cheaper or more pricey. It’s up to you how much you want to spend. You can spend more up front to get everything you want, or spend a little less so you can change your design in a year or two!
And that it what you should do and look for when picking a blog design! Be sure to give my other how to start a blog posts a read: what to do before starting a blog, picking a platform, what to do after creating a blog.