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Starting blogging can be scary. Especially when you are just starting out and you hear about all that it can cost.
Buying domain names. Buying website hosting. Buying plugins. Buying website themes. Buying stock photos. Buying advertising. Buying this. Buying that.
What if you don’t stick to it? What if you get too busy? What if you don’t like it? That can feel like money down the drain.
As I have said previously, for anybody who is considering starting their own blog I recommend that you start out with the free version of WordPress. There is a ton that you can do with this, and it will help you get a better understanding on if you want to continue as a blogger or not.
If you’re like me then, even after you have purchased your own domain and hosting, you still don’t want to buy a website theme. However, you want your site to look good. I’m not talking just premade theme good, I’m talking personalized, customized, beautiful, good.
To this day, I still use a free theme. I just focused a lot of time to customizing it. The only thing I pay for for my blog is the domain name and hosting.
For these tips, it doesn’t matter what platform you are using to blog: WordPress, Blogger, Weebly.. you name it.
How do you get something to look so good, without spending any money?
Create a Feeling
Mood is an important factor in personalizing your site.
What kind of feeling or mood do you want your readers to get when they visit your site? Try to think of a couple words that describe that feeling, and keep those in mind while you work on personalizing your site.
Clean, welcoming, colorful, and organized.
Focus on these words while customizing your site.
Decide on a Color Scheme
This color scheme will most likely follow you around throughout your time blogging. You don’t have to stick strictly to only these colors, however it will help you create a consistent look.
Look at the words you decided that represented your feeling above to help.
Light purple and yellow.
Once you choose these colors then you will want to find the specific hex codes for the colors so that you use the same exact shade of these colors every single time you use it and don’t end up with 40 different shades of blue. Write this down someplace to reference when you are making any graphics for your site.
Custom Logo / Header
Your header is often the first thing that somebody sees when they visit your site and it needs to make a good impression. Personally, I feel that your header should have your logo incorporated into it, so that it gives your site a clean cohesive look and your readers can remember you after they have gone. At the very least, be sure to include your site name.
If you are not graphic design savvy, there are people who you can pay to create logos for you. However, if you are just starting off and don’t want to spend any money, even just picking a nice font and writing your site title out in it can go a long way in making your site personalized.
If you have a tagline (mine is “in an attempt to be creatively fulfilled”) try incorporating that as well.
Don’t have any photo editing software? Don’t worry. Try using Canva, a free online amazing photo editing website. Seriously easy to learn and really powerful.
Nothing looks more generic than when you go to a site and all you see at the top are “Home” “About Me” and “Blog”
Change it up. Personalize it.
Create categories for your blog posts and place those category names in your menus. This will help your readers stay on your site to look for more posts, as well as will help your site look customized.
About Me Page
If you head over to my About Me page you’ll spot something out right away: pictures. Lots of them.
I feel that including pictures that capture your personality definitely help your readers develop a connection to you and your blog. Use these pictures to tell who you are. Incorporate text to tell a bit about you and your blog.
You’d be surprised how many readers check out a blogger’s about me page.. It can be a big factor in their decision to keep reading!
Take a look on the right side of your screen at my sidebar (or if you’re on mobile, it’s at the very bottom) what do you see? A consistent theme of watercolors in yellow and purple. From the purple splash like background behind my photo at the top to the purple water color painted square asking you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter.
These tie in with my logo, which is looks like it was painted yellow with water colors, and my “read more” buttons on my home page which are water color purple and change to yellow when you hover over them.
The things that you place in your side bar can really help to bring a cohesive personal theme to your site.
I have played out with other things in my sidebar before, such as creating my own section divider headings for things like my “follow me” buttons or my mailing list sign up, however I have to say I like what I have right now most.
If you visit my home page, you will see that there is something different at the top that is not there on my specific post pages, I have an image slider. This slider helps to draw readers to a specific post, while providing a chance to place colorful and clean images on my front page.
Not all themes have this option, but if yours does I definitely recommend trying it out!
What is your favorite way to customize a free blog theme?