Just because you’re a brand new blogger with no web design experience doesn’t mean you have to let it show. There are a few simple ways to make your new blog look professional, even if you’re a newbie with no blogging experience and no design skills. If you haven’t even got your blog up and running yet, I walk you through the process step-by-step in this post. And to help you get everything right from the start, feel free to browse all my posts about blogging. Then follow the simple instructions below.
Pick a really clean, simple theme
Which theme you pick will depend on your personal preferences, the niche of your blog and your needs. Just keep it simple. If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of clean, simple, free WordPress themes to pick from, and many new (and more experienced) bloggers find a free theme works fine for them.
If you do have a little money to invest, I recommend Coded Creative for beautiful, clean, simple themes. You can buy a theme and install it yourself, or buy one of their packages which means they’ll do the heavy lifting for you and get everything set up and ready to go. They’re also currently offering a FREE mini-series by email to help you choose the right theme for your blog. You can grab that here.
Another great place to seach for affordable premium themes is Creative Market. They have a wide range, and if you sign up for their newsletter they’ll occasionally give away a (usually) premium theme for free. Again, just look for a nice, clean, simple theme. When you don’t know much about design, simplicity is your friend.
Keep the clutter to a minimum
Perhaps the most common rookie mistake when it comes to design is the simple one of too much clutter. New bloggers often add all kinds of widgets, graphics and incongruous banners to their new sites. There’s no real thought to the layout, and no attempt to stay with their branding colors (if they’ve even decided what their branding colors are). Again, just keep things simple and keep clutter to a minimum.
Simple tricks for an uncluttered look:
- One sidebar, maximum
- Minimal images and widgets in your sidebar and footer
- Stylized, cohesive iimages in your sidebar and footer (make your own for free in Canva)
- Stick to just a few complimentary colors for images, graphics and title fonts
- For blog posts, use a decent sized font and lots of white space
- Black font on a white background for your blog posts and main content, always
- A few clean-looking, branded image templates to use in your posts (you can make those in Canva, too)
Make your content error free
It’s easy to hit publish before you’re quite ready when you’re a blogger. I always prepare my blog posts at least 24 hours ahead of time and give them a final proofread the next day, when I’m well-rested and can bring a fresh perspective to the content. My Kindle book The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide To Content Creation contains a ton of tips and tools to make content creation easier.
If your grammar isn’t great, and especially if you write in anything other than your first language, you need to be extra careful with this. I recommend Grammarly for new bloggers, and anyone who does a lot of writing. It’s software that will check every aspect of your grammar and highlight potential problems. It’s the next best thing to paying a human proofreader, and, to be fair, no-one expects the average blogger to do that.
Stick to these simple guidelines and you’ll find that your inexperience barely shows. Keeping your blog design simple has an added advantage, it allows you to focus on creating excellent content. Want some tools to help you create, systemize and organize your content like a blogging pro? Check out The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit.
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