21 October 2012

How to design your blog your way

21 October 2012
This is a rehash of this post from my main blog.

I change the blog layout of my main blog every couple of months or so. I'm always trying to make it look easier on the eyes--mine and yours. And, yes, I do get bored with my blog layout A LOT.

Now, a web designer I am not, though that is definitely on my top 3 of things I want to be, right below published author and just above skilled seamstress. I don't know how to design a blog or website from scratch, but I understand enough about html and I use what little knowledge I have to make a few tweaks here and there. See, you don't need to be a web design wiz in order to come up with a nice and original-looking blog.

In this post, I'm going to let you in on my mad blog designing secrets by taking you through the process of how I come up with a new blog design all by my-"non web designer"-self. *beam*

Picking a base template
The first thing I do when I'm about to change layouts is to choose one of the available Blogger templates that is closest to the look I want. Most of the time I use a Simple template and make the initial customizations like layout, widths, page text font, link colors, title colors, and what not. This is pretty easy to do on Blogger using the Blogger Template Designer.

Choosing a cool header
For me, a great header is the single most important aspect of the look of a blog. What your header looks like can make a huge difference. It adds personality and originality to your blog. You could be using a common template that everyone else is using, but still stand out because of your header. Most of the time I use an image I tweaked using Paint and MS Office Picture Manager. Several times in the past, I kept the header simple as plain text and just used images for my navigation links. That way, I can have a straightforward header, but still spice up the top part of my page with personalized images.

Creating cool image navigation links
If you decide to keep your header simple and just jazz up your blog with cool image navigation tabs, you can find a lot of tutorials on cool image effects. I've been using this link and this link a lot. These two tutorials have great options for image navigation links. You can simply choose an image effect and add an HTML/Javascript gadget in the Layout panel. (Will post more details on how to do this soon!)

Making other minor edits to the post background, post date header, and page footer
I manually edit the post background, post date header and page footer for them to look the way I want them to. I just change or add background colors in HTML. I also edit the padding and margin measurements to get the format that I wanted. (Will post more details on how to do this soon!)


So, basically, that's it. These are the things I do to go from a Simple Blogger template to Whoa Original Personalized Blogger template. I know this post probably doesn't make too much sense if you really have no idea about HTML and codes and stuff.  It helps if, like me, you're really interested in learning these things. I still don't know a lot, but I try to learn new bits every once in a while.

By the way, this post doesn't really help Wordpress users much, but I think these last few tips can be helpful for all wannabe blog designers like me. Having said all that, how DO you acquire mad blog design skillz?
  1. Make Google your best friend! There are literally thousands of tutorials available on the net and if you want to know how to do a simple re-design or customization, Google can find it for you or rather you can find it through Google.
  2. Master the art of Copy-Paste! Since I can't build a template from scratch, I just copy bits and pieces from different templates. Say, if I like the overall look of a template, but prefer the look of the tabs of another template, I just copy the tabs part and paste it over on my first template. I'll need to tweak and edit a bit to make sure the codes align, but basically that's how easy it can be.
  3. Never be afraid to experiment! I've been experimenting with my blog since forever and that's how I learned how to do itty bitty tweaks and what not. I also learned a few nifty tricks along the way. One thing I did before was to create a dummy blog just so I could experiment with layouts and HTML.
  4. Spend time on the blog header! Like I said, sometimes a good blog header is all you need for your blog to look original and well-designed. 
  5. Let your personality shine! For me a good blog design is one that shows the personality of the blogger. It's hard if you want your blog to look like someone else's. 

2 comments:

  1. Basic elements of web design that make a site beautiful and visually compelling, a website must also always consider the end user's convenience.

    Website Designers London

    ReplyDelete

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