Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a great time over the holidays!
It’s the season of new beginnings and New Year resolutions. This is the time of year I first decided to start my blog, and I think a lot of people start a blog around the new year. So, while I was planning my discussion posts for January, I decided I’d do my own blog advice series for new bloggers. If you’re new to the blogging community, or even if you aren’t, I hope you’ll find a few helpful tips this month!
This post is about the most basic beginning element of your blog: its theme and aesthetics. With seemingly unlimited options when it comes to themes and the ways you can customize them, building the actual appearance of your blog can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. So, here are a few tips that I learned along the way!
#5- Yours is the most important opinion.
It can be tempting to want to copy the look of some popular bloggers with the hopes that you’ll soon reach their stats, but at the end of the day, you want your theme to be YOURS. You’ll get an awesome sense of pride when you get your blog to look just the way you want. Plus, if you like the way it looks, you’ll want to keep coming back to it!
#4- Let your other hobbies/interests influence your blog theme.
I don’t think my blog is the best example of this, because I just made most of my theme and feature images center around my favorite color. But, I do have two GREAT examples!
Birdie Bookworm‘s blog theme and aesthetics are centered on birds. Her images often feature eggs and/or birds. Some of her regular posts fall under headings like “Flights of Fancy,” or “Baby Chick’s Pick!” Instead of using stars for her ratings, she uses feathers. She took an interest (birds) and let it influence her whole theme, so now everything is cohesive, and pretty dang adorable!
Another great example is Sophie @ Blame Chocolate, who allows her love of sweets to shine through. You can see it in her cute header image. You can see it in the way she uses candies instead of stars for her ratings. At one point, she even structured her reviews to look at “the bitter” and “the sweet” things about a book.
So, if you’re ever feeling stuck about how you want your blog to look, one great way to get unstuck is to look at some of your other interests to see if you can find some inspiration there!
#3- Don’t be afraid to experiment! Within reason…
It’s okay if you wake up one day and decide you want to completely redo your blog (I did it twice!). Ultimately, it’s your blog, and you have to be happy with it. Your followers will adjust to the changes you make.
Just try not to constantly change things. You want to get familiar with a new color scheme or layout before you decide you don’t like it. And you want readers to become familiar with your aesthetic and your blog. I know I said your followers will adjust to changes (and they will!), but no one wants to feel like they’re in a constant online construction zone. You want to become recognizable! You want followers to be able to scroll through their feed, see some images and recognise it asone of your posts.
One thing that helped me with experimenting was actually creating another WordPress blog on this same account. That way, if I wanted to make any major changes or overhauls, I could test it out, see if I liked it, work out the kinks, and have a smooth and easy transition into a new theme.
#2- Use the “Featured Image” option!
It can seem a little daunting at first to create a featured image for every post, but I promise, it’s worth it!
Your featured images are what will grab my attention. You can have the best layout and the catchiest titles, but the images are what will actually make me stop to read those titles and explore that layout.
Here’s the thing about featured images: they can accomplish a lot in just one photo. A decent featured image can give me an idea of what the post will be about at a glance, add a sense of cohesion to your blog if it works well with your theme, give me the tiniest glimpse of who you are as a blogger, AND it shows me that you’re willing to put time and effort into your blog.
And creating featured images doesn’t have to be hard! If you look at my blog, all the posts in the same category have the same image, just with new words.
If you’re nervous, or aren’t tech savvy at all,
*cough Ryann cough* I would highly recommend Canva for a couple reasons. It has pre-made, customizable templates so you don’t have to start from scratch. If you pull templates from the same category (say they’re all “Twitter Posts”) they’ll all be the same size, which is noticeable in some themes. It also makes it easy to do what I do: make a decent graphic and then just swap out new words for new posts.
#1- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Book blogging is a great community, so it’s okay to draw inspiration from other bloggers (just don’t copy other blogs). But if there’s a particular aspect you really like, don’t be shy! Ask them about it! Most bloggers have a contact page; send them a quick email saying, “Hey, I really admire your blog! I noticed you had this particular feature, and I was just wondering how you did it.” The worst that can happen is a refusal, but most bloggers are more than willing to share their knowledge and experience, so it never hurts to ask!
Thanks for reading!
Were any of these tips helpful? What were some of the things you faced when you first set up your blog theme? What’s some aesthetic advice you’d give to new bloggers? Let me know in the comments below!