putting the pieces of life back together

Showing: 1 - 6 of 14 RESULTS
How to Invest in Your Blog Design Beauty vs Budget
Basics Blogging How to Start a Blog

Beauty vs Budget: How to Invest in Your Blog Design

How to Invest in Your Blog Design Beauty vs Budget

When you are start considering designing or redesigning of your blog you can be faced with a lot of questions. One of the first questions you should ask is how much should you invest in the blog design.

[Tweet “Question #1 when considering your blog design: how much should you invest?”]

You have four main options for choosing your design a free WordPress theme, a premium WordPress theme, a customized premium WordPress theme, or a customized WordPress design. We will be exploring the pros and cons of each of these to help you decide how much your site is worth to you and how your investment will benefit you.

perfect home
By mccheek

Free WordPress Themes

Just like a mobile home a free theme will have predesigned colors and style and it may not match you and your style. Plus hundreds of the exact same blogs are out there due to the theme being pre-constructed. But just like a mobile home you can live in it for a time until you run out of room and you are tired of that one cupboard that just won’t stay closed. Especially since it was offered to you free from a relative.


  • Free
  • A free theme is better than a default theme
  • You can find lots of free themes to choose from
  • Even my favorite theme provider offers free themes. (MyThemeShop (Affiliate Link))


  • Doesn’t really represent you and your brand
  • You will not have as many options for customization
  • Attempting to customize the theme yourself it may just not turn out right
  • Your images and style may end up feeling mismatched and disjointed
  • You may see other bloggers using the same theme
  • The theme may not fit your needs exactly (ei. menus don’t fit, colors don’t match, etc)
  • You can feel overwhelmed sifting through all the themes out there

Conclusion: A Free Theme doesn’t represent you and your brand but you can live with it.

Gt Yarmouth Beach 18-10-2008 16-21-43
ByMartin Pettitt

Premium WordPress Themes

Just like a manufactured home you can find a premium theme that is very inexpensive and you can choose the siding, the carpet and counter tops, but once you get it into the mobile home court you realize your home looks just like some of the neighbors homes. But you at least you have a home that has new appliances and keeps you dry. This may work for a time until you realize that you are tired of your friends getting lost every time they try and find your house and it becomes time to upgrade your fridge.


  • Very Low Cost
  • You will find more features than a free theme
  • Premium themes tend to have a more professional look
  • You will have more options for customization


  • Doesn’t represent you and your brand
  • You still may have troubles with customizing the theme beyond the basics
  • Attempting to customize the theme yourself may make it lose it’s professionalism
  • You may still run into other’s using the same theme
  • You can still feel limited by the options

Conclusion: A Premium Theme doesn’t represent you and your brand but it functions.

MyThemeShop 300x250

My favorite company to purchase themes from is MyThemeShop (Affiliate Link). I am affiliated with them, but that is only because I love them. There themes are amazing and the control panels for their themes are easy to work with and well made.

Suburban Homes
By LancerE

Customized Premium Wordpress Theme

Just like a modern stick built home you can have a customized theme built for you.  A builder will give you multiple floor plans to choose from to create your new home. Then you get to pick the flooring, the wall color, the counter tops and the appliances. You get to have a home that really showcases your style and gives you some special functions you have been really wanting.

Even though you live in a house that may be the same floor plan as your neighbors your friends will still know which house is your house. Plus now you will not be embarrassed to invite your boss over for dinner.


  • Low Cost
  • No one else will have the exact same design
  • Represents you and your brand
  • Professional customization makes your brand more recognizable
  • A Professional does the customization so your under less stress
  • Brands and readers can see that you have invested in your blog or site
  • Professional help cleaning up your layout and making it easier for your readers to navigate
  • You will have more options and functions that a professional can install
  • Sponsors will see you have invested in your blog and they will want to invest in you


  • More of an investment
  • You may have to wait on a waiting list for your design
  • Still may feel cookie cutter as you see the same layouts at other sites
  • May take some time to find a professional that you feel matches you and your style

Conclusion: A Customized Theme starts building brand recognition and makes your site more professional.

Custom Built Home at West Shores - Omaha, Nebraska
By Omaha Homes For Sale

Custom WordPress Design

Just like a custom built home you can invest in a Custom Design. Your imagination is the limit. You can have any flooring, walling, appliance, and more that you could possibly want. You can change the floor plan to fit better with your needs and wants. You could even have a swimming pool built into your dinning room for swim-dining!

You can create a place that is all about you and your style. Your friends will know your home instantly even on the first visit and you will be inviting you boss over for monthly dinners just so you can show off your beautiful home and brag.


  • The Design is all yours, you will not see anyone with the same design or layout
  • It is obvious you are invested in your blog or site, so users and brands will invest in you
  • You will find you will have unlimited customization and options
  • Everything coordinates and functions just as you wish


  • Large investment
  • Have to do some homework to find the right designer that fits your style
  • Takes some time to create

Conclusion: A Complete Custom Design represents you with a unique layout and images and functioning.

I hope this gave you some things to consider as you are choosing the level of investment you want to make into your blog.


Wordpress Vs Blogger Where You Should Have Your Blog
Blogging How to Start a Blog

WordPress vs Blogger: Where Should Your Blog Be?

You have a few options of places you can start a blog. WordPress and Blogger are the most popular options. Have you ever wondered the difference? Are you not sure where you should have your blog, WordPress vs Blogger? Today we are going to talk about where your blog should be, what the differences are between …

Basics Blogging How to Start a Blog

5 Tools of an Expert Commenter

One skill in blogging that is forgotten or ignored is the skill of commenting. Making a comment that is eye catching, insightful, and engaging will help you build your community. Yes even going onto a blog that is not your own you can work on your community. Comments are a place that you can get interaction …

Basics Blogging How to Start a Blog

How To Setup Your Amazing Editorial Calendar

If you don’t have an editorial calendar you may find that your posting is sporadic, you may become stressed keeping up with posting, or you may get blogger burn out. Today let’s talk about how to avoid all three of these by setting up an amazing editorial calendar. You will find two benefits from a …

Basics Blogging How to Start a Blog

How to Find and Add Photos to your Posts

Photos can make or break your post. Humans are a very visual. Two of the first things that will draw your visitors to your post is your title (headline) and your photos.

How do you make your image draw a visitor in? By making sure you use a high quality and relevent photo. But where do you get these photos and how do you place them correctly.

Use your own photos!

Get your camera out and learn a few good tricks about photography. Find a book or ebook, take a class, or follow a beginner photography blog. But make sure that you only choose high quality photos.

Creative Commons Licensed Photos

BlueberriesBy quacktaculous

Creative Commons licenses are several copyright licenses that allow the distribution of copyrighted works – Wikipedia

If you want to learn more about Creative Common Licenses Lynda from Daily Window gives the best description and instruction I have read!

The best collection of creative commons photography can be found on Flickr’s Creative Commons.

One of the most important things to be aware of with creative commons is that you need to make sure and give credit for the photo. This is very important and if you do not do this you are stealing the original photographers artwork.

Find Royalty Free Photos

found here

Some photographers and designers are happy to share their work and offer it royalty free with no credit necessary. The only warning with these sites is that you want to make sure that the site you are using is legitimate! Make sure and read their terms of service.

One of my favorite sites that is free to find photos is stock.xchg. This site is easy to use, has great images, and the fine print is easy to find and understand. (The ones you can use with out linking back state: Standard restrictions apply.)

Word of Warning

Word of warning do not use google images as a source for your photos. It may seem an easy option to find photos through Google Images, but very few of the images are free for you to download and use even with credit.

Also never ever hotlink an image from another domain. Flickr does give you the code to insert the image so this is allowed. But any other site you are not allowed to take the URL of the image and paste it into your post. Or just copy the image and paste it in the image straight into your post. This is called a hotlink and you are stealing bandwidth from someone else.

5 Tips to Perfect Photo Placement:

  1. Know the size of your post area on your blog (400px, 600px, etc)
  2. Place your first photo in the same place on all posts (top center, aligned to the left or aligned to the right)
  3. Don’t use small images (try to make your top photo always the same size)*
  4. Don’t ever re-size your image larger! (You can make it smaller though)
  5. Do not let any photos hang over the edge of your post area

*How to Resize your Image

How to change the size of your image with a little html so that your photo fits. Remember don’t ever re-size your image larger always make it smaller or else you will lose the quality of your photo!

Your image is placed in your post with a small html tag (if you are using WordPress click the HTML tab to see this tag). Here is an example:

<img src=”http://YourDomain.com/YourImage.jpg” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”303″ />

To make your image fit inside your post area and not hang over you have to know the size of your post area (mine is around 450px). Change the width of the photo to be smaller than your posting area and take out the height all together. If you do not take out the height your image will get a warped look to it. Here is what your example would look like after being changed:

<img src=”http://YourDomain.com/YourImage.jpg” alt=”” width=”425″ />


I hope this helped you learn more about photos and your posts. Photos are a really important part of blogging. Make sure you get comfortable with using photos and using your tools to find them!

Where is your favorite place to get photos for your posts?

Birthday Christmas Crafts Easter Crafts Father's Day Crafts Free Printables! Mother's Day Crafts St Patricks Day Crafts Valentine's Day Crafts
Eggshell Mosaics: E is for Earth & Eggshells
Easy Owl Donuts!
Free Printable Star Wars Valentines
Appetizers Baking Bentos Beverages Breakfast Dessert Dinner Kids Lunches Lunch Salads Side Dishes Snacks Soups
Healthy Broccoli Salad
Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce
Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce
Easy Owl Donuts!