Jenny is actually one of my online friends and so when she signed up I was excited but also nervous at the same time she has a lovely site.
Good Color Scheme
Great layout overall
No real feature post to show off her beautiful photos
Sidebar a little crowded
A little plain for her quirky personality and great coding skills
Add a Feature section to highlight the photos
Add a Footer to spread out all the content from the sidebar
Add some quirky fun design elements
Want to Volunteer?
I will create a PSD (photoshop file) redesign of your site. You will also learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your design. I will email you the final PSD file for you to do with as you want.
Basically you will get a free professionally designed concept for your blog and a file you can use to hire someone to create the design (you can use a PSD to HTML service or a web designer to code the design).
WordPress Based Blog or Website
Family Friendly Site
If your interested leave your name, URL, and email in the comments below and let me know you want to volunteer.
Have you really looked at your blog lately? Is it time to start freshening it up but you are not sure where to start?
Start by taking a look at the 7 major elements of your blog.
When someone is visiting your blog you have 3 seconds to give them their first impression (this is one reason you want your blog to load fast). A logo should tell your visitors in 3 seconds what to expect from your site. What’s the name of the blog and what is the style of the blog (ie. bold and bright, simple and clean, fun and crazy, crafty, etc.). You can say a lot in a logo.
You also want to make sure your logo is timeless and can be used for multiple kinds of media. Your logo should be able to be used for your blog, twitter background, facebook page, business cards, magazine articles, your pr package, an ebook, and more.
Think about the logos you see large companies using. When you see the Nike logo you recognize it instantly. When your readers and advertisers see your logo they should instantly know this is you!
The first thing when you come to the design of your blog is to invest in a professional logo.
After your logo the next major element to look at in your design is your header. Current trends are slowly changing from large headers to just logos. One reason for this change is because big headers are taking up important space on your blog with very little information. The second reason is that designs are becoming more simple and clean.
If you are a believer in above the fold theory, which usually I am not, you are loosing prime realty on your website with a large header. You could be loosing space that you could sell to your advertisers.
I believe that if you make your header interesting enough you can make it any size you want. But I also believe in keeping it simple and that is hard to do with a large header.
Sliderscan show off three or more of your best posts quickly and dynamically. You can find lots of themes with sliders built in or you can find a WordPress plugin that will add it for you. A slider can cause your homepage to load slower so you do need to consider this when considering adding it to your blog.
Once you have gotten your visitors hooked into staying at your site longer than 3 seconds now you want them to take action and visit the other parts of your site.
For your navigation keeping it simple really is the key. You want your readers to instantly be able to tell that your menu is a menu. Make the buttons and links easy to read and easy to click.
Keep the menu items short and try to avoid being too cute. Use real words that a reader who has never been to your site will instantly recognize. Three items I recommend for every blog are About, Categories, and Contact.
But the most important thing of all is to make sure there is a home button or your header is linked to take them home. You don’t want your visitors to get lost on your site.
Posts should be easy to follow and easy to read. Make sure that you don’t overwhelm your readers with too many posts on the front page. If they are not going to connect to your blog within 10 posts then they just are not the right audience for you.
When you look at your posts they can be broken down to 5 basic elements:
Post Footer – This is the place to put your meta data. Make sure that your tags and categories are listed so that when your reader finds an article they connected with they can find more to read.
Comments – Make sure your comment link is easy to find. Most readers expect to find the comment links at the bottom of the post. Plus it’s easier to click a link right after reading something you enjoyed then scrolling right back to the top.
Social Share Buttons – Make it easy for your readers to share your posts. Use a plugin that gives you each of the social media sites that you want people to connect with your posts. Try and make sure all the share buttons are all in one place. Also do not over do the options. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers with options and buttons.
A sidebar is a place to share more additional information about you, your blog, and your advertisers. Sidebars are one of the biggest struggles for bloggers, they are fighting the constant battle of clutter.
More than this can start making your site look busy or cluttered. Again white space is very important in your sidebar. I have written a post about sidebars in my post How Much is Too Much? Let’s talk sidebars.
If you have an editable footer then this is a great place to put items like your tags, categories, and extra buttons. I would not put more than four sections in your footer and only place one large item in each section.
The Next Step
Now that we have reviewed the 7 elements of a blog it’s now your time to take a look at your blog and see what needs updating and cleaning.
If I’ve talked about a section in your blog that your just not sure what to do with subscribe to my blog. I will be breaking out each of these elements into their own posts and you can learn more how to improve your blog or website.
If you have any questions you want to ask right away please post them in my comments.
How do you make your customers or readers remember you and your blog or business? How do you make them know instantly that they have arrived at your website, twitter feed or facebook page?
You create a logo that your visitors remember and associate with you and your business. Branding can be one of the most important steps when creating a business. Sometimes this can even make or break your business.
One way that you brand your business visually is by creating a logo for your company.
I have heard advice throughout the web on how to make a logo or brand for your business or blog. Not all of these suggestion for logos are good ideas.
We will be talking about 4 ways of creating a brand or logo and the pros and cons of each option.
1. Use your picture
I’ve actually seen a few suggestions to use your picture to represent you, your blog or your business. The thought behind this is that it is more personal. People really like to see a face behind a business.
You could also do this for very cheap by just taking a photo of yourself, but unless you are an excellent photographer I would not recommend using your own photos. You don’t want to use a bad photo to represent you and your business.
What is the first impression a bad photo is going to give? Is that photo going to be remembered? In a good way?
Another issue with using your photo is that your personal image and your face are constantly changing. Think about your drivers license. Do you still look like that person in that picture?
If you are using your photo on your business cards (and even as a blogger you should have business cards) or on your website or your twitter you will want to keep it up to date. With business cards this can start becoming expensive.
This also runs into the trouble where you are trying to make a “look” that your readers or customers remember. But it will make it harder for them to remember your logo if it is constantly changing.
Let’s now talk about the biggest issue with using your picture. This is not a logo. A logo should be simple, clean, and should be able to go from color to black and white (think photocopy). Obviously a photo is not a logo. It can be used in your branding but you should have a logo that can stand alone also.
2. Use a stock image or premade logo
Something I see constantly, especially in the blogging world, are “logos” created from stock images. This can be an inexpensive option especially when you are starting out.
But everybody is doing it and don’t be surprised when you are browsing the Internet and you find somebody using the same logo as you.
You will also lose a little bit of that personal feeling when people see an image that closely represents you but isn’t quite right. Then if they happen to find the same image on another website they will feel even less connected to you and your brand.
Stock images also have limitations on their licenses. Make sure and read the fine type. You may be limited to the number of printings you can have or limited on where and when you can use the image. Be careful.
3. Hire your brother or a friend
This could be a great option for you. A friend may offer to create a logo for free or a discounted rate. But you have a couple negative outcomes that could show up.
Sometimes your friend may think they know how to make a logo, but you may find that they don’t create it in the correct format so you may have to have it redone in the future. Or if the format is incorrect you may find you cannot use it for different marketing peices including posters, banners, stickers, t-shirts, etc. Logos should be created as a vector, not in Photoshop, and your designer should give you the original files.
You may also find that if your friend does create logos professionally that you will be at the bottom of their to do list. Your friend is still running a business and many freelancers over commit themselves. Doing a free or discounted logo is not going to be high priority for them.
You may find that nothing has been worked on for a month and you are still waiting for your logo. Or you may find that they rushed through your job just to get it out of the way and it is not up to par to their typical work.
4. Hire a professional
Hiring a professional designer will be an investment and this investment depends on the logo and the designer you work with. Talk with the designer and find out if you will work well with them.
Some basic questions to ask:
How many mock ups will I recieve?
How many revisions?
Do you charge by the hour or by the design?
When you hire a professional designer for your logo you will find that they will spend the time with you to find out about you and your business. They will create a logo that is completely unique and will represent you and your business. When you see the final work you will be proud and say this is me, this is my business!
A professional will also make sure that the files will be in the correct format and may give you the logo in multiple formats for printers and for further work down the road. They should also get you the matching colors and fonts for other branding including your web design.
A professional can also help you learn more about how to make your logo usable in multiple formats including web, print, large or small, black and white or color.
Whichever way you go make sure that you pick a logo that you love and will love for a long time. Make sure that when you see this logo that in an instant you recognize it, it pops at you and that it truly represents you. Then use your logo everywhere: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, website, blog, business cards, stationary, and anywhere you can mark your presence.
I’m always happy to help with questions so feel free and ask here in the comments or email me at (unicornbeauty (@) gmail.com)