Logo Layout 25-minIf you have taken the time to invest in a custom blog design, or even if not, and if you are new to blogging or have been at it for awhile, there are some basic tips you can use to improve the appearance of your blog design template.  If you have a custom blog design or custom website design, your blog designer has already done a lot of the work for you.  A good custom blog design should include a custom-designed header and matching background, matching sidebar widget background (even if your sidebar is just widget titles, the font should definitely match the style of the blog design, for example, you don’t want a script font on a clean, streamlined blog design), matching social media buttons and a matching footer.

But once the work of your blog designer is done, what can you do to make sure that your blog design is always pleasing to the eye?  Here are 5 tips to consider when creating blog posts and managing your blog to ensure that your blog branding always looks its best!

  1.  Photography.  Photography is huge for a blog design template.  The whole point of a design blog is to showcase images, so you want to make sure that your photos look their best.  If you are a photographer, you are probably already great at photo editing and filters, but even an amateur blogger has a lot of control with apps like Instagram.  So if you have a blog design template that features mostly pastel or neutral shades, bright, jarring colors might not look that great with the blog design graphics.  This is also something to consider when commissioning a custom blog design, think about the type of photos you are going to post.  If they are going to have lots of bright colors and graphics, maybe a more simple, black and white or neutral blog design template is better for you.  If you are going for a more washed-out, neutral look, filters like Gingham, Crema and Moon from Instagram are awesome to give your photos a consistent feel.  But when scrolling through blog posts, you want the reader to know that they are in the same place, on the same blog.  So posting all types of different photos with different filters won’t really make your blog instantly recognizable.  As a blog designer, I like almost everything, so it’s hard for me to limit myself to one photo style or color family.  So for the blog page on my own blog, I kept the design template clean and neutral, and then when I post photography, I tend to group blog posts by visual style or color family.
  2. Keep blog posts approximately the same length.  It’s totally okay to go out of the box with this one sometimes, but since I’ve been blogging, I’ve always posted 3 to 4 photos along with a short commentary on them (Little Blue Deer is a design inspiration blog, so it’s usually photos that inspire me, or that communicate some idea).  Particularly if readers are subscribing by email, I don’t want them to open up their inbox and be overrun with information all at once.  Plus, it’s key to remember that brevity is ever the watchword (one of my personal life philosophies as well!).  We’re all so busy all the time, a quick shot of inspiration and information is really sometimes all a reader wants.  For example, my goal with my blog posts is to offer my readers a short burst of awesome photography or design inspiration along a certain theme, and then a short explanation or commentary, and of course photo sources (giving credit is key!).  I want readers to know what to expect when they go to my blog or open my email.
  3. Social media branding.  The goal here is to look the same on all media outlets.  You want the reader to immediately recognize your brand no matter where they go on the web:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.  The best way to do this is to use your blog header or logo as your social media header or profile pic (and most blog designers including myself also add in a matching Facebook and Twitter header and profile pic, and Pinterest and Instagram profile pics as custom blog design add-ons), which is one more reason to consider a custom blog design package, a good graphic designer can whip all of these up in no time at all and they will look super-professional.  But you can do it yourself as well, using a photo editing program like picmonkey.com, or even if you just choose to use photographs in your social media, follow rule number one above and keep the photos in the same style family.
    twitter screenshot

    My Twitter header. The carpet matches the curtains, so to speak!

  4. Manage your hex colors when available.  One more great way to keep your branding consistent on places like Twitter and Youtube is to manage your hex colors.  What the heck is this?  A hex color is a 6 digit number that corresponds with a certain web color.  Usually it’s a default blue – yuck!  So how do you find what hex colors are used on your blog?  If you have hired a blog designer, he or she has probably coded the hyperlinks and other headers on your blog design to match the blog design graphic.  To find out what hex colors are used on your blog, open your blog in Google Chrome (my very favorite browser, yes I have a Mac but I am in love with Google Chrome!).  Select a hyperlink on your blog, or any text that matches the color you want to find, highlight it, and right click on it, just like you would to save an image.  Instead of selecting “Save Image As” click “Inspect”.  A toolbox will appear either to the right or at the bottom of your page.  Follow this screenshot to find the 3 or 6 digit hex code:
    FIREBUGCopy that code and then when setting up your Youtube, Twitter or Tumblr page, when it asks for a hex color for your links, you will be able to use the same hex color as is used in your blog design.  Yay! Consistency!
  5. Don’t go nuts on font sizes, bolding and italics.  One of my pet peeves as a blog designer is seeing a blog post with a million different font sizes and colors. It looks the circus is coming to town, or like when you accidentally click on an advertisement link on a shady website; it’s the blog equivalent of those blow-up characters with the big waving arms you see outside of T-Mobile.  Feel me?  So maybe a few bold headings or some colored text, but just keep in mind that to go overboard is visual overload for your blog reader (unless they are 4 ;))

So there you have it, just a few short tips that I have picked up along the way of being a blog designer that anyone can use, whether you hire a pro or not.  These are just small things, but implementing them will help keep your branding consistent and recognizable.  Want help?  Check out our custom blog design package here, and have fun!