I recently posted about some things to look for when choosing a blog designer for your custom blog design. Probably the key to choosing the right designer is managing expectations, and a good blog designer will tell you at the outset what you can expect from your blog design template, and also what he or she expects of the client (besides payment of course!).
Probably the key mistake that clients make when choosing a blog designer is that they confuse blog designer with technical support. I know of very few blog designers who also offer ongoing technical support, most, myself included, will of course remedy the situation if a functionality issue arises with something the blog designer has installed in your blog design template on the custom blog design, but as far as teaching clients to blog, most designers do not do that. Just like with shopping, you go in the boutique, you buy the designer’s clothes but they don’t teach you to wear them (luckily there’s Pinterest for that!). So you will probably want to be prepared to take on a lot of the blogging learning curve yourself.
For my custom blog design packages, I have come up with a number of tutorials for blog designs by Little Blue Deer. These can actually be used even if your blog design template was not created by LBD, as WordPress blog design has a lot of standard features that are incorporated into all blog designs, like Featured Images, Menus and static pages. I wrote these blog design tutorials with an eye to the fact that not all blog designs are going to be the same, but if you have self-hosted WordPress installed, you should be able to make use of them.
(Pretty blog design – highly functional!)
Also, regarding technical support, here is a tip that seems SO obvious but actually eludes a lot of people (I get it!). Use a plain text Google search when you have a question about your blog design or functionality. Okay, what does this mean? It means, go to Google.com, and literally type in your question, like you would ask a friend (or Siri). For example: “How do I add a new page to my WordPress blog?” Type it in exactly as you would say it. It’s also good to be as specific as possible. For example, if you are asking a question about blog designs, be sure to include “Wordpress” if you are on a WordPress blog, and Blogger if you have a Blogger custom blog design. It really works! You will get an array of search results that are pretty much guaranteed to answer your question.
There are also a couple of really good WordPress plug-ins that you can use that will literally walk you through the basics of managing your blog. The best one, in my opinion, is called Sidekick. It actually even has voice-guided training, and it appears in your blog dashboard with visual prompts for each action (add a widget, add a photo, create a new page, etc.) that you can click to expand. It is super helpful.
So, I never advise clients who are not at all web-saavy (like my Dad, who is the only person I do not force to text me) to order a custom blog design. There is a learning curve to WordPress blog designs, that is just a fact. So you should consider how willing you are to learn something new, and to spend some time with your blog design template on your own, familiarizing yourself with it. Understand the limitations of your blog designer, as mentioned, most of them do not provide ongoing technical support so you will need to be prepared to manage your custom blog design on your own. But if you are willing to put forth a little bit of time and effort, ordering a custom blog design from the right blog designer can be a real payoff for you and your business!