Yes I know CSS, yes I know HTML: I suppose that does make me a little bit of a geek – but I would like to hope I’m not your conventional geek? These tips & tricks are to help you start to plan forward for your big redesign, if you want to know a specific “how to” then let me know and I will blog it! (Easy really!) I know its easy to say but I have got a whole heap of experience with blogs and CSS – I create websites in my spare time and it was my business pre-motherhood, so I hope that gives you some confidence I know what I am talking about.
So, you have a blog, you are not happy with it – what options do you have to your fingertips?
If you are a wordpress.com user then you have limited options available, but it is still possible to put your own creative style into the design. If you pay for the Custom Design upgrade with wordpress.com it gives you the freedom to easily edit your colours / fonts and to get stuck in to your CSS if you dare. You have to pay for the upgrade, annually, it is currently $30 a year. Little tip: Try the Custom Design add on before you purchase it, to see if you get the total freedom that you desire, or if in fact you would be better off going self hosted!
WordPress.org (self hosted) Users
If you are a wordpress.org user, which means you self host your blog, then you have the whole world at your fingertips – quite literally you can do whatever you want (within reason) to your beautiful blog. All you need is some knowledge of CSS and maybe a great template for a starting point and off you trot into #amazeballsbloggertown.
If you use Blogger to tell the word your thoughts then you have a wealth of options available to you from the template section of the dashboard: just click on “Edit HTML”. You have squillions of options, which control the look and feel of your blog by simply customising the template, without editing the HTML. Under the advanced section you have the bulk of the customisable options; font colours, background colours etc. You can also try the Blogger’s Template Designer if you want to create your very own blogger template.
I thought it might be useful to give you a little check-list for the rest of the things to think about:
Do you have a logo? If not, do you need one? If you do, will it “work” in your new design (You know the one you have in your head)?
Do you have an idea of what fonts you like? I use dafont.com for my inspiration. (Tip: Always download “free” to use fonts).
Have you looked at any templates for inspiration? Or use a template as a base and adapt the design to meet your visions!
Do you have a colour scheme in mind? Pinks and Purples/Rainbow colours/Monochrome, this is important as you will base your whole design around these colours .
Do you need to change your blog platform? Do you want a self hosted blog on the WordPress platform for extra freedom?
Do you take your own photography? Start to think about your style of photography and get some “stock” photos stocked up! Having great photos ready and waiting for blog posts is very helpful. Make sure they suit the style of your newly designed blog. Check out apps for photography for your smartphone, or buy a new camera and some photo editing software.
Are you a creative person? If you are then that’s great, it will be your knowledge of CSS that will get you where you need to be. If you are not creative then you need to think about having someone, close by, who is and who can help develop your blog or use a template for guidance.
Do you know CSS? Yes, awesome then all you need to do is think about what you want? Are you going to use a template for a starting base or just go completely mad? Do you have a design team on board? If you know zilch about CSS then you need to get in the know before you start prodding and poking… trust me – it could all go HORRIBLY wrong, or indeed, amazingly right. I love this website, CSS zen garden, it gives you an idea of how powerful CSS is and how it can make the same website look absolutely different in every way with just a slightly different bit of code behind the scenes…