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You started a blog, but you have zero skills when it comes to how to design a blog website? I know exactly how you feel! I’ve been in your shoes about 3 years ago… I didn’t know where to start and how to do this. Therefore, I devoured YouTube for tutorials and all the free resources I could find on the web. I didn’t have any money to invest, so I needed to do everything on my own and without money.
This is exactly why I started my “How to Start a Mom Blog” series – I want to give you my knowledge for free because I KNOW how difficult it CAN be in the beginning. With blogging, there’s a MASSIVE learning curve. I AM still learning, and in this industry, there’s ALWAYS something new, something else to learn.
How to Start a Mom Blog in 2020 series:
- Part 1 How to start a mom blog in 2020?
- Part 2 What are the foundations of a successful blog?
- Part 3 How to Design a Blog Like a PRO even if you are a newbie? (this one)
- Part 4 Popular Blog Post Ideas That Will Explode Your Blog Traffic
- Part 5 How To Make Money Blogging In 2020?
Subjects I’ll cover in Design a Blog Website:
- Choosing a free theme – how to customize it and make it your own
- Checklist of things you need on hand when designing your blog
- Must-have pages on your blog
Before we start, please note that this article is based upon the Appearance > Customize function from your WP dashboard.
Choosing a Theme
I recommend using free themes, especially in the beginning. Only after 3 years, I decided to invest in a paid & custom theme for my blog.
WP is full of some amazing free themes, but what most people go for is Astra or Generate Press. Both are fast themes that are used by web developers too. They work really well with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which you’ll learn more about in a later blog post.
Here are some other cute & free themes, I personally used in the past on my blogs: Travelberg or Blogberg. However if you are still looking for paid themes, I highly recommend Etsy. They have some amazing themes at very affordable prices. I bought my current theme from Etsy too.
If you’re hosting your blog on Bluehost, a great free theme to use is Astra. It has ready-made templates for you and you can build a professional-looking website in minutes.
Design Your Blog Website Checklist
There are a few prerequisites you should have or things you should do before start designing your blog. Just to make sure things go as smoothly as possible and there’s no going back and forth between WordPress and Canva or any other tools I created a FREE Design your Blog Checklist that’s meant to help you be on track with everything you need for your blog.
1. Site Identity
This refers to Site Title and Tagline of your website. If you’re wondering what tagline is, take it as the motto of your blog. In my case, KingasCorner is the name of my blog and From a mommy to Another is the tagline. If you can’t come up with one, don’t stress about it, you can always add it later.
2. Logo & Favicon
While having a logo on any website is optional, I’d still recommend you to create one. A logo makes your website look professional and your readers will understand that your blog is serious. There are billions of blogs out there, so you really want to stand out.
If you have zero design skills, you can easily create a FREE professional-looking logo using Canva.
3. Coming up with a Color Scheme
Coming up with a color scheme is a lot easier than you might think. Start looking for images you really love and then use a color picker to find out the color codes. My personal fave tool is the ColorPick Eyedropper, which is an extension for Chrome.
Alternatively, you can use Pinterest, which is another amazing resource for finding images, color schemes and more. You can also choose the best Color Scheme with online tools such as Coolors. It will help find out the colors that match together so that your blog has a cohesive look.
4. Header & Background Images
As a header image, you can use your website’s name together with a tagline, or motto, just like I did for my blog. You can easily create one in Canva, but please make sure you are using the recommended size. You can see the size when customizing your theme.
When it comes to the background image, I don’t recommend it. Usually, backgrounds distract the reader, so it’s best to leave them white. If you don’t really want a white background you can choose another color, but please make sure you’re using something light and easy to the eyes. Perfect colors are light grey, light cream, ivory, light pink just to name a few.
5. WordPress Menus
Menus are very important on any blog, it shows your reader the most important content on your site. This is a very important thing to know when coming up with your menu. Depending on the theme you’re using you might have to create several menus.
For example, on KC I have:
- primary menu – is in the middle of the page, underneath the header image. I decided to put the main categories I talk about on my blog and underneath them, the most useful posts. Towards the end, I put some of my free printables and my shop.
- secondary menu where you’ll find my blog page, courses, resource library, my recommendations and my work with me page (it’s mostly created for brands)
- social menu contains all my social links and I have it in various places – top, footer, and sidebar
6. WordPress Widgets
These are places where you can add certain information, texts or images. Also, known as plugins, these are super useful and make your WordPress Site looking great and easier to navigate. I listed my top plugin recommendation, in the previous post from this series. Check it out here in case you missed it.
Again, options are different from theme to theme. The below screenshot is from the Travelberg theme.
As you can see, you can choose to add widgets in different areas on your site. This is also the place where you can customize your sidebar (if you want one). More about customizing your sidebar in a later post.
The homepage is the mage page of your blog and you can choose one of 2 options:
On KC, at the moment I have displaying my latest blog posts, and everything else you see on my homepage is the widgets. That’s how the theme I purchased is setup. However, if you are starting from scratch, you can choose to display a static page, which you can easily create using Guttenberg Blocks or Elementor page builder. I love using a page builder because you can display things however you want. It’s a little difficult if you are not familiar with it, but if you have a little extra time, you can teach yourself to build stunning pages. I don’t recommend using a page builder for your articles, simply because it’s time-consuming.
8. Theme Options
The theme options vary from theme to theme. See below some of the settings available in the Travelberg theme:
These are a little advanced, so if you have no clue what you’re doing it’s just best to leave them as default. I remember that’s what I used to do, in the beginning. Now I feel a little adventurous and I like testing things out.
9. Additional CSS
No need to worry about this bit. This is more for developers and more advanced users. CSS is a piece of code you insert if you want to go further with your design. But I wouldn’t worry about it in the beginning.
Must-have pages on your blog
There are a few must-have pages you need to have on your blog from the very beginning if you want to comply with all the legal blogging.
- About Me
- Contact Me
- Terms & Conditions
When it comes to blog posts, especially since it’s a new blog, I recommend you have at least 10 articles on your site. This will make sure that your readers actually have materials to read. You want to keep them as long as you can on your blog reading and devouring your amazing content.
Social Media Accounts
Lastly don’t forget to create social media accounts. Please make sure you use the same name (if possible) and the same profile picture on all of them. Don’t forget to add the link to your blog and that’s it.
I recommend starting with 1 or 2 platforms. You don’t have to be everywhere from the very beginning. It’s a lot of work, especially in the starting out. Keep in mind that you have to be consistent if you want to grow your social media accounts. So it’s impossible to be active on all platforms.
If I were you I’d start with Pinterest (I know it’s not a social media platform, but lots of people think that it is) and Facebook or Instagram.
Once the socials are created, add the links on your blog as well.