Dana: The Coupon Challenge
I started my site with blogger using a free design from The Cutest Blog on the Block. The set up was easy and FREE. There are numerous other sites offering free or cheap templates to give personality to your site. These can be downloaded with little to no expense or design experience.
After several months, I had my blogger blog designed by Custom Blog Designs. The rates were reasonable and I loved her designs. Plus, she handled all the design installation with very little downtime to my website. My only problem came later when I moved to wordpress. I would have loved to work with her again, but she only works with blogger. She was able to help me adjust the header to accommodate my new site, though.
I would like to eventually change the design of my site to fit this stage of my life and where I’m hoping to take my blog in the future. For now, I’m working to make the site more user friendly to keep you all wanting to come back for more!
Amee: Madame Deals
I also started my site with blogger. I suggest using blogger if you think this may be something you want to do but you aren’t sure. If you do decide this is your new business then I would invest in design. I would use free templates if you are on blogger because most of what you do on blogger will have to stay on blogger when you leave. If you think you want to stay on blogger then hire someone who can build a design that would work on Word Press as well do not pay twice. Madame Deals moved over to Word Press and has been designed a total of three times. I just completed the third redesign. Why? I think as you blog more you start really understand what people like and what you like. I thought my site was to white the text wasn’t anchored. I tried a couple of variations of designs but I kept coming back to the daisy. I felt like that was part of my brand and I didn’t want to lose that. I did add a little personality with my cool and crazy Barbie like social media buttons.
I say be different but do not confuse the reader. When you find someone to design your site look at the sites they have done and determine what you like from those sites. Then find a couple of other sites you like to take ideas from. I say hire someone with a flat rate so you do not end up with a huge bill. I also encourage you to pay a deposit but not the full amount until the site is done. When we did our second site design it ended up costing a fortune because we paid up front and half way through the job the guy doing the site was gone. Then we had to find someone else to finish so we essentially paid twice.
Speaking of paying. Do you know what the parts on your site are called? Do you understand what is included and what isn’t included? This is really important to figure out otherwise you could end up with something less than what you thought. I say this because I found some less expensive services but that was because they only did one or two things and I need 20 million.
I just finished working with Kim at My Crafty Mom. She has a wonderful package for $175 that included everything. I wanted her to install my plugins and clean up a lot of stuff that was in the background that frankly I didn’t understand. She went above and beyond. I was very excited to have found her because her basic package was $130 which is a HUGE deal!
Our design tips:
The design of your site is the first thing visitors notice when they arrive. You don’t need a fancy or expensive blog design, but you do need a design that pleasing to the eye and one that allows visitors to easily read your posts and find whatever topics you are promoting.
- Watch header size-you have valuable ad space “above the fold.” Some advertisers actually require this placement. Don’t take up the entire screen with your header.
- Does your design fit your personality and content? People come to your site to read what you have to say. Let the design of your site reflect who you are.
- Be conscious of font style, size & color. You want the content of your page to be easily read by visitors.
- Consider the color of your post content area and the color of your text. A black post content area with pink text may not be the easiest for visitors to reader.
- Make the post content the focus of your page. The goal is to keep readers wanting to know more about what you have to say, not the flashing banner on your sidebar
- Make the site easy to navigate. Have a space for a search box and follow buttons, so people come back for more
- Have a friend or 2 evaluate your site to determine what changes you need to make. It helps to get real feedback about what’s working and what can be approved upon.
If you missed last weeks article we answered questions about moving your site.
If you need hosting we both use Host Gator and Love them.
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