Image counts. We can’t avoid the simple fact that we love the aesthetic, and if things look nice, you want to look at them. Sex sells, as we all know but how about a sassy blog so your readers want to stay? Visual is all over the social media trends right now - Pinterest is booming, instagr.am is huge and lifecasting visually is where we are, at the start of 2012. That aside, I like to read blogs that look fabulous, and I am sure your readers do too.
Whether you know you way around a CMS back end or not, here are my top tips for keeping a blog looking beautiful, the easy way:
1. Keep your image width sizes consistent. This is a really, really simple way to keep your blog looking lovely, and you don’t need Photoshop to do it. Work out how wide you want your images to appear on the blog (mine in the posts are 540 pixels) and simply edit your images before to post to make them consistent. Picnik is now free until 12th April when Google’s own image editor Creative Kit in G+ takes over, and you can easily edit image sizes before you post online (you can already see some of the Creative Kit features in G+ now). Keeping a clean line as you scroll, particularly on blog themes which have a central blog scroll area makes it all look neater, easier on the eye, and it flows better.
2. Use font add ons but don’t go crazy: Add-ons like Typekit (which has just been acquired by Adobe) are an easy way to add different fonts to your blog without having to know code geekage. My advice is: just don’t go crazy. Remember fonts are there to be read, and a blog full of lots of odd looking typefaces will look confusing. Pick maybe one to use as your headers and a nice body text, then leave it there. Be individual but not over the top
3. Blog headers can make or break your blog. If yours is run of the mill, why not make your own? Find out the size of your header (you can do this in most themes by right clicking on the header, or control click on a Mac, and select “inspect element”. Under the section marked “Metrics” you will see the size of your header. On some blogs you can drag and drop your existing header and open in an image-editing application to find out the size. Now you can create your own in GIMP or Picnik, and replace in your theme. Sound confusing? I will do some tutorials on this on the blog soon, but you can always get a quote for a designer to do it for you and it will be a lot less than you think! Email me for a quote, or look at blogs you love and often you will see the credits at the bottom for who has done the design.
4. Add some character. Copypastecharacter is such a useful tool, and I use it daily in both design work and blogging. It’s a brilliant website allowing you to access characters that usually require a twister-type movement of the fingers to get the right key combination to access certain characters. You can create your own sets easily and refer back to them when you wish.
5. Images are the soul of a blog, so get some great ones. Remember, copyright is not to be messed with online, so either access Creative Commons images which allow you to use and attribute, purchase from iStock, or why not make your own? With iPhonography taking off there are lots of fantastic apps on both iPhone and Android you can use to make fab imagery; instagr.am of course being one of them, but you can also edit plain old mobile images in Picnik or Google now as I mentioned before, so the creative juices can flow to make your pics blog-worthy. Most of all, they are all yours and individual to you. Perfect.
6. Highlighting some text as a pull-out headline can be easily done to add emphasis and another visual element. If you have a regular set of posts, consider designing your headlines as images that can be dropped into your blog (of course for the SEO savvy out there make sure you use alternative text when you place the image so you don’t miss out on the meta tags). Again, use simple online free software to pull out your quotes, and bring a personalised emphasis to your blogging.
So there we have it; a few tips to have yourself some sassy looking posts.
Tutorials and more free images and blog goodies to follow – make sure you sign up for my updates so you don’t miss out!