5 Tips for Designing Your Blog for Free - All Dressed Up

5 Tips for Designing Your Blog for Free

I know I'm a newbie blogger, but I thought I would share with you some of the best tips for styling your blog for free, if you also happen to be a newbie. Since I am just starting out, I have been doing so, so much research. When designing my blog, I figured it would be easy to just buy a blog template, but I really thought it would be good to learn the ropes for myself. I also wanted my blog to be entirely my own! So, I selected the basic blogger template, and dove in head first!

  • First things first, save your template every time you edit your design! This way if you mess anything up accidentally, you can just upload your old one. A great way to ensure there's no mess ups is to keep a separate document, whether it be on Word, or a drafted blog post, of any custom coding you add. When I was first messing around with coding, I realized something went wrong when I couldn't edit my page text at all. So, I uploaded the last blog template I had downloaded, and slowly started adding in my coding that I'd saved from my separate document to see what was causing the freeze up. 

  • CSS is your best friend! HTML coding can be complicated, and from my experience, anytime something freezes or goes crazy on my design, bad HTML codes are usually the source of the problem. CSS on the other hand, are shorter, less complicated codes that can be easily added to quickly add or change the design element you want. To add CSS on blogger, go under template, customize, advanced, add CSS (or, template, edit HTML, and place CSS codes in between <b:skin> and </b:skin>). For example, if you want to remove the borders on your widgets, you simply add .tabs-inner .widget li a, .tabs-inner .widget ul, .tabs-inner .section:first-child ul {border:none;} and voila! Another simple trick, is that to edit any page element with CSS, just follow a simple format. For example, if I want to center the text in my popular post widget, I would add .PopularPosts1 {text-align:center;} to my CSS, and to do the same to my blog archive, I would follow the same format! Simple as that! To find out the exact name of your page elements, go to template, customize, click edit on whatever you're wanting to customize, and at the very end of the web address of the page will be the name!

  • Trying to learn how to make and edit codes yourself can be extremely intimidating. The best thing I've learned when trying to design my blog, is that any code you're looking for can usually be found after a quick and easy google search. There are so many fantastic blogs out there that specialize in simple coding tutorials. I Can Build a Blog, Code it Pretty, and Xomisse are always helpful, just to name a few! For example, Xomisse has a great tutorial on how to get a sticky navigation bar, I can Build a Blog has so many posts on codes for quick and simple customizations, and Code it Pretty has a great Web Font series on how to add great custom fonts to your blog!

  • The best thing I did when figuring out the design for my blog, was to visit other blogs! This may seem simple but it was a huge step in figuring out what I wanted for my design. I looked at tons of my favorite blogs, picked out my favorite design elements, and thought, how can I add this to my blog? For example, I noticed a lot of my favorite blogs had these great social media buttons. So, I googled, how to get social media buttons on blogger and came across a great article with instructions and free downloads! However, this doesn't mean find a blog you like and copy every design element. The purpose of styling your blog yourself is to customize it to make it your own!

  • Create a blogging board! Pinterest is a great resource for blogging tips. If you come across an article, for example, Five Tips for Designing Your Blog for Free ;), you can simply pin it, and save it to read later. Another great thing to do, is to follow as many other blogging boards as you can! This is a great way to not only learn more about blogging, but to also connect with other bloggers! 

You obviously invest a lot of time in your blog, so it's important that it represents you and your hard work! If you are 100% in love with your blog design, chances are, your readers will be too! One of the best blogging tips I've come across is be yourself. Personally, my favorite blogs are the ones where I feel like I am getting to know them by reading their content and by being on their page. So, a great thing to do is to make sure your blog design totally reflects you and your content! Also, this stuff takes time, so don't get frustrated! I can't tell you how many times I wanted to bang my head against the wall because no matter what code I put in, it just wasn't working. All this coding stuff gets easier the more you do it, so don't give up! And don't be afraid to reach out out to other bloggers for help! I have had to comment on quite a few coding tutorials asking what the heck I was doing wrong, believe me. Have any questions about learning more on how to style your blog for free? Feel free to comment below, or visit my contact page and send me an email! 

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