So, now you have a blog. I guess that would make you officially a blogger.
(If you don’t have a blog, that means you skipped the previous sections of this series, so let’s go back to the beginning…..)
Yeay! Congrats to you. You deserve a nice cold strong alcoholic beverage after going through that. Now it’s time for the stuff I find fun. Designing your site!
I mentioned in the previous article that I use a theme called Newspaper sold on Theme Forest for The Wanderlanders. I can’t recommend it enough. As a newby blogger, I had no idea about coding and HTML so for me, Newpaper was super easy to customize. However, I think to start you should stick to one of the free themes provided by WordPress (if you decided to go the WordPress route). That way you can get your feet wet a bit and learn more about what you want before you actually put money down on a theme.
Let’s Talk Logo:
Your blog is going to need a logo. I suggest making your own design. You can pay someone to make one for you (check out Etsy or Upwork for this) but again, to start off I think you should make your own. It will give you a little bit more experience with graphic design and it will allow you to gather a better idea of what you want from a logo.
Here are a few blogs with logos I really like. Check em out for some inspiration!
http://www.migratingmiss.com/ -Simple but fun and get’s the point across that she writes about travel.
https://www.theskinnyconfidential.com/ – Totally simple. I bet Laurynn created this logo herself because she’s talented as f*ck. Really though, you could do something similar by downloading some paid for fonts. (Also check out Lauryn’s fab blog layout)
http://gracehelbig.com/ The logo is extremely simple, but the amount of fun going on in the design of Grace’s site makes it awesome. Also, if you’ve never watched Grace on YouTube you should go do that now. You’ll want to be her best friend.
https://www.justonewayticket.com/ Totally fun
http://abikiniaday.com/ So simple that anyone can do it. These two will just go on proving that a completely simple design can still be wildly successful.
Anyway, the point of this was to show you that you can make something fabulous without spending a ton of money. Now, for some tools to make your logo.
Picmonkey- I use Picmonkey for photo editing. It is easy to use and free!
Canva- My go to for all graphic creation. It takes a bit to get comfortable with it, but once you do, it’ll be a lie changer. I use if for every single graphic on The Wanderlanders (and there’s a lot of freakin graphics on the site).
https://logomakr.com/ Totes fab. If you search online for free sites for creating logos sooo many results will come up, but most are all a ploy. They will allow you to create a logo and then will say to actually get your logo you need to pay $9.99 or whatever it is. No, just no. Logomakr is legit free. I used it for The Wanderlanders logo and then finished editing it in Canva. Perfect.
Let’s Talk Layout:
As I said previously, to start off you should keep your layout simple. Have you checked out The Wanderlanders lately? Yeaaaa….don’t look at it if you want to see a simple layout. I like to make my life as complicated as possible. Seriously though, I’m a pro at getting these brilliant ideas that end up being way more freaking complicated than I expected…take this series for example. Prime example right here.
Anyway, back on topic, your main objective to start should be to write, write, write and try to get people to read what you are writing. Of course having an easy navigate layout is important, but I think you’ll find that your layout will change a lot until eventually one day you’ll be like, “OK, I can live with this.” That’s how I finally feel about The Wanderlanders, but it took me a good nine months to get to that point.
Let’s Talk Sidebar:
Your sidebar should have some type of blurb and picture of you on the top. This is the first thing people will see, and you want them to be able to put a face to what you are writing.
I currently do not have a picture of myself in my sidebar because this site is no longer just about me. As I get more and more people writing content for The Wanderlanders it becomes more of a collection of stories. If you plan on doing something similar, at least have a little blurb and picture about each author either at the top or bottom of your article.
Your sidebar should also have clickable links to all your social media profiles. On The Wanderlanders I also have a spot where you can click to like The Wanderlanders on FB.
Your sidebar can also have ads or some other Call to Action. If you have an e-book, this is a great place to publicize it.
Just try to keep your sidebar design somewhat clean. You don’t want to overdo it.
Let’s Talk Necessary Pages:
You should have a page devoted to each of these things…
About Me- Here’s some examples of good About Me pages
https://mytanfeet.com/about-me/ These two are adorbs and really lay it all out there. You’ll feel like you want to be best friends with them after reading.
http://theblondeabroad.com/about-me/ Kiersten keeps in simple, but gives you just enough info that you want to read her blog to find out more. Plus she includes cute pictures and graphics.
http://thebloggess.com/about/ I think you’ll get right away that Jenny is hysterical, but sweet and someone you totally want to read more from.
Contact- You need a contact page so that people can contact you for whatever reason. It is also the place where companies that may want to work with you will be directed. Here’s some to check out.
http://iamaileen.com/contact/ Simple but perfect
http://kaitlynncarter.com/about/contact/ Another great example of a simple contact page that covers all the main points
http://www.thewanderlanders.com/contact/ Yeap, that’s my contact page. People tend to contact me for different reasons and I have a lot to say on each topic, so having this type of design on my page was easiest for me.
Copyright- You need copyright info so that nobody will come on over and steal all your hard work and say it’s theirs. Get this! Do this!
Alright, of course there are more things that will come along as far as design goes, but these basics will get you started on your fab expat blog. Now on to the next topic! Let’s promote the sh*t outta your blog!
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