Blog Design: Dissected

April 24, 2013

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Well hello lovelies!

I'm going to be real honest here because I've become a little discouraged by some design projects I've been working on. Why? Well, it seems like everyone who wants to blog doesn't always do the research to educate themselves on what goes along with blogging.

It's come to my attention many "newbie" bloggers who are looking for a blog design are expecting their designer (me) to explain to them all the basics of blogging and how to build a brand. I simply design blogs. I do not maintain them and it's not my responsibility to have to teach you what a sidebar is or how a navigation bar works. It's also becoming more apparent that newbie bloggers are asking established bloggers details of how blogging works. In my opinion, it's part of the journey to learn this on your own and to educate yourself.

In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to take the time to fully educate my clients because it's more of a personal experience but truth is, it takes me a hundred times longer to write an email explaining those details when I should be solely working on the aesthetics of the blog. So how do we fix that? I'm going to show a few images here dissecting a simple blog design (using Becky's as an example!) and give some details that I get a lot of questions on.



H E A D E R :
Plain and simple, the header is the main focal point of a blog design. Some times this can be alter to be on your sidebar with your navigation bar on the top or it can be even with your sidebar as mine is currently. This normally links back to your home page when clicked on unless additional coding is added for a navigation bar but it's usually always shown as above.

P O S T   A R E A :
Your date of the post published will show and the post title here. These act as details to disclose more information about your post. I have my date removed because I like the look with my design. You'll also see the post content here. You can center it, left justify or right justify. Play in your composing area to find a method and look you prefer here. Adding pictures in a blog post is always great reference also. Have fun with this content, it's what builds your blog!


S I D E B A R :
Sooooo many questions on what a sidebar is. Guess what? It's really easy.... a sidebar carries all the additional information with widgets. Each widget can be titled and Blogger gives you options to choose those widget you'd like included. The sidebar can be left or right justified depending on preference and the fonts and colors coordinate with the same as the post area.


N A V I G A T I O N   B A R :
These are the pages you have active that can be clicked to redirect you to a new page with additional content. As shown on Becky's blog, she has four additional pages to her home page so when clicked on, the page shown coordinates with the title. These pages are a bloggers responsibility! When your design is created, those titles are built custom to match the overall design but the content on those pages are to be edited and changed up by you, as the blogger. 

Where can you find those? On your Blogger dashboard, there is a little menu arrow, click on the arrow and a list of categories will show, "Pages" will be one of them. Once clicked on, you're navigated to a new page that gives you the option to create a new page or edit current ones. This is also where you can find the links for each of those pages! NOTE: this is where you need to be when I as your designer am asking for your Navigation bar links.

A B O U T   B L U R B:
A small area with an image as reference and little details of who you are. This is also created as an image and can be changed by your designer at an additional fee in the future, if you choose to. I always link this image to your "About" page so when clicked on it redirects to your page that goes a little more in depth about you. Again, not all bloggers chose to have an "About" page but if so, that's how I link it.


S O C I A L   M E D I A   S E T :
These are small icons for each social media platform you choose to have people connect with you on. When clicked, each one redirects to the site the icons corresponds with.

S I D E B A R   T I T L E S :
Remember we talked about the sidebar and widgets above? As a designer, I can removed the titles that give the option to use in the widget settings and I build a cute, custom title that matches with the blog design. As shown on Becky's, her sidebar has titles for each widget she uses on her sidebar.


F A V I C O N :
Always get questions on this! Your favicon is a little icon that shows in your browser tab. Have gmail? Notice the little red and white envelope on the browser tab? Yep, that's a favicon. In the packages I offer, I create a little favicon to coordinate with your blog design.

S I G N A T U R E :
It's common to have a post signature with a blog design. At the end of your post content, your signature is embedded into your blog coding so it will show on the end of your blog posts. 

A D   B U T T O N :
Also known as a grab button, designs include an ad button for you to use on sponsoring other blogs. You will also have the button with a "grab code" located on your blogs sidebar for readers to "grab" and put on their blog sidebar. This is great way to build more traffic to your blog and gives you a cohesive look for your brand.

Now that I've dissected the overall design I hope that gives you a better understanding with the basics of a blog design. Myself as a designer has a hard time communicating with potential clients when they aren't aware of these details. It's little things that can be learned over time but it's much easier getting started on a design process being knowledgeable and accurate in your verbiage via communication. I promise you, it goes SO smoothly being educated. Additionally, in my order forms I ask for very specific details, it's much easier when clients have filled out all the areas requested for their design needs with accurate information. So many times I'm missing all the links to the Navigation Bar and the links for Social Media platforms. Without those, I can't code your design correctly and I can't be successful in making your design process smooth.

Please know, I write this post and I spent a few hours getting it pulled together to relieve a headache of mine. My goal is to be able to have this link on my design site so anyone who needs a little detail or a refresher on a blog design, they can come to this post to learn. 

My sole purpose is to successfully build a professional relationship while building a custom and gorgeous design for each of my clients. I try to be as in depth as possible and I focus on treating each client of mine equally. My hope with this detailed post is to eliminate multiple emails with questions so we can begin a design project on the right foot.


Lastly, a big thank you to Becky for letting me feature her blog on this post. Swing by Cella Jane for a dose of fitness,  fashion and some great DIY projects!

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