Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blog Design

Today I've rolled out a new blog design. I've received a lot of emails and comments about how I accomplish my blog designs so I thought a post about it would be appropriate...and will hopefully answer most {if not all} of those questions. First, let it be known that all I know about blog design I learned from trial and error...and the internet.

There are {at least} three ways to get a custom {or semi-custom} blog design depending on your skill level, time commitment, and budget.

1. Have someone design your blog for you. This, obviously, is the fastest and easiest way. And you'll get a really spiffy design. But, just as requires the most investment. But designs range anywhere from $20 - $80 depending on who you use and how much you want done. Here a couple of designers who I think do a really great job: Fabulous K Creative, and Redbud Designs. Check 'em out.

2. Buy blog graphics at digital scrapbook {online} stores. If you don't want to pay as much for your design but still don't want to build the whole thing yourself, consider spending between $2 - $6 for pre-designed blog graphics that you customize by adding a photo(s) and/or text and install yourself. In order to customize these you will need some kind of photo editing software. Refer to the specific products to see what you will need to edit them. After editing, use blogger's gadgets to add your graphics to your header and sidebar. Look at these sites for some very cute blogwear: Polka Dot Potato, Scrap Girls, Shabby Shoppe, Sweet Shoppe Designs, Funky Playground Designs.

3. Create and install designs yourself. This is the most time consuming of the three options and either falls in the low to mid-range of pricing or can be done for free if you already have software and use free digital graphics. I use digital scrapbook supplies that I either find for free {there are a lot of freebies out there} or purchase because I also do digital scrapbooking. Then, I use Photoshop to create images {jpegs} to install on my blog. That is the short story.

Some can use any photo editing software that allows you to create image files and manipulate digital graphics. These would include {but are not limited to}: Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Corel Draw, etc.

To install the header, I use the blogger "header" gadget under the "layout" tab and upload my created image from my computer. The file must be saved as a blogger supported file type. In fact, it may have to be a jpeg. That's what I always use. To install the sidebar titles or buttons, I use the "picture" gadget under the "layout" tab. If you want the button to link to a website, there is an option to enter the site on the gadget. Again, the titles and buttons must be saved as a supported file type or you'll have problems.

I recently started doing one major adjustment to my template's html code in order to have a patterned background on my blog. To do this, pick a digital scrapbook paper or other large digital image and upload it to a photo hosting site like photobucket that will give you a link to your image. You will need this link to insert into your html code in order for the image to show up in your background. Once your image is hosted and you have a url {link} to that image, then find a tutorial online for instructions on how to install it {no need for me to retype instructions here}. Some good informational sites that I've used are: Tips for New Bloggers, and Blogger for Dummies.

I do several other little tweaks to my html to make my blog look just the way I want it and as I said at the beginning of this post...I learned how to do all of these things by searching the internet and/or just trying it out. Play around and you'll be amazed at what you can do and what you can learn.


Mary said...

You can also go to and download the entire template for free, complete with holiday and seasonal designs.

Mary said...

Ps. Rach, your designs are getting more complicated and intricate as you learn more! I love the staples on this one!!!

Brooke said...

This is what I have been doing all day. I was about to give up, but I've been motivated by you! It looks great!