Starting a blog was one of the first ways I put myself out there on the internet. In my early days of using the internet, when we still had dial-up, it was more a passive use, researching, learning and reading. But after my student days, armed with broadband and looking for what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to jump in and start an Etsy store and a blog. Social media was still in its baby days, so I saw blogging as the most effective way to share what I was doing, things I discovered and my creative journey.
A blog is a very personal thing. Even if you aren’t pouring your heart out and sharing your life story, you are still sharing a part of who you are publicly and worldwide. You are sharing your personal thoughts and perspective, your creations and creativity, the things that light you up. You are sharing a little bit of you. Even if you are covering a topic that isn’t very personal, it is still your personal thoughts on the topic. It is your personality, the way you write, your perspective, your unique ideas and clever creations that make people want to read your blog.
They like the way you share your insights, thoughts and ideas. Whether to inspire, entertain or educate them. They are not just looking for information but also want to connect with you, the writer and creator.
Why You Need to Show your Personality in your Blog Design.
So it is only logical then, that the design of your blog needs to be infused with your personality.
The internet is a fast-paced place, and it is vital to capture a viewers attention quickly and make them want to stick around longer. With good design, they can instantly feel a connection to you, form an impression about who you are and what your blog is about and decide if it is a place they want to explore and read more, or if it isn’t for them and to close the tab.
Intertwining your identity into your blog design creates something very personal and unique to you, and builds your blogs brand identity. Your audience will be able to better connect and identify with you, beyond just your posts. You are creating a beautiful environment and experience for them. Like designing your own library, living room or event space, where your audience comes in, instantly feels the vibe you have created, feel part of your world and are excited to learn or read more from you.
Start by Researching You
The best place to start when designing your blog is not by looking at other blog or website designs or anything else other people are doing. But by starting with you. While yes you should still seek out inspiration Before getting influenced by other people begin by researching yourself and the feeling you want to create and the message you want to tell, and then you can look for ways to do this.
You need to consider your blog topic and then things about yourself, your interests and your personality. I find mind mapping is a great way to quickly get thoughts out and also get you thinking about ideas that stem off from the main ideas.
For example, if you are a relaxed girl who lives by the beach, is friendly and loves being inspired by the water and nature. Start by jotting down those main key concepts like ‘relaxed’ ‘beach’ ‘friendly’ ‘nature’ and then from there start brainstorming thought s that come off those main concepts. Like shells, blue, ocean sounds, comfort, calm, water, connected, collecting, fresh, friends, smiles, laughter, joy, wave patterns. Let your mind wander and don’t be afraid to write out something that may seem silly or cliche. Sometimes the dud ideas can provoke better ideas, you just need to get it all out. Even ask friends keywords that come to mind when they think of you, sometimes this can spark unexpected ideas.
Moodboard Your Research and Inspiration
Once you have some concepts and ideas, start your visual research. But together a mood board that combines visuals that come up in your research of yourself along with designs that inspire you, such as other blog or web designs or any other graphic layouts. Often Pinterest is handy for this. Create a secret board and fill it up with imagery that represents your findings and all the things that inspire you. Once you have gone crazy pinning images and ideas, you can then go back and curate it and remove anything that you don’t feel is going in the direction you want or feel the design is heading.
Also be sure to include a good range of inspiration, such as fonts, colors, photos, layouts, textures and web designs.
Create A Blog Style Guide
A style guide doesn’t need to be just for businesses. Even personal blogs can benefit from a style guide. A style guide is basically a summary of the design elements and the overall feel, providing a reference point for the design, to maintain consistency. Also to make sure that all that you design is in line with the style you have created and make sure all the elements complement each other and tell the story feel you want to portray. It is also an opportunity to set any rules for how elements should be used.
Include things like your blog logo/header, patterns, fonts (and what fonts should be used for headers, and which for body text), colours (and which are to be the main colours, and which are to compliment the main colours), photography, illustrations, marks/stamps/sub-logos/’as seen in’ stickers, social media icons, other icons, graphic elements and details.
Areas of Your Blog Design Where you Can add Personality
Once you have created a clear style for your blog design and begun working on a layout and look based on your blog branding, here are a few areas you can think about really adding little thoughtful touches to show off your personality:
YOUR PROFILE PIC
When someone lands on your blog, has a read and feels a connection, it is quite likely they are going to think ‘who is this person?’. They are want to get to know you, it’s simple human nature. They want to make a connection with you. So don’t hide behind your words, or creations or even the blog design. Be sure to show your face too. And let it show a bit of your personality, so people can feel a connection with you. You have just invited them into your space, allowed them to explore and have a read. They want you to come over introduce yourself and feel like a welcome visitor. This could mean considering the right location for a photo, the pose, the look on your face, your action. Or the style of image, is it polished and professional, or a relaxed everyday snapshot. What are you wearing and what props/location are around you.
If you want to get really creative you could even have an illustrator draw your portrait or add illustrated elements to a photo, or layer it with textures and images for a more collage, layered feeling.
Rather then just throwing up a most recent or most flattering picture, think about how you can show your personality in it.
YOUR ABOUT PAGE.
Just like your profile picture, your readers want to get to know you and will check out your about page to get to know you better. So fill this page with personality. If you like simplicity and understated beauty, keep the page clean and simple, but beautifully designed. If you are outgoing and full of life, make the page fun, bright and add fun little graphics. Are you a traveller who loves to explore? Throw in some snapshots of your travels or scans of things you have collected on your journeys. Using graphics helps enhance the text and makes reading your about page more fun and personal and helps connect your readers to you more.
A fun little way to add a personal touch to your posts is by adding a signature at the end. If you want to make your posts feel more like you are writing to a friend and directly to the reader. Signing it off with your signature adds that personal touch. You can hand write it, scan it in and upload the image, or create it digitally.
Your comment form is where your reader can interact with your content, give their opinion, feedback and get their thoughts directly back to you to start a discussion on the topic you have written about. So why not personalise this section and add a little personality to it, to add to the experience of connecting with you. Think about adding a background to the comment form, add handwritten text or designing it to suit the theme of your blog (think back to the travel blog example, what if you made the comment box look like a boarding pass or postcard). Similarly you can add little details to the comments themselves, or distinguish admin comments, so your readers can easily identify your replies to their comments.
Similar to the comment section, your contact form, is another great place to add character and personality. Think about how you could design it to suit the vibe of your blog or get creative to make it like a postcard, guestbook, journal or book. Remeber this is another chance to connect with you, so a photo of yourself that shows your personality can be a great touch too.
Your sidebar doesn’t have to be bland. You can tie all the widgets in together by adding consistent branded headers or divide widgets with custom dividers. You can even add little-unexpected elements, like illustrations, photos or hand writing to your sidebar. Remeber this area is seen on all posts, so be sure to add things that make it easy for readers to navigate but also add your personality.
SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS
Your icons are a great way to add personality to the design of your blog. For example, if you blog about children’s things, they could be cute, playful and hand-drawn, like there were drawn by a child. Design something tailor-made to suit the feeling of your blog and your personality. You can also use these icons as share buttons as well at the end of posts.
SIGN UP BOXES
If you want to turn readers into fans, and get them on your list so you can keep in contact with them, you want a clear stand out sign up box. You can customise these by adding backgrounds that suit your blog feel. You could add an image of what they get if they sign up, if you are offering a freebie in exchange for their email address, and show that freebie in a way that shows your personality, for example, if you are a fashion blogger and wear designer labels and everything is very chic and beautiful, you could show your freebie on a white and gold iPad, very clean and chic. Or if you have a more grunge music vibe, it could be on a black iPhone with headphones. Alternatively, you could direct people to your sign up form with a picture of yourself. Invite them t connect with you and become part of your tribe, with a friendly personality filled photo, looking at or pointing toward the form.
It’s that very first impression, prime position spot on your blog. This means your blog banner needs to quickly communicate something about your blog and your personality, to get people to keep scrolling and read your posts. It doesn’t have to say everything or be overly busy, but it needs to set the tone and create that initial vibe. In fact, it could be very simple if that is the feel you are after.
Your footer can often be a quickly put together after thought but is it is a great location to have a bit of fun with your blog design. You can add a sub mark or logo variation, your personalised icons, sign up forms, cute ‘thank you for reading’ graphics, links, return to top button, background images and illustrations. As long as it is neat and organised, it is an area you can have some fun with rather then it just being a boring list of legal links.
One of the unique areas of a blog are the categories. If your blog covers a range of topics or categories within a topic, you can have a lot of fun with linking to the various categories and giving it character. You could create illustrated or graphic icons or photos for each category, and use them on your category page or as icons on the posts themselves to represent the post category.
I am sure there are still plenty more places and ways you can add personality and character to your blog and make it uniquely you. So look at your blog layout, and features and think about ways you can add little details and unexpected fun to the design. It will leave a lasting impression on your readers and make your blog a memorable experience.
BEAUTIFUL AND KEEP READERS ON THE PAGE LONGER
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