Why Your WordPress Blog Looks Like A Kindergartner Made It!

These days, anyone can start their own self-hosted WordPress blog. All you need to do is get a Bluehost account, upload WordPress, do a little tweaking, and you’re good to go.

WordPress is so customizable that you can make your blog look however you want it to.

But that’s where a lot of bloggers get into trouble. There are so many ugly free WordPress themes, junky pop up boxes, and unattractive color palettes out there. And as a beginner blogger, it’s almost impossible not to make a design mistake.

wordpress blog

Does your blog look like a kindergartener made it?

Here are 6 things that make your blog look like it was built by a 5-year-old.

1. You used a free theme (that looks like a free theme)

Free themes seem great. After all, they’re free. But you get what you pay for (which, in this case, is a theme that won’t help you look good online).

Many free themes have limited customization options, which means that your blog will end up looking like everyone else’s. When you have a problem with your theme (and you will have problems with a free theme), there’s no one to help you figure it out, so you’ll be stuck having a glitchy blog. And let’s be honest – free themes just aren’t as well designed as premium themes – that’s why they’re free.

If you’ve been trying – and failing – to make your blog look good with a free WordPress theme, I suggest you switch to Genesis Themes instead. They are simple, beautiful, and fairly easy to customize. And you’ll look like a pro blogger with them, instead of an amateur.

2. Your blog has random colors all over the place

A crazy color palette is one of the first signs that tells me a blogger designed their own blog (and didn’t do a great job of it).

Your headings are light turquoise, while your footer color is just a few shades different. Your banner has purple and gold, while all of your blog graphics have random colors you just chose on a whim.

You see where I’m going with this. Choose a color palette and then use it consistently throughout your blog.

When your blog colors are consistent, your blog will look cohesive. But if you throw in different colors wherever you feel like it, you will end up with a hot mess on your hands.

3. Your fonts are unreadable or boring

I see so many beginner bloggers choose script fonts that are barely legible and then use them for all of their headlines. When you do this, you send a clear sign that you don’t know what you’re doing.

While you might like the look of a font, before you use it, make sure that other people can read it. If you do use a script font, use it sparingly. Never, ever use a script font for your paragraph text. Ever.

Many bloggers also make the mistake of choosing an extremely common font like Arial or Helvetica. You want your blog to stand out and look unique. So take time, be deliberate, and choose fonts that are legible and that make your brand look different.

4. Your font sizes are inconsistent

Many beginner bloggers don’t use heading tags, and as a result, their subheadings are all different sizes. These strangely sized subheadings confuse readers and make you look bad.

Once you’ve chosen the right fonts, make sure to use the heading tags in your WordPress editor to ensure that your font sizes stay consistent throughout your blog.

Use H2 for your larger subheadings, and H3 for the smaller ones. Choose a consistent way of emphasizing points, as well. Use the tags. They are there to help you!

5. Your blog posts have cheesy stock photos on them

It’s important to have photos or graphics in all of your blog posts. I recommend using a branded graphic like the one above – a graphic with your blog post headline, your logo, your blog colors, and a tasteful photo or image on them.

Unfortunately, many beginner bloggers don’t make tastefully branded graphics. Instead, they find photos of people pointing or standing with a question mark over their head and they put them at the top of their posts, thinking they’ve done their job by including a photo.

When you choose stock photos, think about whether a teenager would like them. If they pass the teenager test, go for it. If not, keep looking. There are tons of great free stock photos out there. Replace your cheesy photos with tasteful ones, and you will go a long way to having a more professional looking blog.

6. Your pop ups don’t tell your readers anything about your blog

I can’t count the number of times I’ve told beginner bloggers to be more specific with their opt-in boxes. So often, I’ll go to a blog, and before I even get a chance to read any of the content, a box pops up that says, “Subscribe for updates.” If I haven’t even read your blog, how do I know if I want to subscribe?

There’s an easy fix for this – instead of the vague call to action to “Subscribe for updates,” give a few more details about what those updates will include. For example, if you have a health blog, you could write “Subscribe for tips on how to stay fit and healthy every day.” If you have an organizing blog, you could write, “Subscribe for tips on how to keep your house organized.”

If you want to take it a step further, which I strongly recommend, create a lead magnet to offer in your pop-ups, instead. Make it something your readers want so badly they won’t think twice about giving you their email address in return.

Does your WordPress blog look like a kindergartener made it?

If you are sick of having a blog that looks like it was built by an amateur, I’ve got you covered. Sign up for Website in a Week and my team and I will deliver a beautiful, professional looking blog in less than a week. Click here for more details.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Sue,

    #3 was a big one for me. I was stuck on my old font. Then I wondered why in the hell I was stuck on my old font. Then I asked my designer to make it bigger. Then it looked more professional. I was clear on it. So the design and font worked.

    It comes down to; do you feel clear on your design? If one gets clear on JV-hour free WP themes, awesome. But a few Steve Pavlina’s exist on earth. Most need bespoke or premium themes to get clear. Like me 🙂

    Thanks for sharing 😉

    Ryan

    • says

      Totally understand that, Ryan! Dre Beltrami taught me that 16 is the new 12 in pixels.

      Thanks so much for your helpful comment.
      Sue

  2. says

    Hey Sue,

    I really liked the headline. It’s witty with an amazing sense of excitement.

    I just wrote an article about how BlueHost is helping the people who really want to start a WordPress blog.

    It’s really easy to have a blog these days. But people make mistakes by using free themes, multiple colors and different fonts.

    I always recommend using two or maximum three colors for a professional theme.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    ~Ravi
    Ravi Chahar recently posted…Start A WordPress Blog on Bluehost in 2017 During Your Break TimeMy Profile

    • says

      You and I totally agree on hosting, colors and fonts, Ravi!

      I appreciate your comment.
      Sue

  3. says

    Hi Sue,

    Loved this post, as you know I provide WordPress tutorials for my readers and I am always talking about using a premium theme. I know that most people start with a free theme because they’re scare of spending money on their blog.

    The great thing is that it doesn’t cost a lot to start a blog. Like you said all you need is reliable hosting. However, I think everyone should start with a professional looking theme.

    When you take the time to create a great looking blog, your readers will feel more comfortable on your blog. No one wants to spend time on a blog that looks like crap. Well at least I don’t.

    The great thing is that there are so many awesome themes that people can use. Even if they don’t have any design skills, they can learn the basics to make their theme look great. I personally use the Genesis theme as well and I love it.

    Yes, it comes with a little bit of a learning curve. However, as a blogger you have the options of finding someone who knows how to customize it. Or you can take the time to learn how to do it yourself.

    Unfortunately, there’s much more to creating a successful blog than just writing amazing content. You have to take your readers experience into consideration as well. You do this by providing them with an eye pleasing blog.

    Of course eye pleasing will vary by person to person.

    Thanks for sharing these tips, I know that they will help people understand the importance of making their blog look cohesive.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • says

      Hi Susan,
      Your comment adds more to the article and emphasizes the importance of a good theme. I have been learning so much from here and have started my baby steps but a premium them like you said is my stop now and top on the list.

      Thank you sue for the lovely post and everybody else here for adding so much information.

      Love,
      Swati

  4. says

    Sue,
    Once again, a stellar post and you addressed a blogging issue most people ignore.
    (By the way, your blog looks great and is very professional.)

    When heavyweights in the marketing industry spend millions of dollars on their front pages, you know it must be important.

    The millionaire copywriter, Allan Forrest Smith has recreated his site so many times trying to find that sweet spot, you wouldn’t believe it. [You can access an article that details his quest for the perfect site here: orangebeetle (dot) com direct-response-marketing-website-and-expert-advice

    But your point is well taken, that you need to present a pro image if you are going to be taken seriously.

    One of the ways you can get a more professional look with your site, as you mentioned, is with great images. One of my favorite places to grab great looking images that are royalty free is Pixabay. (Google it, and it will be there.)

    With Pixabay, you can download pictures and use them any way you wish, providing you aren’t doing something slanderous or illegal.

    I love the gorgeous pictures on that site. Usually they are very clear and look great. You can modify them and use them in blog posts.

    Another tip I’d like to leave, is that you can get some great work done for your site on
    Fiverr. I had a caricature created of myself that I use in my header for a mere $5.00. ans the artist knocked it out in no time.

    Once again, Sue, great post and great advice as usual!

    God Bless!
    Mark Elmo Ellis recently posted…3 Steps to Make Headlines So Powerful – People Are Forced To Read Your Copy!My Profile

    • says

      Love your ideas, Mark, and I am going to read that article.

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply!
      Sue

    • says

      Thanks Sue!
      I’m going to try to add a front page to my blog soon. My blog is currently my front page and it would probably benefit me to have a static page that specifically tells what I am about while selling my copywriting services.
      If you have any advice or ideas, I’d appreciate any help you could give me.
      God Bless!

      • says

        I just did a home page less than a year ago – my blog was my home page for years! I recommend your Lead Magnet signup, boxes asking where they are at in their journey and potentially some blog posts highlights.

        Thanks, Mark.
        Sue

        • says

          Sue,
          Thanks again. I did notice your site changed awhile back. Do you have any recommended services that could help me set that up?

          I am currently using WP as a platform. I’m wondering if I should hire someone to help set up a home page for my blog. If I remember correctly, someone told me that hiring a contractor for setting up a home page on a blog could be potentially disastrous because you could lose all of your posts.

          Any light you or anyone visiting your blog could share on this would be wonderful.
          Thanks so much for all the great information!

          You’re the best!
          Elmo

          • says

            Hi Mark,

            I can recommend my tech guy – send me an email and I’ll send you his. Getting a home page didn’t affect anything of mine when he did it.

            Thanks,
            Sue

  5. says

    Sue,

    What a wake up call for bloggers who put tons of time into their articles and posts, but not the actual design of their site! I agree 100%. If a website doesn’t look attractive or professional, no one will even get around to reading the content (no matter how helpful or insightful it is). Wishing you much success with Website in a Week!
    RDB Design recently posted…Why Social Media Matters for Small BusinessesMy Profile

  6. says

    I am not sure how my website might look like right now, but it seems like I must have managed to do some of those things you pointed out, Susan.

    Fonts is tricky for me. I just don’t seem to have the eye for typography and I never seem to get it right.

    Pop-ups, I am doing my best to be as specific as I can.
    Ash recently posted…HubSpot Review: From a WordPress FanboyMy Profile

  7. says

    Hello Sue,

    Great post 🙂

    The headline is very attracting. Kindergartner Made It! it felt the same way when I had just started my blogs. The fonts and the displays were so mixed up that it was hardly able to understand

    Yeah I went for the over mixing of the themes and adding up to much of colors. Yeah I was also flown away in the of flood of free themes.

    Thanks for the share.

    Shantanu.

  8. says

    Now I am thinking about my free theme :/ but at least I customised it enough so that it doesn’t have random colours still, I believe I have a long way to go.

  9. says

    Hello
    Sue,
    Glad to read your lovely post. Yes it is easy to start own self-hosted wordpress blog. But making it compelling in not so easy for everyone and this post is really very effective for them. In this post you share lovely tips to make wordpress blog professional.

    All the points are useful and easy to understand.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Praveen verma

  10. says

    Hi Sue,

    I’ve been toying with the idea of having that “front page” because my blog as it is now is the front page.
    I wanted to make sure it is easy for people to read, but so true that if I did put a front page on it, I’m sure there would be more sign ups. I have to confer with my blog designer.
    Thanks so much,
    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…Importance of Taking Action in Sales When a Lead Shows InterestMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Donna,

      I just switched to a front page 6 months ago and it doesn’t help signups much at all – what does affect signups is my feature optin box on the other pages of my blog and having an exit-intent popup. So a home page can direct traffic but I don’t see a lot of additional signups.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Sue

  11. says

    Hi Sue Anne, I’ve been working on my images and trying to be more consistent these days but things still happen.
    I don’t like coming across posts with too small fonts, if I can’t read them I move on!
    I think it’s important to invest in qualify wordpress themes and have them customized even if you have to pay out a little, it’s worth it in the long run. Thanks for the tips Sue Anne!

    • says

      Totally agree with small fonts – drive me crazy. Or if they are super light fonts/colors.

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!
      Sue

  12. says

    Hello Sue,

    I remember the days when I have started my blog and stick with free themes. You are absolutely right that free themes are come with limited customization’s and you won’t do anything from it. The major draw back is free themes are not updated frequently hence it will be vulnerable. Soon after realizing this I move to premium themes. Genesis is really a great framework and it more SEO friendly as well. Thanks for this great post.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet 🙂
    Vishwajeet Kumar recently posted…The Importance of Blogging to Your LifeMy Profile

    • says

      We’ve all tried the free themes, right? It’s taken awhile to learn and to invest in the right tools!

      Thanks for your comment.

  13. says

    Hey Sue,

    Agree with all the points – no questions! It is painful to see so many blogs look childish. The thing is – people DO judge a website by its look.

    Even if the content is awesome, the way it is presented matters a lot these days. Since the internet is getting busier every minute and since people are bombarded with so much stuff, it naturally becomes inevitable to look professional and stand out.

    Great tips, I must say! Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,
    Jane.
    Jane recently posted…How to present long form content like a pro (so your readers read them fully)?My Profile

  14. says

    When it comes to fonts, It really confuses me. There are a lot of awesome fonts out there and many of them suit with the layout of the website but in the end, I have to select one. After reading the points, one thing is pretty clear to me that my WordPress don’t look as bad as I think.
    Thank You, Sue, for the list.
    Jayant
    Jayant Gosain recently posted…How to Mirror Android and Windows Devices on RokuMy Profile

  15. says

    I notice #3 and #4 quite a lot. Personally it isn’t too much of an issue when the article is very short, but there are times when i’m browsing through new articles on blogs i’ve never been to before and when I see a wall of text with no sub-headings and any form of creativity, it causes me to (most of the time) turn away immediately!
    Barry recently posted…THE 5 TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO PICK THE PERFECT DIAMONDMy Profile

  16. says

    Sue,

    This actually made me go back and take a quick look at my site!

    I’m always working on my website, keeping it updated and trying to make it the best possible. Thankfully, I had a solid design and color palette even before I started, so my site has (hopefully) never looked cluttered.

    Thanks for the great post 🙂

    ~Cynthia
    Cynthia recently posted…How to gracefully say NO to anythingMy Profile

  17. says

    you amazing SUE you did great work its free and incredible knowledge

  18. says

    Hi, Sue!

    I’ve always noticed that a lot of bloggers use generic terms like subscribe for updates. You’re right, why would people want their updates?

    In fact, whether it’s popups, sidebars optins, or topbars, readers need to know why they should subscribe to your blog or join your list or download the free stuff you’re providing.

    So, #6 is my favorite point. I think bloggers must test out what kind of text works for them, but I can guarantee you that ‘subscribe for updates’ doesn’t work anymore.

    Great post, Sue!
    Hassaan Khan recently posted…How to Choose the Best Blogging NicheMy Profile

  19. says

    This post was more like an eye-opening to me. I no longer use the free theme I was using and have moved to a professional premium theme for some serious blogging and it is still under construction u can say!

    🙂

    Thank you Sue,

  20. says

    I think I am graduating to grade 1. I find it has been a gradual improvement. Finding a format the looks good as you move forward with your blog and constantly making improvements. Looking at other site and see what works and what does not. Thinking like a user.

    I opted to purchase a theme and page builder. I think this was a great choice as it gave me the ability to produce a better product in a shorter amount of time. For the few dollars that it cost. I believe it paid for itself on the first day.

    Free is good but not always. Is your time “Free”

  21. says

    Hello Sue,
    Great Article, I’m going to try to add a front page to my blog soon. My blog is currently my front page and it would probably benefit me to have a static page that specifically tells what I am about while selling my copywriting services.
    If you have any advice or ideas, I’d appreciate any help you could give me.
    God Bless!
    Thanks for sharing with us, keep posting…

  22. says

    Great post Sue!

    The first one was my problem. I had no clue what I was doing and couldn’t afford to have a custom site made so I had to stick with a free theme. Then one day I saw another blog with the same theme only different color and that’s when I learned how to customize a theme. 🙂

    Now there are tools like the Design Palette Pro by StudioPress that lets us customize a theme without touching the CSS – something I wish I had when I first started. 😉

    Thanks for sharing this. No doubt I’m passing this on!
    Cori

    • says

      Love Studiopress and the Design palette. So helpful, right?

      Thanks so very much for your comment, Lisa!
      Sue

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