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.
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?
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