Branding Your Blog: WordPress, Themes and Customisation

WordPress-Customisation
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Over 500 million blogs, but do all of them manage to make it?

I’m sure you must have come across lots of them, but it’s only a few that would’ve made you linger a bit longer. Or perhaps, there were also some which made you stay and now you can’t seem to get enough of their content.

Ask yourself, is it just the content that lured you in?

I can bet that’s not the case because when you landed on their homepage for the first time, your brain was busy taking in other elements, scanning the entire page in a go.

You were making sure the background didn’t strain your eyes, checking if there’s enough breathing space between elements and sighing in relief when you discovered that the header isn’t sticking out, disrupting your reading experience.

Content surely is the foundation, but had the design stank, you wouldn’t have made it through to judge whether the content is worth your time.

Somewhere along the line, we’re all guilty of judging a book by it’s cover. However, if it’s gonna be someone else judging yours, then why not make it worth their while?

Bait. Hook. Capture.

Presenting WordPress

WordPress
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You know the moment when you’re hungry and craving food that’s finger-licking delicious, but are too lazy to prepare a full meal?

Yes, instant noodles to the rescue!

In the books of design for bloggers, WordPress is that packet of instant noodles which can help serve your content to your readers without you having to put in too much efforts.

If you were to consider the statistics, then over 60 million blogs are powered by WordPress. That’s quite a number! Apart from this, there are more reasons to consider WordPress, some of which are:

  1. Effortless and Flexible: WordPress offers quick and easy installation with a setup which is fairly simple to use. Not just that, it’s allows flexible publishing options, so be it a basic blog, a portfolio website or an online store, it has got you covered!
  2. Powerful Plugins: You’ll be amazed to discover the number of utility plugins that are compatible with the software and the best part is that most of these are free to install and make use of. SEO, backups, contact forms, you name it and it’ll be there right in front of you!
  3. Zero Coding Knowledge: There’s no requirement of any coding knowledge. With simple and easy to use options, WordPress saves you from the trouble.
  4. Highly Customisable: With a variety of themes and customisation options available, WordPress lays down the page design in front of you where all you need to decide is the layout of your website.

Let The Treasure Hunt Begin!

WordPress-Themes
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The first thing you should look out for after installing WordPress is a theme to design the layout of your website.

The good news is that WordPress offers a wide range of themes to choose from. Apart from that, there are other publishers such as Envato Elements and Theme Forest which are loaded with premium themes which offer multiple demos, depending on what you’re looking for.

While you’re on the lookout for the one that can help you make it right, I would suggest that you make sure your theme fits the following features:

  1. SEO Optimisation: This is the most important feature. Imagine you have the picture perfect design in mind, the best possible content but a website that isn’t optimised for the search engines, you’ll end up with only flies as visitors. We want ’em eyeballs here, my lad. And for that to happen, you must not compromise with SEO.
  2. Compatibility: A majority of your users with land up on your pages through their mobiles – yes, we don’t really like reading stuff up on our desktops. To ensure that they stay, you need to make sure that their experience is as smooth as possible. So, when you’re testing out demos, be sure to check previews for all devices before you make the final decision.
  3. Functionality: Similar to compatibility, you must also check whether your theme is fully functional in terms of actions performed, pages, menu, forms and other important features across all devices. Also consider that it supports useful plugins, software and advanced editing.
  4. Customisation: Yes, of course! If you cannot have your colors, custom banners and important elements such as the logo which help in distinguishing your site identity, then make a run and never return to that theme. Don’t stop, though. Go ahead, and explore options which offer maximum flexibility, make sure everything works as needed before you choose the one.

The Palette That Pieces it Together

WordPress-Colors
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Red. Yellow. Ketchup. Fries.

Well, well, if it ain’t McDonald’s?

There are hundred reasons why colors are of utmost importance. They’re great, not just for visuals but also because they can convey emotions, experiences and feelings.

So, if you are able to successfully associate a set of colors with your brand, i.e, your blog in this case, then you’re halfway done. And if you are able to narrate your story through the palette, the even better!

Choosing colors is one part research, one part reason. It’s you who can define the purpose of your blog and then define colors for the same. At first, it’s going to be overwhelming, you know, hanging about the color wheel. But don’t lose yourself in there, you better come out and that too with a set of colors meant for your brand.

Research, revise and redefine and you’ll be there sooner than you think.

What’s Your Type?

Typography
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Minimal. Elegant. Classy.

Nope, I’m not referring to your partner type, but to the set of fonts you should incorporate in the branding and design of your blog.

The above is my preference for the same and you are in no way obliged to go with the same. It could be a curly script font and it’d be just as fine as long as it goes with your brand’s identity. A quick advice though – NEVER USE QUIRKY FONTS FOR CONTENT. They make people shudder.

Choosing the right one can be a bit tricky, so when you do, try visualising your brand in terms of its voice, vibe and personality and when it crosses paths with you, you will know it is the one.

A Memorable Face

Logo
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What makes that look worth your while?

Sometimes, you just cannot take your eyes off something or someone. There’s this unknown part which keeps you captivated, while you try to figure out just what it is.

For a blog, this can very well be your logo – the icon that becomes the face of your brand, making it known to the world. Just how the red and yellow reminded you of McDonald’s, that giant M spotted elsewhere, even with a different color scheme will make you recall the fast food chain.

The reason for that is because it’s widely known now, and all those elements – the colors, the logo, the brand message have become an integral part of the company, contributing to making it a whole.

A logo, therefore, is a critical part of branding a blog and helps shape its identity as a separate entity.

From Head To Toe

UI-UX-WordPress
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With the logo, colors and the font, you have pretty much laid down the basic framework needed for you to start a blog.

The next step here is to connect the dots and by that, I’m referring to the placement of the elements and the usage of the fonts and the colors.

The logo goes on the top – we all know the basics. However, as per the desired layout, you will have the options in your WordPress customiser to align it in the left, center or the right.

For the font, you must have two fonts in your kit – one is the basic web font that will be used throughout the content of your website, such as your menus, articles etc and the other can be your brand font which can be used where your logo is placed or say, the watermark on your images or the templates for your featured images.

Once you’re done with these two, come back to your WordPress Customisation window and decide on the page layout from top to bottom. Decide the links of your menu, the placement of the widgets, the colors of the header, footer, buttons, fonts and hovering options. Make sure the overall placement of elements is clutter free.

Your end result should be a pleasing sight to sore eyes.

A Look To Remember

Consistent-WordPress-Content
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Now that you’ve reached the end, you’re aware that without the hassle free options that come loaded with WordPress, all of this would have been in a troublesome experience.

After you’re done with this setup, I would like to mention and optional, yet recommended step following which can help boost the overall look of the brand that your blog is now becoming.

Consistency.

Yes, with a fixed set of fonts and colors, your website will look well coordinated. However, the same cannot be said for the images used. For that, I would advise you to work on a template for the featured images of your articles so that they can all sync.

A standard template doesn’t have to be something fancy. No, quite the opposite actually. All you need is to decide on an image size which can be used over and again. Apart from that, you can also include your logo and some of your brand elements to enhance your image search results.

Once you implement all these, you will find the elements of your website coming together to fit perfectly as the puzzle pieces which were always meant to be.