I used to rock html code.
I mean, seriously, I had the most decked out Myspace of ALL my friends.
But then Facebook came around and I couldn’t customize the code (which I was super bummed about) so I just stopped doing it.
Fast forward about 15 years (yikes) and now I’m a blogger and even though I have a certification in Graphic Design and can make a pretty mean Pin, I know nothing about code.
I still can’t believe how much coding knowledge I had back in the day and can’t quite figure out why it just doesn’t click anymore. Maybe giving birth burned some of my brain cells 🤷♀️
So when I was setting up the foundation of my first blog (long before I could pay an amazing web designer like Laura from Pixel Me Designs who designed the theme for Simplifying DIY Design) I struggled.
I found a theme I liked but I still thought it looked plain.
And I’m not plain.
I’m all about the visual elements. They matter!
So I started revamping what I could, with the tools I had available at the time– Canva.
Want to save this for later? Save this pin to your favorite pinterest board! ⬇
Your logo is a great place to start since it’s the very first thing people see when they get to your blog. You don’t have to be a designer or have any kind of fancy program for this. Canva is perfectly fine.
Keep in mind that it is against Canva TOS (terms of service) to use any of their clipart in your logo. So, stick to text and possibly use shapes to add a little extra design element to your logo.
Side note: If you haven’t already checked out our article containing all the details of creating a logo, you can do so here.
Again, you don’t need to have a design background to rock your logo. Search through some examples of logos for inspiration, stick with your brand, or use a template.
Here’s an example of one of our logo templates, and how it looks when I edited it to match my brand ⬇
A decent logo design starts at $100 and goes up depending on the package. Using a template or designing one yourself is a great way to save money big time and can make a huge difference with the overall look to your blog!
About Me Graphic
You’re “about me” graphics is a great way to add some design elements to your sidebar. It’s also a great way to draw people to your “about m”e page. The “about me” page is a great opportunity to tell people a little about who you are, a LOT about what’s in it for them and lead them into your offer (opt-in, product, or work with me opportunity).
Here’s an example of my “about me” graphic:
Again, you can easily do this in Canva. Simply use a circle frame, drag and drop your photo into it and then add some sort of greeting.
Upload images into your sidebar without having to know ANY code by using the Simple Image Widget.
FYI, here are some instructions for using Simple Image Widget:
- Go to plugins and click “Add new”
- Search “Simple Image Widget”
- Select Simple Image Widget by Cedara
- Click “Install Now”
- Click “Activate”
- Go to right side menu on WordPress dash and hover over “Appearance” and click “Widgets”
- Scroll down and look for “Image (Simple)” — Click on it
- Add it to your sidebar
- It will prompt you to choose an image from the media library, upload and select the popular post image you created
- Under the image will be a text area that lets you put in the link you’d like the image to go to, put in the link to the associated blog post.
This won’t apply to every theme, but some of them allow you to use custom images for your categories. If your theme allows it, design some great images. It will not only lead people to click around your site, but it will also add to the overall design of the page.
Popular Post Graphics
Popular post graphics are a GREAT way to get people to click around. Not only does it attract people to click on multiple posts (which is great for SEO) it is also a great way to lead people to your heavily monetized posts. You can also choose posts that funnel people into your email opt-in as well.
This is a far better use of the sidebar than installing a “popular post” plugin that simply displays text links to posts that are most visited. Your actual “popular posts” aren’t necessarily your money-making posts!
In addition, this is also a much better use of space in the sidebar than things like showing the categories or archives. Unfortunately, those things aren’t visually appealing and don’t do anything for click through.
Here’s an example of my popular post graphics:
These also can be very easily designed using a program like Canva or by using a template. In fact, we even have a few sample popular post templates as part of our Design Your Blog Growth 3-Day Challenge.
Lead Magnet Opt-in Graphics
Lead magnets are a great way to showcase and give a little preview of your lead magnet. I generally include this graphic separate from the actual form. Usually, higher up in the blog post when I first mention the freebie (instead of having a million forms). I usually include the graphic and let them know that it is available at the end of the post.
This is generally a simple mockup style graphic that (again) can be easily created in Canva using stock photos and a 3-cover maker or frames from Canva.
Here’s another example of how I’ve used this style on my own blog:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the graphics matter.
The style and the brand, all those things matter. If you don’t have things on your blog to draw your reader in it will be much more difficult to keep their attention.
Kind of like a toddler looking at a book with no pictures. Pointless, right?
Optimize what you already have
You don’t need to start from scratch, you don’t need to redo everything you’ve already done.
Simply optimize what you already have. You have the blog, you have the “about me” blurb, the content that you can create popular post graphics for, and the opt-ins. Now just optimize it by making it more visually appealing.
You’ll be surprised at the difference a little graphic design can make.
The thing is, you’ll always need graphic design.
First, it’s the blog design. Then once you start trying to boost your traffic and grow your blog you’ll need the social media designs and the lead magnets. Then you’ll need to monetize and scale. Guess what? You’ll need to design products! Graphic design is going to be a part of your blogging career. Non-negotiable.
But, there’s a way to rock it without spiraling into a time-suck of frustration. Guys, let me show you! Click here to sign up for our FREE Design Your Blog Growth Challenge and I’ll show you exactly how to use templates to grow your blog (or if you want to just skip ahead to the gold mine of templates, click here.)