Creating and up-keeping a blog is a great way to express yourself, not only with words and photographs but the overall look of your website. The instant feeling you get when visiting a site is going to determine within seconds whether you're or not you're in sync with the designer and you want to be sure your blog reflects and emphasises your creativity, style, and personality.
With bloggers getting younger and younger (or is that me getting older and older?), a lot of websites are now run by young people in their teens, which means you probably haven't landed on what your identity is yet (which is what being a teenager is all about after all). That's not to say any of us have truly found our footing in life, goodness knows I'm still searching, but there is a lot more experimentation when you're younger. So what does this have to do with blog design? Well, in order to begin designing something that's truly a reflection of who you are and what you want to convey to the world it's vital that you already know who you are and what you want to convey to the world. Now, I'm going out on a limb here by saying none of us have found either of those things, but whilst you're at the beginning of your journey it can be especially tricky. When starting a blog or even if you've had one for a while but just want to make more of a trademark of your ideas, you're going to want to think about it as a whole. What kind of blog is it going to be? How can you reflect your style throughout? Do you want it loud and gregarious? Or do you prefer simplistic and clean? Once you've decided what you like best, try to keep that theme running throughout. Continuity is key.
The great thing about blogging is that it grows and changes with you. Don't be afraid to undergo a style change and always experiment with different written styles, photography, layouts, and designs. It's about getting creative and expressing yourself so don't think you have to stick to a particular theme because you like it in others or you're afraid your readers won't like it. It's about you after all, and keeping it fresh will only make it all the more interesting anyhow. You'll find yourself connecting with it soon and you'll begin to put roots down when you've discovered your blog identity. It's as much about letting it find you as it is trying to find it. However, like I said before, keeping it fluid and it important. So if you're changing your theme or you find its organically evolving over time, make sure every aspect is keeping up. Are your photos reflecting a similar style to your layout, your writing, the subjects? Keeping an eye on everything as a whole and trying to take a step back and look at it from the outside is great to keep things pulled together. Also asking your friends, family, or readership whether they have any suggestions is great... they might just see something you're too close to notice.
You'll find, or at least I did, blogging takes a lot more work (and heart) than it seems from the outside. It's not just about writing little posts and taking lovely photographs, what the reader doesn't witness is the 'behind the scenes'. Designing a blog means you'll be going into the skeleton of the website - the much feared land of HTML. Scary as it seems, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be making from scratch. There are endless layouts out there that you can use as the groundwork, but you'll also want to add your own touches - widgets, links, personalised header - and things you'll want to either move or get rid of. This, for me, is one of the aspects I find most fun. I'm going to blow my own trumpet here, but back in the day I was one of those cool kids who used HTML to personalise their MySpace page (AKA I was not cool at all and liked spending Friday nights looking at web codes). So I already had a basic knowledge, but it only came from playing around with it myself. It's simple really and when you get the hang of it I have a sneaking suspicion you'll enjoy it, too. It's so satisfying typing in goblydegook and then seeing your web page transform into your own design. Magic. (Okay, I'll stop nerding out now).
How would you design your website?