email BlogLovin RSS Instagram Pinterest Goodreads Facebook Twitter

Improve Your Blog Design without Spending a Dime

Posted by on November 7, 2011

As a follow up to the popular post Does Blog Design Really Matter?, I’m going to give you some tips on how to make your blog that much better. These aren’t necessarily blog design tips, but overall ways to improve the look of your blog or spice up your blog.
1. Remove your Captcha. Yes, I did just say that. Disable that annoying word verification setting because I don’t have time for it, and neither do your hundreds of potential commenters. If you already spend time on your blog and take it seriously, a few extra minutes to delete spam comments won’t be too hard.
2. Vacuum your Sidebar. Do your sidebars run longer than your posts? That means half the clunk is junk. Dejunk it. Remove those long gone giveaway buttons. Reduce the number of those flash countdown widgets. Not only do they take space and clutter your blog, they also take your blog forever to load! Franky, the majority of us don’t have time for that.
3. Prettify your blog. You can always purchase a blog design that just screams you. But what about those of us who can’t afford it? There are a few websites out there that offer free backgrounds, customizable headers, and more. Search for them. Use them wisely. The perfect use of color goes a long way.
4. Don’t hurt our eyes. Backgrounds that are dark should always have a lighter content area, preferrably a contrasting color. One color that probably shouldn’t be used as a background – neon yellow. You want your readers to come back. Not go blind.
5. Use a pretty font. One of Blogger’s many improvements include a set of distinctive fonts. Use them wisely. Don’t use a curly font for your content, maybe for your post titles, but never content. I’d strongly advise against the use Courier as your content font as well. Its just plain hard to read.
6. Pad it Up. Try to choose a layout that will give you some padding between your sidebars and your content area. If you don’t have any HTML knowledge to go by, try increasing the width of your sidebars or the your overall blog width, that way, your content area shrinks, and your content and sidebar don’t get all touchy.
7. Keep it Simple. Simplicity is where its at. By making your blog look simple, you’ll achieve elegance, richness, and a more professional look. Go to any professional website, they don’t have multi-colored stripes in their background.

ETA: As Juju mentions below: no one likes music that automatically plays when we enter sites. Its annoying and its a sure way to have your visitor shut down their browser and go elsewhere.

If I think of anymore tips that could help spice up your blog, I’ll be sure to add them here.
So do you think you’ll be using any of these? Do you have any you’ll like to add?
Stay tuned, I’ve got more tips coming your way!

The Icey Newsletter

Sign up for updates from IceyBooks and IceyDesigns, featuring books, blogging tips & tricks, design inspiration, exciting new happenings, and more!


  1. The word verification thing drives me crazy! Especially on blogs I visit almost every day, it's a pain to go through that each time:) I've only gotten maybe 2 instances of spam since I took mine off, so that hasn't been a problem at all. Awesome tips Hafsah!

  2. Music is definitely annoying, most of the time I am listening to my own music as I blog browse and I am much more likely to simply X out of your blog than turn MY music off.
    Also, make sure your follow buttons are somewhere that is easily found. If I have to play hide and seek with a GFC button that is hidden in the footer or at the end of a too busy sidebar, I'm probably just going to skip it altogether.

  3. I totally agree about the music automatically playing. That is a surefire way to get readers to either not follow your blog at all or avoid reading the actual blog posts. Well done on the suggestions. :)

  4. WORD VERIFICATION!!!! Why don't people get it?! Everyone everywhere says to get rid of it so why do half the blogs still have it? I have 28 blogs to read this morning and half have had it and I comment on maybe one post on those blogs. The others I've been reading two or more and commenting on them. I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR WORD VERIFICATION!
    Also, I agree about the music. It also crashes my browser. And I hate have to hurry to turn down the volume which won't turn down cause my browser is in the middle of crashing. Very annoying! Thank you for this post!

  5. Great post! Definitely agreeing with the sentiment that music that auto plays is very annoying. I would like to expand on this and say VIDEOS that auto play are very annoying as well (like certain flash videos). Also the use of lots of blinking GIFs

  6. Great tips! My blog isn't nearly as easy to customize as Blogger (thankfully I know a little html, or else it would be seriously ugly!), but I appreciate the advice! I'm definitely not a fan of cluttered or music-spewing sidebars. :)

  7. This is great advice. I agree that simplicity is key. I think I'll have another look at editing my sidebar to make it less cluttered in fact. Thanks so much for the tips!

  8. Great post, I was nodding along to the whole thing. I'm not a fan of the word verification, I'm usually commenting on the fly and when I have to stop and type in the word verification word, sometimes I'm just over it by the time it's done with and I'll only comment on one or two of posts if I'm catching up on my favorite blogs instead of all of them.

  9. Bahahaha “You want your readers to come back. Not go blind.” So true! XD I think its also important to note that its always hard to read blogs that have dark backgrounds with white or yellow text. Now THAT is blinding. And also a great way to strain your eyes and get a headache. :P

  10. One of the things I don't like is when the sidebar(s) take up as much space as the content area or more. The content is what makes a blog, so making sure it gets the spotlight is important!:)

  11. This is a fantastic post. When I started my blog I knew I needed something that people would actually want to look at. I'm guilty of passing over plenty of blogs just because I don't like the look. That's half the experience!
    And yes with the loading! People really need to consider what they're putting on their blog and how it will affect the load time. It drives me nuts when it takes 5 minutes for a page to load and then I find out they have a million flashy widgets.

  12. I really appreciate the good advice!! I do have a question about #3…if I use some of these “free” services, do I run the risk of having copy-write issues?? Are these generally public domain items? I really do like the look of your blog!! Keep up the great work!!!

  13. Sure! I don't think there are many people prefer to get music from a blog. what happen if we open 3 blog with 3 version of music. That's really crazy! by the way, Lookboard is the design wholesale marketplace that connects talented designers and creative brands to the modern retailer. Explore the very best in modern design, modern furniture, and unique products.

Post a new comment