The look of your blog is important (but content is even more important). It is what your visitors first notice and often gives your visitors a good or bad impression of your blog. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a blog theme. The first thing to consider is the actually layout of the theme. There is the basic one column with one or two sidebars and also the magazine type layouts are growing in popularity. Choose a layout that you like and works for you. There isn’t one that works better than the other, in my opinion - as long as your content is being displayed in a organized and easy to read fashion.
There are a lot of free themes available on the internet for both Blogger and Wordpress blogs. With a self-hosted Wordpress blog you have greater control over your theme and layout. The downside to using a free theme is that someone else is probably using it to. Of course if you know HTML and CSS you can customize it yourself or hire someone else to do it. You also have the option of hiring a blog designer to create a custom blog design for you. The cost of this varies depending on the designer but can range anywhere from $60 to $500 and upwards.
Some tips to keep in mind when deciding on your blog theme and layout:
- Regardless of the background color or images you choose keep the content area a light color with black text. This will ensure that your readers can actually read the text.
- Don’t overload your sidebar with images and button. Not only is this an eye sore but it can also cause your site to load slowly.
- Don’t have music playing on startup. One of the most annoying things in the Internet is go visit a blog and instantly be bombarded by music. When this happens I immediately click away from the site regardless of the content.
- Make sure your content is easily accessible. Don't make your visitors search for your blog posts.
If you are not sure what look you want your blog to have, go blog hopping and look at other blogs. Write down the features you like and dislike, the colors you like, the layout you like. You can then take this to a blog designer and they should be able to create you a custom theme based on the information you provided.
Just remember your blog doesn't have to be the prettiest or the most visually exciting blog to be a success. The most important thing is to remember why you started blogging and to make sure you are giving your readers the information they are wanting.
P.S. I primarily design for WordPress blogs and if you know of any designers for BlogSpot, please let leave a comment with a link.