When it comes to our blogs, we place our full attention on making sure that our content is top notch, and rightly so. However, once we focus on WHAT we present, we tend to forget HOW we present it. That's why I have compiled a list of examples of great looking blogs and tools that can help you make yours just as amazing.
I realize that not all online marketers are aspiring designers, but I urge you to think of going with something new on your blog, heck, maybe even hire someone (if you haven't already) to take the designing off your shoulders. Whatever you decide on, don't freak out, free tools are available even in this area. Stock photos? Forget about them! Horrible color combinations? Lose them! Comic Sans? Never again! Painfully cluttered blog design? I think not.
To stock or not to stock
We've all see the cheesy smiles, fake food, and outdated computers on stock photos. Don't get me wrong, these are pioneers in Internet pictures. However, today I think we can take a moment or two to find commercial pictures in more .... "quality" oriented places.
Although there are numerous places you can go to. I would like to share with you my top five go to websites:
- Unsplash. All of us have heard of this great picture market. Beautifully selected images in sizes that can be used even for an entire blog background or for a huge header on your site (more on that later).
- Gratisography. Great selection of CC pictures to spruce up your blog.
- Photopin. Just click "commercial" in the left side panel and look through an enormous library of flickr images. Mind you, not all of them are great but devote 5 minutes and you'll find what you're looking for.
- Death to the Stock Photo. You'll get monthly emails with great themed images.
- Pixabay. Granted, some of their pictures might make you cringe due to their stockish feel. But worry not, with a minute or two of searching you might just find a beautiful image.
Now, these are just the top five in my opinion. We've also has a previous blog post dedicated to more sites that you can look to in order to beautify your blog.
Color me complementary
"Brand image" is a slogan that has been around for some time but has been especially exploited in the recent times. Why? Because how you present your company is very important. But look at it from a design angle.
Make sure that you use colors that complement one another and that make your blog a knockout, not an eye scratching palette of awful colors.
To help you out in color picking, here is a list of great tools devoted to colors:
- Paletton. A great and easy to use tool, where you can not only pick the right monochromatic tone but where you can go for 2, 3, even 4 colors!
- Adobe Kuler. Easy to use tool created with themes in mind.
- Design Seeds. If you're in need of inspiration taken from a picture, or maybe you yourself have an image that you want to revolve your colors around - check out Design Seeds.
Headers, and headings, and texts, oh my!
I have said this on more than one occasion, but I will take another one to say this - Comic Sans, Papyrus, or even Times New Roman should not exist in the blogosphere. Not too long ago we talked about what typography is. Remember, the typeface you use is an important part of any website or blog! Make sure you match the font to your image.
You might use a great looking and decorative typeface for the header of your blog:
However, for the actual blog post heading and the text you should use a simple, easy to read typeface. You may even keep your header simple to match the headings and text, like this:
Now that you have some kind of an idea as to how you might be able to play around with typefaces, take a look at this list of go to places for free fonts:
- Awwwards Blog. THE place for free stuff like fonts.
- Font Squirrel. Where any designer font can be found. You can also find premium fonts!
- Creative Bloq. A great list of fonts grouped in different categories.
If you're in need of finding the right typeface but don't know which free font will be a safe bet, make sure to check out our typography blog post. You will find links to free and premium fonts alike, that will look great no matter what.
You may also want to look into great things like icons or textures to make your blog look great. Here is a list of free design tools:
- thinkdesign. You can never go wrong with textures, backgrounds, and logo inspirations.
- Awwwards. Once again, a great site for sourcing free tools like icons, badges, or fonts.
- Freebiesbug. Anything from mockups, fonts, codes, to icons.
- Graphic Burger. To quote the site itself: tasty design resources made with care for each pixel.
- PurtyPixels. As the name states, a collection of pretty design tools.
- Creative Market. Probably one of the most obvious places to visit. There is a selection of free resources and each week you'll find a new free pack of goodies that otherwise were premium!
In dire need of inspiration?
If you find yourself sitting and staring at the screen, wondering "What do I do? What do I change? Who do I consult?" - let me save you the trouble. Besides looking at Awwwards (yes, THAT site AGAIN), which compiles the best of the best, even in blogging.
I can advise you that a clean look goes a long way. Here are top three different minimalistic and easy blog approaches that, in my opinion, know what they're doing. What's more, they're doing it in such a way that you can certainly use them as inspiration to create something alike, without a problem!
2. Trent Walton
No go on and give your blog a fresh look! If you have any free resources that were not listed here, let us know in the comments.