This week a few of my favourite blogger pals have been taking the plunge into going self-hosted and re-vamping their websites. They have all done an amazing job! As I looked at their new sites, with fresh new plugins and widgets, it made me look at mine too and I realised that there were a few things I needed to look at. These thoughts had been niggling in the back of my mind for a while, but I struggled to get it to work with my current theme and sort of brushed that aside. But now I felt it was time for a change!
So I began to set to work on getting a new theme that reflected my blog – my old theme was a bit cluttered and I wanted something more slick and streamlined. Here’s my top tips for giving your blog a makeover…
-Consider going self-hosted
I didn’t go self-hosted from the start and always regret it as I lost a bit of work in the transfer. I would highly recommend it, as you get so much more control over your blog and how it looks – though I’ve been told that on the Blogger platform, there is more scope on altering the look as it is HTML. Before making the move, I read endless blogs but the two posts that really helped me were by Island Living 365 and A Mum Track Mind, definitely worth a look as they made it so straightforward!
-Have a look at your favourite blogs
It’s a fine line as you never want to copy someone else’s theme but if there are aspects about someone else’s blog that you love, maybe the company will have a similar theme that will work for you. This time, I chose a theme that didn’t require a Genesis framework and was ready to go in 15 minutes…much easier!
-A new header can go a long way
There are many different headers you can go for but I think a strong header really sets the tone for a new reader and is a lovely introduction before they have even begun reading. I decided to get an illustration done but have also seen great headers made in Canva and Pic Monkey too, so it just depends on the style you’d like.
-The homepage slider
I think this one is just personal preference but I love a homepage slider; I think it’s a great way to get your older posts seen that don’t appear on the front page. I’ve wanted one for a while and played around with plugins on my last theme – I know lots of people love the Soliloquy plugin – but it didn’t work for my images and they appeared very grainy. So I love that the my theme came with a fabulous slider as one of the main features.
-A plugin for everything
My preference has always been the WordPress platform and after going self-hosted, I discovered that there is quite literally a plugin for everything! The only downside is that I can get so carried away with adding them to my site so have to stop myself from it escalating to plugins everywhere you look. My favourites are Askimet to filter spam comments (so useful), Yoast for SEO and the Simple Social Icons to link up your social media accounts to your sidebar. I also recently downloaded follow buttons for my Twitter and YouTube accounts and have seen a little increase in followers since then.
Hope you enjoyed my little round up and would love to know what you think of the look of my new theme! Let me know in the comments below 🙂