June 18, 2016

Bedazzling Blogger: New Blogger Info Guide

Welcome those visiting from the 2016 New Bloggers Blog Hop!  

Once upon a time I was in your very shoes entering the blogging world. One thing I really wanted when I started blogging was to create an appealing look on my blog. So, here is my brain dump on how to up your blog's appearance. 

Let's not pretend I am an expert on Blog design or dictating what makes one blog better than another. Here are just some things I have learned in the process of working on my own blog and my personal experience. 

Back when I started blogging I thought the only way I could be fabulous was to pay someone to overhaul my blog. Not true. One thing I have learned is my blog is free, that's right free. I do subscribe to software (Picmonkey.com and Adobe Lightroom) to improve my pictures but I haven't put money into my online space, with the exception of social media icons. You don't have to hire someone to look cool, with A LOT of time and some patience it will happen for you too! 

Why I Follow Blogs or Don't Follow Blogs  

Some blogs I love for the "visual candy", some I love for the content. The one thing I enjoy is a nice clean blog that reads quickly with great images. 

VISUAL CANDY: term made up by Patch the Giraffe to describe sweet images that spark a sense of creativity deep within the soul. After indulging in said sweet, visual treat you feel the same euphoric buzz as a sugar high. The visual appeal is stunning and yummy all at the same time.

I strive to provide my readers something yummy to look at and make sure they have something to interesting and sometimes snarky to read. 

If a blog offers a clean layout and lots of visual candy, you can bet I am in! 

Here are some links to things that can be changed easily that make a big impact 

BACKGROUNDS: How to insert a different background click here. Google "open source backgrounds" to find the image that works for your overall look. Here is my current image, I like to change mine frequently to make the blog more interesting to me. 

ADDING CODE: Learning how to center date and title on your post click here. You can easily drop code into your blog without playing with the main code for the blog. For example, I Google searched "Center Titles in Blogger" and a bunch of videos and tutorials popped up and link to cut and paste code. If this scares you at first, no worries it did to me too. The more I have played around with my site the more comfortable I feel with futzing with the code.

SIDEBAR SOCIAL MEDIA: To learn more about hyperlinked images for social media click here. One thing that quickly cleans up a blog is organizing the sidebar, get your social media under control! It also lets the followers know other places to look for you. Look at some of your favorite blogs and see how they order their information. I purchased my icons for couple dollars off Etsy to help me with the process.

IMAGE EDITING: Learn how to making great mosaic images click here. I use picmonkey.com for all of my collage making, buttons, headers, and any image that needs to be created or edited. The site is free, but some features need a subscription. (Not an affiliate, I just love their site. Yes, I do subscribe). Check out the following image. I also use this site to create images with text.

PHOTOS: Use a nice camera and get comfortable with it. Every time I use my camera it get's easier to take photos. I shoot with a Canon Rebel on the AP setting. Recently I took the Craftsy class "Product Photography at Home" to gain some tips about settings and setting up cool shots. They also have beginner classes as well, this does help! I am no pro, but I do make an effort to keep improving.

Adobe Lightroom has a LARGE learning curve and big price tag, but does a great job editing photos. If you are not ready to make that kind of purchase programs likes Picasa are free. Personally, I edit every image that goes on my site. It also doesn't hurt to watermark images (tag the pictures with the blog's name). People like to "pin" images and having the source visible is good for blog traffic.

PAGES: The tabs at the top of the site organize information. People (ok, me) love an "About Me" page to learn more about the person behind the blog. They also love a "Tutorials" page. It takes a lot of time to write a tutorial but it's worth it to build traffic. My most popular posts over time have been my tutorials. Also having an archive of finished quilts of the past and current projects or sew alongs isn't a bad idea either. Most times its just to keep me straight!

MY BEST ADVICE: Starting a blog is overwhelming! Setting up the blog, creating posts, pages, upping the photography, keeping it all going. It's exhausting. When I started, I worked on one thing at a time. Looking at an established blog made my head spin with all the things I wanted to do. Take your time! It won't happen in the first month, or year. Don't stress, just enjoy the process. When you have a couple hours (bahahaha) just sit down to tackle one improvement.

If you have any questions please feel free to email. Or, if see something on my site you desire but wasn't discussed I can try to walk you through any changes or send you the code.

Happy Blogging


  1. Lots of great advice, Chelsea. I learned many of the same things along the way and it's so interesting to see how far we've come in just 2 years. I need to get better about adding text to my photos for things like tutorials. I always watermark my photos but forget that and it's always the thing I look for when I pin other people's posts.

  2. While I am a regular follower and haven't thought of doing a blog, this seems like helpful info. Thanks for taking time to help others build on your experiences.

  3. Great info shared here, Chelsea! I especially like the tip about adding a background. I like your simple black/white sketched background. It's quiet, yet stylish and modern. This blog hop has inspired me in so many ways! Thank you.

  4. Thanks for sharing all this great advice, Chelsea, and thank you so much for writing this post! And the tool I use for my sidebar photo and social media icons is being disabled on July 1st... so I know what I am doing with my "free time" next, hahaha!

  5. Thanks for the info packed post. I use Wordpress and while I know some folks swear by it, I do not think it's as intuitive as Blogger for me. But it's very difficult to switch blog platforms mid stream so I guess I'm here for the foreseeable future. Thanks for showing some of the possibilities!

  6. Great post! I totally agree with that with some time, effort, and a lot of google searching, you can figure out how to most anything on your blog. One suggestion I would add to those on blogger would be to sign up for a second test blog, one that you can try out html code and change things without worrying about messing up your blog.

  7. Excellent advice, Chelsea.
    Years after starting my blog, I am still working on some of this stuff, so I agree with the 'don't rush' advice. It is okay to chip away. Every tweak does take a while. One day I will learn how to take decent photos. :)

  8. Great Information. Thanks for sharing. I've just started a blog to keep myself informed of the quilts I've done. So learning how to share that with others is great inspiration.

  9. Great advice, thank you! I'll check out the Craftsy photography class. Blogging was a little overwhelming at the beginning and sometimes still is, but it is getting much easier.

  10. Thank you for the advice, I too am starting to grow my blog... I have tons of ideas but don't know where to start...



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