A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a detailed post about starting a website for only $24 through iPage. A few of you took me up on this offer. You learned how to:
- come up with a kick-butt domain name,
- sign up through iPage to make your page live,
- and get started with WordPress for free so you could turn your site into a thing of beauty.
And that’s where I left a few of you hanging…. oops. My bad.
But now it’s time to take the next step! It’s time to make your blog look awesome so people will want to keep coming back (and in turn, make you some money)!
If you didn’t yet start your site, but you always intended to, it’s not too late! Use these step-by-step instructions and click the banner below, and you’ll have your site started in 15 minutes or less. Then, come back to this post and learn how to beautify it.
How to Make Your Blog Look Awesome
When I walked you through the sign-up and started my new page, even I was amazed at how ugly the initial site was (I mean, take a look at what my homepage looked below right after sign-up)! I guess they figure the uglier it looks, the more likely you’ll be to sign-up for their Automated WordPress package for $249.99. But don’t be a sucker! It’s not that hard to pretty up your page.
I’ll show you how you can easily turn your blog from this:
….in less than 30 minutes!
It’s really not that hard people! Especially with the step-by-step instructions below! There’s absolutely no excuse not to start your very own website today. I don’t care if you’re 12 or 102, you now have the tools to start your own blog, just like you’ve always wanted to.
1) Design Your Header (15 minutes)
Without a quality header, your site is going to look like crap. The good news is, creating one is super easy.
First, you’re going to have to find a royalty free image (which basically means you can steal it without anyone caring). Here’s where I like to go when I’m looking for headers for a new site – FreeWebHeaders.com.
Scroll down the page and choose the header that most suits your site’s topic. Then choose the next layer of headers that best fits with what you’ll be writing about. You’ll then see all the selections in front of you. Simply choose one by clicking on it to enlarge it, then right click, and save it to your desktop.
Let’s say that your blog is about health and wellness and decide that the header below is perfect for your blog! (….please do NOT choose this header for your blog….this is ridiculous).
Now you’re going to want to add your site name in the header. Want to know the easiest way to do this? BannerFans.com.
See the screenshot below for quick instructions. Click the Custom banner size, click “I want to upload my own image”, choose your file (you know, the banner that ISN’T the hideous fruit woman header above). Click “Update My Banner” at the bottom.
Now it’s time to start adding some words to your banner!
Click on the Text and Fonts tab. Update the text in lines 1 and 2, update the font type, and the size. Then click update!
Add shadows and effects with the next tab if you’d like to.
Drag the words around the header to place them in the perfect spots.
When your header looks amazing (and I’m sure it does!), just click “Download Banner” and save it to your desktop. Now, we’ll start adding it to your site!
Oh, and here’s my crazy health lady banner in case you were curious:
2) Update Your Website Theme (15 minutes)
If your site looked as crappy as mine when you signed up (refer to image 1 of this blog post), I bet you can’t wait to spruce it up! In 15 minutes or less, we’re going to make your blog look awesome. Let’s get to it!
Open your WordPress account and log in (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, just enter “http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin” into the address bar) and sign in with your username and password. Of course, instead of “yourwebsite” enter in your actual domain name.
Now you’re into your dashboard. On the left-hand side, hover over “Appearance” and click on “Themes”.
Click “Upload” and then “Popular”.
Scroll down until you see the scuba diver in blue water. This theme is called “Poseidon”. If you can’t find it, you can always search for it in the search bar.
Hover over it and click “Upload”. Once it uploads, click “Activate” and then “Customize”.
You should get a sidebar pop-up that looks like the below image. We’re simply going to walk through each option and add our preferences! I bet you can’t believe it, but we’re already almost done!
Type in your title and tagline. That’s it. Click the arrow back and move to the next option. (Do NOT click the “X”! This will close you out of the editor and none of your changes will be saved.)
Click “Add Image” and locate the kick-butt image you created. For “Header Image Link”, add your website address so that when people want to head back to the homepage, they can just click on your header.
Select a color if you want. I left mine white so it looks clean and crisp.
Skip. There’s no need to add a menu until you start adding pages.
After clicking “Widgets”, select “Sidebar”, and “Add Widget”. Add anything that intrigues you. Play around with this a little. If you add something you don’t like, you can easily remove it within this Widget menu at the base of each option.
For my site, I added the “Search Bar” and “Recent Posts” widget to my readers can search what they’re looking for and also see many of the recent posts that I’ve added. I also posted some images with links – we’ll get to these instructions in another post.
Static Front Page
Keep it on “Your latest posts”
There are four options beneath the Theme Options:
- General Settings
- Post Settings
- Post Slider
- More Features
I left the majority of the options alone, but these are the ones I updated:
- Post Settings
- I removed the title above the recent posts. People know that the posts are recent…this is just redundant and ugly.
- I selected show post excerpts.
- And then the excerpt length, I updated to 100.
And that’s it! You wanted to make your blog look awesome and you just did it!
What More Do You Want to Know?
So what’s next? What would you like to know?
Would you like to learn about Search Engine Optimization so people can actually find your site? Would you like to know how to get free traffic? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to build up your social media sites?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.