Dear Marianne // 12 Blog Design Feedback

Dear Marianne: a monthly Blog Design advice column from DesignYourOwnBlog.com. Come and ask me anything about your blog's design every first Friday of the month!

Dear Marianne: a monthly Blog Design advice column from DesignYourOwnBlog.com. Come and ask me anything about your blog's design every first Friday of the month!

“Hey what do you think…?”

“What color pairs with this?”

“Do I have too many fonts?”

WOW! This is the TWELFTH Dear Marianne post! That means it’s open Blog Design Q+A Day! I love this monthly post because it’s so fun to see your questions and learn what you’re struggling with. So go on, leave me your burning question below today.

Here are the “rules” 😉

  • Leave your question in the comments below. Comments are open for a full 24 hours (12am – 12am Mountain/USA time). I’ll come back and post replies throughout the weekend.
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94 Comments

  • Lena says:

    Hey,

    I’d just like to know what you think in general of my blog design. I’m thinking of doing some minor adjustments, like a new sidebar organisation with a custom “I’m reading…”-widget and a photo, but after looking at the design for about a year now I’m not sure if I just don’t see any of the bigger problems…
    Thank you so much! And sorry for my English, I’m not a native speaker and my skills have deteriorated quite a lot since leaving school 3 years ago.

    Greetings,
    Lena
    Lena recently posted…[Montagszitat] Das Ehrgefühl der BücherMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Lena, your English is actually really good so don’t worry about that! Now as for your blog, yes I agree that you’ll want to add a quick bio and photo. In case you didn’t see the post, use this as a guide: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/blog-sidebar-profile-photos-mini-bios/

      For the design, I would adjust just a few things: remove the background, it’s too busy. I don’t know if you like white websites, but just having white as the backdrop for your darker colors will give them nice contrast and make it look a whole lot cleaner.

      I’d also remove the cream color that is behind the blog posts and headings in the sidebar and leave them as white with the green background. If you want to take it one step further, try changing the green borders to only 1px thickness and see what you think. If you need some help in editing your CSS, check out this post here: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/learn-easy-html-code-css/how-to-edit-css-in-your-blog/

      I think these changes will help freshen up your blog’s look a little 🙂

  • Susan Stange says:

    I’d love to get your opinion of my blog design/layout/theme etc. I’m planning on doing a new design soon, so I’d love any feedback you can give me!

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for participating!
      I think overall, the design is nice, but I would left align the text as centered text is not always easy to read.

      As you look for a new template for your blog, you’ll want to make sure you find one that is responsive so that it fits on different size screens. It’s set to a pretty wide width right now which may not fit smaller laptops or tablet screens. I tried to find an easy way for you to adjust it yourself, but it wasn’t easy to do without a lot of changes.

  • Hello Marianne,

    Thank you for lending a helping hand! I would appreciate your honest opinion of my healthy living informative blog. I am looking for a polished and clean look but currently I feel it needs some add-ons. Is it too simple? Is it failing to engage my audience?

    Thank you again!

    Much love,

    Elsie
    Elsie Goycoolea recently posted…How A Touch of Color Can Affect Your Experience With FoodMy Profile

  • Holly McCaig says:

    My question isn’t really feedback on my blog because I know it’s not there, but what are your thoughts on a homepage/landing page? Should it be a blog list or do you like the idea of it being more of a landing page and then the reader goes to the blog via links?
    Holly McCaig recently posted…Top Fonts for Design Font Feature Daisy DogMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Holly, great question and it actually depends on the goals of your site and how you want to serve your audience. If your goal is to sell products or services, then you might lead with a more traditional home page. But if your goal is to share information or your expertise, then a blog is a good choice.

      Buuuut having said that, you can also do both and that’s what i plan to do with my next site. You can have a sampling of posts on the home page AND other static content talking about your products or services. There are plenty of premium themes that feature this.

      Hope that helps!

  • Hi Marianne! I’d love some feedback on my blog and . It’s hard to keep on top of everything and keep designing. I have limited time so I’d love to know what I should focus on first.
    Thanks!

    • Marianne says:

      I think it looks really great Julia so don’t worry about your blog for now and focus on other priorities! 🙂 However, I would definitely add a short bio to your sidebar photo that tells people more of what your blog is about and what problems you are solving. Don’t make people have to guess or try and figure it out, make it obvious.

      Check this out for ideas: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/blog-sidebar-profile-photos-mini-bios/

      Oh and if I’m being really picky, maybe increase the size of your logo a bit. Like say to 34px. I think it will help it stand out a bit more. 🙂

  • Lori says:

    Hi Marianne!

    Thanks so much for offering this. I just released my blog on Mother’s Day. I’ve made several changes but would love your opinion on what I should do and how it’s affecting my potential customers.

    Thanks so much,
    Lori

    • Marianne says:

      Lori, I love the new image at the top, great job on that! Also, I want to see your pretty face at the top of the sidebar instead of the logo repeated. It will really help you connect more with your audience. Other than that, it’s looking really good!

  • Hemapriya says:

    Hi Marianne,

    Thank you for hosting this column, I recently redesigned my website and I would greatly appreciate if you can give an opinion on how the sidebar looks and also the templates I use to brand my images.

    Thank you

    Cheers

    Hema
    Hemapriya recently posted…Homemade Ragi Cookies Recipe| Finger Millet CookieMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hema it’s looking REALLY good! I love the clean layout, the colors, you’ve done a great job on it. I think the only thing I would prefer is to see your bio/photo switch places with that top ad if you are able to do that. At the very least, it should come before the 2nd and 3rd ads. Right now its just too far down and people may never make it that far to really find out what the site is about.

      The image templates look great and totally match your branding so nice job on those too.

  • Laura says:

    Hi Marianne,

    So here is my work in progress. I’ve come down with some flu or something so I thought it was a good time to take a break and ask for your feedback on the basic design and whatnot. Keeping in mind that the copy is a first draft and nowhere near its final form!

    Something’s missing…but so far I don’t know what…unless it’s just content!!

    Cheers and thanks!

    Laura
    Laura recently posted…Test post!My Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Laura, I’m sorry you’ve been feeling sick, it’s almost summer! Doesn’t your body know that?!? 😉

      Anyway, I like where you are going with the new design, it’s very clean. I also like how you’re using a comic-book style font for your headings which seems to go with your content.

      The header/logo needs a little work but maybe it’s still in progress like you said. But I’ll just go ahead and make some comments anyway. 😉 I’m not crazy about the font, it’s a little too traditional and there is too much space between the words. It’s also probably not necessary to outline the letters. If you feel like it needs a little contrast, try a gray instead of black as it will tone it down a little and not have too much contrast.

      Hope that helps Laura and thanks for your sweet words about my book in your footer! 🙂

      • Laura says:

        I guess I was going for a typical 1950’s women’s magazine type title with the most playful font I could find that wasn’t the overused Fontdiner. And the Honey Script was a contract font (originally had the Boogaloo for the tagline, but it looked too thick).

        I’m also not a real girly girl…but even my page looks a tad too masculine for me at this point…I think that’s what is bugging me.

        This is good…I’m not a designer, so I appreciate the critique from those who are!! I’ll go play with some more options now…

        • Marianne says:

          Very cool Laura, let me know if you need more help. You can always post your header for feedback in the FB group too!

  • Tricia says:

    Thank you so much for this! I moved from Blogger to WP in November and had a couple of snafus with providers since and have recently switched to a new theme. Along the way I lost my sidebars and am trying to build everything back up, but want to do so only with what would be relevant to my readers (many of which I lost over the past several months due to the switch mess up and the subsequent provider issues). I would love some input on what I should have there!
    Tricia recently posted…Question for my readersMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Tricia, I’m the only girl in MY family too! 🙂

      I’m sorry you had so many issues with your blog transfer, usually a switch from Blogger to WP goes pretty smoothly so that’s really a shame.

      We just happened to talk all about sidebars last month on the blog and in the FB group so you’ll definitely want to check that out to get more help with deciding what to put in your sidebar. This post will be particularly useful to you: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/organize-prioritize-blog-sidebar/

      Good luck moving forward, I hope things smooth out for you!

  • Rosie says:

    Hello Marianne!
    I’m a new blogger and still making tweaks here and there, but I’d love your opinion on the overall design. Also, I’m struggling with the menu bar. I’m not sure how to organize things. Most of my posts fall into either “family adventures” or “projects”, but I feel like they’re not organized well beyond that. I’m also not sure what to do with the misc. posts that fall outside those categories.
    Thanks so much!

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Rosie, I think the overall design is good. it’s clean, it’s girly, the colors are pretty. It has a very friendly vibe.

      In regards to your categories, I have heard from Regina of byRegina.com that 3-7 categories is ideal. She has a great exercise (i think it’s from her Stellar Content ebook) where you take notecards or post it notes and write down each of your posts on one card. Then you lay them all out on the floor and try to categorize them into categories that you feel would hold your audience’s attention.

      This might help you to visualize the natural categories your posts could fall under. I hope that helps! You might consider getting her book if you want the entire exercise. http://byregina.com/work-with-me/

  • Hi! Thank you for doing this! I am in the middle of changing over from blogger to WordPress with a new design. I am trying to figure out what I should keep about my current blog page and what I should change or add to the new one? I guess I am wondering if there is any warning signs on something that I for sure should not do when I launch my new redesign. What about something that you think is working for my blog now? Also, just in general, when redesigning a blog with a following should I stick to a similar look or start fresh? All of my content, voice, posts and projects, name and url will be the same. My blog is here http://www.ourhousenowahome.com/ THanks for any advice!
    Emily, Our house now a home recently posted…Question of the dayMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Emily! I think that you could mostly start fresh but keep a few elements of your current design such as a color or two that will help tie the 2 different designs together. Like if you kept a teal color in your new design, that would definitely help tie things together, but you don’t have to use it all over if you don’t want to.

      I would definitely narrow the font palette used anywhere on the blog to 2 or 3 and that includes your post images. You want to have some sort of consistency because that helps you build your brand and be more recognizable. Check this out to help you pick out fonts: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/choose-fonts-for-blog-or-website/

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Marianne,
    I’m looking to update my theme but I’m stuck at what to look for. There are tons of designs that i love but its hard to narrow down. I’d love for you to look at my blog and let me know what areas need a design spring cleaning. Thanks so much!
    Jessica recently posted…Light Up The Night GiveawayMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Jessica! I think that you might have too many categories or menu items and that’s not helping you narrow down your focus. Take a moment to write down the goals of your site and determine who your audience is and how you are helping them. Then narrow the categories to just the things that help you to help your audience.

      This will also help you to determine what you’re looking for in a theme as you’ll be clearer on what you want them to see first when they come to your site.

      Read my replies above to both Rosie and Holly and see if those don’t help a bit too. Let me know in the group or on Twitter if you need more clarification. Good luck!

  • Britani says:

    I would live feed back that’s all!! Looking to change a few things but really just focusing on content! Anything to help would be great!!!!
    Britani recently posted…TALKIN’ TRENDS: FLAT ESPADRILLESMy Profile

  • Of course I’d love your overall impression pretty please, but I’m really interested specifically in two things:
    – How best to showcase links to other sites
    – Do you think I should make the font size of the menu larger?

    Your fan,
    Lisa
    Lisa Van Gemert recently posted…16 Ways to Activate the Reticular Activating System in the ClassroomMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Lisa, how are you? 🙂

      I think the site is good. It’s fairly minimal, but you counter it with the colorful post images. I can’t say there’s anything bad about it. I don’t think the font in your menu is too small either, if you were to make it larger, they wouldn’t all fit.

      So what kind of sites do you want to link to? Are you thinking something like a Blog Roll? Or more of ads in your sidebar? I want to understand what the purpose of linking to other sites would be for you. Hit me up on FB or Twitter if you don’t see this before I close comments tonight. 🙂

  • connie says:

    I recently changed my blog design to a brighter simpler layout. It still needs some work . I just wanted to know what you think so far.
    connie recently posted…DIY Denim Wine Bag – Summer Hostess GiftMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Connie, I think it’s really cute! I’d like to see those images on your home page larger though. You might be able to do that by increasing the size of thumbnails in your Dashboard > Settings > Media. Try that and see if it works, sometimes it’s different per theme.

      I would also not center your paragraph text as it decreases readability. Hope that helps!

  • Annika says:

    Dear Marianne,

    I’d absolutely love to hear your overall opinion on my freshly started blog.

    The blog is in German but I hope you find your way through. 🙂

    My blog is http://www.greencompass.de

    Thanks so much in advance!!

    • Annika says:

      Hello again Marianne,

      I just discovered that browsers other than Google Chrome won’t show my font “halohandletter” and instead show a big ugly one!!

      My css looks like this:

      @font-face {
      font-family: ‘halohandletter’;
      src: url(‘halohandletter-webfont.eot’);
      src: url(‘halohandletter-webfont.eot?#iefix’)
      format(’embedded-opentype’),
      url(‘halohandletter-webfont.woff2’)
      format(‘woff2’),
      url(‘halohandletter-webfont.woff’) format(‘woff’),
      url(‘halohandletter-webfont.ttf’) format(‘truetype’),
      url(‘halohandletter-webfont.svg#halohandletter’)
      format(‘svg’);
      font-weight: normal;
      font-style: normal;
      }

      Do you have an explanation for this Marianne? I’m pretty desperate right now.

      Thanks so much again for your kind offer!! It’s so appreciated!!

      • Annika says:

        I did panik too early. 😀 😀 Solved the issue – so relieved! 🙂 Sorry that I’m spamming xour comment section, you can delete those last two comments of mine! 🙂

        • Marianne says:

          Haha no problem Annika! But I’m curious to know: what solved the issue?

          • Annika says:

            Hi Marianne!

            I just figured out I need to insert “fonts” into the css.

            Instead of this:

            src: url(‘halohandletter-webfont.eot’)

            it must look like this:

            src: url(fonts/‘halohandletter-webfont.eot’)

            Did you have a look at my blog as well Marianne?

            I’d just like to hear your overall opinion! 🙂

            Have a nice day!!

          • Marianne says:

            Ah yes Annika, they have to be pointed to the correct folder 🙂
            Can you post the link to your blog? I don’t see it in your comment entries.

  • This is so kind of you to offer your advice! I’m excited to start following your blog. I’m fairly new at this and it’s been so time consuming learning how to do everything before implementing changes and to get followers (any advice on getting more traffic? currently most of my visitors are other bloggers from FB groups)
    Anyways, my question – is it worth an investment to purchase a theme? I currently use a free theme. Also, I see so many awesome blog headers that help brand the blogger, is this something most do themselves or hire someone to do it for them?
    Erin @ Love Peace Beauty recently posted…Hero to Zero DaysMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Erin and welcome!
      I think you’re doing a great job so far I really don’t see anything that stands out that I would change. I would suggest joining my Facebook group and/or signing up to my Weekly email list as I just started a theme of the month in May. We discussed sidebars in the group all month and had 4 posts all about them. Starting Tuesday, the June theme is Blog Headers so just in time for you! 🙂

      As for your question about building traffic, I just sent out a newsletter this morning with some tips. You can see the newsletter here: The Secret to Building an Audience – http://eepurl.com/bpDG9n

      Thanks for joining in this month!

  • Claire says:

    Hi Marianne,
    There are a few things I really like about my current design, namely the magazine style thumbnails, but I also don’t like how it doesn’t display the date, sometimes I get blank spaces instead of thumbnails and teasers, and there’s no “older posts” button! So I’m trying to switch to a new theme.

    I don’t think I’ll have much time for my blog until July, but I started working with a new theme a while ago and after installing it’s missing a few things that it’s supposed to have – like the date again, but there’s no featured post slide either. Before I uploaded the new theme I switched back to a default one to start with a clean slate, but it’s still having these issues.

    So my question is – is there a way to “prep” a blog for a new theme? will any css get transferred over accidentally? Or is this a sign that I should just stick to the default themes that I feed more comfortable editing?

    thanks a lot!!
    Claire
    Claire recently posted…Germany’s unofficial holidaysMy Profile

  • Hi Marianne. I just found your site recently and am so glad I did. I’m going to be switching up some things on my blog to more or less make it a lifestyle blog instead of mostly food (I’m not changing the URL at this time but will be adding a couple of words to the end of the name, on the header, to reflect these changes). I’m working on a new header and will be removing the rolling pin logo. I’ve also installed some plugins to help with thumbnails of each category. I’m thinking of creating a static home/landing page with a few thumbnails of the different categories so it doesn’t have the typical blog feed at first glance. I plan on keeping the current blog feed home page and changing the name to “blog view or blog.” The theme I have was set up by someone else 4 years and I’d like to be able to switch it someday as no one seems to know much about it, but even though I’ve learned and done a lot with my site, I feel like I’d need to hire some help if things went wonky (and the funds are not there right now). Anyway, I’m doing what I can myself and would appreciate any input on my site as it stands now and ideas for possible improvements.

    Thanks a bunch. Have a great weekend. 🙂
    Robin @ Simply Southern Baking recently posted…15 Fresh Strawberry DessertsMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Robin, I really like all the ideas you’ve laid out. I too will be switching to a home page with a mix of static and blog content so i definitely am a fan of that. Do you have a theme in mind that you’ll be getting? I think it’s a good idea to start with a new theme, maybe something with good support, like WooThemes or Elegant Themes (there are tons of others but i’m drawing a blank right now).

      Anyway, I would work on colors and fonts. Have you downloaded my free ebook yet? (subscribe in the sidebar or footer to get it). It has a lot of info on choosing a color and font palette and how to use them. I think those two things will go far in helping you rebrand your new image and blog name.

      And definitely join the Facebook group if you haven’t already as it’s a great place to get feedback!

  • Hi Marianne! I appreciate you doing this! I’d love any thoughts/feedback you have – and maybe specifically on helping my site load a bit more quickly? Thanks!
    Emily @ Words I Wheel By recently posted…Meet the Jeans with a Secret Identity – Sweatpants from ABL DenimMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Emily! I like what you’ve done, I think your sidebar profile pic is new, right? In any case, I think it’s a great pic! But really, nothing stands out to me at all that I would change so you’re doing great!

      As far as site load time, truth be told I’m not that well versed in the topic. However, I know that compressing your images before uploading them helps. Another thing you could do would be to only show post excerpts on your home page instead of the entire posts. This would load fewer images. There are also plugins out there that may help, but again I don’t know much about them. I know I need to look more into it myself at some point. :[

      However, I didn’t notice a lag in your site loading at all, so it doesn’t seem like you’re doing a bad job at it.

  • Brenda says:

    Hello Marianne 🙂 Thank you so much for doing this, it’s so cool. I’m a new subscriber and I can say you saved me when I was looking for a way of tweaking my opt-in form. I barely finished my landing page, and I would like to know what you think about it and if there’s anything you would do differently with fonts, layout or anything else. I cuztomized my opt-in form following your tutorial! 🙂

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Brenda so glad you’ve joined up here at DYOB and that you found the opt-in tutorial so helpful! I always appreciate when people let me know that 🙂

      I think overall the landing page looks good and great job on the opt-in! The only thing I would change is the bullet points. I would choose a thinner font and use bold to highlight attention-grabbing words. I would also add more space between bullet points because right now they look a bit jumbled and it’s hard to read them all.

      Then add more space below the bulleted list so that the text below it stands out more too because on first glance, it looks like it’s all part of the bullet points and it’s not helping anything stand out in particular.

      Otherwise, I like the colors and think you did a nice job!

  • Kara says:

    Hi Marianne! Thanks for doing this! You’re awesome 🙂

    I’d love some feedback on my blog in general. I’ve been working on making it cohesive as far as color scheme, etc. I really want to project a positive boho-inspired vibe. I’m working with a free WordPress theme at the moment but have been toying with changing it up since I haven’t been able to get it “quite right”

    Thanks Again!
    Kara recently posted…10 Awesome DIY Jewelry Organizers!My Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi kara, you’re so welcome and thank you 🙂

      I think you’ve done a good job on it, I definitely think it has a boho vibe to it. I think that the header is too low though. I am not sure if your theme will allow you to switch the header and the menu, but if you can, I would do that. I would also remove the top/bottom padding on the overall site, so that the white goes from top to bottom. To do that, you’d do this in your css:

      .site {margin: 0 auto;}

      If you can’t switch the header and menu, I would lessen the padding around the menu. Anything you can do to bring the header up a bit higher would help as I think it’s too low right now.

      Not sure how much you know about CSS, but you can start with this, if you’re a beginner: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/learn-easy-html-code-css/how-to-edit-css-in-your-blog/

  • Angela says:

    Hi Marianne,
    I’d like some overall feedback for my blog. I’m planning on rebranding soon and want to know if there’s anything I can do to improve in the new design. Thanks!
    Angela
    Angela recently posted…Recent Things (#1)My Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Angela, I think your blog looks really great and I love your photos! Two tiny things I would change in your redesign:

      1. make the sidebar at least 300px wide, it’ll help your widgets fit a little better as many ads and widgets are about that size.

      2. move your social follow me buttons to just below your sidebar profile/bio so your profile shows up higher as people like to know who’s behind the blog before they decide to follow them.

      Thanks for participating!

  • shashi says:

    Hi there, I have just built my blog using WordPress and Customizr with absolutely no technical skills. I would love you to have a look at my blog and let me know how I can improve it.

    I also don’t know if you can comment on this, but even though I had the website verified by Google and am currently using Yoast SEO, Marbella Home does not appear when I type it on Google searches. Do you know if there is any helpful (and simple) advice on how to do this. Thank you so much in anticipation of your response.
    shashi recently posted…Shopping Find of the Week: Turkish UrnsMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Shashi, I don’t know if you saw my comments from last month’s post, but I’ll post them again as I think they are important changes you’ll want to make:

      1. Like I told Mariel above, get a logo or at least use a font that is not also being used throughout the site because it doesn’t stand out from the rest of the text using the same font and color.

      2. The images in the slider are too small for the size they’re shown at so they appear blurry. I think that as an interior design business it’s imperative to have gorgeous, super focused photos with striking colors that wow people immediately. I would also go for photos of your previous work that show people right away what kind of work you do, as opposed to the abstract textures you have now. I’m looking at your Pinterest widget in the sidebar and those are the types of photos that I’m thinking of.

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have questions @marianne on Twitter or join us in the Facebook group!

  • Toyin says:

    Hi Marianne! I changed my theme a couple months ago. What do you think about the header that came with it? Do you think the font style is too heavy? Should I design my own header?
    Toyin recently posted…So Excited about this Stylebook Closet AppMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Toyin!
      I really like the new theme and I love your new sidebar pic too! You know, I actually like the header and no I don’t think the font is too heavy, it helps it stand out. I think the only thing I would change is a slightly thinner font for the tagline so there’s a little contrast. In fact, since you’re using two san serif fonts in the header, I would suggest either italicizing or finding a serif or script font for the tagline. Feel free to post some ideas in the FB group for feedback.

      Other than that I think everything looks great!

  • I’d love to receive feedback on my sidebar. I’ve been experimenting with different layouts recently in an effort to make it more attractive. I’m still not happy with it, but am unsure what I should be doing differently. Here’s the link to my blog: http://www.naomisbirdsongfarm.ca/cowtales

  • I’m so excited for this! I’m brand new to blogging. This week was my first full week blogging on my schedule.
    I would LOVE to have your feedback on:
    * my about me page. How can I improve it.
    * my media with my posts. Are the pics to big? Are they attractive or inviting?
    * the blog layout – do you like? What could I improve on?
    I’m sure there is a lot more that I could ask but let’s start there. Maybe save some for the coming months!
    Thanks so much for doing this! I’m off now to sign up for all your social media, mailing list, etc.
    TYSM! Lori
    Lori Lawrence recently posted…5 Things to do Today to Make Your Skin Look Younger TomorrowMy Profile

  • Liz says:

    Hi Marianne. This is so awesome that you do this! Two things 1. The color combination of my site mostly the grey background. Should it stay or go back to white? 2. The sidebar? Design of it what is in it? Help please! Thanks.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Liz glad you could join in!

      1. Yes, I would change the content area to white. Not the whole body background, just the area behind the 2 columns. You can do that by adding it to this div:

      .enable-blog-sidebar.collection-type-blog .content-legible

      Then I would add 20px of padding all around.

      2. You might have missed the whole sidebar discussions last month in the group so I’ll point you to those posts. There’s a link to all of them in here: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/organize-prioritize-blog-sidebar/ Mainly I’d move your follow links below your bio/profile pic.

      3. One other thing: make the logo/header image smaller. I think a height of 250px would be perfect. That’s on this div:

      .site-logo-image

      If you’re not sure about CSS, start with this post: http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design/learn-easy-html-code-css/how-to-edit-css-in-your-blog/

      Hope that helps!

      • Liz says:

        Thanks. I will check out the sidebar discussions from last month. I did just miss those. I agree about the logo and making it smaller. The CSS stuff is pretty new to me and I am working with Squarespace and not WordPress so I am going to have to fiddle around but I think I can make it work.

        Thanks again for taking the time and taking a lot. I really appreciate it!
        Liz recently posted…5 Nerd Subscription Box Services You Should Know AboutMy Profile

  • Haidee says:

    I have just gone self hosted and used a basic theme which I have then designed and customised myself (albeit with no design training!). Would love some feedback and any advice you may have to add to it 🙂 Thanks!
    Haidee recently posted…Food For Thought FridayMy Profile

    • Haidee says:

      PS: You are so lovely for taking the time to do this! So glad I came across your blog via Pinterest while I was designing mine, it was extremely helpful!
      Haidee recently posted…Food For Thought FridayMy Profile

    • Marianne says:

      Oh Haidee, thanks for saying so. I’m always happy to answer questions!

      You JUST changed your site design didn’t you? I remember it looking different last time I saw it. Personally I think you did an awesome job on it! The only thing I would change (and this is me being nitpicky) is to lessen the space above the logo image.

      You can easily do that by accessing your CSS and editing the ‘container’ padding like so:

      .container { padding: 0 40px 40px; }

      Nice job all around Haidee!

  • Chantal says:

    Hi Marianne,

    First off I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this for all of us, it is truly appreciated! I am toying with the idea of purchasing a new theme.

    Do you think I should get a new theme? Which parts of my current layout/theme do you believe could be improved? Also, although I have a responsive theme, when viewed on mobile devices it is very plain and generic which is also why I am contemplating a new theme.

    I would love to hear your advice. PS I have had my blog running for almost 3 months and implemented the current theme about 2 months ago (not sure if that impacts your thoughts).

    Thank you so much!
    Chantal

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Chantal!

      So my first thought about your mobile theme is that your blog has the Jetpack mobile theme turned on. That’s why it’s showing the generic looking template. If you turn that off you should be able to see your responsive theme.

      I think the header is a little big and the dark colors make it look heavy. I would consider changing the colors to something a little lighter or more colorful, like the super fun photo in your sidebar! You could change the padding for the ‘header’ to 75px 0 30px and that would reduce it’s size a bit. It’s not that big headers are bad, it’s just that your logo looks a little lost in it. 🙂

      Hope that helps you Chantal, thanks for commenting!

  • Jenn says:

    I’m not sure if I caught this post in time, but I hope I did! Any comments would be greatly appreciated 🙂
    Jenn recently posted…Thirsty Thursday: Pineapple CrushMy Profile

  • Hi, Marianne
    I have recently discovered your blog, love all the amazing tips and tricks found here!

    Would love to hear your first impression on my blog, right now I have quite a few dilemmas whether I should move to WordPress or not (the moving itself is quite scary also).
    1. I love Blogger and I’m not really into WordPress but I feel that is Blogger is somehow limited in terms of design, appearance, responsiveness. I’ve made all the changes myself but I still feel something is missing. I’m not sure how to name it, but it’s something that I’ve only seen in some WordPress themes, a more organized, clean, somehow put together, airy and catchy overall look. Does this make any sense?:)

    2. Would you say it would be possible to grow your Blogger blog as one hosted on the WordPress servers? I’ve been searching a lot of templates/themes lately and paying A LOT of attention on some of my favorites blogs and I’ve realized that 90% of them, ones that attract lots of readers are on WordPress.

    I would also love your input on how would you recommend ”managing” the bilingual side of my posts. Now I’m using bold for English and regular for Romanian (my native language), but I sometimes feel that my posts are hard to follow through. I’ve been thinking of writing the english text in the first part of my blog post and then the romanian text in the second part of my post, but that is quite hard to do when writing a DIY tutorial with pictures and step by step instructions. What do you think?

    Thank you so much,
    Diana / Dreams Factory
    Diana / Dreams Factory recently posted…Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites / Bilute de cocos cu ciocolata neagraMy Profile

  • Kirsten says:

    Hi Marianne,

    I had a quick question about titles disappearing in my newly-purchased child theme. They do appear in the main blog (which I linked to ) But, if you click on an individual post to read it, the titles disappear.

    How could I make the titles appear on both the main stream of recent blogposts and upon the blogposts themselves?

    I really like the design of your site, and appreciate your expertise, btw. 🙂
    Kirsten recently posted…“Poured Wild Geraniums”–my newest poured floral paintingMy Profile

  • Annika says:

    Hi Marianne,

    sorry, but I can’t reply to your last comment anymore!

    I did post the link to my blog in my first comment but it still says it’s awaiting moderation!

    So here it is again: http://www.greencompass.de

    Thanks so much! 🙂

    • Marianne says:

      Ah yes, it’s because you had the link in the comment. If you put the URL in the URL field when you fill out your comment, it won’t get moderated 🙂

      Anyhow, that said… wow! I think your blog looks really amazing! I love the colors, the logo, the layout. The only thing I would change would be to add something in each footer column to make it look a little more balanced. Adding another email sign up form would be great as well as social media follow me buttons.

      Thanks for participating Annika! Have a great week!

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