How to be a Better Blogger - Part 02, Episode 01: Pretty Up


Well hello there. GUESS WHAT? (I say guess what a lot don’t I. huh.) Today is the start of part TWO of my little series, How to be a Better Blogger! YAYY. I’m very excited, y’all. This month we’re going to be talking about blog design. WHAT FUN, RIGHT?? As some of you may already know, I’m a bit of a TOTAL GEEK for blog design, web design, and any kind of aesthetics. IT JUST TURNS ME ON, OKAY? Okay. Let’s get started.

Read previous installments:

It’s like 7:15.

Time to clean up, folks! First let me warn you about something – CLEANING IS HARD. Especially if it’s stuff from your childhood that’s been hiding under your bed. That is the worst. Second worst is cleaning up your blog. Because cute, fun, sentimental things tend to hang out on your blog (or at least, on my blog) until I decide that I want to de-clutter and blow away all the dust.

DISCLAIMER: I’m going to blab about my personal opinions on blog design. It by no means applies for everyone. We all have different styles, and I firmly believe that our blogs should reflect our individual styles –because that’s what makes us unique little watermelons, after all! So yeah. Be not offended if I come right out and say:

 GO WHITE.

I CANNOT EXPRESS MY UNDYING LOVE FOR CLEAN, WHITE, SIMPLE BLOGS. They are just so minimalistic and inviting!! It took me a long time to jump on the white bandwagon, but when I did? Man, there was NO GOING BACK. This is not to say that I don’t love blogs of many different colors – but there is an advantage to white: readers will focus more on your content, and less on your background. Why should you believe me? Well…because.


Look at backgrounds like a book – would you find it harder to read a book with crazy colors and designs in the margins VS a book with nothing on the page but words? If you want readers to notice your content, don’t give them too much to look at.

I know, it sounds kind of nasty, doesn’t it? I’M DEPRIVING YOUR POOR BRAIN OF GETTING DISTRACTED. (But hey, someone else invented a website for that – it’s called Pinterest.) White blogs are popular. White blogs are familiar. White blogs are comfortable to read, because they are what most of us are used to.

Then go crazy.

But not too crazy. Remember: the average web surfer/fellow blogger has seen SO MANY WEBSITES in her lifetime. Our brains, whether we like it or not, subconsciously weed out the “eh” impressions and remind us to not return, lest we be unimpressed a second time*.


The best piece of web design advice I’ve ever received is this: you have about 3 seconds to make an impression. In a world of javascript and supersonic web browsers, you can get in and out of a website in seconds. It’s easy to X-out. Make it hard.

MAKE YOUR READERS NEVER WANT TO LEAVE YOU LOVELY SPACE. Make them latch onto your ankles and wail until you’re like, “oki that’s enough…” Make them love the look of your blog almost as much as they love their favorite Pinterest board.
*This is not science. It’s not even soft science. I’m totally making it up. But it sounds good, doesn’t it?

Get a head…er... start.

Why are headers so important? Well, they’re one of the main ingredients in your first impression. And, as my dad likes to say, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” FIRST IMPRESSIONS, PEOPLE!! First impressions. You’re going to be so sick of hearing that term once I’m done with you.


 Your header should reflect your style – and the style of your blog. Your blog is your space for expression! Make it your own awesome creation.

QUICK TIP: Watch dem margins. Make sure your visitors know that there actually is a blog somewhere down there…way down there, below that monster header. Not that monster headers are bad – because they can be like a wonderland journey and big and gorgeous (and you all know how much I like big, gorgeous images.*) But they can participate in hiding your lovely content, and depending on what kind of blog you have, you might want your viewers to get a glimpse of your content first, even if it’s at the bottom of their screen.
*almost as much as waffles. almost.
It’s okay to keep developing.

Don’t be discouraged if your blog doesn’t look its best at the moment – be inspired! And always, always, always leave room to grow. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Your little blog might get some growth spurts here and there, but let’s face it – just like our lives, betterment is an ongoing process. Don’t look at last year’s version of your blog and be like, “UGH I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING BACK THEN OMG.” Instead, look at what you’ve learned! Look at how far you’ve come.

May you see room for improvement. May you see inspiration everywhere. May you grow and learn and love your blog, every step of the way.


How have you “prettied up” your blog lately? Do you think it’s just right as is? Do you see room for improvement? Do you hate cleaning spaces? Particularly the closet under your bed?? And last but not least, use ONE WORD to describe your ideal first impression!

love you guys to bits omg,
abbiee 

35 comments

  1. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE ABOUT WHITE SPACE. It actually kind of shocks me when I visit a blog and it's not got a lot of white?? Because mostly everyone does these days and it's epic. Although I do follow a few blogs that pull of slightly coloured background or more busy themes...I still really prefer the simplistic and minimalism. OKAY AND WATERCOLOUR STUFF. omg when I go onto a blog and it's all like white space and watercolour art? I AM SOLD LIKE A SUCKER. I will come back purely to gawk.

    So basically yes to all of these. XD First impressions mean a lot!!

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    1. EEE YUS. ♥ And true, almost everyone has a white blog now. And it makes accents and decorations stand out even more. *nods* AND YESSSSS WATERCOLOR STUFF. OMG. I've only just stepped into the wonderful world of watercolor (sounds like a cheesy learn-to-paint show, right?? remember those??) First impressions definitely mean a lot. ;) Thank you for reading, Cait my dear!!

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  2. WHITE IS LIFE AND I'M NEVER GOING BACK. It's just nice and like pleasing. I'm a messy person, but I need white to keep my cool, it's sort of like my aesthetic you know? I think a decent design is important, because it's the first thing a reader sees when they click on your little link. Lovely tips as usually Abbie, these posts of yours are some of my favorites! <3

    ~Noor

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    1. YEESSS. ♥ White is a lovely aesthetic. And I'm with you, my brain is a cRaZyYY place, and clean, white spaces make me feel like I'm organized (I'm not.) FIRST IMPRESSIONS, I SAY!! xD Thank you for reading and commenting, dear!! :) I'm so glad you like these posts!

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  3. i recently bought a template from envye.com, and i really really like it! i think until i'm better at the aesthetic sort of thing, i'll have to use other people's creations for my aesthetic.

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    1. EEEEP I love checking out new templates for blogsss. I ACTUALLY HAVE A VERY BIG PROBLEM. I look at all these shiny new blog templates and want them and IT'S BAD BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE ONE THAT I LIKE AND I SHOULD JUST STOP. And yess, I use other people's lovely creations and decorations to make my blog pretty. ^.^ thank you for reading, Rachel!!

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  4. Oh gosh, my blog looks horrible...I was cringing the entire time I read this hahahaha.

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    1. aw, for real?? nooooo dear ♥ I LOVE YOUR BLOG. AND YOU. You are fabulous. ;) And I'm totally not trying to cram my own white blog beliefs down anybody's throat. That's just the look I like for my blog. *cyber bear hugs*

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    2. YOU'RE THE SWEETEST GAH. *cyber bear hugs* Nonono don't worry I've wanted to redo my blog for ages to try and get it looking more professional I'm just terrible with tech stuff haha. IT'S A WORK IN PROGRESS.

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  5. k so your Downton Abbey GIFs make my day. Great tips by the way!

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    1. EEE THANK YOU, AALIYAH. ♥ Downton GIFs are life to my bonesss. xD

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  6. yesssssssssssssssssssssss to alllllllllllll

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    1. yessssssss to you and your awesomeness. ♥

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  7. you are like the blogger Solomon or something : ) i could not agree any more with everything. I tried having a purple background once....ehhh.. though, sometimes i think a really light gray isn't too bad either for a background. BUT WHITE IS THE WAY TO GOOO.

    also your GIF's <3 XD

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    1. AHAH THE BLOGGER SOLOMON OMG I WILL LIVE OFF OF THAT FOR A WEEK, DUDE. ♥ um thank you. yess! I agree, light gray can work sometimes. But white is prime. ;) THANK YOU FOR READING DEAR.

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  8. Okay so a) I was a leetle bit bummed that we didn't get a real life Saturdays post?? WHAT IS LIFE. but b) I adore this series, so consider me amply placated.

    I ALSO ADORE WHITE SPACE. And you!! hugs :)

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    1. I KNOWWW RLS IS LATE. :( sorry about that!! but it will be coming again soon, promise. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, dearie!! ADORE YOU BACK. ♥

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  9. Hooray for simple, white, minimalist designs! I redesigned my blog last year, and one of the first things I did was get rid of the colorful margins and de-clutter the sidebar. I cringe when I visit a blog and am bombarded with colors and images and cluttered sidebars, because I just don't know where to look. Simple color themes and matching fonts are also important -- besides making everything easy to read, they create a sort of brand for the blogger.

    (Your blog is lovely, by the way!)

    --Serena

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    1. "...because I just don't know where to look." That is exactly right, Serena!! I'm very much a SQUIRREL!dog and so I get easily distracted by everything. XD And yes to brands! And things to be remembered by, etc. (OH YOUR BLOG IS BEAUTIFUL MY DEAR. just sayin'.)

      Thank you for reading and commenting!! ♥

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    2. Thank you, Abbiee! (haha, I always hear Dug's voice when I think "SQUIRREL!"...)

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    3. OMG ME TOO. xD

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  10. OK - my blog is white. yay! but your section on making your blog white made me laugh SO HARD. but cleaning under your bed is so hard. i get that. except i went through this phase where i didn't want anything under my bed (nothing for monsters to hide behind and all that) but then all my junk ended up in my closet, which is HUGE, which is a problem because now it has been YEARS. i repeat YEARS since i have gone through all the junk.
    so i get that too.
    but yes to first impressions (mine is usually like "why doesn't my blog look like this?" and then i'm hooked) and to cleaning up and to white, minimalist blogs.
    because all of the above rocks. :D
    i love this series. go abbiee! :D
    Sami

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    1. HAHA SAMI DEAR YOU ARE THE BEST. I'm glad I made you laugh XD "nothing for monsters to hide behind and all that..." < EXACTLY. Open space isn't the right habitat for monsters, I hear. But a closet is a good place to hide things! OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND HEHE. *rubs hands maliciously for no reason* MUAH

      Thank you for reading, Sami! your comment made me smile rather hard. ;)

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  11. djasfkl;dkfal;sdjf WHITE BLOGS. PLEASE. YES. Ugh. Your beautiful blog is what caused me to keep reading and explore your posts which made me FOLLOW IT. I love it so much. <3

    All to the yes for all these tips. <3

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    1. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. DBFNDKSNCLSNC. THANK YOU SO MUCH MY DEAR AND THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING. THIS HAS MADE MY DAY. ♥ and pssh your blog is beautifuller ;)

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  12. YES TO WHITE!

    Yeah, I'm not a *huge* fan of my blog design. Like, I like the minimalism, but I hate my about me picture thing on the sidebar. And I want pretty title header things on my posts, but I'm not a huge fan of the ones I've made quite yet. Work in progress! XD

    But yeah. White is for the win. That sounds racist out of context. *do not make an inappropriate joke ashlyn* I swear I'm not a horrible person, I just have a dark mind. *shifty eyes* Ahem. Yeah. ANYWAY I LOVE THIS POST.

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    1. MEEP minimalist is where it's at, bro. OH OH! Blog design can be fun to play around with yourself, but if you're like me and don't want to spend a lot of time on it, I definitely recommend this fabulous Etsy shop: Mango Blogs. That's where I got my blog theme and they all come with free installation so you just message the artist and tell her exactly how you want it to look and she does it all for you. WHICH IS AMAZING. so yeah. her themes are sooo pretty.

      AHHAHA OMG DUDE YOU UNDERSTAND MEEEE. I was feeling racist when I was talking about "going white." SOCIETY HAS CORRUPTED OUR VIEW OF INNOCENT BLOG DESIGN TALK. ahem. xDD I LOVE YOU SO THERE. ♥

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  13. So, I really liked this statement: you have about 3 seconds to make an impression. In a world of javascript and supersonic web browsers, you can get in and out of a website in seconds. It’s easy to X-out. Make it hard. MAKE YOUR READERS NEVER WANT TO LEAVE YOU LOVELY SPACE. I can't say I've ever thought about it that way, but it totally makes sense, and I will have to think about it like that from now on.

    And there's no way I can describe my ideal first impression in one word - maybe, professional yet personal... which is a full three words. :O

    Anyway, another entertaining and practical post, Abbiee. You spoil us. :) Oh, and I've done it again, and not commented yet to tell you how great it was to hear the story behind 'Mirror Girl' and see the (long awaited for) music video! And that quote you read in the video is so powerful and true, and I can't stop thinking about it. xx

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    1. eep! super glad you got something out of this post! And that you liked that statement in particular. ^.^ I find that it does ring pretty true, but I'm still a student myself. heh. "professional yet personal" is a great first impression!! and OMW PRACTICAL AND ENTERTAINING? AND I SPOIL YOU?? GAHHH YOU'RE THE BESSST. ♥ thank you!!

      oooh yay! so happy you liked the video(s) hehe ^.^ and YUS THAT QUOTE GIVES ME LIFE. So glad it provoked some thought! Your comments are always so sweet and make me smile like crazy. thank you for that. :)

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  14. I totally agree with you. At the beginning my blog looked like a blog and not professional or serious website. Lots of colours, pictures as a background and it was a little crowdy. Later I fell in love with minimalistic designs and white is like my holy grail. It's also easier for me to read blog with white background so if the website is black or dark I tend skip it. But yeah I try to go the minimalistic way, create my own header and I also love brush fonts. And I also like a lot of pictures in the posts, especially if they are beautiful because it gives personality to the website, I think. But awesome blog post :)

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    1. OMG YOUR BLOG IS GORGEOUS *hyperventilates and loses sense of proper grammar* gidjsflksd. BRUSH FONTS ARE LIFE. And your style is just perfect soooo I approve like a thousand times forever omw. And I don't like dark websites either *shudders* it just feels like I've stepped into DANGEROUS TERRITORY IDEK. eeeep yes to pictures ALWAYS PICTURES. I'm going to get into pictures a little further into this series, and I'm excited for that. ^.^ Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Simone! ♥

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  15. Loved this post!! Super cute blog:)
    Becca
    www.ineveryseason.net

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    1. Thank you so much, Becca!! ♥

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  16. I went through a HUGE design updo last summer when I decided to make my blog a creative art/poetry site rather than a book blog, and it was definitely tough getting used to taking my own photos and sharing my drawings but I'm really pleased with my aesthetic now! I definitely agree with you on the all white background, I'm in love with the simplicity and they help my photos to stand out :)

    Safah | oh, how I wander.

    ( ohowiwander.wordpress.com )

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    1. Wow, it sounds like you did a lot of work!! But it totally pays off in the end, right? OMG taking a look at your blog right now and it's sooo pretty! I love the minimalist design. It's very inviting! You did a great job. :) Thank you for reading, Safah!

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