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7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Designer to Redesign Your Blog

Choosing a Designer to Redesign Your Blog

Did you get your blog started with a free template? Have you visited other blogs in your niche and said, "Wow, that looks just like my blog." There is nothing wrong with using free templates. There are some advantages to starting your blog with a free template. Namely, you get off the ground quickly and cheaply. Though the disadvantages of not having a professional design and brand image for your blog from its outset grow as time goes on.

The more successful your blog is the more you will wish you had invested some resources in your blog's brand in the beginning. Now that your blog has had a modicum of success you could invest some of the earning you've made back into the branding of your blog and really stand out with a professional look and identity in your marketplace. A good design with good branding will help to make you memorable to your audience in your niche. A good design makes it easier to gain new subscribers as well. Because people visiting your site for the first time can feel the blog in its design before even reading a word.

This idea of capturing the feeling of the blog is essential. Its more difficult when the blog is being redesigned than when designing a blog from the beginning. The part that is more difficult is in the capturing of the blog's writing voice, niche, and style visually. When a blog is just getting started out the design and writing can grow together. You also risk alienating your existing audience with a redesign. So, you have to choose a designer for your redesign carefully.

There are lots of good reasons to get a good design from the beginning of your blog. If your starting a new blog I recommend that you have confidence that you will make a return on this initial investment. Though if this didn't happen in the beginning not to worry. To follow are some tips for selecting the right designer to bring that professional brand and blog template design to your moderately successful blog and help turn it into a highly successful blog.

1. The Designer's Portfolio

The reason this is so high on the list is that design is a visual medium. The quickest way to access the skill of a designer is to view their online portfolio. Time is money and the time you invest in this process needs to be taken into consideration. If you can afford a good designer than only consider working with designer's who's portfolio feels like a good fit for your blog.

Following are the types of questions you should ask yourself when choosing a designer. Has the designer created Blog's before? If so have they created a blog in your market? Do you like the style of this designer? Does the designer's style of design fit with your successful vision of your blog?

Seriously consider choosing a designer that has already made successful designs you like. Though professional designers often have a range of styles they can work in, its a safer course of action to choose a designer who's existing portfolio fits the results you are looking for.

2. The Designer's Process and Professionalism

A Designer's process can be as important as their final results of past projects. Are they professional? Are they organized? It can be difficult to assess these immediately. The level of professionalism of their website is a good indicator. Do they have any articles about their process on their website? Do you like the writing on their website? Does their website come off as professional? The way that they communicate with you is also a large degree of what will access their level of professionalism.

Some questions to keep in mind after you start to communicate with the designer. Do their emails feel professional? Do they help lead you and educate you through the design process? Do they discuss deadlines, cost, and scope of work up front? Are references of past clients available? Do they appear experienced in the design and blogging field? Are they available by phone or instant massaging if need be?

3. Choose a Designer that Understands Your Blog

Ideally, this designer would already be subscribed to your blog. An individual that has read your writing and subscribed to your feed is likely a fan. So, they are likely to care allot about the success of the redesign. Though be very wary of sacrificing other areas to work with a fan.

In capturing the feeling of your blog it helps that they already have exposure to your writing style and the community that has evolved around your blog. In fact they have a vested interest in your blog's community. They are likely to have some ideas about creating your blog's redesign that are an insiders perspective, which is often difficult to find.

You may also be able to work out some kind of trade of services or other deal more easily with a fan of your work. This could save you some funds. Though remember your not limited to this group of readers and that a professional designer could certainly do an excellent job with redesigning your blog.

4. Their Technical Abilities Need to Be Above the Needs of the Job

This is a blog they are redesiging. That involves more than a photoshop template. Unless you know how to cut up the design and integrate it into your Content Management System yourself. Do they know html and cascading style sheets? Are they familiar with the system you've built your blog in? Or if you are switching system's, are they familiar with both systems? Do they know at least the fundamentals of the programming language your blog's Content Management System is written in? Can they demonstrate their abilites with these technologies if asked to do so? For example, they might send you a template they have coded for review. If you don't understand the template that's ok. Just their willingness to show you proves their confidence in their abilities.

5. A Designer's Blog is Important to Evaluate

Much like portfolios a designer's blog can be an indicator of how good they are at blog design. A designer that has a blog, especially a professional blog, has put in the time to truly understand what blogging is all about. Its not just another website its a blog. And developing a blog community, while having some parallels with other website communities, is a different medium, and has its own unique idiosyncrasies to understand. A designer involved with blogging will be a greater resource than a designer that hasn't blogged or only recently got into blogging. If you like the style and professionalism of a couple of designer's you could look to this forth area as a deal breaker. The areas below can be looked at as ways to differentiate some final candidates as well.

6. Look at Other Services They Offer

Your spending time and money building a relationship here. It is worthwhile to consider what other resources this individual could serve in helping your blog to grow. Are they an adept programmer well versed in the languages your blog's Content Management System is written in. There is a big difference between a designer's cursory knowledge of a programming language and a programmer's depth and abilities to write symphonies with it. If this designer is also an excellent writer or search engine optimization specialist well that means they have some other expertise that you could utilize to help grow your blog.

7. Your Budget

Clearly you need to be able to afford the designer. If their price range is not within the scope of your budget then you won't be able to use them. Though your concept of your budget should be put in the perspective of risk and reward. A designer that meets all 6 points above will likely cost much more than a designer that only meets two. That's because they have a proven track record of success and can clearly demonstrate the results you will get for your money.

Its up to you to decide which of the above points are most important to you and how they fit within the scope of your budget. Just keep in mind that the less a designer can demonstrate with past success the more risk you, as the blog business owner, are taking on in the redesign process of your blog.

The Narrowed Down List

Hopefully, this list has narrowed down the field of potential designer's you are evaluating. And you'll have some tools for evaluating their quotes within the scope of professionalism, your budget, and the results you are looking for. Any questions you have about these suggestions let me know below.

time = money

I'm just starting my blog, and after two weeks of futzing around tweaking free Word Press themes I'm ready to buy something that'll suit my needs.

Time is Definately Money

@Michael

That's very true. Deciding what to outsource is really important in business. Hiring a professional to design and setup your blog is a good decision for many business owners. Let me know how the tips above helped.

There is also a contact form in the footer if you would like me to give you a quote to help you get set up.

Thanks.

Nice Design Yourself

Great to see you've gone and launched this and it looks really good to. I was just thinking today how many of the great blogs have unique designs and avatars (John Cow has perhaps the best).

Anyways, keep up the great work and look forward to more...

Free vs. Premium vs. Custom

Great post. I'm using a premium design for my blog that cost me $49. I'd like to get a custom design, but simply can't afford it at this time. I've printed this article as a resource for when I am ready to fork over the cash.

John Cow

Samuel,

John Cow has some fun illustration going on. Thanks for pointing that out.

I always thought your image of a bed for a blog that is focused on freelancing is really funny.

Custom Design

@Jim

Another option is to customize your premium blog professionally.

You could start with a logo design. The blog design your using is actually a good candidate for this kind of treatment. You could have someone design you a custom header. That would give you some unique branding. Then when you have more cash flow that header could be combined into the new custom design. Or a variation of that header. So, the branding remains intact.

Good to hear you printed the article out. Thanks.

Looks Good

This blog looks great so you definitely know what you're talking about!

hey nice work you write very

hey nice work
you write very well
keep writing:)

thanks much

i am gonna show this to my friend, man

Design is Very Important For Your Blog

I love your article. It couldn't be more true that a blog without a good design isn't a great blog. It is very true that it is important to choose the right designer when creating your blog. A little Search Engine Optimization to help people find the blog is also important. Thanks for your great writing!

Picking the Right Web Designer

This is a great article. I really love your writing style and I always love a good ordered list.

With so many options

With so many options for blogs, it's important to keep in mind you budget for such a project, if you can do it in house and keep from outsourcing, all the better. Thanks for the tips!

nice list

i love this list, thanks for sharing it with us

Blog Designers

I have been my own blog designer for while just because I don't have the budget to afford a real designer. Good advice here.

Good guide

Hello! Thanks for the tips, great guide for a blog redesign and for outsourcing in general. When people use these kind of services for the same time, they make a few mistakes, you have helped me out greatly!

Great tips there. I'll

Great tips there. I'll certainly take note of that. Thanks mate!

Sogereursuice

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Design

Design is important for blogs that you might want to sell, but a lot of the time having some poor design might make you more money than if you had a beautiful site.

One of the things that is

One of the things that is important as well is to make sure that the designer knows SEO. They need to make sure the tags and site structure makes sense for the bots.

The other thing to make

The other thing to make sure, is that the designer keeps your needs at the forefront. Ive worked with some that start to use you as their canvas, and forget about your needs and the importance of making the blog fit and be easily navigateable (is that a word?)

What I really make sure to

What I really make sure to do is make sure the design doesn't take over the blog. Sometimes the graphics and colors overpower the content. And, you know....Content is king!

There is a very fine line

There is a very fine line between "professional" and "bad". I've seen popular blogs that I thought looked terrible and also the opposite? Then there are great looking blogs that are covered with ads. Usually the more popular, the more ads. No ads, no money. How do you balance it all?

Thanks for the great

Thanks for the great article. Your list has been so helpful and has given me a lot to think about. My main issue, as I'm sure is the same as most is the budget. I'm hoping to be able to do some design myself (although I'm no designer) and hire out what I can afford and can't do myself. Thanks again!!

Cheers.

Web design

Nice advice,Sean . Yep after a while all the pages you visit tend to look the same .Everyone has a different idea of what make a good looking site .Some one needs to get a software out there that is a true wysiwyg template creator, where you can move the cells around and put them where you want.
But I guess that's like the everlasting tyre , it would put a lot of people out of work!
Good post
Vector

Elephent

I love your article. It couldn't be more true that a blog without a good design isn't a great blog. It is very true that it is important to choose the right designer when creating your blog. A little Search Engine Optimization to help people find the blog is also important. Thanks for your great writin

Things not to do when using a template

As you mentioned, personalizing a template is the only way to go...

But, and this is a big but, you also need to look high and low for snippets the template designer put in. Of course, if your template license forbids this, you should not do it.

For example, a doctor client hired us recently and when we looked at her meta tags they all referred to the fact that the site was built on a Joomla template.

Go figure.

So, you really need to be careful about the fine points, as well, when using a template.

Nice tips, i'd have to

Nice tips, i'd have to change myself as i am a wemdesigner :)

Thanks for the tips, funny

Thanks for the tips, funny thing is there are so many nice free templates out there now, many times I just opt for a free version and move on...

Nice subjuct matter I will be adding ablog to my sitesoon

I just wanted to say thanks for putting up an interesting article based on your knowledge in the field.

Blog Customization

I find that picking a blog theme and then using the original designer to customize if for you always works out best. They know their own code and can change things so easily, and rather cheaply.

didnt know

I didnt even know that you could make your own blog! I just thought that they were all templates.

Well writen but...

That was a very well written post, except that there were no pictures! You guys have a great writing style but you should consider throwing in a few images in order to break up the post. Otherwise it can resemble a giant wall of text. Just a thought.

Their Technical Abilities Need to Be Above the Needs of the Job

As someone in the industry I cannot express to you how important this is!

Projects always get scoped up and then something comes up and before you know it your paying thousands over what you should be. Hire the right person that has a wide range of code experience pay them a little more and you will pay less in the long run

Great tips

I like how you put things in perspective like this. I also agree with the notion that a blog designer should know a few things about search engine optimization. It seems that I come across many great looking blogs every day that dont have much going in terms of SEO. Especially here in Toronto.

designer

I always ask for a live site as a reference. Also If I can, I ask for a quick demo to test the designers skill

Thanks for the tips. You

Thanks for the tips. You surely are a great help.

need help

The most interesting fact that today, i see same article:).
Although I do not remember there may be a link to the source,
but probably not - but your site look solid.

Using Templates

Thanks for the pointers, I shall take the plunge next week

Such an important decision

Redesigning your site is such an important decision, never to be taken lightly. The design is almost as important as the content itself. Great article guys.

Yes, there are always things

Yes, there are always things to consider before spending your money to pay an unknown person to do something for you.

You gave me some good

You gave me some good advices. Thank you for your nice and helpful post.

some free templates are

some free templates are awesome and a lot more professional than what you can buy cheaply. It might be better to start with a free template you like and have someone brand it for you, if you can do it yourself.

Good designer for business templates

If you're blogging for an online business or online shop, it would be best to get a template design that is professional-looking.

Sound SEO Knowledge

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but I think a VERY important thing to consider is whether the designer has sound SEO principles in place when designing the blog.

Besides the obvious ranking ramifications, it can also have a negative affect from a branding perspective if this is not the case.

Hmmm... this is really

Hmmm... this is really getting more and more interesting...

optimized website

Search engine optimization knowledge, but not the ones that charge you extra for an optimized website.

Good website

Very educational article. Continue podderzhiat your blog.

Thanks

Least sitting there with pencil and paper in hand looking like a writer.

You´re fkn Right!!

definitely, make a choise it´s very complicated.
Specially, because you never imagine if that work is authentic or not. (because templates)
.
thanks for the tips.

User and search engine

User and search engine friendly design is important. So the designer should know about SEO. Just make it simple and unique.

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