Monday, December 28, 2009

Branding Your Blog on a Budget: Free Blogger Layout Sites

If you've ever read up on how to be successful with online marketing, you've undoubtedly come across the subject of branding.  The basic idea is that your marketing will be more effective if you establish a cohesive, unified brand: i.e. your logo, banner, color scheme, and more should all portray your intended message.  A really clear explanation of what branding means can be found at this page:

I definitely don't claim to be an expert on great branding.  I'm still looking for someone who can create a custom banner and avatar for both my Etsy and Artfire studios as well as help me figure out what on earth is going on at my homepage.  What I do know is that an artisan's blog is a part of their branding.  The appearance and content of your blog give important information about you as an artisan including your creative style and business style.  Making sure that your blog accurately reflects the sense of style and personality you want for your brand is very important for drawing in potential customers.

I've noticed that quite a few artisans choose to maintain their blogs on Blogger.  I don't know if everyone is reading the same business success guides or if people just happen to like this site, but regardless of the reasons it has become very popular. If you're like me, you may not have a ton of capital to invest in a unique blog layout nor the graphics know-how to design an impressive look yourself.  There are a few sites that I think are among the best when it comes to free layouts, backgrounds, and features for Blogger:

As you may have noticed, I obtained my own background and some of my sidebar buttons from this website.  They have an array of images from the vintage-inspired to the super-girly.  Even more features can be found on the Shabby Blogs' Blog:  This site is the first one I visit when I need something to spruce up my blog.

This website also has a wide array of colorful and seasonal backgrounds for both two and three column Blogger layouts.  The only drawback I've seen with them is the relative inability to contact the "2 Moms" that run the site.  Their blog hasn't been updated in almost a month and when I tried to contact them on Twitter, I was unable to get a response.  That essentially means everything is offered As-Is!  They do add new layouts on schedule though, so they are absolutely worth a look.

Of course, what sites you choose to use for graphics will entirely depend on the look you're trying to achieve.  I recommend checking out this post for more suggestions: Do you know of a great free site for Blogger templates, backgrounds, or other web elements?  Be sure to share it in the comments!

Until next time,


The Ash Grove said...

Great post! I've just taken a peak, but I really love Shabby Blogs already.

Also, I noticed your looking for a custom banner, etc. I could most certainly do a banner and av for both your Etsy and Artfire. I have a few examples currently in my shop, if you'd like to have a look ( And, though I must admit, I would be willing to try and help you out with your home page, as well. Shoot me a convo if you're interested and we can discuss it further. :)

Elle said...

It's really a great site, isn't it? I'm hoping they decide to come out with Twitter backgrounds at some point.

I checked out your link and I recognize your shop. I'd actually favorited you on Etsy a while back. I guess if I'd thought to go back through my <3's instead of randomly searching I wouldn't still be looking for a graphic designer! I'm on my way to an appointment now but I'll send you a convo later. Thanks so much for posting! :)

The Ash Grove said...

Oh, Twitter backgrounds would be great! Granted, I can make my own graphics, but sometimes I just like to use things that someone else made. =P

Lol. Don't worry. I would have done the same thing. Looking forward to hearing from you! And you're very welcome! :D