Blogging is so much more fun when you have a design that fits your style and speaks to your content. One big part of getting a design is the price that comes with it, which is why I’ll be dividing this post up based on how much you’re willing to spend. Even if you’re set on paying a certain amount (or nothing at all), be sure to explore the other options, because you may decide spending more/less will be better for you and your blog in the long run!
Design Budget: $0
For many bloggers that are just starting out, spending money on a design doesn’t sound very intriguing. You don’t know how long you’ll be blogging, or whether you even like blogging yet, so making an investment right away may not be the best decision. Not to worry—there are several free options for you!
1. Templates provided by your platform
Most platforms offer a selection of pre-made templates that are great to start from. They’re usually very simple, but will generally have customizable options like the main colors or logo image. They won’t be too complicated to work with, so this is a minimum time/minimum budget choice!
2. Free templates made elsewhere
If you Google “Free templates for *your platform*”, you’ll most likely find several websites that have compiled a list of free templates made by individual designers. These designs will be similar to those offered by your platform, but you’ll have a larger selection to choose from! Warning: you may end up spending HOURS searching through these websites before you find the perfect template. More options means a harder decision!
3. Design your own
If you have some design skills (even just relative knowledge of HTML/CSS depending on what platform you’re using), this is a great option. You don’t have to start from scratch by any means, and it’s probably easier to take a free template and edit that to your liking. For example, if you’re on Blogger, take the Simple template and play around with the CSS stylesheet until you get something you like! There are TONS of tutorials out there, and you can check out my blogging archives for specific lessons.
Design Budget: $30 – $60
This is kind of a tough middle-ground, because you’re sitting between free templates that may not be up to the standards you’re looking for, and hiring a designer that will give you exactly what you want. Fortunately, lots of designers make pre-made templates that start off around $30, making them a great budget-friendly option! If you’re not familiar with pre-made templates, they’re basically blog templates that a designer created with the intention of selling them multiple times, so yes, if you purchase one, someone else may also purchase that exact template. They’ll give you instructions for the installation, and some even offer help after you download it! These are some of my favorite places to find pre-made templates:
- Etsy – Just search “blog templates for *your platform*” and you’ll find some beautiful designs! I’d definitely recommend shopping here if you’re using Blogger. Be sure to check out the shop owner’s policies before you purchase, and look through their store for add-on options like blog installation or extra widgets!
- themeforest – This website has a ton of goodies, including WordPress and Tumblr templates. Their average price seems to be around $48, but the templates are very professional and come with a lot of features!
- Studiopress – Another WordPress theme site, and this is actually where I purchased the theme I worked off of! If you’ve ever heard of the Genesis Framework, this is the site you’d buy it from in order to use their themes. For reference, I chose the Glam Pro Theme!
Note: Make sure you check what platform the template you buy is for, because you don’t want to accidentally purchase a template that doesn’t work on yours!
Design Budget: $100 – ???
The range of prices for custom designs is huge, and what you’ll get for $100 will most likely be way different from what you’ll get for, say, $1000, as you would probably expect! Getting a custom blog design is a big commitment, but it can be so rewarding. For one, you get to work with a real person (eep!) to create the blog of your dreams. They’ll help you get your thoughts together and narrow down what you want for your blog, and everything will be customized just for you. Designers often offer different packages (blog design, branding, logo design) and may give you add-on options as well (social media covers, business cards, signatures). The choices are really endless if you find the right designer! If this is the route you’re going for, be sure to consider a few things:
- The price you pay may be greatly affected by the platform you’re using, which is why I chose such a wide price range. For example, a designer may charge $100 for a Blogger design and $500 for a WordPress design simply because the design options are very limiting to designers on Blogger in comparison to WordPress, meaning they can do less with the design and will most likely spend less time designing your blog. This doesn’t mean you can’t get a beautiful design on blogger (seriously, there are some fantastic Blogger designs out there!), it just means the design process won’t be as intensive for the designer.
- Bargaining with a designer is almost never a good idea. Having a low budget and wanting a custom design can be a tough position, but asking a designer to make you an exception to their prices can come off as rude. They value their work at whatever price they chose, so asking for the same amount of work at a lower price just means they’re losing time and money! If you’re unable to pay full price for their service, consider waiting a little longer and saving up, or searching for a beautiful pre-made template at a price that fits your budget.
- The prices out there may seem daunting, but if you find the right designer, spending a few hundred dollars or more could really make the difference you’re looking for. You may find some designers that offer custom designs for $50, but I can’t guarantee that those designs will be much more than the pre-made templates I talked about earlier with some extra customizations. You’re paying for a person’s time and other resources, so consider what you would charge someone if they were asking for a few days of your time.