How to make the best out of your free theme?

WordPress is a great blogging platform. It’s simple to use and has great features. But let’s be real. It’s not too friendly for free users. We can’t change anything in our themes to make it personal and different from others, unless we upgrade to Pro. If we want to put our own themes we have to move to self-hosted wordpress.org, but at least editting codes a little bit would be great.

I really like WordPress and I prefer to upgrade my blog, instead of moving to, for example, free Blogspot. I don’t find it simple at all and it doesn’t have a variety of great themes to choose from. When I just have some free money I’ll upgrade my blog so I can make it the way I want it to be.

Until then I can pimp my free blog in some ways. I thought to share with all of you my view on that so maybe some of you will find it useful.

How you can make your blog more personal?

1. Choose the right theme

My theme, Ari, lets you choose the color sheme, first and second link color and text color. This way you can chose the colors of your blog. I’m sure there are more themes that have these options too, but you would need to look good for them.

This is how my theme options look like:

NOTE: I use Pixlr to edit my pictures or make graphics. It has a lot of nice features. I use ‘Pixlr Express’. It’s the best as for me. Then I save them on computer and upload them to my Photobucket account and upload direct image links into my posts.

2. Make a custom banner

On Ari it actually looks more like a sign, but on other themes you can put a banner of your wish. I’ll show you how I made my banner-sign. It’s really easy and you can make it yourself as well.

STEP 1: First I uploaded simple white background to be able to put a new graphic on it.

STEP 2: I found online a shape I wanted for my sign, saved it on my computer and then added it to my background. It was originally black, but I wanted it to be more gray so I changed the opacity.

STEP 3: I cropped unnecessary white space so the triangle has maximal width of my column.

STEP 4: I added the title of my blog to it. I chose simple, bold font in obvious deep pink color.

STEP 5: I didn’t want to leave it only with text so I added wings sticker which can be found under ‘tattoos’. Of course I made the sticker pink.

FINAL RESULT: Voila! This is how my sign looks like.

On Pixlr you can make your banner look however you want. You can put different fonts, colors and stickers. I found a background online, because it’s more comfortable for me, but you can also make it with specific width and height on ‘Pixlr Editor’. After you make it save it on your computer and upload it to ‘Pixlr Express’ and play with it!

3. Make a welcome picture

If you are a fan of blogs, as me, you probably browse through a lot of them, not only on WordPress. Almost all of them have a picture of the blogger with ‘Welcome’ or ‘Hello’ on it with their name or short introduction. I’ve decided to make similar one as well.

STEP 1: As with sign, upload white background and add your picture to it.

STEP 2: Put a pic you chose before and put it anywhere in the background. Remember to make it smaller to leave space above and below picture to put a text.

STEP 3: I’ve put ‘HELLO’ above my pic. I chose some retro font so it won’t look too simple. Obviously, in pink color.

STEP 4: Below I’ve put my name in handwritten font in obvious color.

STEP 5: I cropped unnecessary white space so my picture will be as big as possible. My right column is smaller than left one that’s why it’s important to make pic the widest as possible. Also I made text bigger so it will be readable.

FINAL RESULT: Voila! Welcome picture is ready.

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As you can see, my picture has rounded corners so I’ll show you how I’ve done that.

I used CutMyPic for it. It’s very easy to use.

STEP 1: I uploaded my picture I edited before.

STEP 2: I chose rounded corners and decided to use my whole pic, without cropping it. You can also choose some other effects to make on the pic.

FINAL RESULT: And that’s it! Picture is ready. Now just save it on your computer.

4. Customize social media buttons and page/category flags

I’ve only put page flags. I have too many categories for now and not all of them can be found online.

I found flags and social media buttons on HerNewLeaf blog. She didn’t blog since few months, but she shared a lot of tips for bloggers so check her blog out!

She has made flags for basic page/categories, like about, contact, beauty, life, etc. and social media buttons for the most popular platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. She offers different colors of it as well.

I chose clementine color for social media buttons and primrose color for category flags.

A lot of bloggers offer free stuff for blogs so if you want to find something suitable for you just take the time to browse around and you might find what you are looking for.

5. How to put all of these on the blog?

You have special tabs for banner, pages and images in widgets so you can use them. I used image tabs for banner and welcome picture and text tabs for flags and social media. If you have a theme with banner above the column and post area then you can only use ‘Header’ option under ‘Appearance’

How to put banner and welcome picture in image tabs?

Just put direct image link from Photobucket or any other site you use in ‘Image URL’. You don’t even need to adjust size, because WordPress will do it for you. To image tab with banner I also added a link to homepage of my blog under ‘Link URL’

How to put flags and social media buttons in text tab?

Use this code:

<a href=”direct link to your page or category”><img src=”direct link to your image”>

For example my link to about me page:

< a href=”http:// theglowingheart.wordpress.com/about” > < img src=” http:// i610.photobucket.com/albums/tt186/AniaLove/ aboutme_zpsdf20aaf6.png” >

(I’ve put spaces in my codes so they won’t show up as links. On your widgets put codes which I wrote above example, only adding your links in right places. Remembet, the only spaces there are in ‘a href’ and ‘img src’.)

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I know this post was long, detailed and boring, but I hope it will be useful for someone who isn’t too familiar with coding and wants to make their free blog more personal.

If you would like to ask about something you didn’t understand in post or maybe you would like to ask about something which I didn’t write about, I might be able to help you with it as well so just contact me through ‘CONTACT‘ tab!

xoxo

Little achievements

I think all of us bloggers like smaller or bigger achievements.

We are blogging, because we want to share our [insert your reason for blogging here]. We are happy about every like and comment, we cherish every new follower.

Few weeks ago I’ve gotten 200 follows and today 1337 likes on my blog!

I’m glad about each and every person who stopped by my blog, about every like, every comment and every follow. Blogging would be nothing without the audience.

Thank you all for checking my senseless posts everyday! (:

xoxo

How to be Freshly Pressed?

I was always wondering what it takes to be Freshly Pressed.

I decided to think about ‘rules’ WordPress has created.

1. Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.

Hmm… aren’t we? 98% of bloggers on WordPress write their own content free of plagiarism, adult content and hate speech.

2. Have a point of view.

In my opinion, WordPress is a ‘home’ for people who have their own opinions and points of view, people who are not afraid to speak their mind. All of us are like that.

3. Don’t be afraid of your voice.

I follow a lot of blogs and each of them is different and special. As for me, every person in the world is special and unique, so are bloggers in here.

4. Paint us a picture.

Most of blogs I had luck to stop by are online journals sharing special moments in lives. Most of pictures posted in the platform are unique photos made by blog owners.

5. Make it easy on the eyes.

I don’t remember seeing any blog which was hard to read. WordPress has a lot of clean and simple themes. Most of bloggers make their content look clear and easy to read.

6. Write a headline we can’t ignore.

It’s not always easy to write a headline to interest everyone. Some people will be intrigued by a specific headline and some won’t. It all depends on personal preferences. Both readers and writers, have their own interests, that’s why some people prefer simple headline, even one worded, and some people will prefer catchy, multi worded headline which is almost a summary of the post.

7. Aim for typo-free content.

I check my posts and headlines many times before I publish it. I’m sure many people do the same. Of course, typos happen, but it’s easy to fix.

What’s my opinion about them?

Honestly, I think only people who are perfect English speakers and have a funny, kind of odd, nature can be Freshly Pressed. I may be wrong, but that’s only my opinion.

I check Freshly Pressed posts from time to time and Daily Post’s ‘What makes a Post Freshly Press-able’ and I noticed people spotlighted there have a unique sense of humor. It’s great, but what about people who are not like this? Who are boring? Who don’t have a colorful imagination?

Also, what about people who are not perfect in English? Native English speakers have their own idioms, their own expressions. I think my English is pretty well. I’ve been learning and speaking it for like 14 years now, which means I speak it for most of my life. Still, I’m not native and I’m not sure if I ever be, unless I move to English speaking country. There I would be forced to speak and hear English 24/7. It will surround me on my every step. There is really low percent of non-English speakers who are perfect in English.

I find myself boring, simple English speaking and not too colorful thinking blogger. I guess this disqualify me as potential Freshly Pressed participant.

xoxo