4 Tips for Finding the Perfect Color Scheme for Your Blog

4 tips for finding the perfect color scheme for your blogWhen choosing the color scheme for your blog, the possibilities are nearly endless. With inspiration around every corner, it can make it difficult to narrow down the options. Fortunately, there are ways of approaching your color choices that won’t leave you grasping at thin air. Let’s take a look at 4 strategies for doing just that.


1) Use Pinterest for Inspiration

Pinterest is one of the most amazing tools available for finding inspiration. We’ve created a color palette board here that is packed with gorgeous color palette inspiration. If you don’t find anything that interests you there, search for other color palettes using the search bar. Create a board for this and start pinning any color palette or photo that appeals to you. After you’ve compiled about 20-30 pins you’ll most likely start seeing a pattern in the colors you are drawn to. This should help you narrow down your colors to a palette best suited for your blog.

using-pinterest-for-color-inspiration


2) Find a photograph or image that interests you

This does not have to be an image you’re actually planning on using on your blog, but it should be an image you find visually pleasing or, if you’re designing for a client, that somehow adheres to any brand colors or to their imagery guidelines. Keep in mind the way it makes you feel, as the colors in this image can subconsciously inform tone and mood wherever they’re placed.

photo of interest

image source: the design files

Once you have an image, pull one or two of the dominant colors from this image and place them together on your blog. If you like what you see, add other colors into the mix as accent colors. These can be used sparingly in areas where you want emphasis. Continue to mix the colors around until you find a combination that’s visually pleasing.

Two tools to use for this strategy

1. If you’ve already got a reference image that is on your computer, there is an online resource called Pictaculous, which allows you to upload a photo to find a palette that works best with the uploaded image, then obtain the generated color palette through RGB and HEX values, Adobe swatch files, email and more. This will provide a great start if you already have imagery chosen for your blog.

eras

2. If you don’t have the image but want to focus on a certain color, try the Shutterstock Color Spectrum. By using a simple slider, you can pick and choose stock photography to sync with any color scheme you might have in mind. You can also use keywords to help search for the perfect imagery for your concept. One of the nicest things about using a tool like this is that it takes you more directly through what will be the consumer’s experience of any imagery you choose, helping you to better target your audience and choose web-safe colors.

dfd


3) Use an online color palette generator

If you need a little more guidance right off the bat, use an online color palette generator and let the math do the work for you! These sites can be helpful when you need to see a visual representation of your color palette and quickly translate the color values you see for online use.

Two resources for this strategy

1. Kuler, one of the original color palette resources run by Adobe. Users can create custom color palettes that are downloadable and rated by others in the community. If you have an Adobe ID, or sign up for one (it’s free), you can then download these swatches for use with any Adobe product.

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2. ColourLovers, a huge color inspiration site that allows you to find colors, patterns and palettes based upon channels, trends, and more. Through their “Colors” link, you can instantly see the HEX and RGB values for the colors you like, or select the color and create a palette or pick stock photography that leverages the same color.

rtrRemember not to focus on only your favorite colors, but rather to use them as a starting place from which to expand. You might begin, for instance with blue and then add a neutral color or two. Then you could try adding non-typical colors to help give a well-rounded variety of values.


4) Look at blogs or websites in your same niche

Finding a sampling of websites that have similar topics can reveal a common thread in the colors used to represent them.

For example, if we were to create a blog on cooking, we might take a look at Food Network, Epicurious, or AllRecipes. While they are uniquely different in design, we can see that there is a dominance of red, green, and orange – three colors that could (theoretically) be borrowed from an image of food:

allrecipesKnowing that these colors are inspired by food and have also been successful when used on other recipe sites can help validate and determine a good starting point for your color scheme.


Take-Away

Finding the perfect color scheme for your blog can seem like an intimidating prospect at first, but with these four methods, it’s really not so hard. In fact, the process of searching for your color can inspire even the written tone and voice for your blog, as well as your content. So dig in, have fun, and make those colors pop!

See our collection of gorgeous color palette’s here.
Learn about the power of color in blog design here.

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Posted by: Erin

Thanksgiving Place Cards Printable

THANKSGIVING-NAME-TAGS-PRINTABLEDirect your Thanksgiving dinner guests to their assigned seats with these fall place cards. Adding place cards to your dinner table adds a unique and personalized touch to your festive table decor.

These Thanksgiving place cards can be printed from any color printer and look best if printed on bright white heavy card stock or photo paper. Cut out the tags, fold them, and then write each of your guests names on them. If you are comfortable using a photo editor, you can also open the file in a photo editor and type your guests names on the cards prior to printing them. The file contains five unique place cards that can be printed multiple times based on how many guest you have.

THANKSGIVING-NAME-TAGS-PRINTABLEEnjoy!

For personal use only.

 

Other popular Thanksgiving printables:

Thanksgiving Food Labels Printable
In All Things Give Thanks Printable
Thanksgiving Menu Printables
 
 
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Posted by: Erin

Creating a Rollover Effect on Blog Photos

 how to create a rollover effect on blog photosAdding a hover effect to your blog photos is fun and easy way to add interest to your blog posts or sidebar images. Rollover effects are a great way to showcase before and after photos or to surprise your readers with a fun message when they hover over a photo. To see how the the rollover effect works, hover your mouse over the pink glasses right here:

So fun.
Here’s how to create this effect…
 

STEP 1: CREATE TWO PHOTOS

My brother’s cute wife Michelle of 4 Men 1 Lady has graciously allowed me to use her about photo for this demonstration. Seriously, go check out her blog. She is INSANELY talented.

2-photosThe main image photo is the one people will see first when they view your blog. The hover photo is the photo they will see when they roll over the photo with their mouse. When the mouse is removed from the photo, the photo will return to the original photo.

NOTE: If you are using before and after photos of a room or project, make sure you are standing in the exact same spot or using the exact same angle when you take both photos for the best hover effect.


STEP 2: CREATE URL’S FOR EACH PHOTO

Each photo will need to be converted to a URL in order to be used in the coding that will create the hover effect. Instructions for how to do this in both WordPress and Blogger are shown below.

To Create a URL in WordPress

In your dashboard, find your media library and upload each photo to it. Then click to Edit each image. Copy the URL from the URL box and save each URL somewhere so you have them handy for the next step.

how to grab a url in wordpress

To Create a URL in Blogger

Create a new post and upload each photo. Click on each photo and make sure they are set to “Original size.”

how to grab a url in blogger

Now switch to the HTML view of the post. You’ll see a bunch of coding. The first block of coding is for your first image, the second block of coding is for your second image. The URL for your images are going to start with “https” or “http” and are going to end in either “png” or “jpg”. Do not copy the quotation marks before and after the code. You’ll need to find and copy each image URL and then save those URL’s somewhere so you have them handy for the next step.

how to grab a url in bloggerThen save the post. IMPORTANT: you’ll need to keep this post saved as a draft forever and never delete it or your images will be deleted as well.


STEP 3: ADD ROLLOVER EFFECT CODING

If you are wanting the hover effect added to a post/page, open the post/page and switch to the HTML view (Blogger) or to the Text view (WordPress). If you are wanting the hover effect added to a sidebar gadget or widget, add the HTML/JavaScript gadget (Blogger) or a Text widget (WordPress). Then paste in the following code:

<img src="URL OF THE MAIN IMAGE GOES HERE" onmouseover="this.src='URL OF THE HOVER IMAGE GOES HERE'" onmouseout="this.src='URL OF THE MAIN IMAGE GOES HERE'" /></a>

Replace URL OF THE MAIN IMAGE GOES HERE with the image URL for the first main image (there are 2 locations in the code where this needs to be placed)

Replace URL OF THE HOVER IMAGE GOES HERE with the image URL for the second hover image

IMPORTANT: Be sure not to move or delete any of the quotation marks or apostrophes or the mouse over effect will not work. Also, be sure to publish your post in the HTML/Text mode for the effect to work properly.

Now Michelle’s cute about photo looks like this (be sure to hover):


I only chose to change the photo by adding text, but think about how cute it would be if her facial expression changed in the second photo as well. There are seriously so many creative ways you can use the hover effect! If you’ve used it, we’d love for you to share in the comments the link to a post you’ve used it on so we can check it out!
 
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Posted by: Erin

5 Blog Investments Worth Making

5 blog investments worth makingBecoming a successful blogger is all about building credibility. Credibility is the quality of being convincing or believable. In order for your readers to trust you as a blogger, your site needs to come across like you know what you are doing and that you’ve got this blogging thing down (even if in reality you’re still trying to figure it all out…ha!). In order to look credible, there are 5 blog investments worth making that will absolutely add to the value and credibility of your blog. Let’s take a look at what they are:


1: INVEST IN A KILLER DOMAIN

Whether you realize it or not, your domain will impact the success of your blog. If you’ve set up a free blog on WordPress.com or Blogger, simply losing the worpdress.com or blogspot.com extension on your url will add so much credibility to your blog (see links at end of this section for tutorials on how to accomplish this). GoDaddy is a great place to search for and purchase a domain. Although harder to find these days, try your best to use a dot-com domain as they come off as more credible. If the dot-com extension isn’t available, you can also get away with a dot-net extension or dot-org (if you are non-profit), but try to keep away from all the other extensions as they tend to diminish credibility.

Most domains are inexpensive to purchase—however, don’t be surprised if it costs a little money to secure the golden dot-com domain. Some domains, especially good ones, may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The designerblogs.com domain, for example, was a several hundred dollar investment when I purchased it 9+ years ago. I remember how scared I was to drop that much money into the purchase of a domain, but it has proven to be one of the best investments I could have made.

Lastly, make sure your domain is simple and something that can be easily remembered. Nobody will ever remember your url if it is too long. Using strong keywords in your url is a great way to get an easy boost in your SEO, but only use keywords if they make sense and fit your brand. Using a completely original name for your blog and url is also a great way to go (Google, Uber & Yahoo are great examples of this). Your domain is a representation of your blog and brand, so don’t be afraid to invest a little time and money to secure the perfect one.

How to Use a Custom Domain on Blogger
How to Step Up a WordPress Blog


2: INVEST IN A HOSTING PLAN

Getting a hosting plan (a.k.a. moving to self-hosted WordPress.org) is one of the best investments you can make because it allows for unlimited growth. Free blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com are great, but very limited when it comes to design, customization, and potential for growth. If you are a serious blogger, self-hosted WordPress.org is where you need to be.

I know it might seem a little overwhelming to move to self-hosted WordPress especially if you’ve been blogging on Blogger or WordPress.com for a long time, but hey, that’s what Designer Blogs is here for! Hire us and we’ll transfer all of your content and help you make the move as seamless as possible. As with any new thing, there is always a bit of a learning curve, but once you settle into self-hosted WordPress you’ll love it and be so glad you made the switch.

The tutorial linked below will walk you through the steps of purchasing a hosting plan (we highly recommend Bluehost) and installing WordPress. From there, if you need help transferring all of your content, contact us and we’d love to help you!

How to Purchase a Hosting Plan and Install WordPress


3: INVEST IN A PROFESSIONAL BLOG DESIGN

You only get one chance to make a great first impression with your blog, so make it a memorable one for your visitors with an impressive blog design. Yes, content is key, but if someone finds one of your blog posts on Pinterest and then clicks over to your blog to read the full article and your blog design is unprofessionally slopped together, it’s going to detract from your content instead of enhancing it like a good blog design should.

Think of it this way: The content of your blog is like a cake, but the cake isn’t going to look that appetizing if the icing on the cake is a disaster. Your blog design is the gorgeous icing that entices your visitors to want to delve more deeply into your content.

blog-design-is-icing

Having a great blog design shows you are committed to your blog and adds to your credibility as a blogger. Readers are going to make more of an effort to visit and re-visit your blog when they see effort is being invested into it. Having a stunning blog design will also positively increase your blog traffic because people are more likely to link to, share, and pin blog designs they find impressive.

Investing in a blog design doesn’t have to be expensive. Here at Designer Blogs we have a huge selection of very affordable (& not to mention gorgeous) blog templates for Blogger & WordPress that start as low as $15. Or you can invest in a more semi-custom premade theme, which include our most popular add-on items and installation for $75. If you want to really impress your readers, you can opt for a 100% unique, fully custom blog design or website design where you’ll work closely with a designer to create your dream look. We have design options available for every budget. Check out each of our shops below for more info:

Blog templates
Premade Blog Themes
Custom Blog Design
Custom Website Design


4: INVEST IN GREAT IMAGES

Photography has become one of the most important skills bloggers need to learn in order to create a successful blog. Think of the most popular blogs you follow. What do they all have in common? Great photography! Social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram are so visually driven that if you aren’t using great photos, you’re going to be missing out on the loads of traffic those sites could be driving to your blog. The better your blog images, the more likely those images will be shared across social media networks which will directly increase your traffic and the profitability of your blog. Here are three tips that will help take your blog images to the next level:

img_0683-1

Purchase a good camera and learn how to use it

Most photographer’s and bloggers swear by their DSLR cameras, but that may not be what you need. Think about what you plan to do with your camera. Do your research. Start out with a camera you feel you can handle. Many photographers say that you shouldn’t buy an expensive camera until you grow out of the camera you have. You can always upgrade your camera and lenses as your skills develop. Take a photography class so you can learn how to use your camera to its fullest potential. A few great photography classes are listed below.

Nicole’s Classes Photo 101
Tasty Food Photography eBook

Take advantage of styled stock photos

If you struggle in the photography department or simply lack the time to do constant photo shoots, take advantage of the thousands of professional stock photos available to you online. You can find a list of free stock photo sites here or you can find styled stock photos for purchase at the links listed below. With so many great resources available, there really is no excuse not to be using high-quality photos on your blog.

Creative Market
The Styled Stock Library
Ivorymix
Stockshop

Learn how to use a photo editing program

Learning how to edit and add text to your photos is an important part of creating a great blog packed with pinnable images. Although I use and highly recommend Photoshop, there are other less expensive and even free options available to you. A few great photo editing programs for you to try are:

Pixlr
Canva
PicMonkey


5: INVEST IN KNOWLEDGE

It’s impossible to build a successful blog without investing in knowledge. Things in the blogging world are constantly changing, so even bloggers who think they’ve mastered everything still have much to learn! If you don’t have a lot of money in the beginning, start by searching for blog tutorials and tips by knowledgeable and experienced bloggers. We have a whole slew of blog tutorials and blogging tips you can start with that will share the basics to growing a successful blog.

invest-in-blog-knowledgeEven though there are endless amounts of free information available to you, to really take your blog to the next level may require you to spend a little money on a good eBook, webinar, eCourse, and/or attending a good blog conference (I’ve linked to an exceptional one below). Yes, most of these, especially attending a blog conference, may require you to drop quite a bit of money, but the amount of knowledge and inspiration you’ll walk away with will far outweigh the costs. Blogging conferences give you the opportunity to learn from the best. They also provide you great networking opportunities with sponsors and fellow bloggers. All of these are great investments and will leave you empowered and motivated to really take your blog to the next level.

Be sure, however, that you implement what you learn as you go. Some people get so caught up in learning, learning, learning that they overwhelm themselves with knowledge and end up not knowing where to start. Learn a little, then implement. Learn a little more, then implement. Implementing knowledge all along your blogging journey is the key to growth and success!

Everything Food Conference


What other blog investments have you found to be worth making? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
 
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Posted by: Erin

Color Love | Bright Green, Yellow, Orange & Pink

green, yellow, orange, pinkimage source: divagonedomestic

Embrace the power of bright colors with this sunny yellow, spicy orange, playful pink & apple green color palette. These energizing colors will bring visual vibration and a ray of sunshine to any blog design. You’ll certainly brighten the vibe of your blog with this stand out palette.

If you love this brilliant palette, then you’ll be a fan of our Taylor design. Taylor, a responsive design for Blogger & WordPress, uses this color scheme in a simple, yet stylish way and can be found in our Blog template shop.

Taylor

See our collection of other gorgeous color palette’s here.
Learn about the power of color in blog design here.

 
 
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Posted by: Erin