So… You started your blog, purchased your domain name, and you’re ready to hit the ground running! Only to dive into WordPress and realize that you have NO idea what you are doing… Try as you might, you can’t get your blog to look the way you want it to.
The header images, the columns, the pretty headlines, the newsletter sign-up… You also have posts and pages, different types of menus, headers, footers, and all sorts of customizations to work through.
You’re looking at someone else’s blog for ideas and banging your head against the wall trying to get your blog to cooperate and look like theirs…
You’re tired and frustrated and wondering if you have made a colossal mistake because you are in way over your head.
Other people (ahem, Alex and Lauren) make it look SO easy, right???
WHAT AM I DOING WRONG!?
We get it, guys. We’ve been there.
I remember spending literally HOURS trying to get our header image to display EXACTLY how I wanted it to.
Alex could hear me huffing and puffing in frustration from the next room.
I would read articles and watch tutorials and desperately try to learn a bit of coding to get the job done. And oftentimes, my efforts would be futile.
So, what’s the deal?
Why is this so hard?
Why can’t you get your blog to look the way you want it to?
First of all, there is one important thing that you must understand during this process:
Different WordPress themes come with different capabilities, and this means that every theme will have certain limitations as to what you can and can’t do with it.
Sometimes these limitations can only be overcome by purchasing a new theme or hiring a coder to custom-code your website.
We recently paid a website designer and coder a pretty decent sum of money to completely re-design both of our blogs (Avocadu and Create & Go). But that was ONLY because we are finally at a place that we could afford to make that investment.
For a year and a half, we had to do the best we could with our very limited knowledge about WordPress, themes, website coding, etc. Ultimately, this process boils down to your THEME. That is, the WordPress theme that you choose for your blog.
Why a Great Theme Matters
Themes are designed to have pre-programmed coding that allow you to make customizations to your blog.
The most important thing to remember is that not all WordPress themes are created equal.
As we stated before, different themes have different coding written into their files and as a result, will allow you to customize different items and also LOOK very different.
Some themes, like the Genesis Framework, are VERY fast but are also more advanced and not very user-friendly.
We purchased Genesis after finding out that it was the fastest theme out there but after spending over $150 on the theme and customization add-ons, we were left with an “ugly” blog that we still couldn’t make look like we wanted it to.
Instead, we recommend starting with a beginner theme that also has a LOT of customizability before making the switch over to a faster theme like Genesis.
There are a few themes that meet these criteria, but our #1 recommendation for new bloggers is Divi Theme.
It is far cheaper, easier to use, and beginner-friendly. And it also has TONS of customizations.
The awesome pre-built customizations in Divi Theme are what allow you to add all sorts of images, columns, widgets, headers, and other items exactly where you want them to be.
You can check out Divi Theme here.
P.S. Divi is a little on the pricier side, although our new bloggers seem to LOVE it despite that. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, our #2 recommendation is Avada Theme, which still comes with a lot of customization at a slightly lower price tag.
Of course, there are still limitations, but there always will be. This is why we don’t recommend free themes.
For all of you preferred video learners out there, here is a video of this topic (plus some extra tips!) from our Youtube Channel below.
.For more free blogging tips and tricks from us, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Why Free Isn’t Always Better
In short: You get what you pay for.
Free = fewer options and fewer customizations.
This is what will happen for most of you and is what happened for us as well. We started with a free theme to save a few bucks.
We spent hours and hours trying to make our blog look pretty and how we wanted it to, only to find out that it just wasn’t within the theme’s capabilities.
Free themes leave you with very limited options.
And if this is all that is in your budget, that’s okay. You just have to understand that you are getting what you pay for and you have to accept how your blog looks with the theme that you selected.
You should also know what you are worth. What I mean by this is that you should know the value of your time.
If you save $60 by opting for a free theme but then spend a solid 3 days trying to design your blog, you have essentially wasted FAR more than $60.
Your time is an invaluable resource that you cannot get back, and it matters even more in the beginning when you are struggling to quit your day job and get on your feet so that you can blog full-time. Do not waste it.
It’s perfectly fine to start out with a free theme while you get the hang of how WordPress works and are writing your first post, but just keep these things in mind as you begin to spend more time on the design of your blog.
If you are banging your head against the wall after a few solid hours of trying to get your theme to cooperate with you, consider investing in yourself and your blog and grabbing Divi Theme.
The Learning Curve
There is a learning curve for EVERYONE, and there was a big one for us as well.
We didn’t start off any differently than you did.
That learning curve will be a lot larger for some of you. It is true that some people pick up on the whole “blogging” thing much easier than others, and some people just ‘get technology’ a bit more.
If you are one of the ones feeling overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and in over your head, listen up! I’m talking to YOU right now.
Our Launch Your Blog Course was designed to hack this learning curve for you!
It was designed to walk you through all of these steps as quickly, easily, and efficiently as possible to save you TONS of time (and therefore money) as you are getting this process started.
We have started TWO blogs from scratch in the last two years, and we have probably made every blogging mistake in the book.
We have spent TONS of time and money on various themes, plugins, courses, tutorials, and the like, all trying to figure this stuff out.
Launch Your Blog has the exact steps that we took (without all of the costly mistakes) to get our blogs started, built, and launched.
The course walks you through everything from…
- Starting your blog (choosing hosting + a domain name)
- Setting up your blog, including…
- Navigating WordPress
- Writing your first few posts and pages
- Choosing your theme and designing your blog
- Setting up your first email list along with your first few emails
- All of other minor but important details, including
- Setting up legal pages
- Creating your logo
- Choosing headlines for your content
This course will save you SO much time and money by giving you a MAJOR advantage and head start on the process.
It will help you accomplish in ONE MONTH what would otherwise take you 2-3 months.
You can’t start driving traffic to your blog or make money with your blog until you have this ‘start-up’ phase completed, and our course will give you all of the tools that you need to get through this phase as painlessly as possible.
P.S. If you’re a real go-getter, you can also start with our Pro Blogger Bundle. This bundle includes ALL of our courses at a very heavy discount – $144 off the original price.
This option gives you all of the tools that you need to not only start and launch your blog but also to drive traffic and monetize your blog as well.
That’s it for this one, bloggers! Create something awesome today! If you enjoyed this article on how to get your blog to look the way you want it to or have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.
Co-Founder, Create and Go
P.S. Have you started your blog yet? If not, make sure you sign up for our FREE 7-Day eCourse on Starting Your Blog from scratch!