Leveraging Custom WordPress Blog Design

Posted in Backlinking Secrets, Usability and Design

Custom WordPress Blog DesignToday, I just wanted to share with you about the importance of good blog design, as well as how you can leverage custom WordPress blog design to your favor and make it worth the time and effort. You are probably familiar with the concept of differentiating your products or services and making them unique in the market.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by having a blog design that stands out. The better the design, the more favorable it is for you and your brand.

Yesterday I gave a bit of tips about how you can find the best internet marketing products to suit your needs, which in this case was the Headway Theme for me which allowed me to easily and quickly create my own custom WordPress blog design.

Now, let's have a look at the advantages I have gained with my own blog design, and for those backlinking and traffic generation fans out there, you'll get a bit of info on that as well. ;)


The Importance of Good Blog Design

Let's start by touching briefly on the importance of having a good blog design.

By saying good blog design, I mean a couple of things in general. A design that is pleasing to the eye, and allows convenient navigation for the readers, as well as establishing a powerful first impression.

First impressions are important for people who have never been to your site before, and it can mean the difference between an additional long-term subscriber and customer, or a higher bounce rate with leads to a drop in your search engine results.

Usability and design is actually a really important part of marketing, but most online marketers can't be bothered to create something that looks good and is convenient to go through, and this extends to even the products they create, not just the blogs that they use.

After redesigning my blog, I have seen a couple of great improvements which I would like to talk about below…


My Redesign Results

Higher Opt-In Rate: The first thing that I noticed after redesigning my blog was a significant improvement in the opt-in rate. Actually, I can understand why it happens, but I wasn't really expecting it to be honest. :P

A clean design makes it easier for people to notice the opt-in box. A good look also boosts the impressions of readers, making them more likely to opt-in because they feel at ease.

Higher Retention Rate: Another thing that is understandably improved is the retention rate, or the length of time that people are staying on the site. Based on measurements from Google Analytics, the average amount of time spent on the site has improved quite well. 

When the design of a site looks good, people don't mind staying longer. It's easier for them to navigate around the site too, so they don't get turned off as easily and leave all of a sudden.

Nice New Logo: Well, a good blog design wouldn't be complete without a logo to seal the brand. I finally took the time to design a meaningful logo for my site. It's good, because I can also use the logo as part of my avatar on forums or when commenting on blog posts.

After making a careful comparison of my logo as an avatar along with the avatars used by others when commenting on blogs, I found that my logo stands out from the others. This is because everyone's using their actual photo, while I'm the only one using a logo. :) Well, the results for that are good too…

By the way, the 2 in my logo is also a question mark, in case you didn't notice. And know that you know that, you'll probably remember it when you see it somewhere else. ;)

Improved Mood: I feel happier working on my site now that it looks nice. :) And that's probably why you'll see me blogging a bit more often now that it has been redesigned. I also feel more compelled to build up my site as an authority site because I just feel like making the site even nicer to complement the look.

White is my favorite color, so I'm using that, but if you redesign your blog you might want to consider using colors that best benefit yourself or your readers. Do some research into the psychology of color… :)

Improved Click-through Rate: The reason for this is simple. I changed the color of my hyperlinks to blue, and everyone knows that blue hyperlinks lead to higher click-through rates because the moment people see blue text, they know that it's a link and that they can click on it.

Of course, that's not all that I did. In addition to that, I mixed in some orange color to my site in order to amplify the color of blue hyperlinks. Blue and orange are complementary colors on the color wheel, so they help to make each other seem brighter when placed next to each other. That's the type of things you learn in design school… :)

Well, so far I'm only using a bit of orange on the front page of my blog, but I'll add more orange to the internal pages when I get the time.


Further Leveraging Your Blog Design

Now that you have your own blog design, in addition to all the benefits that I mentioned above, you can gain backlinks by submitting your blog to various WordPress Theme galleries.

These galleries display blogs that are using custom designed themes, and are a really simple way of getting both backlinks and exposure. Of course, your site has to be good enough to gain entry sometimes. :)

Theme Based Galleries: There are a number of different galleries that you can submit your blog to, so that they can display your blog design. One of these types of galleries are theme-based galleries.

For example, if you are using Genesis Theme or Thesis Theme, you would search for sites that are displaying blogs using the Genesis or Thesis Theme Galleries as a part of their design. Search for something like Genesis Theme Gallery or Thesis Theme Gallery.

I'm using the Headway Theme, so I found a gallery site that's displaying the design of blogs using the Headway Theme called Headway Gallery. I then submit my website for entry into their gallery in order to get a quality backlink as well as some good exposure. :)

Apart from that, you can submit your website design for entry consideration into the showcase galleries held by the product website of the theme you are using. For example, the Genesis Theme website has a showcase gallery like this for users of the Genesis Theme. 

General Blog Design Galleries: Apart from that, there are a ton of blog design galleries where you can submit your blog. Just search Google for 'blog design gallery' or 'wordpress design gallery' and find some galleries where you can submit your custom blog design to.

Some of these sites have really high PR and some of them are paid. Here's a list of free ones that you might consider submitting to:

  • http://welovewp.com/
  • http://blogdesignheroes.com/
  • http://www.designbombs.com/
  • http://www.csselite.com/
  • http://minimalexhibit.com/
  • http://foliofocus.com/
  • http://gallery.wpbeginner.com/

There are actually hundreds and hundreds of these sites, all with a fairly high level of PR. After submitting to a few of them, I got tired and decided to use some paid gallery submission service that I found. I initially found two, one called Gallery Rush and another called MeeCSS.

I decided to use MeeCSS paid submission because it's only $1 more than Gallery Rush, and it submits to more galleries. The paid service costs $18, and helps you to submit your site to over 100 different high quality blog galleries. Not to mention that their PR is slightly higher, so I think they seem slightly more popular. They allow you to check the status of your submissions too, which is really cool.

If you want to submit to them manually, you can use MeeCSS too, as they have a submission helper that you can use for free. Their submission helper is similar to what Social Marker does and so you can submit to all of those sites really quickly.

Don't underestimate the power of design galleries. Apart from the backlink that you get directly from the galleries, many popular design sites rely on these galleries for finding great designs that they can list in their latest blog posts. These blog posts are normally something like this, and as you can see, they link back to your site.

Well, the actual results you get will depend on how well you have designed your blog… If you have a great design, you'll keep getting backlinks over and over again as time goes by.



That's all for this post. There's actually a lot more that you can do, but since this post has gotten a bit long, I'll talk more about other things that you can do in another post.

I hoped you enjoyed this article, and if you have any additional tips of advice that you would like to share, feel free to do so in the comment box below. :)


Allen Walker