How to make a blog header in Blogger

This post was originally published at Songbird. If you like DIY inspiration of the home and decor kind, than please visit me there.

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Hello my friends, finally another episode in my DIY blog design series. A lot of you said they had questions about how to make a blog banner and how to get it up on your blog the way you want it.

So todays topic is HOW TO MAKE A BLOG HEADER.

Voor de Nederlandse dames. Voor het gemak (vooral dat van mij) schrijf ik mijn blog in het Engels en dus ook deze serie over hoe je zelf het een en ander aan je blog kunt veranderen. Dat wil  niet zeggen dat jullie mij geen vragen in het Nederlands kunnen stellen of niet om wat meer uitleg kunnen vragen. Aarzel dus niet om het mij te laten weten als je iets niet snapt of als je vragen hebt. Ik help jullie graag!


A good header or banner for your blog is very important. It’s like your business card for your blog, or your front door. It is the first thing people see, when they stumble unto your blog and it might be the one thing that determines whether they want to hang around or not.

That space on top of your blog is gold, and you should use it really well. It is the curb appeal that has to convince a casual passer-by that she is curious to see what’s inside.

So before you upload a new header to your blog, you should make sure that it is the best possible header for your blog. Here are five things I would want you to consider.

Five things to consider about your blog header

1. Let it be a reflection of you and what your blog is about

Dutch Sisters

I think this banner from Dutch Sisters is a beautiful example of ‘what you see is what you get’. Their banner fits their blog to a t.

That header should convey a clear message. This is my blog, this is who I am, and this is what this blog is about. There are about a million styles of blog headers out there. Choose the one YOU feel comfortable with. Don’t just follow a trend. If everyone is doing collage style picture banners, but you are more of a ‘one picture says it all’ kind of gal, than go with that.

2. Don’t automatically think the bigger the better

Heather Bullard

Style queen Heather Bullard shows this principal beautiful. Her header is quite small but has a lot of impact, and you can even see a part of a very intriguing first picture. I want to see more….

Don’t go too big. It might be tempting to make a really large header and put a lot of teasers and beautiful elements in it, but it might not work so well. You don’t want people to come and admire your blog banner, you want them to read your post. I am a strong fan of blog headers that allow me to see at least the title of the first post without having to scroll. Of course that only shows how important the title of a post is too, but that is a subject for a later date.

3. Do you want to change your banner often?

TheInspiredRoom

The Inspired Room does the changing of the seasons very elegantly, the basic banner stays the same and only some small decorative elements change (f.e. the little birdies and green bush in Spring)

It is popular to change your banner regularly and have it reflect the seasons (I try to do that for example). But before you decide to go that route please consider two things. 
1 it might be more work than you realize. I for one have cursed my banner on more than one occasion when I was frantically trying to come up with a new one half January because I still had a Christmas theme going on. Once you have made yourself a typically Spring banner you know you will have to change it again in a few weeks.
2 people might not recognize you straight away. With all the nest/cottage/junk/beach/bungalow blog names around, I sometimes get confused about whose house I am visiting. While bloghopping it might be easy to forget which cottage I am currently seeing and who is feathering their nest here. A clearly recognizable blog banner makes it much easier to recognize where I am in a split second. Let’s face it, with the hundreds of blogs out there, there is no way we are going to remember all of those blog names. Having a visual reminder as well, really helps. So sometimes NOT changing your blog banner is the way to go (unless you are one of the really big ones, but then you wouldn’t be reading this anyway).

4. Use your absolute best pictures. No Flash!!!!

I found my home
I think these pictures from I found my home, prove my point very well. Great shots, matching color tones, nice details with enough context to make me want to see more.

Sometimes I come across blogs with really big and might I say bad pictures in the blog header. I think that that is such a shame. We all can’t really say it enough: flash kills your pictures. You might get away with an occasional flash picture in a post, but please, pretty please, if you use a picture in your banner, let it be a great picture! Don’t try to show us your whole house, but choose a detail that represents you. But don’t zoom in too much either, I want to be able to catch the atmosphere. So if you are going to use photographs it better be great photographs.
Oh and if you are using more than one photograph, make sure the the colors kind of ‘match’. I don’t mean necessarily all of the same colors but not one picture with a yellowish undertone and the other with a blue-ish one. Thrust me it doesn’t look half as nice as it could look (most post processing programs allow you to match color tones).

5. If photographing isn’t your thing, graphics work wonderful too!

Homemakingjoyfully

I think this cartoon-like header from Homemaking Joyfully, is a very inviting way to show us what her blog is about.

There is no law that says you have to use pictures in your header. If you are not confident about the quality of your photographs, or your blog isn’t about showing photographs, using some graphic header works really well too. Again choose your own style, don’t let the masses influence you. Technically even a graphic header is a photograph too, but there were no pictures harmed in the making of a graphic header.

Think that that doesn’t work in our DIY/ Home/ Craft bloggers niche? Ha think again….

TheNester

You can’t get bigger than Nesting Place and not a picture in sight on her blog header. So if it is good enough for The Nester herself…….

How to make a blog banner

Now that you now what to do, go on and make a blog banner …..

The easiest way to make a header is by using a photo editing software like Picasa, Picnik, or Photoshop.

Make your title and (if you have it) your tagline part of that picture. Be creative with your colors and your fonts. But do remember that people should be able to read and recognize it in a split second. So don’t go too crazy.

StoriesofAtoZ

I think Beth form Home Stories A2Z really has a knack for making banners. Her logo is part of it, her tagline makes it clear in an instant what her blog is about, the great pictures reinforce that, she uses a couple of repeating colors both in the graphics as in the pictures, creative use of different fonts without overdoing it, and even with that ad banner there, I can still see what her first post is about.
Her banner is a clear representation of her brand. That’s how you do it people!

Using more than one font, really is a great way to make your banner and title look interesting. You can Google for free fonts. But I get mine from Kevin and Amanda, they have a wonderful creative font collection. But again be careful. Readability is more important than the fun factor, and I wouldn’t suggest using more than three different fonts on your entire blog, unless you are a real pro with this design stuff and know what your are doing.

Thirtyhandmadedays

Great way of different fonts and coordinating colors from 30 days

How to install a blog header in blogger

Okay let’s get on with it and install us a blog header. First things first, set the width of your blog. I’d suggest go for the maximum width that blogger’s editor allows. Just about all monitors can handle that comfortably and it allows you to post really big pictures.

On your dashboard click on DESIGN
Go to TEMPLATE DESIGNER
Go to ADJUST WIDTHS
Move the slider for ENTIRE BLOG to maximum
Choose how wide you want your sidebars to be and move the slider
click APPLY TO BLOG
Make a note of your choices in your Blog Design Log

Adjust Width Blogger

You can even go wider than this (I did) but some people will have to use sliders to see your whole blog and it does require some HTML editing, so I’ll save that for a later date.

Now that you have your new header all ready you have to upload it to your blog. First make sure that it is the correct size. Using your photo editing software resize your picture. Resize it in pixels and as a maximum size it to your blog width. So the width of your picture must not be more than 1000 pix (if that is how wide you made your blog). Then upload the header picture:

On your dashboard click on DESIGN
Go to PAGE ELEMENTS
click on EDIT HEADER
UPLOAD picture from pc
click INSTEAD OF TITLE AND DESCRIPTION
click SAVE

Configure Header Blogger
If you choose to make a slightly smaller header (which often looks better) than you might want to center it above your main posting area and your sidebar(s). This requires a tiny amount of html editing. Don’t be scared it is real easy.

How to center your header on your blog

On your dashboard click on DESIGN
Go to TEMPLATE DESIGNER
Go to ADVANCED
Scroll down to ADD CSS
Copy and paste the following lines into the STYLE SHEET:

.Header {
text-align: center;
}


Click APPLY TO BLOG

Center Blog Header Blogger

The CSS style sheet is basically a place where you can put all kinds of notes about customizations you made to your blog that the blogger machine must know when it loads your blog. Often when you make personal changes to your blog design you put them in this style sheet, but not always….

This is important: if you have never done this before (and even if you have) make the changes in your testblog first! That way you don’t mess up your blog.

Now your header should be nicely centered.

DIY Blog Design Blog screenshot 1

I have started a special DIY Blog Design blog so I can follow along with all the tips I give you and do not unintentionally forget some design issue I have applied a long time ago. This is how far my DIY design blog has come. I think next time we desperately need to work on the background behind my blog. That blue is awful.

Further reading:

How to design a blog header by Musings of a Housewife
How to create a free blog header with Photoscape by the Etsy Blog Team
How to create a cute text based blog header by Dawn by Design
Add a title to your blog header with Picnik by the Background Fairy
How to make a header with Picnik by All About Us

So did you learn something new? Was this helpful? Did I answer all of your questions? Let me know folks!!!

Love,

Marianne

1 opmerking:

  1. Amazing…what an awesome blog! You have a way with words and how I wish I can write like you. I am starting my freelance career as a blogger on all topics under the sun. Is there a niche for writers like me who want to write on everything and anything? I found some really cool sites like www.gicree.com, Graphic Design, Professional Logo Design that are the best platform for beginners like me…and of course, for the professionals. What are your thoughts on e-Marketplaces?

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