Because I also own Design by Christi, I get a lot of questions about custom blog designs so I wanted to do a post with some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns I receive. I also wanted to offer some tips I’ve learned from experiences along the way over the last year of designing blogs.
Will changing my blog design hurt my branding and/or followers?
I don’t think so, especially if you write a blog post about your new design when it’s installed. I think most readers can figure out they’re still in the same place. =) Sometimes a brand new look actually HELPS your brand. Aren’t we always giving ourselves makeovers? Redecorating our classrooms and homes? A blog is the same way; it’s ever-evolving. I’ve had three blog designs here on Ms. Fultz’s Corner and each one has been an improvement over the last. Your blog should feel like YOU when you open it. If it doesn’t, it’s probably time for a makeover.
How do I pick a blog designer?
This would be one of the most difficult parts for me. I admire the work of so many of my fellow teacher-blog designers. Just like there are many shops on Teachers Pay Teachers, there are many places to get your blog designed too. My best advice is to look at each designer’s portfolio. We all have a unique style and chances are one designer will stand out to you as you visit the portfolios. I also look down at the bottom of my favorite blog designs when I’m blog hopping to see who did the work.
Don’t hesitate to email another blogger if you love their design to hear about their experience too. You’ll want to know that the designer is easy to work with and follows through on his/her guarantee.
How long does it really take to get a custom design installed?
This varies from one designer to the next and seasonally as well. When I was new to blog designs, I could easily install a blog in 1-2 weeks. Now that my business has grown, so has my wait list. I also do fewer designs during the back to school rush.
When paying your deposit, you should get a firm date for when your blog will be designed as well as how long installation usually takes. All of my clients are given a Saturday start date and know they will have a full preview within that week. Once they approve their preview and pay the balance, I install the next day. You need to know when to expect your beautiful new blog!
How do revisions work if I don’t like my preview?
Picking a designer who shares the same design sense as you do will help make sure you don’t need major revisions. But, we don’t always get it right on the first time. It happens! You should know what the revision policies will be before you ever get started. I include 3 revisions in each of my Blogger packages so we have three drafts to get everything just perfect for you. Whether it’s a minor tweak like a font change, rearranging background papers, or a complete header do over, your final blog should feel like YOU. After all, you are the one who has to look at it every day and you’re the one paying for a design.
Blog design prices are all over the place. Cost is a product of designer experience, software/hardware/licenses they’ve purchased to design, elements included in the design, and demand. When comparing designers, try to compare apples to apples and look at what each package includes.
In most cases, your blog is part of your brand and business. I cringe each time I open my wallet, but it really is true that it takes money to make money. Consider it an investment and a business expense that you can write off on your taxes too. 🙂
What kind of support comes with my design?
This is going to vary by designer too. Most designs are sold as-is, which means no refunds or changes once the design is installed. Sometimes there’s a short window there for tweaks after you’ve lived with your blog a few days too. It’s also usually possible to add to your blog in the future (at a cost). I personally back up all design files so I have them if anything is needed in the future.
How does image hosting work? I’ve read that some bloggers have to pay fees each month to keep their blog up and running.
This is probably one of the most confusing parts of a new blog design. Each time a picture loads on your blog, it takes bandwidth. If your grab button is displayed all over the blogging community, it takes bandwidth. Many blog designers pay for your bandwidth themselves under their own accounts. For me, this is less than a $1 per client per year. Other designers require you to host your own images and pay for your own bandwidth. An unlimited plan on Photobucket will cost you $30 a year.
The benefit to having your designer host the images is no cost/account to you. The drawback of having your designer host the images is that if your designer doesn’t continue to renew and pay for the subscription, your blog images will disappear. Many designers will give you the choice so you can decide which hosting option is best for you.
How does this whole process work?!
As a final thought, be sure to READ THE POLICIES PAGE! My terms and conditions are all available on Design by Christi and I have a separate FAQ page there too. This is common on many blog designers’ pages. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask your blog designer before paying your (often nonrefundable) deposit.
Until my next Work Your Blog Wednesday, you can visit my You Tube channel for several more blogger tutorials. I also have a Pinterest Board with more tips, tutorials, and resources for bloggers and sellers.