I am overhauling a craft site and have been browsing the internet for inspiration. One of the challenges and mistakes that craft bloggers make is cluttered design. While the site itself can reflect the creative personality of artist- don’t let your styling compete with images of your craft and hobby projects.
1) Choosing a simple color scheme,
Colours should complement your work- not over shadow.
Sites like Colorlovers can help you come up with a color scheme for your site.
I am not a fan of multiple bright colours for a craft or art site. I would choose a bold colour and then 2-3 colours that are slightly more understated. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of gray and black mixed with a bright colour like hot pink or green or blue.
Many themes let you pick out your colours without knowing any CSS. You could also delve into CSS and make small changes that make big impact. (back up your style.css files!!!!!!!!!!)
Here is good example: She uses bold green with gray and black then small pops of colour. This is an easy way for your site to look polished.
More great use of gray…
Here is a good example of using lots of different colors without it being too busy.
One of my favourite crafters, Bird could have easily gone over the top but stuck to basic pink black and grey. When you have A LOT of content simple colour schemes can tie it all together. [thumb]http://www.birdscards.com/[/thumb]
Here they have used bold bright colours- but keep it looking clean by sticking to the main colours. This might be a bit busy for some but the style reflects on the personality of blogger so works .
What does this mean? Your site should have a layout that makes sense and doesn’t confuse visitor or make it hard to “see” your site.
Lose the zillions of affiliate images and sidebar clutter. Consider a more modern design where the trend is to put all that stuff in a “sidebottom” as I call it 🙂 The sidebar where footers used to be.
Too much too soon? Look at your sidebar and ask yourself does this ENHANCE my site or take away? It is a balance between how much the link/image earns you vs. site clutter. Be truthful with yourself. Is the $5.00 a month you earn from Amazon worth it?
It is more effective to use text links in an article post anyway :-).
Start creating and cropping your images so you stick to 3-4 of the same sizes. A good way to figure out sizing is to look at your theme-. What is the size for a feature image? How wide is your content area ( make within 50 pixels of the width of your content)
Refresh and regenerate your thumbnails. Messy image sizing will make your site look cheap and unprofessional. Not crafty and fun :(.
This is about near perfect. Beautiful CLEAN design.
This is a not bad example of keeping a balance between ad revenue and blog space.
3. Update Your Fonts.
Try out some of the new open source fonts from Google.
You can ditch Times New Roman and Helvetica for something fresh and new!
I would keep my fonts no more than 4 and often stick to just 2 and play with weights and decorations. (bold,sizing, underline, italics) size) Run On Sidebars. I have been guilty of this in the past. You don’t need to have every affiliate link /image stuffed into your sidebar. Less is more. Anything you put up on your webpage should showcase your work- not compete for real estate. generally speaking use a clean easy to read for your main body text. Get a little more colourful and use a decorative font for your Header Tags and Titles.
Bit of a minimalist look here and works!
Borders and margins should line up and be neat. Don’t Over Produce. You don’t need 8 different fonts and colours.
Again, this could have gone very wrong. Sticking to simple bold colors and not overdoing it. Some nice flat design touches and creative images make this site stand out. [thumbhttp://samanthaleewalker.blogspot.ca/[/thumb]
4. Update Your Header.
Busy complicated Headers are OUT. Simple , fresh, singular is IN. You can still tone it down without stifling your creativity..
Don’t believe me? Check out these amazingly beautiful and creative headers for craft websites and blogs.
Simple, Beautiful Headers
Sooo easy- yet so lovely!
Decorative font + Colour = Fresh Looking New Header
(Mmmmm… looks a TAD familiar!)
Wow. Got it SOOOOOO right! Look at the colour. You see same colours throughout the blog. Her ads in sidebar suit the site and don’t over power. Well Done, you!
5. Try out a new theme!
I can’t say enough about Genesis Framework for WordPress. Sort of a theme for themes that lets you add all kinds of stuff without breaking your site or knowing CSS.
Your site will get an overhaul with click of the mouse 🙂
What do you think makes a GREAT craft or hobby website? Have you used any of the ideas above to update your site? Feel free to submit before and after pics!