Many people think that having a professional looking blog will cost hundreds of dollars in order to hire a professional web designer and completely optimize it, but this could not be farther from the truth. It is completely possible to create a high quality blog or website without spending more than a few dollars, if you know what steps to take. Of course, if you are short on time or do not want to mess around with adjusting website templates and perfecting your blog, go right ahead and hire a professional designer to create your blog.
The first step in creating a professional looking blog is to determine which blogging platform you will use. There are at least a dozen platforms available that will allow you to create a free blog without having to pay for hosting or a domain name, but WordPress and Blogger are the two biggest. Many people swear by WordPress and love the wide range of plugins and features available, but I will concentrate on Blogger in this article because it is a little known platform that can work extremely well. Some of the benefits of Blogger (or Blogspot) include the fact that it is created by the ever powerful Google, it has a good selection of add-ons, and it is easy to upload your own HTML template.
If you have not done so already, it is free to sign up for a Blogger account using any Google account that you may already have. Simply log in and hit create a new blog, after which you will be brought to a page to select your blog’s title and URL. Unless you are planning on doing a lot of advertising to promote your blog as a brand, it is usually best to use your specific keywords in the title and URL so that you can reap all of the SEO benefits. For example, if you would like to create a personal brand, then go right ahead and name your blog “Tom’s Tool Tips” or whatever you want. However, you can get ranked higher in search engines and improve your traffic if you use a domain such as “howtousepowertools.blogspot.com”. After you have picked your domain, there are several choices of basic templates that you can use and, to start, just pick any that appeals to you since you can change it later.
The basic Blogger templates are generally nice, but you can find free premium templates that have more functionality and look a bit nicer. Simply search for “free Blogger templates” and you will find several sites that offer downloads. Using these templates will require a bit of HTML coding knowledge, but you can find directions on how to change everything online. Once you have downloaded your template of choice, go into the Template tab and choose to backup the template. From there, you will be able to upload the new template and edit it through the HTML editor found on the Template tab. When you preview your site, it should now have the new template live and you will now need to add new posts and change the respective pictures to your own. This may take a while to get used to since it will require a bit of coding to get everything right, but you can easily find step-by-step instructions on how to do this on the template developer’s website.
After you have uploaded the template and filled out your blog with your pictures and posts, the next step will be to buy your own domain name to make it look more professional. If the goal is to look as professional as possible, you will definitely want to change the “tomstooltips.blogspot.com” to “tomstooltips.com”. This can be done directly through Blogger by going to the settings tab and selecting the advance domain options. You can either buy a domain through Google for $10 or you can buy it at another registrar, such as GoDaddy, and point it towards your blog. If you buy through GoDaddy, there is a very simple app that will automatically set up all the DNS records to point your domain to your blog. GoDaddy also has the benefit of allowing you to buy a domain for cheaper, since a .INFO domain may only cost $3 and a .ORG domain may only be $6. Either way, it is simple to set up a custom domain and make sure your visitors find your blog easily.
Creating a professional looking blog is very simple when using the Blogger platform and there are many tweaks that you can do to make sure it does not resemble a normal blog. Free templates allow you to completely change the feel of the website and you can also edit the basic templates that are included in your account. With a bit of research, you will find that only a few lines of code will let you remove the Blogger navbar, change column spacing, change colors, add widgets, and fit the blog to meet your specific needs. Next time you need to create a professional website quickly, and without spending money, turn to Blogger and you will be pleasantly surprised.