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Three Quick Customization Ideas For Your Blog

From using a Text Widget in a new way to experimenting with tools to introduce new fonts onto your site, here’s a quick list of customization ideas.

Looking to add a few custom tweaks to your blog? Interested in simple ways to personalize your site? Read on.

Display a Text Widget for updates

In the first Declutter Your Prose post, we suggested avoiding phrases like “Sorry for my absence, but I’ve been…” Readers reiterated this suggestion in the second post of the series, saying you don’t have to apologize for not posting, or explain to readers where you’ve been.

Instead of diluting a post introduction with this information, consider adding a Text Widget to the top of your sidebar for updates, like a “Where am I?” blurb for travel writers or a “What I’m reading now” message for book bloggers. You can use this space for general news or specific details about a project, upcoming event, and more. Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 5.37.42 PM

Get started: Go to Appearance → Widgets, drag the Text Widget to the area where you’d like it to appear, and write your note. It can be a simple, text-only widget, but remember that Text Widgets can do much more: you can display text, links, images, HTML, or a mix of these.

Add popular categories to your menu

You can promote specific content with a Custom Menu: many bloggers create menu tabs to other pages (About, Contact) and custom links (to an Etsy shop, Instagram account, or another blog, for example). Be sure to experiment with category pages, too, especially if you already have existing categories in which you group similar posts together (“book reviews,” “street photography,” “vegetarian recipes”).

Depending on what you’ve set up, you might add multiple categories to your menu (“fiction,” “nonfiction,” “poetry”) if you’d like to feature them with equal prominence. Or, you may prefer to display one category to establish yourself within a niche or promote a particular project within your body of work.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 8.45.57 PM

Get started: Go to Appearance → Menus, where you can add categories to a menu (in addition to pages and links). Please note that if you don’t see this option, you don’t have a menu-supported theme.

Unify your site with a font, sans upgrade

You don’t need uber-design skills to visually spice up your site, nor do you need the Custom Design upgrade to achieve a certain look. Consider WhatFont, a browser extension that identifies fonts on webpages. Once installed, you can identify a font by hovering over the text:

WhatFont used on the Bloggy theme, which identifies the Special Elite font.

We used WhatFont on the Bloggy theme, which features the Special Elite font.

If you see a font you like somewhere on the web, use a tool like WhatFont to identify it, then check if it’s free-for-use on a site like Font Squirrel. If available, use this font for your blog title in a Custom Header or for text in a Image Widget, which you can create in Photoshop or a free image editing alternative (like the built-in Preview tool on a Mac).

Want bonus points? Use the same font in a few areas of your blog (header and footer, header and sidebar, for example) to further unify your design.

Get Started: Identify the fonts on your site, and other blogs and websites you love. See if you can mix and match free, open source fonts on sites like Font Squirrel and Google Fonts. As an alternative, experiment with the fonts in PicMonkey, which is also free; you might find the perfect font to use somewhere on your site.

We’ll share more quick ways to personalize your blog in a later installment. For now, do you have any other ideas to share with fellow bloggers?

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  1. Thanks for the info on fonts without the upgrade. Is there another way to access them without loading Chrome. Not a big van of the invasive ways of Google. Pick me up some chocolate chip cookies at Mrs. Fields while your in Park City.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Is there another way to access them without loading Chrome.

      You can search online for alternatives if you don’t want a Chrome extension. I see other resources like Identifont and What Font Is but I’ve never personally tried them. Might want to see what else you can find!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For paypall, here’s what you could do:

        Copy this into your text widget (You will need to add a link to your specific destination inside the first set of quotations):

        If you want the image to be bigger/smaller, you can change the percentage of width and height, to your liking.

        Like

    1. When you say customize titles of posts, I’m guessing you mean change the font or size? Not 100% sure, but I don’t think there are themes with that special option for free.

      You could post on the themes forum (http://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/themes) if you have specific theme questions or the customization forum (http://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/css-customization) if you’re curious or have more customization questions, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really love the updates widget idea – I think I’ll add a ‘coming soon’ widget to display what DIY/baking projects I’m currently working on 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for this information.

    Well Some html codes are not working in text widget. Should I have to upgrade so that I can display them correctly?! Or is there any other way to do it? I am using the free wordpress blog.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for the reply. Yes it was a java script and it said WP doesn’t allow java scripts. Somehow I managed to find a non java feedjit and it works fine now. But java one is better.
        So Google ads or any other such codes can’t be inserted in WP?!

        Like

  4. i liked about text widget useful, will apply and see the benefit. i have already used category and really find useful. For the 3rd point, i am not much happy for having font that other sites have. I think it will be little tiring.

    Just a suggestion from my side:
    Go to Settings>Sharing, and select the checkbox – Front Page, Archive Pages, and Search Results
    Now if someone visits your blog, he/she may like the post without opening the post separately. It will help you get more likes on the blog.regards, http://YourWellWisherProgram.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I implemented the update box. It’s such a simple idea and so obvious, once you suggested it, that I feel like a dunderhead for not thinking of it myself. It will be especially helpful when I’m on vacation or otherwise not able to post every day. Thanks for the idea! Practical, simple, useful.

    Like