A Professional Blog or Pro Blog as the call it, is easily differentiated from the rest Amateur attempts just by the Look. Recently while interacting with some Amateur Bloggers the topic came to Blog/Website design. Most of them wanted a more professional looking Blog but were constrained due to the high costs of hiring a Web Designer. Most new bloggers are anyway on a tight Budget and don’t want to dig their pockets this deep. Hiring a Web Designer to create one can easily cost $2000 to $5000, but you can create one spending no more than $200.
With this Post, I’ll show you the easiest way to Create a Professional looking Premium Designed Blog or Website using WordPress for less than $200. This exactly how my sites are designed and you can do the same.
How A Professional Premium Design Helps
Before we head on to the actual technical part of how to get Premium Designed Blog , let me explain how a great design helps and why professional Bloggers have Premium Designed Blogs.
- Showcase your Content and Displaying your Brand prominently.
- Standing Out from the Crowd.
- Premium Designs are SEO Optimized – so better Search Rankings and Higher Traffic
- Added functionalities – creating Followers out of Visitors (Why Blogs Don’t Make Money)
Elements Of A Premium Professional Blog
Getting Ready To Start
Before we start with the actual process of creation of the Blog/Website I would highly advise you to be ready with the following stuff. This saves time and you can easily avoid wrong decisions which cost dear in the longer term.
- Finalize the Niche Topic and the Audience of your Proposed Blog/Website
- Make a note of the vital elements of your site – the easiest way to do this is to visit the Top 10 competitors websites. Elements like Parallax, Smooth scrolling, Responsive design, Languages etc.
- Decide on the primary functionalities you wish to offer – eCommerce, Bookings, Reviews, Forum etc.
- Create a list of Domain Names (Your website address). At least 20. You can also head on to Spinxo to get more ideas using keywords from your Niche. For better understanding of Domain Names and its implications – refer Four R’s Of Choosing the Right Domain Name
Once you’re ready with the above, it’s time to get started.
The Easiest Way To Get A Premium Looking Blog or Website
This is the easiest, fastest and the Cheapest way (according to me – for any non-geek) to get a Professional-looking Website or Blog ready. That’s the way this site has been designed and can be done easily by anyone in less than an Hour.
Hosting And Domain Name
- Get your Self-Hosted WordPress Hosting Space and Domain Name. You can start with Managed WordPress Hosting or any shared Hosting package. The best way to get one is Bluehost, it’s a reliable Hosting Service, the Prices are cheap, and the support is great. You can use my Guide to Hosting and Plans for more information on Hosting Providers and Hosting Plans.Another trusted Hosting Provider with similar great services is Namecheap. Here’s a complete Review of NameCheap’s Hosting Services and Plans. You can get the Hosting Package and a Domain Name for as cheap as $50 for the entire year. Do check the Discounts and Coupons Page – You might get Lucky.
- Hosting and Domain Name – Spendings $60
- Install WordPress – it’s free, very easy and highly scalable Content Management platform. It’s very easy to learn and highly customizable. Adding functionalities to WordPress is as easy as installing apps on your phone – You just have to look for a WordPress Plugin for the functionality you want and install it. Help yourself with the Nine Steps to a WordPress Blog.
- Note – If you’ve opted for Managed WordPress Hosting Plan – WordPress will come preinstalled in your Hosting Account and you don’t have to worry about this step.
- Amount Spent – Spendings $0
Getting The Premium Look
- Once installed your WordPress Installation will come with the default 2016 Theme installed. It’s a good Theme but requires customization knowledge to make it look great. The easiest
way to get the Premium Look is to head over to the Themeforest on the Envato Marketplace.It’s a great place to find the best Custom Themes and Plugins for your Blog or Website. Check out some of their Top Themes and look fo the functionalities offered. Choose a Mobile-friendly Responsive Designed and SEO optimized Theme. Most themes are priced at $49 to the maximum of $64 for some of the top themes. The Themeforest – Envato Marketplace has themes for every kind of Business and niche – you can search for the best in every category and choose
accordingly. Most Themes come with ready to download Demo Content which has pages and design exactly like the one you see in the Demo.
- At Envato – You Name it, You get it. Select the Theme of your choice – see the live Demos and get the one that will satisfy your functionalities and requirements.
- Premium Theme – Spendings $64
Pages, Design, and Colors
- Once you’re through with your Theme selection and installation, download the Demo Pages and Content. Most Premium Themes will come with multiple Demos, so select the one that suits your niche and design requirements. The Demo Content will help you get your Home Page designed in minutes without much Web Designing knowledge. You just have to change the Content and images in the existing Design with your specific Content. Tweak the Colors and Fonts to suit your preferences. You can also change how the header is positions and the icons etc. You’re almost done.
Premium and Free Plugins
- Most Premium Themes come with bundled Premium Plugins like Visual Composer, Layer Slider, Revolution Slider etc. so do check the package before installing any more plugins. Lots of Free Plugins are also available in the WordPress Repository or for more premium stuff you can head on to Code Canyon on the Envato Market Place for more premium feature rich Plugins. You can find Plugins for almost any task or functionality at Code Canyon.
Most Plugins at CodeCanyon are priced from $19 to a max of $50.
Custom Designed Logo
- Last but not the least – Get a Custom Designed Logo. If you hire a Logo Designer he will easily charge you around $200 to $300. The Cheaper way to get this done is to hire a designer on Fiverr. You can find great designers on Fiverr offering their services for as low as $10.
- Custom Designed Logo – $10
Total Spending – $134 + Whatever Premium Plugins you may Buy.
Your Premium Looking Professional Website or Blog Is Ready
More About Themes and Plugins
With this method, you can easily create your Professional looking custom designed Blog or Website without sweating it out with Web Designers or hurting your pockets. You can find Themes for every kind of Business or Niche at Themeforest and won’t hurt you more than $64 in getting the design you wish. Some Bloggers may advise you to go for the Genesis Framework – though it’s a great framework to start a website or Blog, it’s not easy to setup for a nontechnical person. Also getting the Genesis framework and the skins can burn a hole in your pocket.
Themeforest has themes for almost every kind of Business and niche. From Travel Blog, Food Blog to complete eCommerce or e-learning site – you name it you get it. If you are looking for Blog theme which you can scale later, go for a multi-purpose theme. You can find Some of the Best Multipurpose Themes here. The same stands for Plugins.
As with Premium Themes, the same stands for Plugins. Most basic functionalities can be achieved using free themes from the WordPress Repository. If you wish to get some advance features and functionalities – just browse the lists at Code Canyon. From Advance Page Builders that can make stunning pages, Sliders, complete E-commerce solutions and almost everything you can think of is available.
Here’s a list of some Premium Plugins for creating Stunning Pages, Email Optins, Faster Caching etc.
A Few More Notes
What Makes a Blog or Website premium is the Looks, the presentation of content. This makes it stand out from the crowd and also shows your dedication and commitment towards the Website. It creates an impression to your Audience that you mean business.
Secondly whatever design you choose, remember one rule – KEEP IT SIMPLE.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below. However, I probably can’t answer every coding question specific to your site. The reason I recommend ThemeForest or Codecanyon for getting my Themes is that every piece of code is checked by the Envato team and is backed by a terribly helpful Customer support. That’s where I’d suggest getting help with specific design questions.For any more queries or if you need help in designing your Blog or Website, just post it in the comments or mail me firstname.lastname@example.org