Potato Strip #3: Blog Theme/Design

Hi, guys! Welcome to the awesome feature here on The Social Potato! Here, we feature weakly”comic strips”, drawn and told by yours truly, talking about whatever stories we want to tell. Right now, I’ve decided to draw about how The Social Potato came to be, right from the very beginning! Once this “volume” finishes, we’ll try out different other stories! In any case, I really hope you like it!

Potato Strip #3: Blog Theme

Potato Strip 3

Click to see larger resolution

Ahhh… the dilemma that was “blog themes”. Back when I started book blogging, and when I didn’t have an inkling about coding, or modifying themes to suit your preferences, I depended on WordPress or Blogger themes. There were so many and I had such a hard time choosing which one was perfect for my Potato site. I remember spending HOURS downloading free themes, testing them out, then replacing them with newer ones. I’d choose a theme, then be tempted to stalk theme sites again, only to find another theme that I felt at that time was “better” than what I installed. Then a few days later, I’d want to change it again.

Take note, this was ALL before I had a custom design. I personally don’t want to go back to those days ever again! It was really exhausting!

What about you? Do you have a blog? Did you have a hard time choosing a blog theme when you first started it? If you don’t have a blog and more of a reader, do you think that a pleasing blog theme is important for a blogger to consider?

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    This is sooooo cute!! I have trouble choosing from the free themes because usually I want something simple but that looks nice and that’s usually not that easy to find! I’m quite happy with the one I have right now, even if I know I’d have to tweak it a bit more and add some more info to it, work for the new year!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Symbiont by Mira Grant!!!My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Awww, thank you so much, Pili! I remember having so much trouble, too. I’m just glad to have found a place where to get all of the good ones without any worries.

    • FayeFaye says

      Merci beaucoup, cherie! ^.^

      AHa, choosing a name was indeed hard ;) I think I talked about this in my very first Potato Strip!

  2. says

    That is an awesome strip, I especially liked panel 3!

    To be honest I didn’t particularly struggle with choosing a theme for my blog because I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted already in mind. Well, that and I wasn’t impressed with a lot of the themes so narrowing it down wasn’t too awful hard with Blogger.

    A blog theme can be important in terms of first impressions, but what I find is most important is structure and presentation. The most important part of a blog theme, in my opinion, is how accessible and easy to navigate it is. Finding your way around the theme/page should be intuitive. It also shouldn’t be a pain to look at, which for me means that transparent layers and visual clutter are kept to a minimum. A lot of people prefer minimalist black and white pages for that reason but I find those too stark. Layouts like yours that have a little colour are far preferable if you ask me.
    fatalerrer recently posted…To the Ends of the World – (Sojourn – Final)My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Panel 3 is indeed the best in some ways ;)

      I agree – when I first started, I felt like “oooh, it has to be pretty and gives a huge BANG!” but as my “blogging”-ness matured, I realized that efficiency, structure, and flexibility was more important. And you’re right, it’s good to have a palette of color than to have it all over the place.

  3. says

    Oh this is perfect and reminded me of the good old days when I was stressing over my blogs name and design. The name was easy since I wanted it to be pretty self explanatory but I had some pretty horrid blag designs the first few months my blog was up and running. Now it’s pretty girly and simple–just how I like it.
    Lily recently posted…One Past Midnight: ReviewMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I like simpler designs too! One day I’ll revamp this blog with a cleaner, girlier, and mayhaps more professional-looking design.

  4. says

    Finding a theme that works for you is one of the hardest parts of being a newbie blogger IMO. There are SO many options, it’s overwhelming! I definitely struggled with this in the earlier days, and having a clean design is important, but I’ve sine learned that it’s usually better to fork out some cash rather than go the free route.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review, Spotlight and Giveaway: Hungry Like the Wolf by Paige TylerMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      YES! It was a struggle at first to find a blog theme that fit all of my criteria back then. I pretty much ended up with the basic one, and just edited the header, the background, and a few stuff here and there. Thankfully, I moved to WordPress and haven’t looked back since! :D

  5. says

    I already know HTML & CSS when I ventured to blogging but bc WP was quite complex to me at the beginning, I also ended up downloading themes and tweaked it to suit my taste. But I gave up, I decided to learn the platform and built a theme for myself. What i really love is that each theme I made is just for me & represents me. :D
    Mitchii G. @ The Aeropapers recently posted…Hi! I was tagged & that’s only the title I can come up with.My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I think that’s how I plan to get acquainted to WordPress – downloading themes and studying them and try to tweak them to suit my preferences. That’s how some of my friends did it at first. Hopefully I’ll be able to build a WordPress theme by myself!

  6. says

    Well, I am still on Blogger, and we all know how that goes. I changed my masthead and post background tbree times in the first six months! I switched from the Simple theme to the Awesome (lol) theme recently and I think seeing trough to the background, and being able to change that on a whim, will keep me from changing the entire blog look all the time. I love the comic strip, btw.
    La La in the Library recently posted…REVIEW of ENSNARED by A.G. HowardMy Profile

  7. says

    Fun to see everyone’s blog design evolution. I made a very basic one at first, but thankfully one a free blog design and she helped me figure it out. I am a failure at coding or anything complex, so I don’t’ think I could have done it myself. But my name came first, so I very specifically started out with a theme. Love your comic strip! So creative.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…Golden Son by Pierce BrownMy Profile

  8. says

    Must have been exhausting switching from design to design like that, when I started my blog on blogspot I asked my friend to modify the pony picture she had made for me to a header and I choose a standard blogger template with green and brown colours and even when I switched to wordpress not much changed. Although I did spend a few frustrated evenings trying to find the right theme for my blog, until my boyfriend bought the Tweak Me theme for me, which made it possibel to have my blog look exactly how I wanted it to! I do think having a good theme and design is important as it does influence how your blog looks and the first impression people get.
    Lola recently posted…Review: Forbidden by Kelley ArmstrongMy Profile

  9. says

    I was definitely in the same shoes as you Faye, I still remember the first design I had on the blog, I’m actually cringing thinking about it, as I’m still on blogger, I’m still quite tempted to make a few changes here and there, but I currently like what we have at the moment. Custom design one day hey!
    Jasprit recently posted…Monthly Recap: DecemberMy Profile

  10. says

    I had a hard times too for picking a theme! Oftentimes, the theme didn’t match with my blog or when i finally found a great theme but turns out people sell it. In my opinion, there’s only a few theme thats free but still good. Now I’m still learning about html so i could modify it like i want.

  11. says

    HOW IS THIS THE FIRST TIME I’M SEEING THIS FEATURE?!?!

    But more importantly: FAYE, YOU DREW THAT COMIC STRIP YOURSELF?? TEACH ME, O GREAT SENPAI! *awestruck* Seriously, if you become a mangaka one day please promise me you’ll send me drafts of your manga. I’d gladly read it! *O*

    Anyway, yep — this was totally me when I first started blogging. I was on Blogger back then and a total noob to designing, so I just chose the theme that looked coolest to me (it was an almost impossible task to choose, though, since I’m such an indecisive person) and played around with the customization option. I didn’t touch the code at all. I wanted to be able to use online themes, but I was always dissatisfied with them, haha. I’m grateful that now I know a lot more about HTML and CSS! They’re such life-savers, honestly. I still use a theme for my current blog, but that’s only because I’m way too lazy to code everything up from scratch. :P

    Meg the Sloth coming right up!

    To answer your question: I think a blog’s design is one of the most important aspects of blogging. Even if your blog isn’t design-oriented or art-oriented, it’s still super important to have a pleasing and easy-to-navigate theme. Your readers will thank you for that. No one wants to read a blog that has clashing colors, or loads so freaking slow because of a crowded sidebar.

  12. says

    I knooooowwwwww. They all so delicious. But most of them are probably crappy and we can’t see it. This is why I don’t like shopping. Either I love everything or hate it all. So I just call up one of my siblings and let them decide. AND NOPE I don’t anything about coding and shit and why do you have to make me feel so bad about myself ;_; Just kidding. I’m a blogger but still, I prefer a more attractive and user-friendly layout when I’m reading blogs. I also like glitter and sparkles and flamboyancy. SO. :D
    Stuti recently posted…UnteachableMy Profile

  13. says

    I did basic stuff when I started on Blogger, then got a custom design. Unfortunately I wasn’t very fond of it. Then when I switched to WP, I got a different custom design. Again, I wasn’t fond of it. Now I use the Tweak Me theme and just keep it simple. I always want to change backgrounds and colors because I get bored with it, but try not to change it too often.
    Christy recently posted…Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica TopperMy Profile

  14. says

    Oh man, I was in the EXACT same boat. There are just so many brilliant themes out there and it was so hard to narrow one down to my liking. Before I bought hosting, I was using wordpress for free. Thankfully most of their themes were very professional looking and didn’t really suit the vibe I wanted with my blog. But that was also bad before I COULDN’T find the right theme for my blog either and that truly sucked as well. Eventually did end up with a very girly one, but once I switched to hosting I immediately went and bought a customisable theme off Nose Graze! I’ve been using it ever since and it’s so wonderful because I can change everything to my liking and yet it’s still the same theme. Yay!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Discussion Post: What’s your favourite book to ‘push’?My Profile

  15. says

    Finding the right theme is SO HARD!

    I code my own themes so I don’t really “find” a theme, but I can still relate to this because I’m constantly itching to redo my theme. I guess I just get tired of a design after a while and I’m ready to move onto something else. It’s horrible! :P
    Ashley recently posted…The New EU VAT Law Sucks AssMy Profile

  16. says

    I’m still like that :D
    No matter what my design looks like, I always want to change it. It’s almost a compulsion. I love the look of some sites, then I convince myself I need a makeover. I’ve done 7 in two years. While I’m spending hours fawning over a new look, I have a massive stack of review copies building up and end up totally overwhelmed.

    Even now reading your post I’m like, yeah, it’s probably time for a makeover. Would love to see what kind of blog designs interest you actually. In terms of readability and what is pleasing on the eye. Great post Faye <3
    Kelly recently posted…The Vanishing by Kate Kae MyersMy Profile

  17. says

    I believe I had four different designs I tried by myself before I got help from another blogger. The first one was horrible, haha, a creation of myself and free stuff I found on the internet. I had NO knowledge of HTML whatsoever. I finally settled down with the design I have at the moment and I don’t see myself getting tired of it soon. It’s still all I could ever ask for *pets*
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…MIM #5. Disney – Pinocchio.My Profile

  18. says

    Oh my gosh, this is so cool. “I remember spending HOURS downloading free themes, testing them out, then replacing them with newer ones” THIS. I struggled so much trying to find a theme I liked. I’m pretty sure I’ve had around five separate themes over the span of almost three years. Part of the problem is I get tired of the same thing on my blog after awhile and I have to switch it up which starts the cycle all over again.
    Alise recently posted…Review: Of Scars and Stardust – Andrea HannahMy Profile

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