Get to Know our Speakers Series: Lindsay from Artsy Fartsy Mama

This week we're highlighting Lindsay from Artsy Fartsy Mama.  She will be one of our speakers at the Build Your Blog Conference and will be talking about, "Blog Design 101: How to make your blog look amazing!"  

I'm Lindsay and I am a lover of all things creative!  Designing is one of my passions, as well as being creative in my daily life.  I blog over at Artsy Fartsy Mama, where I share all of my crafts, recipes, printables, and more. I'm also a graphic designer at  Happy Potamus Designs, and work from home designing blogs, business cards, invitations/announcements, and more!

I'm so excited to be speaking at Build Your Blog Conference in just a few short months! I'm going to be sharing some tips and tricks on how to make your blog look amazing. Today I'm going to share a few basic tips to think about that can really make a difference. Your blog is your brand. You want to be memorable - and for all the right reasons.

There is the old saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." While that may be good advice, we still judge books by their covers all the time. The same goes for your blog. You might not realize it, but your blog's first impression can have the effect on others to decide whether to stay or move on. It's important that your blog design looks inviting, but it also needs to be functional and user-friendly. If your readers can easily read your posts and find what they're looking for, it's more likely they are going to come back.

Whether you hire a designer or do it yourself, there are things you need to think about when putting your blog design together:

1. Choose Fonts Carefully

A good rule of design is to not use more than three fonts. I know there are so many good ones to pick from... but try to narrow it down. One main, maybe more flashy font for your header or title, one for titles, and one for text. The titles can even be a bolder version of the text font. Also keep in mind what your blog is about. You probably wouldn't want to use a construction-type font if you were blogging about flower arrangements.

Also, try to not make everything a display font. Mix up display fonts (cursives, fun/flashy, handwriting, etc) with more simple fonts (Century Gothic, Arial, etc) so that the eye isn't fighting to find what it needs to read first. Too many things going on make your blog distracting and hard to read. Keep things simple.

2. Choose Colors Carefully

Another good design rule is to try to keep your color scheme down to 3-4 colors at the most. Just like fonts, too many colors can be distracting. If you aren't sure what colors go together, one of my favorite sites for color inspiration is Design-Seeds. Also think about what colors would go with your brand. You wouldn't expect to see a pink, girly background on a blog for power tools (unless they are girly power tools, I guess!).

3. Make It Your Own

Like I said before, your blog is your brand. You want to be memorable, and have a logo that goes with your blog niche. You also want something that represents YOU. It's YOUR blog. Don't let the patterns and colors that are popular for the moment make the decisions for you on your design style. Nothing wrong with using them if you really love them, but don't feel like you have to just to make your blog fit in. Your content is really the star, but it's nice to bring it all together in a consistent and clean design.

I will recommend to bloggers I work with on their design to make a Pinterest board dedicated to pinning images from blogs that they are inspired by design-wise. Take a look at your favorite blogs and note what you like about their designs (social icons, great header, fonts, colors, etc), and soon you will have inspiration to work from to make a design that's all your own and something that you love.

4. "Above the Fold"

Did you know that you have about 2 seconds to convince someone to stay on your blog? That's an incredibly short amount of time to try to impress someone to stick around. If you haven't heard about the phrase, "Above the Fold", that means when you first open your blog, everything you see before scrolling down is above the "fold'.

It's important to keep your most important information above that line. For example, make sure your page titles (including an "about me" page) are visible, your social icons, and a way to contact you. You might want to consider adding a page with links to your favorite or popular posts, or add in a recent/popular posts gadget to show what you've been working on.

5. Use Photos

A photo can say 1,000 words. Make sure it says how awesome you are! Keep your post photo sizes consistent in size and try to edit your photos the best you can (don't forget to add a "watermark"). There are a lot of photo taking and editing tips out there, so keep practicing!

I really like being able to put a face with the blog name. Make a "welcome" or a shortened "about me" section in your sidebar with a photo. It makes your blog seem a little more personal and readers can get to know you better.

Hopefully these tips have helped a little in getting your blog looking even more amazing!
See you at Build Your Blog Conference!

We asked Lindsay some questions so you could get to know her better: 

1. Why did you start a blog?

I started blogging when I was a new mom. We were living in a smaller apartment and didn't have much money. So, I started making decor for our house and crafting to save money. I was keeping up with my graphic design blog and business, Happy Potamus Designs; to show what I was working on, so why not do that with my crafting, too? Because of that, Artsy-Fartsy Mama was born!

2. How long have you been blogging?

I started Artsy-Fartsy Mama in March 2011, so almost two years already!

3. Who is your inspiration?

One of the first craft blogs I ever started following was Jen from Craft-O-Maniac. She is so talented and comes up with so many fun ideas. I just love her! She inspires me to be more creative and use everyday things to make something beautiful.

4. Hobbies other than blogging?

I absolutely love designing. It makes me so happy to make something wonderful for someone else, especially when I get the design looking better than they ever expected. Besides designing, I love covering things (everything, actually) in glitter, painting, and thinking of new ideas for my monthly craft classes. I also love being with my family and going on fun dates with my awesome husband.

5. What is one thing you wish you had known when you started your blog?

How much work it really can be. I do love it, don't get me wrong. Blogging can just take up SO much time. It's a lifestyle for me. I'm always thinking of what my next project will be, then comes the work of executing the project (while taking pictures the whole time), and then prepping posts to publish. I wouldn't change this for the world. I love how many opportunities blogging has brought me, and not to mention all the amazing people I wouldn't have met otherwise.

6. Who is your celebrity crush?

After much thought, I've settled on Bruce Willis. I think it's hilarious (and pretty awesome) that after visiting the Madame Tussaud's wax museum in California, my husband looks a lot like him!!

Make sure to register for the
 Build Your Blog Conference
Saturday, February 16, 2013
 Salt Lake City, Utah

Build Your Blog 2013

Now until the end of the month, you can save $49 when you register.  The gift of knowledge, networking, and having a ton of fun is the best Christmas present!  
(Price increases to $149 after December 31, 2012