ANNOUNCEMENT:
Because of changes in my schedule, I am no longer updating this blog or taking on new clients. Previous clients are welcome to get in touch with me and I will consult my schedule to see if I have time to help you.
Thanks!
Pepper

My newest template!

I just listed a new premade blog template in my etsy shop!  It's called "On the Side" and it's one of my funkiest designs yet!

Check it out:

See how the blog title is all compact and on the side?  I think that's a neat design element that you don't see a lot.... and it's great because it leaves you a lot of prime real estate right up at the top of the blog for any gadget you want.  This would be an awesome template for an etsy shop blog because you can put your products front and center on your blog.  In fact, I designed the size of the space so that a one-column, three row, gallery size etsy mini widget will fit in there perfectly.  See:


If you don't have an etsy shop, I also love the idea of putting a slideshow of featured posts there (if you don't know how to do that, I can help!).  It's also great ad space if you are looking to monetize your blog in a serious way.

Ten Ways to Beat Writer's Block for Bloggers

I'm in the business of blog design and it breaks my heart when people have super awesome looking blogs, but never update them.  (Let me be the first to admit, I am guilty of this myself!  I have several blogs and I frequently let them languish for months with no updates).  Let's put an end to this madness!  Here is a list of ten things to write about when you can't think of a thing to say:


1.  Interview a fellow blogger:  If you are a blog writer, chances are you are a blog reader too!  So pick a blogger and send them a friendly email asking if you can interview them.  You can just do a standard, "get to know you" interview, interview them about a specific subject that are an "expert" in.  I think the second approach makes for a more interesting interview as it is likely to produce content that will be more useful to your readers.

2.  Create a list:  Pick a topic, any topic, and make a list about it!  (Much as I am doing right now).

3.  Create a weekly feature series:  If you regularly suffer from writer's block, a great idea is to create a weekly feature so you know that at least one day a week you will know exactly what you are writing about.  For example, I did this with my knitting blog: every Monday I have a post called "Maybe Monday" where I write about a pattern I am thinking about knitting.  You could feature a pin, a quote, a font, a spice, a book, a vacation spot... the possibilities are endless.

4.  Feature a handmade business:  Why not give your favorite etsy artists some love by featuring their products on your blog?  Just pick out a shop and start a conversation with the owner, ask them where they get their inspiration, how they learned their craft, what their favorite materials are, etc.  Ask if you can feature pictures of their products on your blog.  Very few shop owners are going to turn down free advertising!  Maybe they will even offer to give a discount code to your readers?

5.  Take your readers window shopping: What would you buy if you have $500 to blow right now?  Believe it or not, your readers are probably interested in the answer to that question!  So go ahead and take them shopping.  Show them everything you would buy and explain why you picked it.  For a variation on this theme, pick an imaginary vacation destination and write about where you would stay, what you would do, etc.  Let you imagination run wild.

6.  Ask a question: Who says you have to have all the answers?  Take a minute to write about a problem you are having, then ask your readers for advice.  This is a great idea because it will take up two posts: one to ask the question, and then a follow-up post to talk about all the advice you got and how you eventually resolved your problem.

7.  Write a letter: Pick someone you would like to talk to, and write them an open letter.  It can be to a specific person, like a politician, or to a group of people, like a nice encouraging letter to all mothers, for example.  You can even write it to yourself!  Make it serious or make it funny.

8.  Do some fundraising:  As a blogger, you are in a unique position to influence people.  Put that influence to good use by trying to raise some funds for a cause that you care about!  Take a minute to tell your readers why you care about a certain issue, and then tell them how they can get involved!

9.  Host a linky party: Invite fellow bloggers to link up their posts to yours using a tool such as inlinkz.  Be sure to visit everyone who links up to your party to comment on their post and thank them for linking up!

10.  Go off topic:  So what if you have a food blog??... go ahead and feature a craft project!  If you honestly can't think of anything to write about that is within your "niche", then go ahead and go off topic.  Mixing things up like this is sometimes all you need to get the creative juices flowing again.  Just be sure not to go off topic too often - you don't want to confuse your readers (or your sponsors!).

A work in progress....

I'm back! I've been on vacation, but now I'm back to the blog design biz full-force!  Just for fun, here is a sneak peek of the next pre-made template that I am working on in my design lab:


Pretty neat huh?  It's kind of a funky layout idea with the blog title all the way to the left, but I like it.  It will be the perfect template for an etsy shop too because you can fit an etsy mini gadget in that space I have blocked out with the dashed lines in the pic above.  I just need to make a few tweaks to it, then it will be ready to go in the shop. Really, one of the biggest things that has been holding me back is figuring out what to name it!