How to Design Your WordPress.com Blog

Now that you’ve setup your WordPress.com blog, you probably want to learn how to design your blog. This will help gain a more personalized feel for your audience, while it gives your brand a more appealing look!

Here’s what you will find in this post:

Choose a Theme

What is a theme? A theme is a graphical interface of files and pages on a website that allow users to interact with the it in simplified ways.

On the left sidebar, locate the word Themes and click on it (do not click on the Customize button next to it). You will be taken to a page with many different types of themes to choose from:

select a theme for your blog

All of these themes have templates, designs and features to help get started. You have tons of options and regardless of what you choose, you can always change it later on.

  • The Difference Between a Theme and a Template

As you become more familiar with your blogging platform, you might hear the words ‘template’ and ‘theme’ and wonder what the difference is. They sound like they’re similar, but they’re not. So let’s reduce your confusion from the start.

A theme is basically the full shebang. It’s the entire design of your website with colors, features, skins, fonts … and everything that involves its style.

A template is like the skeleton of the theme. It might have two or 3 columns and perhaps a footer at the bottom. There might even be sidebars on each side of the content area.

Choose a theme that best desribes your personality or whatever you like best. I recommend starting off with a free theme, because there are so many to choose from. However, if you find a non-free one that feels more like your style, then feel free to make your purchase! It may have options that free themes don’t have.

Whatever design you choose, don’t forget to activate it by clicking on “Activate this design.”

activate your new wordpress theme

Customize Your Theme

Now that you’ve chosen a theme, you might want to change some colors, create a header image or perhaps even change your font. It’s finally time to click on the Customize button next to Themes.

You’ll be taken to a page with a list of sidebar options. Check it out on the left!

design your blog

  • Site Identity

The site identity of your blog is the section with graphics and images that help your visitors identify who you are. It allows you to upload your site’s logo, create a title, slogan, favicon and footer credit.

Upload your logo

What is a logo? A logo is a design that helps people recognize your brand, such as:

Add a title

Having a title provides a great opportunity for placement on the web. It should be much more than just the company. It should be something catchy or a keyword that best describes the blog or website.

Add a slogan

A slogan is a short, catchy phrase that tells the visitor a little bit about the website. The key is to make it so memorable and perhaps something that keeps these visitors revising.

Add a favicon

A favicon is a small image usually found on the address bar of a website.

Add a footer credit

The footer credit usually has short credit for the designer or in this case, WordPress.com. It’s found at the very bottom of the blog like the following:

footer credit

Once you’ve uploaded and added all the site identity information you like, be sure to click on the Saved button to get all this information published.

  • Colors & Backgrounds

Each theme has a set of specific colors you’re allowed to choose from. Unless you have at least a paid Premium version (check the Plan link found on the left sidebar of your dashboard outside of the Customize tab) of WordPress.com, you will not be allowed to customize the colors further than what is available.

available colors for WordPress.com free version

If you do have the Premium (and anything higher) version, you will have access to a CSS file, a styling page allowing you to change the colors beyond what is available.

  • Fonts


Fonts are text types, such as Times New Roman, Calibri or different text designs. There are so many available WordPress.com text types for you to choose from. Just click on the section you’d like to modify:

  • Header Image

The header image is located at the top portion of your site. It is the eye catcher and usually the most visually attractive element on your website. It is the one image that describes your website as a whole. It’s one of the most important images on your blog.

While you’re still at the Customize section of your theme, you will find the Header Image link on the left sidebar. Click on it and you will be taken to a section with a list of header images you may want to use temporarily.

header image size

If you already have a header image, go ahead and upload it by clicking on the Add new image button. On the very top of this section, you may notice the recommendation size of the image to be uploaded for the best quality and so that you aren’t shocked when you upload it and notice it’s been cropped.

  • Menus

Menus allow your users to have quick access to specific sections or pages on your blog. Here are a couple of examples:

The free version of WordPress.com provides at least one area for a menu bar. This section may be different depending on the theme you choose.

To customize, click on the drop down menu next to the options. If you don’t like the About or the Contact or any of the items that are already there, go ahead and remove it by clicking on the Remove link for each one. To create a new menu item or link, click on the Add Items button and add whatever you wish.

Once you’ve saved and published your changes, you will be able to find it on your menu bar like the following:

  • Content Options


The content options are pretty self explanatory. Check the boxes you would like to appear when a post or page is published. Would you like the date to show up? The author for each blog post perhaps? The tags and categories?

  • Widgets

Your widgets are the features you can add on certain areas of your blog that usually depends on the way the template of your theme is set up. For example, this particular theme allows us to place special features on the sidebar and 3 footer areas.

For example, if I clicked on the sidebar widget option, it would allow me to Add a Widget and a sidebar full of selections would appear. Any of the choices would then appear on the sidebar of my blog once I’ve saved and published my changes. Go ahead and give it a try. There are lots of great features to choose from!

  • Static Front Page

The static front page is the home page and what people see when they land on your blog. You can choose to have your blog posts automatically appear on the this page whenever you publish a new one or you can choose to create a specifically designed page that doesn’t change. This page will stay the same even even when you’ve written new posts.

what is a static front page

  • Theme Options

Again, this section is based on what the theme designer allows. For example, this particular theme only allows changes to be made with your Gravatar.

What is a gravatar?

A gravatar is sometimes the profile picture of an author or logo, depending on how the author wishes to visually portray themselves. Whenever you post a comment or publish a blog post, the gravatar may appear next to your text. In WordPress, the email address is associated with the gravatar you upload. Feel free to change your gravatar image here >> gravatar.com.

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About the Author Karlyn Bishop