As I sat through the intro call for a web design course coming up at VA Classroom, I became more and more frustrated as I thought about a few things around my websites that I hadn’t yet figured out how to do. I don’t intend to offer web design services to clients however, so the price tag for the upcoming course is something I would have a hard time justifying.
Since I had some free time Friday, I set out to learn some of those things I had been putting off. For your benefit and mine, here is a list of free resources and WordPress design tutorials for those of us managing our own blogs and websites, changing our color preferences and taglines frequently and overall still evolving as our blogs grow and age.
A quick color change can give your blog an instant facelift. Most of my Genesis themes come with several color options, but every once in a while you see a color that you absolutely love (for the time being).
ColorZilla for Chrome is an easy extension that will allow you to choose a color from anywhere on a webpage, copy it into other programs and more.
Color Scheme Designer – Now that you have that awesome color picked and identified, how are you going to incorporate it into your site? This program will show you potential color palettes that complement that great new color. You can even see how your website may look live. Simply click on the existing RGB number and paste the number you grabbed with ColorZilla into the popup box.
COLOURlovers is a place for inspiration. Explore beautiful color palettes submitted by designers. Take those codes back to your own site.
If you would like to design your own logos and marketing materials, you need access to images with the proper licenses available. The last thing you want to do is get yourself into legal trouble over a little logo with an image licensed for personal rather than commercial use. Sites I use frequently for purchasing royalty-free images include:
If you are looking for images for your everyday blog posts rather than marketing materials, you can find free images at stock.xchng, morgueFile or flickr Creative Commons. You still need to check those licenses and attribution requirements.
There were a few design elements that I didn’t think I could accomplish because I am not willing to invest in Photoshop. I was introduced to Pixler during my search, and what a great little free program. Check out The Girl’s Guide to Web Design for some great Pixlr tutorials. (Amanda is who will be teaching the VA Classroom course. She has several great design tutorials on her site. She also introduced me to Font Squirrel, which may be more of a curse than a blessing. I will definitely be spending more time learning about fonts. )
Fun stuff aside, sooner or later you will need to dig into some code. Nasty, but necessary. You can learn a few simple tweaks at
Genesis is my framework of choice even though it may not be the most beginner-friendly. Though it isn’t “drag and drop,” it is rather easy to customize once you learn what you are looking at/for. Learn Genesis tweaks at the Studiopress forum, The WP Chick and http://genesistutorials.com/. They also have a free beginner guide available for download.
Once you overcome that fear, you will likely find there are several simple web design aspects and WordPress tweaks that you are able to handle without outside help. If you are bootstrapping a home business or a broke blogger – or maybe you are like me and just change your mind frequently – this can help you keep a few more bucks in your bank account.
Where have you found WordPress design tutorials and tools for your blog or home business website?
Join my newsletter subscribers! You will not only receive free updates by email and subscriber-only content, you also get instant access to my Ultimate Work at Home Business Plan.