By “Brand Your Head” I’m talking about your website or blog header, although walking around with your blog url on your forehead is an interesting promotional idea.
I’ve explored a lot of the new responsive WordPress themes which only have a thin website header with a logo, or site title, and navigation menu all on one row. They’re great if you have an easily recognizable, unique logo or blog title, which everyone identifies with you or your unique product(s). (or if you’re promoting something that you don’t want to be recognized for!).
Very few bloggers and/or marketers have an unmistakable logo, or even blog name, which shouts out “you already know me and what I write about“. Top sites such as Mashable and Copyblogger can get away it. We don’t have to know who the sites belong to because the site names are so well known.
Mashable is now a multi topic, multi author site started by “what’s his name”. His own name is no longer identified with the site because most people know the name Mashable. As for Copyblogger, the author is just known as Copyblogger. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know his name is Bryan Clark.
But what about the rest of us? Becoming well-known is vital to bring us more site visitors and repeat readers, whether we blog for pleasure, to make money, or both. Branding YOURSELF is the new catch cry. It means commanding trust and respect and developing authority and influence. With so much competition and the networking capabilities of social media, older style anonymous advertising is no longer effective enough.
Trendy Responsive themes often have huge generic images, or spread out sparse text, at the top of the front page. They are OK for showcasing products or for photo or art sites but not so good when your primary aim is blogging and self promotion.
These themes may look impressive but the “above the fold” concept is often forgotten. “Above the Fold” refers to the top area of a site which is visible in a browser window when the page first loads. I believe it’s still important to show the information that you want to get seen in the Above the Fold” area.
There’s no need to go to extremes and crowd as much as you can up there. That used to be the trend but it produced cluttered, harder to read sites. We are used to scrolling now but you still need to give an incentive to do so. A well designed “header area” provides this incentive.
Blog Headers for Headerless WordPress Themes
You don’t need to lose your head when using almost header-less, responsive WordPress Themes. Instead you can create a “header area” that’s more impressive than the traditional image with text. Choose a theme with options that allow you to add a section below the thin header within your content area.
Your extra header area is then more easily customizable. It can take the form of a large header image with more information than usual, well formatted text plus image(s) or a slideshow that includes both.
Examples of Branding
I made some images of this blog to illustrate the differences between a theme with only a thin header and one with an extra header area in the content area.
View on Computers
View on Mobile Devices
A major advantage to using a theme that allows custom text in different page sections is when you want to change it you can. Announce a new product or service, site feature or newsletter. Change calls to action.
This editable header area can include
The Essentials (for Self Branding)
- Your name (with a photo or sketch of you)
- Your blog title
- Images or background image
- A short blog description or main topic words
- Mission “statement” words
- A call to action
- Links to divert to important content
- Buy or Join buttons
Posts and Pages can just have a header image. If your theme allows, you can even create different headers for category pages with include the category name.
Tips for creating Blog Headers
- Your header needs to be immediately readable and understandable.
- Use clear, easy to read, fonts and font colors which stand out from the background.
- Two different font types is plenty
- Be as unique as you can. Don’t leave any doubt as to whose site your visitors are on.
- Don’t overcrowd it
- Let your information leap out.
Free online image editors are easy to use if you don’t use image creating/editing software such as Photoshop, Gimp or Powerpoint. If you can’t create an image yourself, find a free or stock photo background image and add text. Paying for a design is an option.
I can recommend the following themes as I use them myself and for clients and I’m very familiar with their features.
Divi Responsive Theme. All Elegant Themes include lots of easy to manage options and their Elegant Page Builder and Handheld Mobile Plugins can be used with any theme. The Page Builder allows you to create different sections/boxes/columns. What distinguishes their newest responsive theme, Divi, from the rest is that everything is built in. It even has a large selection of pre-made layouts to choose from for different types of pages.
Elegant Biz is a favorite of mine since it first came out. Version two is even better and comes with an optional pack of 25 pre-made skins. The page I’ve linked to is an example of a site suited to a one page scrolling responsive theme but Elegant Biz can create any kind of site. If you’re viewing on a computer screen it’s worth tiring your finger to scroll down and look at the examples.
The framework Studio Press is based on is called Genesis, an extremely customizable and highly regarded theme. It’s not the easiest theme to configure but there are plenty of ready made child themes which you can use just as they are.
If you don’t want to pay for premium theme bundles, when you only want to use one, or need customization or SEO for a current site, please contact me on Facebook to ask me about my WordPress Services.
I wonder how long will it be before “Scrolling RSI” becomes a widespread problem.? (As a matter of interest my mouse thumb pain disappeared after I used a magnetic ring for a few weeks, It should work on a scroll finger too.)
PS: Mashable is a site founded by Pete Cashmore in 2005 but his name isn’t even mentioned in the about page.
Finally to satisfy my love of puns:
Get Ahead(ER) of the Crowd with your Blog Design
Do you have any favorite customizable and responsive themes?