BloggingPro.com has a good starter article on tips for designing your blog. Within the article, Amanda mentions that while most bloggers get the writing aspect of the job, design is another beast entirely.
When people talk about the perfect blog, they always focus on content. The content of a blog is obviously extremely important, and in most cases the content is what decides whether a blog will be successful or flop like a fish out of water. However, the design of a blog is also extremely important. Many bloggers understand the writing aspect of the job, but it’s the blog design that causes frustration. Because creating a blog involves a little bit of web development and web hosting knowledge, so many writers feel a huge weight on their shoulders. Once bloggers have WordPress and other plugins mastered, they sometimes don’t even know where to begin when it comes to design.
She’s dead on. When I first launched WPTavern.com, I felt brave enough to hack away at a theme’s layout I enjoyed and applied my colors via the CSS file for the sites first design. It came out dark, with hues of grey and blue with colorful links. Not the prettiest site on the web but as a personal preference, I liked it. Then, I started searching around at the various WordPress commercial themes and noticed quite a few that looked like they would be perfect for the site. However, when I purchased the theme and tried to apply my vision, it never seemed to work out. I think I’ve spent about three to four hundred dollars on themes that I thought would be perfect but ended up being too complicated or not what I had in mind.
I cringe at the thought of redesigning WPTavern.com by myself because I’d much rather focus on content versus the design. I’ve dipped my hand into the design area enough times to know that I’m a stones throw from creating designs that are as wacky as the world of Dr. Suess.
How many themes have you purchased to fulfill your vision but ended up putting them up on the shelf?