Pimp My Blog: Give Your Blog A New Paint Job

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with RealSatisfied

project blogger logoPopular Wordpress blog themes are popular for a reason. They're good and they work. They're well written and come with the most features. But it also means lots of blogs will have the potential to look just like yours.

Julie Ferenzi's blog, Living In Plainfield, uses the Misty Look Theme by Sadish Bala. It is one of the top ten most downloaded themes for Wordpress. We chose this Wordpress theme for its clean look, wide post window and customizable header. But even after we changed the header, I would see other blogs using the same theme with the same basic color scheme. Changing the header graphic just wasn't enough to differentiate it.

Here is what it looked like before:

living in plainfield before

 
So, we decided to give it a new paint job.

The green hued theme is fairly recognizable. Several AR members have their other blogs in this theme and this color scheme. So, we decided to change to a new color palette by editing the CSS (Style Sheet) information. There are a number of places you can turn to for help in choosing a color scheme, CoulourLovers and Kuler are my two favorites. I actually subscribe to the Kuler's "Highest Rated" RSS feed. Yes, that's another sign that I'm a geek at heart. 

But I found another way to find at a good color scheme that I liked even better for this purpose - The Color Palette Generator. It reads the colors in an uploaded photo and generates a color scheme, compete with hex codes. We had already created a header image we liked, so I uploaded the image into The Color Palette Generator and it spit out the scheme you see on the graphic below.

color generator image

So, using those colors as the reference, we went in and edited the styles for her post headlines, the sidebar headlines and the sidebar links, as well as the overall background of the page. We actually mixed the dull and vibrant palettes. The change we made is subtle, but it does the job and the colors match perfectly with the main header image.

Here is the new paint job:

living in plainfield after

Editing CSS is not for the faint of heart. If looking at pages of code makes your head hurt, TLW [SVW], then find someone who can assist you. It won't cost you much. The actual CSS change took less than 5 minutes.  The time consuming part is usually coming up with the color scheme. But not this time. The Color Scheme Generator did it for us in seconds.

Try it with the main image from your blog and see what it comes up with for you. 

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Rainer
151,701
Cynthia Sloop
Community Association Manager - Indianapolis, IN
Thanks for showing how Julie's blog now looks.  While I don't know how you changed the picture from the Misty theme, I at least got an idea of what can be done with a Wordpress Blog and it made it easier to know what to look for in the administration page.  It's very impressive what's available, especially for free!  Again thanks, and Julie is very lucky to have you for a coach!
Apr 16, 2007 03:35 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Cynthia, there are literally thousands and thousands of wordpress themes. Some of them are very well designed. Since this is an open source project, some of them are not, but it's so simple to test a theme that the search is not the least bit painful. 
Apr 17, 2007 01:39 AM #9
Rainer
34,699
Jackie Colson
Homeward Real Estate - Tampa, FL
Miller,Tampa Real Estate - www.RealEstateSizzle.com
I am constantly "repimping" my new blog...The Real Estate Sizzle...that's half the fun of this contest!
Apr 18, 2007 03:35 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Jackie, I couldn't agree more. We added a whole bunch of "hidden" features last night, including a wordpress plugin called obfuscate-email that hides email addresses from spam engines. It's brilliant and just the kind of bling I like!
Apr 18, 2007 03:45 AM #11
Rainer
59,203
Phillip Cross
TBD - In transition... - Seal Beach, CA
ePRO Realtor - Relocation Spec
Jeff, terrific input... Now to go and create that personal blog - after that I can "Pimp my Blog" You are correct, CSS is rather daunting at first however, it sure is more simple than inline HTML font structure...
Apr 18, 2007 03:54 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Phil... you're right. Much easier. I always tell people to copy the original CSS file just in case they make a mistake, however. It's simple to just copy over the mistake and start again.
Apr 18, 2007 06:02 AM #13
Rainer
16,823
Andy Kaufman
Better Homes & Gardens Mason McDuffie Real Estate - Berkeley, CA
East Bay Sales & Investments

Jeff, you are the man.  Picking a color scheme is something that drives me nuts and I'm always looking for any tips I can get.

Thanks for another great post.  

Apr 29, 2007 01:55 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Thanks, Andy!
Apr 29, 2007 02:18 PM #15
Rainer
79,029
Gary Smith
Agent Marketing Today - Commerce Township, MI
Jeff,  Did someone mention code? Like Blaine Edwards and Antwan Merriweather used to say "Hated IT!"  I guess I need yet another blog... 
Apr 29, 2007 03:07 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
LOL
Apr 29, 2007 03:14 PM #17
Rainmaker
166,309
Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate - Los Gatos, CA
CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
I haven't "pimped" mine once, let alone twice. I didn't know that blogs could be pimped ... one of my neices talked about "going pimping" and I about flipped, 'til she explained the slang to me.

Anyway, I didn't think the old Living In Plainfield looked bad at all. I'm sure the new one looks great.

The code is scary. Scary, scary, scary.

Good thing I'm doing this contest before my (computer proficient) son goes off to college!!
Apr 29, 2007 04:35 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Mary... what's the expression? God is in the details. It wasn't bad before, but something was missing. And yes, code can be scary. I wish more template designers built color editing tools into their templates. The world would be a prettier place if they did. 
May 01, 2007 10:11 AM #19
Ambassador
556,218
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL
I have found someone to help and I'm doing very well with my studies :)
May 06, 2007 08:57 AM #20
Rainer
140,633
Ben Kakimoto
Keller Williams Greater Seattle - Seattle, WA
Seattle Condo Specialist
Jeff - just noticed this post.  What did you use for Julie's contact page.  Is that a plugin or did you code that yourself?  I  use WP-Contact and it's very limited.
May 06, 2007 09:29 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA

Ben... here is what we used: Wufoo.com. I wrote a post on it with a video. Link is below.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/75219/Project-Blogger-Has-Me 

May 06, 2007 11:12 AM #22
Rainer
140,633
Ben Kakimoto
Keller Williams Greater Seattle - Seattle, WA
Seattle Condo Specialist
Thanks Jeff - that was a great demo video too.
May 06, 2007 11:27 AM #23
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Thanks, Ben.
May 06, 2007 04:00 PM #24
Rainmaker
387,754
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Hi Jeff, I would not have had a clue what you were talking about here in April...but I guess you find stuff when you're ready for it.  Thanks for the links to these sites.  They're very helpful.  I'm still learning & trying to figure things out on wordpress.
Nov 22, 2007 12:11 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,158,905
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA
Lola... what's the saying, "When the pupil is ready..." This is an oldly, but I liked the approach we took on this one. It made coordinating colors very simple!
Nov 23, 2007 01:16 AM #26
Ambassador
162,968
Monica Bourgeau
New Phase Business Coaching - Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Very cool - there are soooo many possibilities.

Mar 10, 2008 02:56 AM #27
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