Your masthead, which includes your title, tagline and/or a graphic, is the first thing that readers see. It doesn't hurt to devote some time and effort to it. Consider which colour scheme you would like. Should it match an already existing website? My blog masthead does not have a photo or picture per se, but my background does include a world map.
Talbert Talks Travel incorporates a beautiful photo above its masthead at www.miamibeach411.com.
If you decide to include a logo, you have the option of making it yourself or hiring a professional. You can go to www.istockphoto.com to find free photos. Similarly, you can obtain a Creative Commons license to have access to free graphics. If you have your heart set on a unique, professional look, hire a graphic artist to design your logo ($500-$1500).
Kitchen Girl has a professional looking logo at www.tastydays.com.
If your blog is a business one, you will want to include product photos, graphics and logos. If you have a humorous blog, you might include cartoons.
A little humour never hurts courtesy wordpress.com.
How many columns do you want? Where will you place your main post: to the left, to the right or in the centre of the blog? My blog home page shows my blogroll at the top left, my top five posts at the bottom left. To the right, I have a blog counter and my blog followers under which I have my blog archives.
This Beauty Blog has a neat, easy to scan layout at advicesacademy.netdna-cdn.com.
Buttons are the small, clickable graphics that link to web content. Badges are bigger buttons which are used as promotional tools. Widgets have functionality ex. search features, blogrolls, recent visitors, Twitter posts, RSS feeds.
Good use of widgets, buttons & badges at May Dreams Gardens at
Decide whether or not you would like to provide advertisements on your blog. You can advertise through Google Adsense. What types of advertising would you like and what size will the ads be? You have to remember: how will ads affect the overall look of your blog? Typically, the blogs that I read seem to have two or three ads running at a time. Too many can crowd out the blog posts and turn readers off.
Bakerella incorporates ads into its blog nicely at www.bakerella.com.
Surf the Internet and look for blogs that you find attractive and that you find easy to navigate. Try to imitate their designs.
For more information, visit http://www.successfulblogging.com/16-rules-of-blog-writing-which-ones-are-you-breaking/.
For a blog setup tutorial with Wordpress. Visit https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/blog/wordpress.htm.