Help The Bookish Angel Look Fab! // Questions on Subscription Services and Blog Design

HELP THE BOOKISH ANGEL

Moving to self-hosted WP was a lot of work than I imagined. After almost a month of the switch, my blog is still looking pretty bare. So now I’m looking for help a.k.a your opinion with my blog design and what service to use for subscribing to my blog.

Jetpack or Mailchimp?

When I made my announcement of switching to self-hosted WP I told you guys that I won’t be using Jetpack anymore. So now yes, I’m using Mailchimp but I’m still torn between it and Jetpack.

Pros of using Jetpack:

  • Jetpack is really easy to use.
  • I will be able to move all my followers/subscribers from my old blog to my new one.

Cons of using Jetpack:

  • It doesn’t show shortcodes.
  • Emails look meh.

Pros of using Mailchimp:

  • Accurate and awesome analytics.
  • I can design how my emails looks.

Cons of using Mailchimp:

  • I can’t transfer my followers who are using WP.com.
  • Emails get sent to the Promotions tab.

Another service I’m thinking of using is Feedburner though I heard a lot of stories that the number of subscribers aren’t accurate and once, I received an email from a blogger with his/her latest post but all I got were a bunch of random letters and numbers, not the actual post.


What do you guys personally use for subscription on your blogs? What do you recommend for me?


Blog design tips for me, anyone?

As you can see my blog design is still bare and I’d like to change it. I thought of hiring a designer and I searched how much they charge for the most basic design but I still can’t afford anything because of my college expenses.

So what I need now are some design tutorials because I might do the designing myself. I’ve searched everywhere and I still don’t know what I want my blog to actually look like and also, how to achieve it.


If you guys could link me to great but easy to follow design tutorials or if you have any tips for me that would be great!

Anything you say would be a huge help because I’m really frustrated with how my blog looks. Thanks! 😀

21 thoughts on “Help The Bookish Angel Look Fab! // Questions on Subscription Services and Blog Design

  1. Hi,
    First of all, congrats on moving onto self hosting!
    I had previously self hosted my WP blogs (not about books) but I decided not to invest in domain/ hosting until I get around the book bloggers’ environment.
    Definitely the thing I don’t like much about not being self hosted is not having many options to customise my blog when it comes to Design. I am a designer myself (But I work in an agency and in a team, so I don’t code, so I don’t think I could be of help). And yes, requesting a fully bespoke WP website, from design to development could be quite expensive.

    Anyway, I am not sure I can be much of a help subscription wise but about the design, the cheapest option (and really good, IMO) is buy a theme, like here: http://themeforest.net , many themes there are multi purpose and you can customise your blog completely!

    I am also a fan of this plugin: http://codecanyon.net/item/visual-composer-page-builder-for-wordpress/242431 (it’s paid but it comes for free with a few themes), it lets you customise each page but it keeps the main layout.

    Good luck anyway:)
    Nya recently posted…TBR Thursday #6My Profile

  2. That’s such a shame, it was quite a long one, haha, well, no worries, I will try to sum it up!

    So basically, I wrote that I might not know much of a help in regards to the subscription issue but in regards to the Design – I am a designer myself but I don’t code, so I am pretty much useless in this case haha – but this means I do know the costs of a fully bespoke WP website and tbh, when it comes to personal blogs, I don’t think it’s worth it!

    Also, congrats to move onto self hosted! I had a few self hosted blogs myself in the past and didn’t make the move in this one yet because I am still getting into the environment of book bloggers. But I definitely miss it when it comes to customization as it’s such a huge difference.

    So basically, IMO, the best alternative design wise would be to purchase a theme and customize it yourself. There are some amazing themes here for example: http://themeforest.net (there are many different prices but they’re all pretty much affordable) and it’s amazing how customizable most of them are! Most of them are multi purpose too and come with a few template demos of different layout structures that you can easily do it yourself.

    I also came across a plugin I really liked one of these days: http://codecanyon.net/item/visual-composer-page-builder-for-wordpress/242431 , it lets you change the layout of any page without coding but it doesn’t let you change the outer shell of the theme. It is PAID, but there are a few themes that come with this plugin for free already. I know this one does, for example: http://themeforest.net/item/notio-deluxe-portfolio-theme/10049784 , but I am pretty sure you can find others!

    Anyway, this was long again so hopefully it works this time, and no matter what you do, good luck, because your blog already looks great anyway:)
    Nya recently posted…Beat the Heat Readathon 2015!My Profile

    1. I got both of your comments but it got sent to spam :/ Good thing I checked the spam folder before deleting everything in it. So sorry for that! I would check those sites out they sound cool, especially the plugin! Thanks for taking the time to comment again! <3

  3. Well, I have no idea about Jet Pack or Mail chimp, so I can’t be much of a help in that area, (Sorry !:)), but I think you can try buying a template or theme in Etsy, or you can even download something for free!
    Here are some links. I hope they help!:)
    Etsy : Dinosaur Stew – https://www.etsy.com/shop/DinosaurStew
    Design Shop : Read – a – Holicz – http://read-a-holicz.blogspot.co.uk/p/read-holicz-free-designs.html (Under $25)
    Designs and Tutorials : Cutest Blog on the Block – http://thecutestblogontheblock.com/
    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted…LITHW #11: Why Co-Bloggers Rock Your SocksMy Profile

  4. Agh, I know the pain. I basically just have a header and my blog template, atm, so I’m USELESS. Although I’m getting a new design really really soon! (SQUEEE.) But my bro-in-law is designing it in payment for babysitting. So that’s handy for me. x) As for the subscriptions, I DOn’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I USE?!? I know I have jetpack. I think my emails are just whatever is the default one and I’ve never had problems with it!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Does A Book Have to Be “Perfect” To Be 5-Stars?My Profile

  5. I absolutely recommend buying TWEAK ME from Nosegraze! It’s basically a very powerful theme that allows you to customize it A LOT – from the way it looks to the fonts to pretty much almost everything, plus, it has shortcodes of its own I think that would prove to be useful. It’s like the MACBOOK to WINDOWS, if you know what I mean… very easy-to-use, highly functional, and there are a lot of people out there who can help you if you need help, Ashley (the creator) included! ^_^

    I don’t know about Mailchimp to be honest. I doubt people ever read our posts by email, so I don’t really care that the Jetpack email of our posts aren’t “pretty”. I find that most of my engagement and redirects are from other blogs and Twitter 😛 I just use Jetpack cause it’s easy and it has other stuff, too.
    Faye la Patata recently posted…Top Five Diverse Books of 2015 (so far)My Profile

    1. I want to use the Tweak Me so damn much! But it’s really expensive. 🙁 I want to buy it for my birthday but I already planned to buy a new phone using my birthday money. Haha. 😀 I think I’ll go with Jetpack now. 😀

    1. With all the bloggers I love using Jetpack, I think I might use it officially. I might try designing a header but if I’m not satisfied with it, I’ll hire a designer. Thanks for the wonderful tips! 😀

  6. Ugh, the blog design struggle! It is real. Here’s a story for you! I hired someone, paid kind of a lot (for me, anyway!), it looked perfect, and then over the weekend… something crashed and I lost it all- every code, every font, every color, every everything! I spent HOURS recreating it- looking up how to code certain things, etc. Here’s my point: You CAN do it! But it is absolutely time consuming, so that is something to consider. Also, I use Tweak Me, which makes things a LOT easier. But I have found that there’s a tutorial out there for pretty much everything, so really, it all comes back to time versus money.

    As for the mail… I use Feedburner, but only for now. I am looking for other options too. I don’t really think people READ emails, but they probably use them to gauge interest? At least that’s what I do 😉 So the main thing I care about is that stuff is being delivered appropriately- which to be honest, I DON’T trust Feedburner to do, but I am scared of transferring. But now I am considering Jetpack. Decisions, decisions 😀 Good luck with all the decisions!!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…The #ShatteringStigmas Conclusion: Recs, Thank yous, and Giveaways!My Profile

    1. That must be a nightmare but the fact that you designed your own blog just blew me away because it’s just so pretty! I wish I have Tweak Me. 🙁 I know the money will be worth it but it’s just too expensive when converted to PH peso.

  7. I use mailchimp, but tbh I am not happy lately. You have to click “display images” in order to look at it. Still I like the options of sending just to email subscribers and that I can personalize it to look more like a newsletter. You should be able to at least copy and paste your subscriber list for Jetpack. I downloaded a copy of my subscriber list and uploaded it to Mailchimp without problems. I am sure i found a tutorial somewhere on Mailchimp on how to do that.
    What are you looking to change about your site?
    Karen Blue recently posted…THE BODY INSTITUTE by Carol RiggsMy Profile

    1. I subscribed to your blog via Mailchimp and I didn’t have to click “display images” to see it. 🙂 I want something simple with a feminine touch!

        1. Tweak Me is like my dream theme lol but it’s pricey when converted to PH Peso. 🙁 I guess I just have to edit the theme I’m using now. Hopefully, I get Tweak Me soon!

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