These days, building a professional looking blog or website is important for almost any business. It's a direct representation of your brand and is a crucial part of sending the right message to your customers (or readers).
While some businesses have the budget to outsource a web designer, there are many fantastic resources available that allow anyone to build their very own beautiful looking site. I think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference in most cases. I'm always surprised by how unaware most people are of all the great resources available, so I'm sharing all of my favorites below.
Blogging has become a wildly popular way to share content. If you are starting out as a blogger, finding pre-made templates is a great way to make your blog look professional and elevated without having to pay for a web designer. Once you have picked a name, bought a url (I reccomend GoDaddy because they have amazing customer support), and decided wether you are going to use Wordpress or Blogger (more info on making that decision here - Wordpress vs. Blogger), you are ready to start customizing!
Here are my top choices for finding beautiful templates for blogging:
Pipdig is a great resource for beautiful Blogger and Wordpress templates. They are highly customizable and well designed. They also have a great customer service for those who need a little extra help with implementation. Their prices are very reasonable and most templates cost between $50-$60.
Although you will have to do a little more digging, Theme Forest is also an excellent resource for finding templates for blogging. All of the templates are by different designers and most come with their own customer service as well as updates. The pricing here is a bit more varied but you can find templates for as little as $40.
Following the same preliminary step for starting a blog, I recommend buying a URL from GoDaddy.
Shopify is hands-down my favorite ecommerce platform. They offer plenty of free (!) templates for your shop and the possibilities for customization are endless. Business operations are also incredible easy and user friendly from the back end. They also have endless self-help forums that will guide you through set up, customization, and selling! In the case that you end up hiring a web designer down the road, it's very easy to set up an account within your company that restricts their access just to the design aspect of your site.
DESIGNERS . ARTISTS . PHOTOGRAPHERS
Portfoliobox is a straightforward way to display examples of your work or a portfolio. It's best suited for designers, writers, artists, stylists, or photographers. It's easy to use and priced reasonably at $7/month.
I hope this helps empower you to set out and create your own site! I did mine and I love figuring out new ways to customize it to fit my needs. If you have any questions or have additional tips or sites, please add them below :)