Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Power of a Pretty Hello

Cheeky Secret #10
A Good Blog Header is EVERYTHING.
The other day, while walking into my children's school, I walked past five different women. The first tossed out a muffled hello as I walked by. The second glanced my way. She may have nodded her head slightly in my direction, but then again, she could have just been stylishly tossing her hair off of her forehead. Ladies number three, four and five didn't even bother to glance in my direction as we crossed paths.
By now, I'd reached the front door, stretched my hand out to open it, when a hand grabbed the door before I could and a cheery voice said behind me. "Here! I'll get that for you. I have to tell you, I saw you walking from all the way back there, and that necklace your wearing! It just caught my eye! It's gorgeous!" Stunned, I turned around and caught myself staring right into the face of some woman I'd never met. Her eyes were lit with happy energy, a smile donned her cheeks, her teeth stood tall and straight, saluting a friendly hello. Instantly, I warmed to her. I loved this woman. We had to be friends. Following her into the school, we chatted back and forth with comfortable banter until we moved our routine ways--me feeling significantly better about my day than I had just moments before I'd run into her merry little soul.
Your blog header is your greeting. How is it saying hello to your readers?
When new visitors arrive at your site, your blog header is the first greeting they get.
It tells them the tone of your blog, the content, the style, the personality.
I believe having a professional looking blog header is as important to attracting new readers as having a smart marketing plan. Of course, you've got to have rocking content and graphics to permanently hook a reader. But, that vital first meeting can be VERY swayed by the power of your header hello.
Here is an example. For several months, I've been in contact with a lovely Tongue-N-Cheeky reader, Patti. She's been the dear of all dears, emailing me often with words of support and encouragement. It's always a pleasure to hear from positive people.
Patti runs a really great blog with a really great title, "Anatomy of A Dinner Party." Doesn't that just ring in your heart? I was instantly impressed with her concept. The title was fascinating, it grabbed my attention, made me want to see what she was up to. But, when you visited her blog, the graphics suggested that she was fresh to blogger, learning her way around the program and posting. (Which is OKAY, we all have to start somewhere. That's for SURE!) Wanting to give her an extra boost with her fantubulous blog, and knowing what a difference a few good graphics make, I offered to create a header for her.
Notice the different ambience each header creates.
Anatomy of a Dinner Party
Patti had worked diligently to set up her blog with a nice looking blogskin and a well-organized posting format. Her header consisted of a nice photo of a lovely dinner party (LOVE those centerpieces!) However, the photo was rather large, with the color being somewhat muted. Wouldn't it be nice to have a graphic that evokes all the refined splendor of a dinner party? Something that truly expressed the sound of "Anatomy of A Dinner Party" in a visual way? I played with a few ideas, then sent Patti a potential blog header, pending her approval. She was gracious-as-can-be upon recieving it, and put it in place immediately.
Here is the Anatomy of A Dinner Party AFTER the header makeover....

Isn't the difference remarkable?!
Before, Anatomy of A Dinner Party appeared to be a nice-looking operation.
Now, Anatomy of A Dinner Party looks like a high-end, finely stylized approach to blogging about truly sumptuous, thoughtful parties. (Which, by the way, is exactly what it is! Go Patti!)
So, how do you go about getting a fabulous header of your own?
First, Create one.
There are many programs that will allow you to create a nice-looking graphic, but I'd suggest using my favorite, free software PHOTOFILTRE.
Second, Hire someone.
Many blog design companies will customize blogskins and blog headers, but (in my experience) such services will run you more than $100 a pop. Which is why I'm excited to announce that, for a limited time, I am creating customized blog headers for only $35!
A good blog header is too important to have, and not easy enough to come by. I simply can't bear to insist of the importance of a nice blog topper, without offering some sort of feasibly affordable option.
If you are interested in having me design a header for you,
please email me at
and Ill start working on your header immediately. The turnaround time for a custom header is about 1 week. Yayhoo! That means you're only seven days away from look blog-fabulous!
Three, Win One.
That's right! Win! Win! Win!
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one free
Cheeky Secrets Custom Blog Header
for the blog of your choice.
*Header will be designed and emailed to you in jpg. and/or gif format, which you can then upload into your blog account. I'll do the designing, you do the uploading and we'll all do the happy dance!
Happy Blogging!


katie said...

I so enjoy all of your advise. I am relatively new to blogging and still developing my voice and style. I really love your new design and think all of your ideas are fabulous! You are such an inspiration!

screwdestiny said...

Ooh, I would LOVE for you to design a header for me! If I don't win one I may just purchase it in the future (you know, when I'm not broke). Your designs are just amazing! I am new to blogging as well, and have two different blogs. One is more personal, and I don't have it for the purpose of gaining a lot of followers, but I'm going to be starting a cooking one soon, and would like to do well with that. Thanks for offering all of your great tips!

April said...

Your blog is such a service! What fabulous tips/advice. I really need to get working to put them into practice. I would absolutely love to win! Thank you!

Steph said...

your post came just in time, as i was just trying to figure out how to make my blog presentable for its debut. thanks for all your great blogging advice!

amyg said...

Love, Love, LOVE the header you made. Your blog is a wonderful help (and awfully fun to read :-D)

foodie ffanatic said...

Like everyone else, I love this blog! And I am also hoping to launch my own early next year. A custom header would be a phenomenal gift. Part of the delay in starting my blog is because I don't know how to do much computer-wise. Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

Lauren said...

Oh.My.Gosh. - I could not be more thrilled about this contest. I LOVE your new banner and am so impressed with your graphic designing capabilities. I would love to win a banner designed by you. I love the whimsy and color you use and could totally see that fitting in perfecting with my blog theme!!

Caroline said...

Great advice. I am sooo in need of a new header. As crafty as I might think I am, mine really looks pretty homemade. I literally took a picture of a piece of paper that I glued things onto. Sounds, scarey, right? I know. But, I am havinga blast which is important in the meantime. Fingers crossed that I win!

DellaRae said...

I just found your blog last week and love it. Can't wait to enter your cookie contest. I have a blog and it is really simple. I don't have a header and have no idea how to make one, but I would love to spice up my blog with your creativity! So I would love to win a cheeky header!

Elizabeth a.k.a. Type A Mommy said...

Woo hoo! I love contests, especially for such practical things, like blog headers! I am so impressed at how many blogs you manage to keep going. I will definitely be digging through Cheeky Secrets further, as I could use all the advice to offer! Thanks!

Kristen said...

I would LOVE something more professional and not so "mommy bloggerish" for my header. I hope I win!

Thanks for the chance! :)

Megan said...

Oh, oh!! I would love to win a new header, designed by you!! My header is the worst...blah.

By the way, I'm a huge fan of your blog(s)...creativity, humor, tips, and delicious dishes...what's not to love? :-)

coco-ono said...

Ive tried and tried to create a good header and just cant! Please pick me!

Sarah said...

SO fun! I love how chic, vintage and witty your blog is and would LOVE a chance to win a blog header! What a fun idea, thanks! :0)

the mrs. said...

Oh-please, please.
My new little blog needs some prettying up.
You could make it beautiful.

Sara PDX said...

I know that having a beautiful, professional blog header will prompt me to blog more often and with more enthusiasm. Hope you choose me!!

Vickie Blanchard said...

I've been dreaming of a custom blog header for months. And it would be just the thing to get me back in my blogging groove after the birth of my first baby (she's 5 months, but I'm still in a barely-blogging-once-a-month slump). The New Yorker

Pamela said...

Lady you are amazing and I LOVE everything you do!, that is all I have to say!

Memória said...

I would love to win a new blog header made by you. :D Pick me! Thanks for the offer and the great advice.

merium said...

I would be so grateful to have a beautiful blog header! Hope I'm not too late for the contest!

Rafizah said...

i love your designs! and what i would love more is for you to design my up-and-coming blog! I've been trawling blogs for ever so long and I've decided to finally start one myself. Having you design a blog header for my blog would just be the grandest debut for it :D

KaraLyn said...

I want in on the contest. The cheeky secrets are great but.... teaching your fans "to fish" is good. Giving us the fish is even better.

Mary K said...

As a very new blogger I could totally benefit from this awesome give-away to spice up my blog! Your blog is awesome - love reading it!

Rachel Sue said...

Win one? Yes please!

I have been experimenting in photofiltre but I'm just not experienced enough to create a design that I really like.

Romaine said...

Consider me entered. :-)

brandy said...

This is exactly what I have been looking for! I would love to have a beautiful blog header! Thank you so much for the awesome giveaway!!

Romaine said...

I just put a new header on my website that Becky designed. I think she did a great job. Well worth the money.

Candice Noel and Brickton John said...

You're blot is so inspiring to beginner bloggers like myself. I appreciate all your advice and would really appreciate a new blog header!

Vegan Valerie said...

I've followed many of your step-by-step instructions and met with some success! I used tips from your fontfabulous post and worked with the suggested Photofiltre program to create a more inviting blog header! Hooray! I could take it a lot further, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. :) I need more practice! (I'm still amazed at all the fancy header stuff you were able to put together for Ms. Hospitality-aholic!) In spite of my novice skills, I am very happy to have learned some insider tips of the blogging trade! Thank you for helping me to grow... electronically speaking that is! :) Love and best holiday wishes to you!

Mary Frances said...

I LOVE your blog header and I would LOVE for you to design me a blog header!!! PLEASE, please, puhLEEEEEEEZE, with a cherry on top, choose me!!! :)

Oh, So Sassy Michelle said...

I just found your site and I am dying...DYING! Your qick wit snappy advice has gotten my wheels moving. Look out creative world! Thanks for the advice. I would love to have a custom blog topper!