Our websites are our online homes. It makes sense that we want to give them personality and warmth, just like we do with our physical homes.

One of the simplest updates with the biggest impact is a custom header, a completely free feature that’s available to the majority of themes on WordPress.com. A header instantly sets your blog apart — and with free online photo and graphic editing tools, a custom look is accessible to any blogger, no graphic design experience needed.

Take a look at the world of possibilities with these ten blogs:

Text, taken up a notch

A custom header doesn’t require a beautiful photo or exquisite drawing skills. Fonts have personality; just ask the bloggers and writers behind Don’t think just eat, Ellie and Ace, and The Lovecraft eZine. Elegant, quirky, eerie — fonts can communicate all that, and more.

dont think just eat

ellie and ace head

lovecraft

(Bonus points to The Lovecraft eZine for the supremely creepy but on-point use of tentacles as a custom background image.)

Thanks to nifty (and free!) online tools like Canva, a spunky custom text header is only a few minutes away. Our step-by-step tutorial walks you through the process, from figuring out what size your header needs to be, to picking out a font, to uploading your shiny new creation to your blog.

Piggyback on a photo

A photo is a simple way to add both context and color to a header, whether it’s a shot you’ve taken or a free-to-use image you love. Layer a title and tagline over the image, as Stacey Altamirano and Built in Dunedin have done, and you have a custom header that’s yours and only yours:

stacey altamirano head

built in dunedin

Canva can help here as well, as can other online tools like PicMonkey and free downloadable image-editing tools like GIMP.

Photos plus

If you spend a little more time tweaking a photo the possibilities open up even further, as Write Wrote Written and re-retro show us:

write wrote written

re-retro

Use filters to age your photo and text, add cut-outs and other shapes, mix fonts — the photo and text are just the beginning. Interested? Take a look at our tutorial for creating a custom header with an image, and let your imagination run wild!

Graphics front and center

If you’re comfortable creating your own graphics (or have a friend who is), then the header world is truly your oyster. We love the hand-drawn font and bright flowers adorning The Haute Mommy Handbook:

haute mommy

Even if your artistic skills skew more “Stick Figure” than “Sandro Botticelli,” you can add life and quirk to your header, like Viaja el Mundo:

viaje el mundo

And if putting pen to paper is completely outside your comfort zone, maybe technology can help! Me and My Books created a word cloud to grace the top of her book blog:

me and my books

Word clouds, maps, screenshots — stop and think about the world of graphic possibilities before you say “But I’m not creative/artistic/a designer!”

Tip: Once you’ve created your custom header, visit My Site ? Customize to upload it to your blog. While you’re there, head to the “Site title and tagline” section to turn off the default site title, so you don’t display the title twice (and so nothing distracts from your new creation!).

Does your site need an injection of life, a distinguishing look, or a header that sets a mood? A custom header is one of the best tools in your design toolbox.

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