Last year I changed the look monthly. Or maybe that was earlier this year. Last year might have been seasonally. I like to take photos and have them as my background. Currently I am using a theme from http://www.thecutestblogontheblock.com/ I'm more likely to change the look with various hacks and widgets.
While I am almost always adding new buttons or images that suit me or help with networking, as far as changing the layout (or banner in my case), only once a season (or holiday) for me. It takes a good amount of time to play with a blog, and though I want the look to suit my personality, I don't have the time to do it every month. In fact, it's about time for me to change my banner, now that Christmas is over. :) Might as well do it while we're still on winter break and I have the time!
I used to update the look frequently, but I won a blog makeover over the holidays, so I'm hoping to keep my design put for a long time. As far as adding things on the sidebar....I'll be doing that all the time.
As far as others who have asked if it makes sense to pay for a pro layout/design....good designs really do have an impact on the way I feel about a blog, and whether or not I'll be likely to come back. It's strange, but it really makes a difference.
I've had the same layout for my main blog for a while now. It's come to the point where if people see my blog header, they automatically think of me. I don't think I could change it even if I wanted to.
Now, my review blog is a different story. I'm constantly messing with it and having people re-design it. I don't even want to think about how much money I've already spent changing the look. In fact, I have someone re-designing it at this very minute! LOL!
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Toxic Free Blog - by Brittany Glynn
Brittany is a director of the Toxic Free Foundation and created the first ever Toxic Free Certification Program. Weekly, Brittany publishes the Toxic Free Blog and provides coaching to over 10,000 families in the United States alone. She is the author of a Toxic Free educational series and co-author of several Toxic Free learning programs. Brittany is also an award winning author.