Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog

Let me preface this post: I am no blog expert. I have a lot to learn, but I've learned a lot in the past four years that I've been writing Daily Dose. I'm also a blog reader, so I've developed opinions and noticed trends through personal engagement. And for what it's worth, I have a communications degree with a professional background in advertising, marketing and writing. So there's that perspective, too. And with all that under my hat, I'd like to present to you (in no particular order) a few easy ways to improve your blog, no matter what kind of blog you write.

1) Clean up your sidebar.
First, decide what (if anything) can go. Then prioritize the information in a way that makes sense to you as a blog reader. Make any and all logos the same size and line them up properly. Consider using headers to break things up, and make sure those headers match the look and feel of your blog. And be very careful with ad placement. Above all else, this should be expertly organized and efficiently designed into the look and feel of your blog. If I get distracted by too many ads flashing at me from the sidebar or up above, I start to lose track of the information you're presenting.

2) Choose your post title wisely.
As a reader, this is what hooks me. Especially if I'm reading it on Twitter where images aren't always available. If your title isn't interesting, or if it doesn't tell me exactly what your post is about, then the likelihood of me clicking through to your actual blog might be slim to none.

3) Spell check your posts and edit them for grammar.
Seriously, this is major. Especially if you want to present a professional front. Your blog is your resume as far as potential brand partners are concerned. Would you send a resume out that's full of errors? We all make mistakes, just do what you can to minimize them.

4) Use an artistic eye when you take and post photographs. 
You don't have to use a fancy camera, and you certainly don't have to have photography experience. Just be smart about the photos you post. Like your words, they convey who you are. Are they blurry? Cropped right? How's the color? Get creative, pictures are meant to be fun! And make sure there's at least one that's worth pinning.

5) Develop a planning system and use it.

As your blog grows, you'll have more to organize. Like brand contracts or expense reports. And post ideas. Stay on top of everything behind the scenes, and you'll eliminate some of the rush to post on time. Which, in turn, translates to a thought-out blog and/or post.

6) Stay true to yourself.
Don't try to be something (or someone) that you aren't. It's very boring! Different is good, honestly is good...fake is not. It's boring and stale. If I get the sense that you're trying too hard to convey a contrived image of yourself, then it feels like I'm being lied to. So what's the point in me following you, ya know?

7) Make it easy for people to get in touch with you and/or share your content.
Are all of your applicable social media buttons live and active? Do you have an email address that you're willing to publish, perhaps one associated only with your blog? Make that easy to find, especially if you want to work with brands. If they can't find it, they'll move on. And if I can't easily engage you and/or share your content, then I'll move on, too. Big question here: How easy is it for someone to leave a comment on your site?

8) Be careful with fonts.
Scripted fonts are fun, but they can be really hard to read on a computer. Get creative with headers, sure. But stay true to a simple, straightforward font within your posts. And stick with one or two fonts to represent your site. Too much difference throughout your blog creates a chaotic sense that leaves me wanting, well...not more.


Question: If you write a blog, what's the best tip you've ever received? As a blog reader, what tip(s) would you give to blog writers?


Tamara Grand said...

I crave white space. There's nothing that turns me off reading a blog more quickly than a page that feels crammed without nice, calming breaks between the paragraphs of text!

Tamara Grand said...

P.S. Another easy to fix one; make sure that the Shareholic Tweet button in your footer has been edited to include YOUR Twitter handle (I just tweeted this post and @shareholic got notified rather than you!)

adailydoseoffit said...

Oh, man...I thought I fixed that! Thanks for the heads up. And thanks for sharing!

adailydoseoffit said...

Totally feel the same. Distracting backgrounds drive me nuts, too.

Tamara Grand said...

No worries! I missed this on mine for months until somebody pointed it out! :)

Jamie said...

This is tricky to fix in Blogger. I know there's a nice box to click in Word Press but in Blogger, I had to search through the html code. It was stressful and I was totally sweating when I altered my code last year. ;)

Jamie said...

I agree with this one, too! I love SPACE!

GiGi Eats Celebrities said...

I HAVE TO CLEAN UP MY SIDE BARRR but I need help doing it! I don't know where to put everything! BAHH!

adailydoseoffit said...

You're totally right, Jamie! I think that's actually why I haven't fixed mine. I keep searching and searching for that dang HTML!

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