I check out a lot of blogs for many reasons, content curation, content creation + just to see what other people are doing so I can steal like an artist! I’ve been keeping notes (no, not in a spreadsheet) of blogs that get it right, wrong and almost wrong. We’ll go through the list, together as I share some practical blogging tips to make your blog better.
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Your header has to be captivating, but we don’t want to see the kitchen sink.
My friend Rhonda blew my mind when she wrote this post about designing with the “Z’ in mind. This means that you want to help your readers natural eye movement on your home page. On my blog, for example, your eye will go to the header to read it, to the right where my profile picture is, to the first post at the top. Visit your blog right now as a new reader. Is your header clean, with a tagline that makes sense? Does it encapsulate who you are and what you’re about? If not, head to Canva and start working!
How do I share you with my friends?
As a blogger, there’s nothing like social proof. There’s nothing like having a reader share your content with their friends and say “Hey, you need to check this out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to share a post and couldn’t figure out where they were on social media to tag them and let them know I loved what they were puttin’ down. I love Carrie’s free social media icons and recommend them all the time. She has every color social sharing set you could possibly imagine. An extra tip? Please have a friend check your links so they work! Don’t get caught out there with links that only go to the platform and not your profile, or even worse, broken links! Gasp!
You? Who are you?
I hope you caught that Alice in Wonderland reference. If not, we just broke up. Many times I come across beautifully designed blogs with sumptuous colors and branding. They sweep me off of my feet, carry me to their “About Me” page and it’s like the wine wore off. You know what I mean? Make an about me page that draws your reader in and shares a little bit more than you would. A great example of this is Melissa Cassera’s “My Story” page. She covers business and party like no other. You just can’t stop reading. And who doesn’t want to pretend to be Babs and get their interview on?!
What all this stuff in your sidebar?
Ever scroll as you read at a desktop and get distracted by all the junk in someone’s sidebar? I know I do. If there are blogs that I just love, but I know they are sidebar junkie culprits, I read their stuff on Feedly. You may think this isn’t a big deal, but that’s another click to get me to share, comment and otherwise engage with your blog. Readers are busy, just like bloggers, make their lives easier and cut the crap!
- Get rid of badges, unless you must have them (like your a contributor), awards, twitter timelines and the like. Why Twitter timelines? What if there’s something scrolling past on Twitter that’s attention grabbing? You guessed it, there they go, off to the shiny light on your twitter stream.
- I do recommend an Instagram widget, link to an archive page, social platform buttons, a search bar, a Facebook Page Plugin (there’s a new one, in case you didn’t know!), and a Pinterest board widget that features your best stuff. You do have a “Best Of” board, right?
- For more, check out this article by Hubspot, 7 Things Your Blog’s Sidebar Can’t Live Without.
- Remember that a lot of people are using their mobile phones to read your content, so they may never scroll down far enough to get to all the widgets in your sidebar anyway. I know that’s hard to hear, but the truth is hard. I never said otherwise.
I can’t see your images, shame. I’d love to pin them.
According to Expanded Ramblings, there are 70 million Pinterest users. To put 70 Million people into perspective, Pinterest has more people there than the country of France. And you’re gonna rock a thumbnail as your featured image? If I love to play on Pinterest, why would I pin your stuff? As a reader and social sharer, I want to provide stellar visual content to my followers on Pinterest and if your pushing a 200×200 pixel post, sorry babe. Peace out. Check out this recent post I wrote up on The SITS Girls for their recent Spring Into Social Media challenge for tips on how to use this powerful platform. As of this post, the linky for that challenge is open for the next 17 hours so get there and start sharing!
Where ya been?!
You know, those blogs that you can’t get enough of that don’t blog consistently? Listen, you don’t have to blog every day, or 3-5 times a week, or 2 times a week. You have to blog at a pace that you can handle. This makes your reader feel comfortable because they know what to expect. Just like any relationship, comfort leads to trust and that leads to faithful fans or money in your pocket if your selling a product. I always suggest coming up with the topics you feel comfortable writing about and consistently vary those topics so you are serving your audience in a way that’s authentic, consistent and fresh.
Need help on coming up with a content schedule? Head to Convince and Convert for How to Build a Content Calendar. You can also use the content calendar that I use, Trello. It’s amazing. Trello even gives you a step by step of how to use their tool to create a quick, easy and simple editorial calendar with due dates to keep you on track and consistent.
Is time your issue? Believe me, I get it. I have little time and love all the shiny things! I recently found all kinds of time to write and blasted the shiny things using “News Feed Eradicator” for Facebook, a Chrome extension that gives me access to the groups I’m a part of, messages and the ability to post, but I don’t see the time suck that is the Newsfeed. What do I see? A motivational quote. That’s wassup!
So, that’s it. Are there any you’ve seen that you’d like to add? There’s a catch, you have to add a tip to fix it. Let’s help each other! I would love to read what you have to say in the comments!
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