I’d say that most of you that read this blog are bloggers yourselves. With that assumption in mind, this category ‘For Bloggers‘ encompasses tips and help that you can use on your own blogs. If you have any questions or would like me to cover anything specific, please feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments and then check back. I’ll do my best to get around to everybody’s ideas in a timely fashion.
For the this installment of For Bloggers, I’m going to go over:
10 Ways to Make Your Blog Look More Professional. A Fast and Free Guide.
- No Music – Please! For the love of all that is good about blogging, take off the automatic music players. NOBODY likes those!! It interrupts music that is already playing. It may or may not be the genre that the reader likes. It can interrupt a workplace. It’s just rude! It’s ok to have a player, but let your readers decide if and when they want to listen. Don’t cram it through their ears!
- Awards = Clutter – Unless it’s the Nobel Peace Prize, don’t post it on your sidebar. It just makes your page look cluttered. Keep things clean and nice. If you’d like, make a new page where you can display all of the random little buttons that you’re awarded for being so awesome, but don’t make your reader search through them in order to figure out who YOU are.
- 50 Different Tabs/Labels/Categories – Keep them simple and condensed. Again, don’t make your readers search through a whole list to find something. If you’re not going to be writing more than 10+ posts about a topic, it doesn’t need it’s own label.
- Photos – Make them all the same size (at least width). Different sizes makes everything look misaligned and unprofessional. Also, nobody needs close ups of your nose, eyes, throat, etc.. And can I also add let’s keep the bloody, up-close and personal gashes, stitches, wounds, and other nasty stuff to a minimum. Nothing makes me close a browser faster than opening up to a close-up of Dr. Doom’s Table of Terror.
- Recent Post Lists – Aren’t your recent posts the first thing that comes up on your blog? Why do you need a list beside the actual posts? Don’t waste the space and go for a “popular or favorite posts” instead.
- Search Bar Above The Fold – “The Fold” is the part of the screen that you see before you start to scroll down. Generally people don’t really know what they’re looking for that fast, so what would they need to search? The search feature is great to have, but put it lower on the page. Use the best real estate for the best things: your bio photo and blog intro. Explain what people are looking at before you invite them to search for something specific.
- Text Alignment – I can’t stress this enough! Centering works – for pictures definitely. But don’t center your text! It makes it hard to read and isn’t friendly for your reader’s eyes or attention span. BUT what’s worse is the RIGHT ALIGN. DO NOT DO THIS!!! It makes you look different yes, but not in a good way. Nobody is impressed that you found the button. It makes you look like a newbie, and you will never see it done on legitimately well-designed blogs or websites for that exact reason. Left align or justify your text. Think about it, how often do you open up a magazine or read an article and see all of the paragraphs centered down the page?
- Sponsored Ads – I am all for sponsoring but it’s important to make sure your sponsorship blends in with your design. Make them fit in and add to your overall design, not stand out and look cluttered. That’s a sure fired way to NOT get repeat sponsorships. People want to look good and have their brands look good, even on your page, so make this happen for them and you’ll have happy sponsors.
- White Space – White space is a good thing. Use paragraphs, headings, etc.. Let your words breathe. Break those thoughts up into bite-sized pieces. This will make you look like you know what you’re talking about, and will INVITE the viewer to read, not scare them away with a chore.
- Grammar & Punctuation – I’m not saying that you have to produce college-level essays every time you sit down to the computer. Just try to use full and complete sentences, and use punctuation where necessary. I’m sure you’ve all seen the meme that says “There’s a big difference between: “Let’s eat grandpa” and “Let’s eat, Grandpa”. Punctuation saves lives.” It also keeps your readers sane and makes it easier to follow what you’re trying to say.
Double check that you’re not making any of these mistakes and then leave a link in the comments so I can drop by your blog and tell you how awesome it is! I’d love to gather some new blogs and friends to follow. 🙂