It’s the last week of the Blogging 101 series. I hope it has helped those of you who are just starting your own blogging adventure. Today’s topic is how to create a blog that stands out in the (online) crowd.
You know the saying “fake it until you make it”? It totally applies to blogging, especially if you’re setting out to turn it into a full-time job. It’s the whole first impression concept. You (and your site) need to be ready when you start getting attention—and page views—from more readers, potential sponsors, big brands, etc. If you’re starting out, these would be the top five essentials that I’d recommend checking off of my list. (Take it from somebody who learned along the way and did very few of these things right at first.)
#1 A name you can live with. . . for a long time.
I’ll admit I got lucky with this one. The only reason I went with just my name, and not something more creative, was because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about something that probably wouldn’t pan out. And, I wasn’t entirely sure what my blog would end up being about. Unless you know your exact niche when you’re starting out—and are committed to it—I would choose something more neutral (like your name or company name) and less cutesy. (You can always add a tagline like my “design simplified” later.)
#2 Stick with a clean site design.
This is my personal preference, because if your blog is going to showcase a lot of pretty images, you don’t need a lot of other stuff competing for attention. Let your writing and photography shine. And, I’ve mentioned it before, but I think a good looking blog header is super important, even if you can’t afford to have the rest of your site professionally designed at first.
#3 Keep your photography clear and concise.
You may not have a lot of photography experience, but a good camera and some online editing tools (like PicMonkey) can make a world of difference between looking like an amateur or a pro. I wrote a post about all of that here. I would also suggest that you edit the amount of photos per post. Even if you’ve set a Thanksgiving table to rival Martha Stewart, no one needs to see 74 angles of the same tablescape. Choose the photos that best illustrate your point (without being repetitive) and consider what will also work well for Pinterest.
#4 Invest in a professional headshot.
Don’t you look at someone’s profile picture (on blogs/Facebook/Twitter/etc.) and think you can tell exactly what they’d be like? We all do it, and so do prospective blog readers and companies that might want to work with you. I wrote more about updating your headshot here.
#5 Proofread your posts. (And, then proofread again.)
My posts are not always perfect, because life is often happening around me while I type. (As I write this, I hear Daniel Tiger in one room, a math homework explanation happening in another, and someone else is reading over my shoulder.) But, I try my very best to proofread my posts at least a couple of times before they go live. I still miss things. As a matter of fact, my dad is usually the one to catch it and will call to tell me about it. Annoying but helpful all at the same time, I suppose. :) Good editing and concise writing are key when it comes to establishing yourself as a professional blogger and could even lead to more writing/blogging jobs.
Keep reading. These four bloggers are also sharing their advice: