Everyone starts out as a newbie blogger – and that’s certainly not a bad thing. New bloggers bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to the community, and being new certainly doesn’t stop you from creating great content.
However, with every new venture comes a bit of a learning curve. There are some things that are learnt from experience – and if you are new to the game, you soon find out that it’s not as easy to produce a slick and polished blog as it looks!
No one wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing – so here are a few tips to avoid making those newbie mistakes!
Get Your Own Domain
This is one of the quickest and easiest way to give your blog that professional edge. Grab yourself your own domain name and people will automatically take you a bit more seriously. They’re not usually very expensive, depending on how popular the name you want is, but this little investment shows that you mean business on your blog.
Write a Kick-Ass About Page
A kick-ass about page will give new readers somewhere to go when they want to find out about you – and if they like what they see, will mean they keep coming back for more. Give people a taste of the person behind the blog and let your personality shine through. Don’t be afraid to brag about your achievements and what else you’ve got going on on the Internet, and let us know what your blog is all about! It’s always hard to write about yourself, but there’s plenty of advice out there if you Google it. If you want to collaborate with other bloggers and brands, your about page is especially important – don’t forget to include the ways people can contact you!
[Images from Death to the Stock Photo]
Tweak your Template
Using the basic template will automatically mark you out as a newbie – so tweak that template! Depending on which blogging platform you use, you should have a number of options for making your layout a little bit more unique but the most important is a header image – this is the thing people see first and if it looks generic, you’re unlikely to stand out from the crowd.
Spend some time thinking about how you’d like your blog to look, take inspiration from your favourite blogs and have fun learning some new skills. HTML and CSS are a little tricky but teaching yourself a little will help you make your blog your own. Alternatively, you can wuss out like me and pay someone to create you something unique.
Oh, and avoid any widgets with subscriber counts whilst you’re still starting out. Nothing screams newbie more than having just a handful of followers! The followers will come with time – and then you can start shouting about how many there are!
Format your Posts
If you want an easy-peasy lemon-squeezy way to look like a pro, then learn to format your posts! Big, clear photos automatically make your blog look more appealing and formatting them properly will give you that extra edge. Find out the width of your posts and resize your photos to those dimensions before uploading them (I use PicMonkey and it’s super easy) so they aren’t too small or stretched out of proportion. Keeping them the same width of the text also stops the readers’ eyes from jumping around the page and keeps them focused on your wonderful words. Text should be left- or fully-justified depending on your preference – avoid centre-justified text unless there’s something you particularly want to highlight, such as a title. Your blog will soon look the bees knees!
Credit Images & Inspiration
There are certain bits of blogger etiquette that you pick up as you go – best practice if you will. Thanking people for sharing your posts. Replying to comments. Most of it is just good manners, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you. The most important, however, is giving credit where credit is due. If you use someone else’s photo or quote from their work, you need to make it clear that it is their copyright. Similarly, if you get an idea for a post or take inspiration from another blogger, mentioning it is polite and will put you in their good books – it’s very flattering after all!
Most of all though, don’t fret too much. Everyone has to start somewhere – if you don’t believe me, just look back in the archives of your favourite bloggers for some reassurance that they didn’t just jump onto the Internet and start creating the perfect blog. Don’t compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle (and come to Blognix to learn some more!).