Here are my top 5 tips for the perfect blog.
I spend a lot of time devouring blogs, and these are the elements that make up my favourite sites, which you can use to help your blog stand out from the crowd.
There are so many more I'd like to include, but here are my top 5 to help you get started.
1. Clear and Concise Header graphic/image
I want to know what your blog is about from the moment I land on your site. If I have to dig around to find out what is is you actually blog about then I am more likely to loose interest and move on. I really like looking at blogs that are clean and free from clutter. Images and photographs are really important to me too, and so the image quality of blogs plays a huge role in my overall impression of the blog. This doesn't mean you have to have a fancy camera (click here for styling photographs from your blog using just your phone).
Try and take your own photographs and only use images from other blogs and Pinterest if you can cite the original source for the image...it's not really fair to use someone else's hard work on your blog without giving full credit (click here for more help in citing image sources). In the end it's much easier and safer to just take your own photographs for your blog. Don't worry if they don't look that great at first...practice makes perfect!
Back to the header.
-Your header could be a photograph with your tag line (a sentence that sums up what your blog is about).
-It could be your logo.
-It could be a graphic which incorporates all the things you like blogging about in an image or text form.
-Or it could be simply your blog name, and the rest of your blog could be summed up in a graphic in your side bar.
Take a moment to ask your friends or a family member the question that if they stumbled across your site, would they know what it is you blog about. If they're not sure then haul out your notebook and get brainstorming. I don't like very large headers that take up too much space on a blog, so I suggest trying to keep them their height small enough so that visitors are able to still see the first section of your latest blog post.
2. An About Page
Your readers want to know about you. They want to know who you are, where you are and what it is you do and blog about. Click here for an excellent resource on writing the perfect 'about page'. Help them feel connected to you by including a few fun and interesting facts about you.
Make sure your About Page is in an obvious place on your blog. Either in your menu bar at the top of your blog, or somewhere in your sidebar. Make it easy for your readers to find out more about you.
3. White Space
Keep your blog clean.
If you have a background image or pattern, make sure it isn't too distracting and that it doesn't take away from your blogs content. If you have a quick look at Pinterest, it's very likely that a lot of the most popular pins are products/items/rooms with a white or very light background. This helps your blog post images pop and draws your readers focus to what's really important...your content.
4. Image Size
Keep your blog image size consistent. This helps ensure your blog has a clean and well organized feel to it from the moment your readers arrive. You can use free online image re-size sites like PicMonkey or set your preferences before hand when exporting your images from Lightroom/Photoshop or Blogstomp.
It helps to know your blogs actual width (in Blogger you go to template>customize>adjust widths). Most PC computer displays are set at 1024 x 788.
My blog width is set to 1000 pixels so that my blog can be viewed on most screens without having to scroll sideways. You should be able to see the entire width of my blog on most computers and laptops. The exception is mobile devices, for which my blog automatically adjusts (mobile responsive) so that you can view the site by scrolling up and down and not having to scroll across to read the content.
My images are all formatted to be 650 pixels wide using my favourite image re size program, Blogstomp. You can also manually adjust your image sizes on your computer, but it's such a pain to do it for each photograph. As I shoot in raw, my photographs are HUGE and so Blogstomp takes care of all the heavy lifting, reducing my images from 4250 pixels wide to 650pixels. This is also important because if your readers are looking at your your blog from a slow internet connection, your pictures won't take forever to load. There's nothing worse than coming across a blog and having to wait for ages for the images to load. A lot of my readership is in South Africa, and I know just how poor the connection speed is there, and so I try to accommodate and make my pictures smaller and easier to load on their computers and mobile devices.
5. Clear Social Media Buttons
Make sure you have clear ways for your readers to follow you. This means displaying your social media links at the top of your blog, and then possibly underneath each blog post. This makes it much easier for readers to follow along and and be notified when you post something new. Make it as easy as possible for them to be able to contact you (via email or any of your social platforms).
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Do you have any other tips you'd like to share? Please pop me a comment below, I love hearing from you!