I have been blogging for around 1 year now, and I have learned many things along the way. I wanted to share some of my advice with those of you who maybe already blog, or some of those who wish to begin! It's the start of a new year, and what better time than now to begin your adventure into the world of blogging!
By no means do I wish to say that this advice is for everyone, or that my opinion is one that particularly matters in the blogosphere, however as not only a blogger but an avid blog reader, I feel that maybe some of you would like to hear what I think can make or break a great blog!
The key content of many blogs is their text- especially for personal blogs. Therefore, your key content should have the most attention paid to it at all times. Visually, try to use an easy-to-read yet classy font. Something that many net-users are familiar with is best- instead of a decorative font full of fancy script, use something that you see on the sites you visit most!
I would recommend taking a look at what typographers are saying about common fonts. There is a lot of disdain for some easy-to-read fonts such as Comic Sans and Papyrus. And let's also conversely look at some fonts that web designers love.
While you don't have to agree with what's written, it's good to know what the general consensus is before deciding on the font for you.
Next, consider your font colour. Black on white may be too harsh for you, however any pastel colours on white will make your readers squint in order to even read your blog! Keep accessibility your main focus when it comes to your text- not everybody has as good eyesight as you. I also wouldn't recommend using bright block colours for your body text.
Thirdly, proof-read your blog! If you know that your written English is prone to mistakes, have a friend look over your post before publishing it to double check. Run your post through spell-check before publishing. When writing professionally, especially when doing sponsored posts for brands, you should make sure that everything is spelt correctly and your grammar is in check.
Within every aspect of your blog, you should strive for it to be the best quality you can provide. We have covered written content, but remember your blog design, your photographs, all should strive to be the best they can be.
If your blog design is still the default template, but you don't know how to create something else- look online to theme gardens and find one that is right for you! If your knowledge of HTML or CSS is a little higher, code your own, or even just tweak the theme you are using. You can buy professionally made themes which tend to have more simple customisation options, or you can even pay somebody to code your vision into life!
As for your photographs- even if your camera isn't a DSLR, there are many ways you can improve your blog's photography. You can edit your photos using Photoshop, or with a free program such as The GIMP. Simple colour correction and cropping can go a long way in terms of making your photographs look professional.
If you would like to add watermarks to all of your photographs, try to make them unobtrusive. Your branding may change over the years, so try to avoid anything that isn't going to be timeless.
Have you thought about setting up a domain name? Using a TLD for your website can really put you on the next level, and show you are serious about what you are doing. For sometimes as little as £3/year you can sign up for a unique and easy to remember domain name!
Equally, you should look at your host too. Research different blog hosts and determine which is the best for the content you produce. For those more technically skilled, a blog with more 'under the hood' customisation options may be best, as you can cater how your content is served right down the the T. If you just want to write, add photos and post, a WYSIWYG blog host will be better for you. Shop around- sometimes it's worth spending a little to get your blog exactly how you want.
Take note of your analytics- install Google Analytics, or a similar stat tracker, and keep a note of what your readers are checking out the most. Use this information to determine your popular content, and keep it in mind when writing new posts.
I hope some of this information will help some aspiring bloggers! I was prompted to write this post because I've had quite a few messages over the past few days asking for my advice. If you run a blog, please leave your URL in a comment below- I'd love to check yours out, as I'm always looking for new favourite blogs to follow!