Let me begin by admitting that I am, by no means, an expert blogger. I can, however, provide a reader’s perspective on blogging. The following tips are a few things you can do to make your site more enjoyable for others and hopefully snag a few new followers.
1.) Everyone Loves Pretty Pictures
- A beautiful (or incredibly delicious) photograph can really lure a reader in – “judge a book by it’s cover” sort of thing. Visuals are our storefront. But, and I cannot stress this enough, make sure you credit the copyright holder. As a member of Deviantart.com, I see a lot of artists increasingly frustrated at finding their artwork on blogs and websites without their permission, and usually posted with no credit to them. Not only is it insulting to them as an artist, it’s incredibly stressful to have the image removed. Or worse, have to take legal action. Honestly, if you can contact the artist to ask their permission, they usually say it’s okay so long as credit is given. You can easily link the image you’ve used to the artist’s website or profile, giving them the exposure they deserve. At the risk of promoting myself, the “Meet the Artists” page on Melchelle Design’s website is a LONG list of dA artists that provide “unrestricted stock.” Just be sure to read the image description and the artist’s rules of use.
2.) Organize Those Sidebars
- Some of you know that I’m a bit obsessive compulsive, but I like to think that most people want things to be nice and neat and orderly. Think of the readers stopping by your blog as having guests in your home – you would clean your house because you wouldn’t want them to think (or find out) you’re a slob. I’m not saying to minimize what’s in your sidebar, just make sure it’s in a reasonable order. If your sharing the books of your writer pals, great! But make sure your book is in there somewhere, preferably at or near the top. It’s your website, ya’ know. And if you’re finding your sidebar has a bit too much going on, cut things back. You can always make a new page where readers can find things you’ve collected.
3.) Let Readers Connect With You
- This goes a bit with my points on sidebar organization. At or near the top of your sidebar should be a list of links where readers can find you on popular social media sites, as well as your author profile on Amazon or Smashwords if you’re a writer. Some people are actually into that Twitter and Facebook thing, so humor them a little.
4.) Light Background, Dark Text
- This is, in my book, probably the best thing you can do, as far as aesthetics go, for your blog. If your site is geared more towards photography and such, a darker background actually works better. But after finally looking away from staring at a black screen with white text to read someone’s post, all I see are black and white lines! Stop straining on your readers already fragile vision. It would be terribly unpleasant to lose readers simply because it hurts their eyes to even look at your site.
5.) Shorter Really Can Be Sweeter
- It is the mantra of modern day society: so much to do, so little time. We’re all running around with a million things to do and there are only 24 hours in a day! Yes, it would be better if we all just slowed down a little – stopped to smell the flowers. But society demands we hurry up, finish yesterday, and look good doing it. So, unless you’re posting an excerpt from your upcoming novel or an in-depth author interview or a book review, remember to KISS: Keep It Simple Stoopid. As bloggers, we’re grateful for every view and visitor. But we’d be far more honored if people were actually reading our posts.
Think of your blog as a real-life brick and mortar store. Is there a lovely display in the front window? When you walk in, are the products arranged in an appealing way? Are you greeted warmly by the employer? I went into a Kohl’s once, and I stress once – clothes were draped over racks or on the floor, and the only workers I saw were a few teenagers hanging out by a register not giving a crap.
It just takes one bad experience to lose a customer, or a reader, forever.
So with that in mind, I hope these quick tips were helpful to at least a few fellow bloggers. Take care and happy blogging!
- 10 Useful Social Media Marketing and Promotion Tips for Bloggers (bloggingtips.com)
- 5 Pearls of Wisdom from 5 Different Bloggers (thethinkingcloset.wordpress.com)
- 5 Productivity tips for Busy Bloggers in 2013 (councilblogs.wordpress.com)