I’m not an expert, but let’s just say I know what I like, I’ve developed this attitude over the years and it serves me well following my intuition, and experience.
Because I’ve been online sine 1998 – yep. I’ve seen a lot of changes. Especially with using WordPress.org as a blogging platform over the years up to now..
When I started to blog, the very first platform I used was Homestead, now owned by Quick Books I believe. It was a “do-it-yourself”, drag and drop program – I loved it, and it wasn’t free. I used them for 10 years.
I did try platforms such as eBlogger but found them to be very “set” in their theme styles, meaning you were limited in changing things around/
When web 2.0 came, the introduction of Social Media, etc., I changed to owning my blog because I had more design options and wasn’t limited to what I could present on it – that was 2005. The investment was/ is worth it.
Alright, so I owned my own blog, now what! Right? I KNOW this is a thought that pops into every bloggers mind, especially if you’re new at blogging. For me, I hated to write!
Lucky for me though I had kept a journal of my life since the age of 16. So writing wasn’t foreign to me. So I started writing about me *boring). Then I started writing about Social Media (boring and a waste of brain cells because EVERYONE was writing about it).
Then I created a blog called the “Calm RN” writing about health and some inspiration – that one had potential. But like most bloggers starting out, I’d write a post then nothing for weeks. Sound familiar?
I had a radio show blog, a childbirth education blog, and more.
The thing is, when you start out with blogging, you go through a learning process. It’s like being in a candy store – eating different candies to find that sweet, perfect, Ah … yummy one.
I think new bloggers starting out have to go through this and it’s good because without this experience, you don’t discover who you are and what you really want to focus on in presenting yourself to a billion viewers on the internet …
Once I went trough all of this too, I was able to fall back on a strong interest of mine. It took really looking at what I like, don’t like, how to be different, and what SKILLS I could bring to my readers.
We ALL have skills, things that are special about us and usually never cultivate. My skills were/are teaching, painting, and organizing. So I created “The Artistic Affiliate” – there is an ART to being online involving marketing, social engagement, advertising, presenting visual content and lots, lots, lots. The Internet is a vast sea of cultivating blogging skills and information.
My best educator, and still is are other blogs – the “professional” ones – the likes of Eban Pagan, Frank Kern, Jeff Bullas, Robin Sharma. So ezines too – Fast Company, Entrepreneur and so on. There are so many to learn from – how they present their content and how it’s organized.
Nowadays, we no longer really blog for ourselves. We really blog for others hoping a visitor will find us and read our content. So it’s true about first impressions and your blog is your “house” online. Therefore how do you want to present your home to a billion+ visitors.
Many bloggers starting out choose a blogging theme they think is “cool”, or “pretty”, stylized fonts and other interesting elements to use – I know, I did this too! But I find what is overlooked, or never aware of – are the visual layouts, or presentation of content that are “cool” to you, but turn off viewers.
Here are some blog design elements to keep in mind:
- Avoid content clutter, especially on the side bar. This can actually turn someone off because they don’t know what to focus on – too much to look at. It’s confusing and a distraction. There is also something called “Sidebar Blindness”- meaning the content on the sidebar will be ignored
- Use the SPACE on your pages smartly. Allow your articles to “breathe”, avoid cluttering it up with Ads, and other distracting visuals.
- Have a MENU where visitors can find topics of interest and have each category on the menu RELATE tot he category. For example – the menu title is “cats” so you have all the articles relating to cats listed, but don’t throw in an article about “hamsters”… you’ll leave your visitor thinking … what?
I have started to do blog reviews and if you’d like yours looked at to help make it better – if that’s what’s needed, contact me. There will be a modest fee for my time and feedback.
In the meantime, keep exploring, keep learning, and above all, enjoy it .. blogging online is a good thing and can be a profitable one as well.