Thursday, March 29, 2012
**You know what they say, two Ryans are better than one.**
I’m just going to start this post with a HUGE disclaimer. I am not an expert on the topic of blogging. I don’t have the best blog on the planet, and I know that. But before I was a blogger, and even now that I am a blogger, I was/am, a blog reader. And there certain things that I and other bloggers like to see when we go to a blog. Things that will make us take notice of your blog, and might make us new followers/readers of your blog. All of these tips are things I've learned along the way, and I am sharing them with you, and have only good intentions by doing so. Today, I’m just going to give you five that I could think of off the top of my head.
1. PICTURES- And not just any kind of pictures. BIG ONES. Big pictures are key for me. I really like reading blogs who use big pictures in their posts. You know that in Blogger, once you upload your photos into your post you can make them different sizes? I know you can do the same if you’re using Word Press, or use Windows Live Writer to write your posts. Please make your pictures as big as they can be. Thumbnail size pictures aren’t appealing to any blog reader.
Examples of blogs that use BIG PICTURES:
Little Miss Momma, Nest of Posies, Flamingo Toes, Us Three Birds
2. A READ-ABLE FONT- I know your blog is your space, your home, but IF you are trying to gain more followers and want more people to read your blog, then you have to think about them. You have to think that not everyone likes reading hot pink font on a neon green background. A nice clean, white background for your posts might seem boring to you, but to readers it isn’t boring. It’s clean. Fresh. And a colored font isn’t always a bad thing. If you want to use some colorful fonts in your post, do it in smaller doses. Like when you’re wanting to give a few words a dramatic effect, or when you’re quoting someone, “To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.” Another good idea to practice is choosing a font that is easy to read, in terms of design. Times New Roman, Georgia, and Arial, are easy fonts to read. Bradley Hand Italics, Lucida Handwriting, and French Script, are not. When in doubt, ask your mom or Grandma to read your blog and see if they can read it without any trouble. ;)
3. A DESIGN THAT WORKS- I’m not saying every blogger has to have an amazing blog design, or has to pay a lot of money to someone to design their blog. I know that’s not always possible. Heck, have you seen my blog? Okay then. What I am saying is, the design that is on your blog should not give me or anyone else, a headache after only being there for a minute or two. When your blog background is more distracting than the pictures and written content in your post, then you know you have a problem. If you like bright and fun colors, that’s awesome, just don’t use them all over. If you like patterns that’s great too, but mixing chevron, polka dots, and plaid all together isn’t.
Examples of blogs that have designs that work:
Mod Podge Rocks Amy has a gray grid background, but the color and the design are subtle and don’t distract you from her content.
Rags to Stitches Alissa has a teal and white pattern for her background, but the design isn’t overwhelming. The colors throughout her blog are cohesive and go together nicely. She has color but she also has a simple white background where the body of her post is.
Madigan Made Shannon has a fun design, with a few colors, and a decorative trim along one of the sides of her blog. It’s not distracting, but gives her blog a fun pop of color and ties in with her social media icons too.
Positively Splendid Amy has a great patterned background, and fun colors that she uses for social media icons, and in her header.
4. EASILY FOUND SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS, CONTACT INFO, FOLLOWER BUTTONS- In other words, please allow people to openly stalk you without making them hunt you down. The ever dedicated readers will hunt you down, by the way. But other people might go to your blog, look around for a second or two, not see anyway to follow you on Pinterest, FB, Google+, or your blog, and they might leave without bookmarking your page. Make it easy for them to find you and to come back and visit. And please, please, please have your email address on your blog. Either in a separate page like your ABOUT, or CONTACT page, or linked to your profile, just somewhere where we can find it. Readers want to connect to the people they are reading about, make it easy for them. Don’t be scared, most of the people reading your blog aren’t going to come come to your house and demand a tour…though it has been known to happen.
Examples of bloggers who have their contact info and social media buttons and follower buttons in the “open”:
Dollar Store Crafts, Tatertots & Jello, Christine and Co., Mad In Crafts
5. YOU- Your voice, your face, your opinions, your own P.O.V. This goes along with point number four. Readers want to connect to you, they want to feel like they know you. They want to share in what’s going on in your life, your week, or your day. Even when they read a tutorial, they like when you inject some personality into it. Create your own artwork, or projects. Share your ideas, your experiences, and your stories. They don’t always have to be amazing, or great, or ‘Pin”-able. They just need to be yours. Find your voice and use it.
Examples of blogs that show the writer’s personality:
Enjoying The Small Things, The Pioneer Woman, Cookbook Queen, Young House Love, Aunt Peaches, Merry Pad
Okay, now that you have my 5 tips, go forth and practice them! Or not. I just really wanted to share some things that I have been thinking about for a while now, and things that I've discussed with other bloggers. I hope they give you something to think about, and maybe work towards. If you have any tips you’d like to add, or share, don’t be afraid to leave me a comment of send me an email.
And thanks to all of my blogging friends, who have taught me so much, and shared all their thoughts with me.