No one likes looking like they were born yesterday, right? First impressions count, so when people visit your blog, you want to have your best foot forward.
I made my first blog in 2011. It was about tween fashion (it seemed like a good idea at the time), it was eyes-bleedingly cyan and I think I used Comic Sans. Sounds like a candidate for ugliest website of the year!
Luckily, times have changed and the overall standard of new blogs has greatly improved.
But there are still a few mistakes that new bloggers make that give themselves away. Here are 5 things you can implement on your blog right now to make you look like a pro.
1. Change your user name from admin
“Hey admin! I love your stuff so much, we should be bff’s.”
Said no one ever.
Think about it a minute – when was the last time you read a blog post that rocked your socks and you really connected with that elusive admin? Never, that’s right.
Nothing gives the game away like a blogger called admin. Instant newbie alert. Luckily, this is super easy to change in WordPress.
(Video opens in a new tab and takes you to Wealthy Affiliate)
2. Professional Photos
If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger you need at least a professional head shot.
Ok, maybe you can get away with a really good amateur head shot (or selfie).
That old family photo you cropped everyone else out of – not ok.
If it’s pixellated or blurry – not ok.
3. Opt in Forms
Make sure they are in other places than your side bar.
New bloggers seem to consider their work to be done once they plonk down an opt in form in the side bar of their blog.
You need to be making your opt in forms work double time. You should have your opt in form at least:
- at the bottom of every blog post;
- under the header on every page; and,
- liberally strewn throughout your words in case your latest drop of wordy elegance compels a reader to swoon and subscribe on the spot.
Notice I didn’t say have it pop up. Pop ups are great but they get annoying – if you want to use it, set it to pop up after at least 45 seconds. And if you can stop it popping up for return visitors, well now that’d be awesomesauce, my friend.
4. Make Your Own Favicon
You probably know what a favicon is – it’s that cute little graphic top left on each browser tab you’ve got open. It’s short for favorite icon and it’s a tiny little piece of branding you need to pay attention to.
All great websites (and that includes blogs) have one. The favicon acts as a symbol for your brand.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple is best.
Here’s the basic idea behind making a Favicon:
- Find an image to use – search Pixabay (or other free stock photo site) for a Vector Graphic. These are best for favicons because they contain an image (stylized) and transparent background. Download the smallest size that is at least 512 x 512.
- Open in Pixlr (or Canva). Change size to make the image square. Save it.
- Upload into your theme. Edit your theme and click into site identity. Upload your image and save.
5. Things you should hide
Lastly, but not leastly, there are a few things you should hide away if you are new. (Ok, they’re kind of no-brainers but… it had to be said.)
- Shares – don’t show share count, if you have zero. (Psst – Social Warfare makes this really easy, they hide the share counts until it reaches a certain level.)
- Comments – don’t have a recent comments widget if you haven’t got any comments. (But, it’s really easy to get comments, so join a Facebook promo group and get some already.)
- Archives – if you have less than 10 blog posts, don’t have an archives widget in your side bar.
So are you employing all these tips on your site? Let me know in the comments below! And if you think of any other things you can do to look pro… please chime in!