5 Secrets to Help You Look Like A Pro Blogger (even if you only started, like, yesterday)

how to look pro blogger 5 secrets to help you look like a pro blogger

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.

how to look pro blogger even if you're new

(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.

Nuh uh.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Open in Pixlr (or Canva). Change size to make the image square. Save it.
  3. 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!

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22 thoughts on “5 Secrets to Help You Look Like A Pro Blogger (even if you only started, like, yesterday)”

  1. So gald I came across your blog today. Learned alot. Yes I am struggling with appearing novice, but will follow this advice. Thank you so much.

  2. Great tips! I need to create a favicon. I thought it’s quite difficult to make something like this, so I thought of doing this only at a later date. But it seems so simple actually! There’s no reason to not do it now that I know how… Even if I make a simple favicon, I can always change it in the future to do something more “pro” looking.

    1. Hi Cait,
      There are hundreds of promo groups – my favorite groups are not solely promo based like Blogger Insights, Adventures in Blogging, and Hexagon Connection.

  3. Hi Cath,
    It’s 0130 in the morning here and I’m up reading your emails from Pinterest power up. I ended up here and realize that there are a few things I am doing on my blog that aren’t helping me get more readers. My widgets, my comments section( with no comments) and I don’t have a favion. I’ll work on those things tomorrow.

    1. Hey AJ, I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts 🙂 And I’m so happy you’re going to take action on these things to help your blog look just that little bit more professional 🙂 Good on you!

  4. You have some great ideas here. I have changed from admin to my name. I have used some of my own photos. They started off a little blurry, but I have improved over time. I have an opt-in form on the left side of my pages and posts. No pop-ups. Sounds like I’m on the right track. Thanks!

    1. That’s great Kevin, glad I could help! Yes, all those things are very important. You’re definitely on the right track.

  5. Oh, one thing I would add is to have an author box under each of your posts. I visit a lot of blogs and I *hate* having to hunt down the blogger’s name (especially if they don’t respond to comments). I go to their About page and they don’t even mention their name there either! Ha… pet peeve of mine, but if you want engagement make it easy to find out who wrote this epic post. You do a good job of having a little bio on the side bar and you respond to your comments using your name and not your blog’s name.

    1. Mmm good tip! I actually have the author box on my list of things to do. I feel like my posts look a little unfinished without it.

      I agree with you 100% on having your name visible and easy to locate and you must definitely have your name on your blog. Readers want to make a personal connection with you (and you want your readers to make a personal connection with you). You can’t do that blogging anonymously.

      I think its tempting when you first start blogging to want to protect yourself and hide your vulnerabilities behind a mask. I’ve been there! I’ve learned since starting This Mama Learns that blogging is not about trying to appear invincible and authoritative. Its about being genuine, honest and, most of all, human!

  6. Cath,

    I love these tips. They are ones I haven’t seen on other posts of this topic (and I’m a freelance writer who often writes about blogging tips).

    I like the whole “hide” certain things. It is sad to see 0 shares over and over again on someones blog. That’s cool that social warfare has the ability to set a threshold. I know big blogs do that. One blog I write for has a threshold of 300 shares before it shows the counts. Cuz, even big blogs need to appear big 🙂

    1. Thanks Elna 🙂 Wow, 300 shares threshold! That’s pretty amazing. It just goes to show how important social proof is!

      I’m really liking Social Warfare, its got a lot of neat features. Do you use it on your blog/s?

  7. Hi and thanks Cathy your article is very helpful and I love the breezy way you write and your sense of humour:)
    I don’t think I have hidden the shares and comments from my unshared and uncommented upon posts yet so does Wealthy affiliate show how to do this. Could you make a video about it please?
    Thanks and
    All the Best
    Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for commenting 🙂 I’m using Social Warfare plug in now, which makes hiding the share numbers until they reach a certain point quite easy (its in the settings). I don’t know if most other social share plug ins have this function… While I would gladly make a video using the Social Warfare plug in, it won’t be too helpful to those using other plug ins!

      Cheers,
      Cath

  8. Hi Cath,

    I like your web site. It’s very clean and your picture is very professional looking. I have only just started out blogging this last week after finding Wealthy Affiliate so I’m sure my user name is still admin…I’m not actually sure I know how to change it. The post on 5 tips to looking more professional as a blogger is interesting and has very good points. I agree no one wants to talk to admin and the widgets before you have traffic idea is a very good point.

    1. Hey thanks Chastity. My photo is a professional one (but its from my wedding so I really need an update!!!). How’s the blogging life treating you so far?

      I’ve linked to a great video that makes changing your user name really easy. I hope you get it to work for you.

  9. Really useful… I would add a few more things to hide: You archives widget, if you just have a month or two, it looks really bad 🙁 and don’t get a widget that shows your social media account if you just have 3 followers…or a widget that shows real time visits on your site, if you are only getting a couple of visitors per day.

    1. Thanks Ben. I didn’t even think about the last two widgets you mentioned – yes, that would look bad… It’s like when you go out to eat at a restaurant – if one is bustling and busy and the one next door has no customers at all, which one will you eat at? I think most people would avoid the empty restaurant.

  10. Hello Cathy Lou

    I have really enjoyed your post of wonderful tips on how to look like a pro blogger. I’m new to blogging and still feel very insecure and your post came just at the right time.

    I did not even realise it`s better to have my readers address me by name rather than site admin, must admit I’m already guilty there as my site posts are still written as admin. Point taken, I’m going to change this as soon as I’m out of here.

    Another thing still missing on my website are the opt-in forms, this is another thing I’m going to take care of as soon as i get back to my website, these are some little things l ignored along the way but reading your post, l can clearly see why they have to be corrected now.

    Thanks so much, l have picked up very useful tips to make my blog look much better and not let every reader know I’m just getting started, really appreciate your tips.

    1. Hi Roamy, glad I could help 🙂 I think its really important for you to fix up your user name from admin to your own name. In fact if say this is the first thing you should do. I think you will find better engagement if you do!

      Let me know how you go.

      Cheers

      Cath

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