15 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a New BloggerJul 03, 2019
Want your blog to look more professional? You may be missing a few best practices. In this post, we'll share 15 ways to avoid looking like a new blogger.
When you’re starting a new blog, it's inevitable that you are going to make some mistakes.
We all go through it, and it’s something you shouldn’t be ashamed of.
But to be honest, if you make a lot of mistakes in the beginning, you might have to do a lot of work later down the line to correct them.
Luckily for you, there is a way to shorten the learning curve when you’re starting off. If you follow some simple best practices, it will help you get traffic and start building an authoritative blog right from the beginning.
When you start blogging, you don’t want to look like you’re winging it. When you have a professional looking blog with a good reputation, you get high-quality traffic right from the start, and your blog grows exponentially from there.
On the other hand, when you start off on the wrong foot, making too many mistakes, it sends the wrong message to your would-be audience, and it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to build your brand.
That’s why I wrote this guide– because I understand the importance of getting it right from the beginning. I made a lot of rookie mistakes when I started out with Essayhave. You don’t have to make those rookie mistakes because it is possible to take all the right professional blogger actions at the beginning of your blogging journey. You just have to know which actions those are.
So here are 15 ways to avoid looking like a newbie in the blogging business...
1. Ditch the Free Platform
The most classical sign of a newbie is using a free blogging platform. Most people will tend to know you’re on a free blogging platform almost as soon as they land on your home page. On the other hand, if you’re self-hosting, it looks a lot more professional. You get to buy your own domain name, and that makes all the difference in the world. Think about it yourself: you would probably trust a site with “.com” over one with “.wordpress.com” on any day of the week.
Buying a domain isn’t really as difficult or complicated as it looks. Start by looking for the best deals you can find through a google search. Just start with someone. If you want to transfer to another provider, later on, it is always possible.
2. Upload a Favicon
You may be wondering what a favicon is. It’s the icon that you see next to a site name in the open tab in your browser. If you don’t have one, then the favicon will typically be nothing in particular, or it might just be the WordPress logo.
The size of the favicon is either 16 pixels by 16 pixels or 32 pixels by 32 pixels. You can decide the size in your WordPress setting.
Go for a simple logo or another image as the icon is pretty small, and it won’t make sense to have too much detail.
3. Use a Premium Theme
Another classical sign that someone is a beginner in the world of blogging is that they use a freely available theme. When you use something that just about anyone can have access to, you can be sure that there are lots of other people with the same theme and so don’t be surprised when you meet other blogs that seem eerily similar to yours.
If you take the whole blogging business seriously, then you cannot skimp on spending money on stuff like themes. Otherwise, you might end up having to overhaul the entire design later down the line.
4. Write a Sample Sponsored Post
One of the hallmarks of professional blogs is that they get plenty of sponsored posts. As an aspiring professional blogger, you’ll want those as well. How about you write one, even if it isn’t actually sponsored? No, you don’t have to lie to anyone that it’s an actual sponsored post; it’s actually going to be a sample.
Create a great branded post and then share it with your readers. Let it get eyeballs viewing it. There are lots of things that could potentially happen.
For one, the particular brand you’ve written about might notice what you can do and want to actually sponsor future posts. You might also be noticed by another brand that might fall in love with the post and want you to write branded posts for them.
At the very least, the branded post can be part of your portfolio the very next time you’re marketing your services.
5. Skip the Cheesy Stock Photos
Photos will define a lot of the style of your blog, so it is important to get them right early enough. To be fair, it can take a while to learn the art of beautiful images. That’s why a lot of bloggers end up resorting to smartphone photos which end up looking not so good.
If you can’t take good photos on your own, then go for the highest quality stock photos you can find. That means you should try to avoid the free ones as much as possible. Free stock photos are just like free blog themes: you will find them in use on lots of other blogs.
Instead, subscribe to websites like Oh Tilly and others that publish well-done stock photos. That way, you can give your blog a more professional look.
6. Don’t Overdo It with Ads
This is probably going to be one of the biggest temptations you will face when you’re starting your own blog. You will want to fill it with ads in order to maximize the amount of money you can earn with the traffic coming into your blog.
The problem is that, no matter how good the design of your blog looks, ads can make it amateurish.
It’s not necessarily wrong to put ads on your blog. What’s wrong is overdoing the whole thing and having too many ads on your blog.
If you’re going to have ads on your blog, then try and keep them to a reasonable minimum and work them into the design and layout of your blog, even as far as the colors and the sizes are concerned.
7. Use Descriptive Titles
There is something that all professional blogs have in common. Their titles and subtitles are pretty descriptive and sometimes even humorous.
That helps in many ways. For starters, with a descriptive title and subtitle for your site, your SEO becomes vastly improved. Second, it attracts more people to your blog.
People open links that they find attractive. Consider the fact that your title will be in the browser tab when the person gets on your site. You want it to look good so they feel good about being there.
8. Include an "About Me" in Your Sidebar
For this one, you’ll have to use a very high-quality photo of yourself. Chances are you’re the main face of your blog, which means you’re the face of your brand. You can’t take chances with that. Get a professional photographer to take high-quality pictures of you for the sidebar.
Once you have the pic down, you can write a small bio about yourself in the sidebar for visitors to see whenever they open content pages on your website.
Go a step farther and include an About Page where you go further in-depth about your blog and yourself.
9. Always Publish High Quality Content
When you’re starting, you will probably feel the need to come up with as many blog posts as you can in order to fill your blog with content. It’s a good idea in principle. However, quantity is not nearly as important as quality when it comes to blogging.
Your first agenda should be to learn to write a high-quality blog post and add content to your blog that answers the questions your users have.
The research will show you which keywords to target and SEO will give the visibility of your posts. However, always make sure you have the quality covered before you look at other things. You can even get professional writing services to help you proofread your work before you post.
Be consistent with posting valuable content, and you will see your blog grow.
10. Sell a Product or Service of Your Own
Now, there are obviously lots of ways you can monetize your blog. However, one of the ways that make you look most professional is by selling something of your own.
On the one hand, you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering something unique that offers value to your audience. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend too much time thinking about it because then you might never have the courage to actually offer anything.
To make life easier for yourself, you can start with a small digital product such as an e-book, a printable worksheet, or a video masterclass. Then amp it up by creating your own online course.
Not only does this make you look professional but it also helps you know what you’re building your blog toward in the end with a clear goal for what constitutes the success of your blog (sales in this case).
11. Include a Search Bar
This is one of those little things that can take your blog a long way. There will always be memorable posts on your blog that strike a very special note with readers. And sometimes, when they visit your blog, they want to go directly back to that specific post. If you don’t give them a way to do that, they’re going to get pretty frustrated, and they might leave your blog, never to return.
Adding a search bar is a great convenience for the reader. You should also try to add it to places that are easy to find, such as the sidebar or the header.
Give it a simple title, such as “Search.” If you’re running a Wordpress blog, there are lots of widgets that allow you to add the search function to your blog.
12. Include Links to Posts in Your Side Bar
While we’re on the subject of those posts that your readers simply cannot get enough of, let’s not forget the importance of having links to the most popular posts or recent posts on your sidebar.
Having links in the sidebar, complete with photos and mini-descriptions, certainly makes your blog look a lot more professional.
Another major advantage is that it also keeps the readers engaged. They always have something more to read, and so they will stay on your website for longer, which is good for your blog’s traffic. Engagement is your friend.
13. Don’t Forget Social Media Links
Social media is a very important aspect of connecting with your audience these days, and every professional blog has social media pages to connect with users. You will want the same on your blog for those people who want to talk to you directly and also connect on social media.
Make sure it is easy for someone to share your blog posts with easily accessible and recognizable social media icons. For WordPress users, we recommend using a plugin like Social Warfare (affiliate link).
14. Include a Copyright Notice in Your Footer
This is yet another one of those little details that go a long way in making your blog look professional. A copyright notice in the footer of your content pages will let the world know that you hold all of the rights to your content. It definitely makes your brand look more professional.
Blogging is a deeply rewarding endeavor, both in terms of the satisfaction it gives and the potential income you could earn. If you do it right from the beginning, you’ll have a much smoother time later down the road.
Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at Domywriting Review and Academized Reviews. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter and Google+.