New to blogging you are (Yoda voice)? The last blog you came from, how would you know if they were not new. How do you know I myself I’m not also new to blogging?
Well, to answer that question I am not. I’ve been doing this for a few years, but unless I tell you, you would not be able to tell. Why? I don’t do what newbie bloggers do. My site does not look the part.
Perceived strength is sometimes better than actual strength. What that means is you know you are a new blogger, but people coming to your site do not. If your site looks the part of a brand, that is what people will take from it.
Let’s fix this issue and get your blog on track to no longer look like it is being run by a newbie.
1. Get off that free blogging platform
Pro bloggers do not use free hosting platforms. You can’t build a brand that way, and you are very limited in what you can do to improve your blog.
Personally, I do not read posts on free platforms, no matter how good. I just don’t take them seriously. Get off blogger and get on a self-hosted platform.
2. Delete the post that comes with WordPress
When you first start out, WordPress will have created a sample page for you. It’s called hello world. It’s meant to be visible only to you not to your readers. It’s how you know someone just got on WordPress.
3. Delete/replace all sidebars
On the left-hand side under appearance, go to widgets and delete anything in the sidebar area, whatever is there you will not need. That will be things like meta data, and some other stuff no one uses.
4. Change the theme
I don’t know about you, but I hate ugly websites. When I see a poorly designed blog, or one that uses the theme that WordPress installed, it screams spam. Go in the themes area and find a free one. If you want more freedom with your theme to make it unique to your brand, I suggest getting a premium theme. ElegantTheme is a great choice. A lower priced alternative would be Astra Themes which we are currently using.
5. Keep image size consistent
Nothing worse than a disordered blog. You want to keep all images you upload a consistent size. Depending on what type of blog you are running 800×450 is a nice size. be sure to optimize images before uploading them so they do not slow down your blog.
Use a free tool like tinypng to compress images before uploading them and Short pixel to optimize your images once more – they have a one time plan that allows you to pay once and not worry monthly or yearly payments. Shortpixel is what I use, it optimizes my images automatically in the background and has improved my compression from 25% with a free plugin to 60%.
6. Pick a brand color and fonts
When it comes to the fonts, you could leave that alone in the beginning. But be sure that you pick a brand color and keep it consistent throughout your blog. It helps you stand out and be easily recognizable to your readers. Remember, nothing too flashy; crazy fonts and colors make it hard for readers to want to stay a round.
If you could have a few things on your blog when you get started, these would be it. You will not find a successful blog or brand without these pages. here’s why.
An about page helps you connect with your readers and build trust. It does more than that, but it would be too much to cover here.
Google gives weight to blogs with a lengthy about page and legal pages. It tells Google you are not just another PBN site out for a quick buck. you are a business that is here for the long run. Not to mention, term of use and privacy policies protects you from legal actions.
I personally use Website Policies – because they offer Attorney-level legal policies that are custom to your site, not to mention you will have access to it for as long as you need.
8. Actually create categories
Never use uncategorized categories, if that is the case why even name it. Know your niche and set up some categories. To find categories, hover over posts on the left hand side in your back end and select categories in the drop down. You only need the name, don’t worry about the slug and description.
9. Promoting your blog with no posts
You will get many different answers for this one and it varies. if I write a 10k word post, I would be ok promoting my blog with just that one post on it. But it is better to have a few posts up before you go into full on promoting it. Ten is a good start, your site will still look like a newbie’s, but if it is quality it is ok. After all, you will not be found if no one here’s of you.
10. Format your posts
Look, if your posts are not formatted, no one will read them. With a blog you are fighting for attention. If what you write is a giant cluster of words, no one will want to read it. It’s overpowering. use headings, sub-headings, bulleted lists and split your paragraphs to 2-4 lines max. It makes it easier to consume.
11. Add internal links and link out to authority sites
It’s sad, but even pro-bloggers still make this mistake. Link out to other posts on your own blog, that will help keep readers on your site and also build your site’s authority by passing link juice. Yes, this works.
Linking out, to authority sites that is, tells google you could be trusted and helps them crawl the web easier. Building links to your website is great, but linking out plays a big part as well.
12. Make it easy to navigate your blog
When you are unsure of something just remember this K.I.S.S = keep it simple stupid. Keep your navigation clean. Don’t clutter your header with a bunch of ads and categories, keep it smooth and easy.
13. Get rid of the free site made by x
Note: This contradicts what I said in tip four. A free theme is fine, but the sooner you get a premium one the better.
Certain blogs I do not take seriously for certain reasons. This is one of them. When I see “this site was made free by x” it throws me off and tells me that I should not be taking advice from you, especially if you are giving advice on blogging.
I know that lots of people are on a budget, myself included, but when I see that I think you don’t care to invest in yourself. There are plenty of themes out there under $100 to customize your site. Elegant themes is a great pick, not to mention it comes with a premium email opt-in plugin and social share plugin and over 87 different themes to choose from.
14. Fix your permalinks
Permalinks are the URLs that get created when you create a new page or post in case you did not know. You are not entrepreneur.com, so leaving it the way it is with numbers will not work. the name of your post looks better in the link then yourdomain.com/123456, not to mention the added value of having your keywords in the link for SEO ranking
To find this, Hover over settings on the left-hand side and go to permalinks in the drop down. Look for where it says, “Post name” – select that and click save changes.
15. Setup social media accounts
Setup at least three social sites for your blog, and master one. I recommend, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest depending on what you blog about. Keep the information consistent across all of them. An added benefit of claiming your brand name on social media, is respect from google.
Pinterest is a great way to boost traffic. It’s how we are able to get 100K monthly views. You can automate your scheduling like we do using a tool like Tailwind.
16. Add a Favicon
A favicon is that image that shows in the tab next to whatever page name you are on. It’s a small detail, but never the less an important one. Adding a favicon helps with branding and make you look like a professional who knows what he/she is doing.
Another resource I recommend is the 10 Things You Should Not Do When Starting A Blog.