This afternoon I wanted to continue on with a series all about blogging and frequently asked questions I receive about blogging I started last month.
In case you missed it, I kicked things off with quick tips on how to start a blog. Now that you’re set up and ready to go… what’s next?
Below are some of my go-to tips for bloggers who are just starting out. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do get questions on the matter and this is the advice I pass onto those asking.
They seem to appreciate it, so here’s hoping these tips help you too!
(Or, what I wish I already knew when I started blogging.)
I have read several emails and comments asking about my blog design and where it came from. The answer is kind of tricky.
I have a friend who is a graphic designer but does not design “templates” per say. Basically, I had him draw up the design I had in my head and then he hired an outside party to put it all into code.
I love how it turned out, but it does have it’s downsides. I can’t really change anything about it since it’s so customized. Once it’s set, it’s set.
This has become a little bit of an issue over the past couple of months, since I’ve been trying to organize the pages, add sub-pages and categories, and display bigger ads on the sidebars. Eventually, I am going to hire someone to give my site a complete makeover and help me out.
For now, it is what it is and here’s how it all came about.
(Update: We are now live at Life in Leggings! See points below for more design information.)
• Check out other blogs and website you like.
Ask yourself why you like them.
Is it a cool color scheme? Engaging logo? Fun fonts? Take note of those characteristics and incorporate them into yours in your own unique style.
• If you’re getting a customized theme, make sure it stems from an already existing one via WordPress or Blogger.
(My number one fail!)
My next theme will for sure come from tweaking one that already lives and undoubtedly works online. So far, I’ve noticed that Genesis is a great start.
• There’s nothing wrong with white space.
I used to want my sidebars to be busy and filled with all the colors and exciting things. Not only did unnecessary widgets slow down my page load speed, but they might have distracted focus from the content I was putting out there.
My sidebars are still very much active, but I have tried my best to condense them down to what I feel is essential to have there.
Also, try to avoid using a dark background with light text. It’s fine for some websites, but for blogging purposes it can tire the eyes quickly.
Here are more great tips about web design via Web Designer Depot.
• Make sure it’s readable.
When designing my page, I really wanted it to look like a magazine layout. The “housewife edition” of GLAMOUR, if you will.
(Update: We are now live blogging through Life In Leggings!)
I am extremely happy with the overall design, fonts, and easy-to-read layout. Thank you to Murnan Creative for this beautiful site design and blog migration. I worked directly with Jeff who went above and beyond my expectations to make the process of designing and switching over as seamless as possible! I can’t recommend him enough to anyone looking.
PicMonkey is the greatest online tool you will ever come across in the blogging world. At least it was for me, anyways.
It’s free to access (unless you upgrade to a premium membership for $4.99/month) and I started using it to create text on my pictures.
Eventually, I played around with it enough to realize I can basically do anything. Ha! I use PicMonkey to create all of my workout pin-ables, add text, and edit almost every single photo you see appear on the blog.
I choose to pay for the premium membership, but that’s only because I gravitate towards the fancy fonts and want them. I’m kind of high maintenance when it comes to graphics. (Whoops.)
• Web Editors
While I have never personally used either one of these tools (I’m ridiculous… we know this), I have only heard great things about both types of web editors that make blogging ten times easier.
Windows Live Writer is meant for PCs while Mars Edit is designed for Macs.
The only reason I haven’t tried it out for myself is because I’m (finally!) getting a new MacBook in the next week or so. I use an iMac at home and the software is $39.99. I wanted to wait and purchase it to put on the laptop, since I knew that would be my main source of blogging down the road.
Now if one of you tells me I can use the software on both and that I could have been using Mars Edit over the past year when I first discovered it for the same price, I might die. *earmuffs*
I told you, I’m not an expert on these matters. I’m simply passing along what I know in hopes it saves some of you trouble down the road!
Basically, Hootsuite is the hub of all social media. Ninety percent of the time, when you see me share a blog post on my social media channels, it comes from Hootsuite.
In just one status update, you can share the same link on almost all of your social media channels.
Hootsuite automatically shortens your link and creates a shortened ow.ly/ address for it. You can also schedule tweets and shares to happen weeks ahead of time, which is perfect for when you are going on vacation.
(Now if only I was on the ball and utilized it like that!)
My blog is definitely focused on healthy living. My goal with this platform is to post consistent, helpful content, but I like to include my every day life musings to keep it interesting.
I often post workouts and meal plans to hold myself accountable, but behind every post is a hope that at least one of you finds something useful out of it. Even if it’s for pure entertainment.
Here are my tips about finding your ideal writing schedule and style!
• Write like you have a million followers.
Even if you think just you and a few others are reading, it doesn’t matter. Getting content up will help you practice enough to get into the writing groove you are looking for.
• If you want to make blogging a job, you have to show up to work.
I heard this from a wise (amazing) fashion blogger, J, when I had the pleasure of meeting with her in Orlando. And she’s absolutely right.
If you want to build a consistent following, you have to give them something to expect. It’s okay to get off of your schedule on occasion, but overall, you’ll have a bigger following of every day readers if you stick to a predictable posting schedule.
As far as my blog goes, you can expect to see a new post go up once or twice a day during the week, and maybe even one on the weekends every now and then.
I have a very frequent posting schedule, but I choose it to be that way and I’d guess that’s what people are expecting to see. Don’t feel like you have to post nearly as often if that’s not what works for you!
• Check out and get active on other blogs
Once you have your blog up and running, expand your blog world by frequenting other blogs and sites you like.
Comment on pages you read and like and share the blog love! (More on this subject coming soon…)
Basically, getting into your own writing groove is all about trial and error. See what works for you and just take it one day at a time!
I feel like I could just keep going… so to spare you the boredom I’ll put together another tips for beginners post and share it in the next week or so.
Thanks for popping in, and good luck on your blogging endeavors!
Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
I love these tips! I am a new blogger, and I find them all to be so helpful. I have already learned so much, and I am excited for your next post!
Awesome! So glad you are enjoying the series!
Olena @ candies & crunches
Great tips, Heather!!! <3
Thanks Olena, I appreciate your unwavering support!
Runner Girl Eats
These are great tips! I am so clueless about 99% of all blog things…especially layout adn codes. Might as well be speaking German to me.
Honestly, blogging is such a learn-as-you-go process! It’s crazy how much you teach yourself as time goes by.
Great tips! Blogging is fun, and you get out of it, what you put in it. Thanks for being a resource for me too. 🙂
Couldn’t have said it better. You definitely only get out what you put into it! And no problem, I love what your blog has become! 🙂
Hey, you’re the goto expert. Thanks for hanging out here.
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Hey Heather, Is there a way to print your recipes without getting the whole post that day? Don’t get me wrong I love the posts just don’t want to print the whole thing. Sorry if this is a goofy question but …..?
It’s a pleasure to find someone who can think so clearly
Thanks so much for sharing such great advice! As a new blogger, I really learned a lot!
So glad you found this post helpful! Good luck with your blog!
Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie
These are great tips! This is a dumb question but what is the benefit of a web editor? I feel like everyone uses them. I just type my post up in WordPress and hit post.
I don’t know from personal experience, but I’ve heard from bloggers who use them that it’s just so much easier. I think the picture size is automatically set so you don’t have to resize and center everything, but other than that I’m out of the loop!
Leslie @ Life Begins at 30?
Great tips! I’ll definitely check out PicMonkey! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
It seriously rocks my world!
This is fantastic! I love hearing success stories about tools for bloggers…especially helpful for new bloggers looking for direction. There are so many options these days.
Yes, there are! And I’m sure there are so many I haven’t even heard of. Glad you enjoyed the post!
Thanks for the tips and fun blog posts as always!
PicMonkey! I’ve been wondering how everyone gets those cool photos and workout pin-ables! I’m definitely gonna check it out -thanks for sharing all your tips!
I just started a blog, so these tips are super helpful for me. I’ve been messing around on PicMonkey, but I’ve got a while to go before I have those super cool images! Good to know I have something to strive for 🙂 Also love the advice that you should write as if you had a big audience…I think that’s going to be huge for me as I get started. Thanks for taking the time to put this advice together!
Welcome to the fabulous world of PicMonkey, my friend! Good luck with all of your blogging adventures!
I just ventured into blogging and I agree it really is learn as you go! Thank you so much for these tips, it’s very helpful!
Wonderful, hope you enjoy the journey. Thanks for stopping in!
GiGi Eats Celebrities
Hootsuite has SAVED MY SOCIAL LIFE – Literally. If I didn’t have it, I would constantly be thinking about when to post and I would be on my phone or computer EVEN MORE than I already am! Ah ha ah aha ha!
Awesome to hear! I need to be better about utilizing it more and schedule more posts ahead of time!
Thanks for the tip, they are definitely helpful!
Thank you for the great tips!