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.
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!