Monday, August 20, 2012

{Blogging 101} Rookie mistakes to avoid

WiFi at Moulin de la Galette, after Ramón Casas i Carbó
 WiFi at Moulin de la Galette, after Ramón Casas i Carbó. Mike Licht,
If your blog is for business, here are some guidelines to help put your brand in the best light. (These apply to personal blogs also). I picked these tips up at blogging conferences and via online research.

Never plagiarize. That goes for both text and photos. If you didn’t write it, or photograph it, then you need permission to use it. That also goes for taking words/photos from hardcopy magazines. Giving credit may not be enough. Check with the owner of the original work case by case.

Don’t use words like “click here”. Instead use key word phrases for links. This lets people know where the link will go. EG. An interesting article is the Handmade Originality in the online world.

For a more professional touch, own your domain name. It cost approximately $10 per year and is an easy process. As your business grows, you’ll be glad that you did this early on.

The blog header should not be huge. Ideally it won’t take up more than 1/4 or 1/3 of your screen.

What ever you want people to do, that goes at the top. (Visit your store, sign up for your newsletter, you decide). It's referred to as 'above the fold'. It's what people see first.

Include an About me page. Don’t rely on a spiel in the sidebar. An interest About Me page goes into a little more detail. Even if your not sure what to include yet, set it up.

Include a photo of you. People need someone to relate to. Have one in your side bar, and another (different) photo on your About Me page. This makes you more likeable. People want to see the human person behind the blog. Use easy to read fonts for the body of text. The headers is the place to go nuts with groovy fonts.

People like white space. A dark background design with light text has been known to give people headaches. Your blog might look sexy as hell, but it’s readability will be low.

Add a favicon. A favicon will add to your blog’s branding, include one.
"A favicon play /ˈfævɪkɒn/ (short for Favorite icon), also known as a shortcut iconWeb site iconURL icon, or bookmark icon, is a file containing one or more[1] small icons, most commonly 16×16 pixels, associated with a particular Web site or Web page" source: Wikipedia

Don't overcrowd your side bar. If it’s a mess, clean it up. You don’t need every widget known to man kind. Decide if it really adds to your brand, or is a distraction. With the clutter gone, your blog is easier to navigate. The reader’s attention will also be drawn to what is most important.

Remove Blog Rolls and friends logos, and place in a Page of their own. They're still highlighted, but not crowding the side bar. You can sort by category (ie Craft, Fashion, Food etc) if you have many blogs that you follow.

No more than 3 colours is recommended. Keep your personality in the look, but be mindful not to scare people away also. Never include music that automatically plays. Never never never.

Make it easy to find your contact info. Include a way to reach you. This can be included in the About me page, a separate page would be better.

Include a search this blog option. Include a Blog Archive section. Some first time visitors like to see 'Most Popular' posts.

You can create a 'landing page' which you use instead of your main blog address. This way people land on a page that welcomes them, tells them about the blog & you, and points out popular posts, your store, etc. These are highly recommended (I'm yet to do one, but it's on my to do list).

CHA Blogging 101 Series: 

Week 1: Why do I need a Blog?
Week 2: How to start
Week 3: Rookie mistakes to avoid
Week 4: Content & Topics
Week 5: Photos can grow your audience
Week 6: Where do I find readers?
Week 7: If you build it, they will come
Week 8: Technical Stuff

CHA Contemporary Handmade Guest Writer
Jeanie is a curvy, accessory loving, blogger. Exploring colour and style to suit a plus size. Jeanie encourages you to be you. Jeanie is for positive body confidence, and wishes all women would feel beautifully confident. Jeanie also gets her geek on with blogging, photography, & photoshop.

Visit Jeanie at or follow her on Facebook.

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