Monday, July 27, 2015

Tips 13 To Make YOUR Blog Better!

It has been a long journey for myself and my blog these last three years. I have learned so much and have grown in my love of blogging and trying to make my site as good as it can be! I thought I would share my tips with you all on what I have learned in the past three years.

I hope that they can help you in the growth of your blog and making your site the best it can be!

1. Bloglovin'!  It took me a while to finally give into Bloglovin’. I never really knew what it was, but now that I am there I LOVE IT. I know, I know ANOTHER social media site that you have to keep track of. But it is not! Sign up once, connect your blog and your posts are there after you hit publish. 

I love having all the blogs I want to read in one place. I makes sure I don't miss anything and I can jump over and comment on a blog easily!

2. NO Captcha. Speaking of commenting…I love doing it! It is fun to give support and feed back on fellow bloggers posts. So let's not make it hard for your readers! I got rid of captcha on my blog as per advice of this video {so good you need to watch it}. Though I got rid of captcha, I still have to manual publish each of my comments.  Which one, lets me read each comment before it's on the blog and reply to it. Two if it is spam, I just delete it. Easy peasy and if you are already monitoring your comments anyways it just makes it easier for readers to comment.

3. Make your email easy to find. I have been on a LOT of sites lately for my job and some make it SO hard to contact them. I have my email on multiple pages and places in plain site. If you are worried about spam. Don't be. Yes you will probably get spam, just delete. Is it worth loosing a great contact just because you are worried about a little spam? It is always obvious and easy to delete!

4. No text centering. Like all of these tips, I was at one point guilty of them all! Thank you to my friend B for shaking me out of my centering obsession. Now that I look back on it, she was right and my blog looks more professional for it.

5. Plain background, clear and easy to read text. I don't see this often, but sometimes you hit a blog that just hurts your eyes to read. Make sure your text background is clean, the text is large enough to read and not fancy. Easy plain text is easier to read and enjoy.
One profile image across all social media, makes you easily identifiable.
6. About me page. One make sure you have an about me page! If an article gets me to your blog, the second thing I go to is the about me page. I LOVE reading about bloggers!  Make sure you talk in first person that it is fun and personal. Always have a picture of yourself and that all the information is up to date! I also have my email and social media contacts on this page as well.

7. Social media buttons. The more you have your social media sites visible the easier and more likely people will follow you on those sites. Make them hard to find and they will probably give up.  Make sure they are one of the first things people see on your site and large enough to be recognizable. I routinely test to see if my links are working on my buttons as well.

I recently began to add my social media links at the bottom of each of my posts. I am noticing that that helps with new viewers to my site and mobile users. Nowadays everyone is reading blogs on their smartphones and a reminder at the bottom of each post will help new readers find you easier.

8. Polyvor. Another site that I avoided like the plague for a LONG time. But finally gave in and haven't looked back since. Need a cute collage for your site? This is the place for you. It took me one collage to get the hang of it and now I'm hooked. I even went back and re created all my Everyday Cosplay posts and they all look clean and uniform. It is super easy, everything is in one place, what more can you ask for? You can even pin products to the page that you want to use on the site if you don’t find it on Polyvor.
made in PicMonkey
9. Pic Monkey. Is my go to site for making pinnable images for each of my posts. Having a beautiful pinnable image for each post makes people more likely to pin your post on Pinterest. This easily spreads the word about your blog and gets more eyes on your site. I also recently had my blog designer add the "pin it" button to all my photos making it even more easier!

10. Mail Chimp. I avoided having a newsletter for a very long time. I finally gave in after having a professional look at my site and suggest it to me. Sometimes you just have to hear something from an outside source! Mail Chimp makes sending a weekly newsletter easy and pretty! I have a templet set up and every Monday add in my new material. It takes about ten minutes and you can schedule it to send whenever you want. Another great way to get more eyes on your site! Every little bit helps right?!

11. Self Promotion, JUST DO IT! I have a bit of a hard time doing this, but it is a must for any successful blog/site/brand anything! I do try to follow the rule of one self promotion post on Twitter to ten or so RTs, status updates, replies as to not look like I am only self promoting. I enjoy sharing other awesome stuff with my readers as well, but obviously my blog is the most important to me. I would love for it to succeed and no one is going to help that cause more than YOU!

12. Make sure you have pictures on ALL of your posts! A LOT of people who read blogs are scanners {guilty as charged}. If there are pretty pictures it will catch people's eyes and make them stay longer.  Second to pictures are lists. They are also easy to scan. 

13. Be vulnerable. As of late I've done just that and I think I've begun to do some of my best writing yet! I am excited about what I am writing and I'm letting you all SEE the real me, not just the blogger. A bonus to all of this opening up I'm inspiring people in the process. It makes the risk completey worth it. Remember the first step, in everything, is always the hardest!

What have you learned through blogging?! What changes do you want to make to your blog? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I hope these tips can help you as they have helped me! Thank you for reading and please share this post if it was of help to you!

Follow me on:
Instagram // Twitter // Bloglovin // Facebook // Pinterest // G+

44 comments:

  1. I also uncentered my posts on B's suggestion and it was the best thing I've done - it just looks more professional and easy to read. Thanks for Polyvore! I've wanted to do some OOTDs but never knew how to go about it without Photoshop

    www.northeastnerd.co.uk

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    1. B is awesome! Good luck with Polyvore, it took me one collage to figure it out, now I'm hooked! xx

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  2. This is very good advice! As applicable to similar advice has long been. :)

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  3. I still can't shake centered text... I enjoy the way it looks :( You're not the first person I've come across on the internet suggesting people get rid of centered text, but I can't do it. Maybe some day...

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    1. It was hard to hear and hard to do, but I am so glad I did it! xx

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  4. Aw, I'm glad my tip/comment was able to help! I agree with a lot of these, especially the design related ones. Your blog might be the best thing out there, but if it hurts my eyes, I'm moving on!

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    1. Thank you for all your help, always B! xx

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  5. Megan these are great great tips. I'm trying to figure out mail chimp. Do you know if there is a way to get around leaving my address at the bottom of each newsletter? :/

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    1. Hadas, I believe that I have taken it out of mine. Edit that area of the newsletter and you should be able to delete it! xx

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    2. Careful here. Removing your physical address from your email newsletter / automailers is a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

      "Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations."

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  6. I second all the tips about legibility -- from font to color to justify... Like B said, even if the blog content is absolutely amazing and the best thing I've ever read... if it's hard to read or the design makes me dizzy... I'm out of there! This goes for RSS readers too. One of my blogging pet peeves are people who set their RSS entries to just excerpts. I get that it makes people click over to your blog and you'll get the page views... but I still use an RSS reader (Feedly) to read all of my blogs. Unless you can write freaking phenomenal headlines, I won't click over. HOWEVER... I do of course click over to comment, or sometimes just to give people page views when I do like the content.

    And making commenting easier! YES! I've actually gotten really sad a few times when I go to comment and it makes me log into whatever blogging site they use -- half the time after I log in, it loses my comment, and all the time it then links to my profile for that specific blogging platform, which I don't use and thus I'm not getting clicks back to my own site. (Selfish, yes, but comments are where you can find amazing people!) ... I will say, after installing Disqus, the conversations on my site seemed to triple overnight! I love it. Barely any spam since then either!

    Anyway. TL;DR - great tips!!! :)

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    1. I hear you about RSS entries as just excerpts --- I use feedly as well and am more likely to not click on a blog excerpt unless it is super amazing. I also will click on full posts in feedly for the page views if there is something I really like or want to comment on... so I don't get the point of not giving readers everything to view the first time around.

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    2. I myself also use the full post in my feeds, but the main reason to truncate to just an excerpt with a follow through link is to combat the cheaters out there. People will just scrape your entire feed and strip your name and site away from the feed and republish the article on their own sites as their own work. Not only is this stealing content, but creates duplicate content which is not good in the eyes of the Almighty Google.

      On my site, everytime I post, at least 5 other sites' bots will steal my post and rebrand it as their own. To combat this, I always include deep links (links to other articles on my site) and affiliate links embedded as context links so that I flip the tables on the bot scrapers and they are spreading my links and affiliate links to their network instead of just stealing my content. ;)

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  7. Such great advice! I'm on Polyvore and never thought of using it for blog images before!

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  8. Pictures are so important for pinning - which is a great way to gain exposure! Also, I LOVE disqus for commenting - so easy to comment and respond!

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  9. Hi Nerdy
    All the tips you mentioned are really awesome and does not need much effort to apply them at your blog. But their results would obviously be great because most of them stand for readers ease and also help you promote your blog better.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I'm going to try and promote more but I just cannot get away from centered text lol

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  11. I center my text sometimes only when it's a list, like my yearly lists. I also make the size of the text larger and in a different color. I've been a member of Polyvore for years! I love it because I can organize the outfits that I want to make for my based outfit posts.

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  12. I love all the tips -- thanks for the great reminders!

    One thing I recently did with my (definitely smaller / less commented) blog was updated the commenting moderation so that a comment will only be moderated if it is for a blog post 30+ days old. And I removed captcha, etc. It works for me because I am a relatively small niche blog.

    There are some other blogs that I have commented on in the past where the comment is still in moderation (and not for bad language or disagreements or anything!) -- which tells me that they are not interested in comments, so I am less likely to comment in the future!

    Another great site for creating blog graphics / social media buttons is Canva.com. I used them to make my blog header / feature graphics, and I want to start using them more for social media graphics. It doesn't cost anything if you use your own graphics or free clip art, and I really like their font and embellishment options.

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  13. these are definitely great tips and I have definitely follow most of these.

    one thing I have learned is that having your own url is only worth it if you are planning to stay at that url a long while, otherwise, it's just not worth it.

    I still don't care much for bloglovin but I have it since I no longer have google friend connect - I don't have google+ so I cannot display the gadget.

    I don't think keeping comments in moderation is a good idea as I like to re-read my own comments just in case I said the wrong thing. of cause it is a preference but for me, I don't like having to return to the post just to see if my comment is posted.

    & self promoting is something I have still yet to learn to do properly and it really is hard to do sometimes when you don't like social media such as me, but I guess it has to be done.

    hope you have a sweet day.

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  14. This is great! Thanks so much for making this! I'm happy to say that I'm doing, like, almost all of these things, so yay!! COME TO ME, SUCCESS. COME TO MEEEEEEE.

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  15. Good insights! With text centering, everyone has to decide if it's more important to them for their blog to look the way they like it, or to make it easy for their visitors to read. Sad but true! :(

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  16. Great advice! I've favourited this and will be going over my blog later! Thanks so much!

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  17. Great tips to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  18. Great advice! I still need to try PicMonkey. Time to get on that bandwagon!

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  19. These are all great tips! I have learned so much since I've started blogging, too - I've been guilty of so many of these things!

    Do you find having an e-mail newsletter is helping with traffic? Are you getting a decent amount of subscriptions? I almost feel like I don't need one since my blog is just about... well... me and my life. But I'm considering trying it out since I eventually want to try out a digital product.

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    1. I have a decent amount of subscribers, nothing crazy. I really only takes about ten minutes to put together a newsletter after you create a template. I find it is a good way to highlight a newer post, an older post and social media. Good luck and let me know when you get yours up so I can subscribe! xx

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  20. I try not to center text often but something it's looks good on my end. I should break myself from that. I just did it on my recent blog post! I centered the text under the photos I used! Thanks so much for sharing these tips! And polyvore is amazing and fun! I just hate that I can't get around to "clipping" photos from my google search.

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    1. Great job girlie! I do use centering under my photos as well. I've just tried clipping a few things from my online shopping and it's worked great!

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  21. Thanks for all the helpful tips! I don't like captcha either. My friend who studies web design has been helping with all the technical stuff on my blog and she keeps asking me if she wants me to add captcha and I'm like, "Noooo!!!" And I love the morning schedule you posted too. I'm definitely going to give it a try :D

    Cheers,
    Nina // lefancygeek.com

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  22. Nice points... especially having 1 profile photo across all SoMe platforms for better identification...

    I had removed the captcha code from my site once and was peppered with spam comments... Unfortunately, this very captcha code that stops the spam also stops genuine comments since people say they find it tough to post...

    Is there any way in between? One which combines the best of both worlds?

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    1. I struggled with a long time because I hate the spam comments, but ultimately I just got rid of captcha, on Blogger it's pretty good at weeding them out so that they never get displayed, I just have to go on Blogger now and again and delete all the spam ones.

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    2. No Captcha & Moderate All Comments is the best in my opinion. You can set up email notifications so that you can get approvals done in a timely manner.

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  23. Thank you for sharing these tips, they are absolutely wonderful! I love finding out other blogger methods.

    http:///www.mediaformisfits.com

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  24. Some really good points and I love PicMonkey!

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  25. MeghanSaraJuly 27, 2015

    These are really good, thoughtful, non-generic tips! THANK YOU! You inspired me to spruce up my About Me page!!!

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  26. I think the "About Me" page is always the hardest. I know I hate writing about myself (I know, for having a blog that's weird) but it's haaaaard! LOL

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  27. I'm guilty of scanning too but that advice about having your social media at the end of each post - I never thought about that. I may add it to my site too!

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  28. I recently added an "about me" page! I hate writing about myself like that, which is why I put it off for so long hahah. I'll have to try adding my social media links to the bottom of posts. Thanks!

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  29. I love this post!! A lot of things I have learned along the way as well.
    About me page is a must! I like a consistent image size and fonts to create a uniform look to your blog content as well!
    xx mal @ www.badwolfbrunch.com

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  30. Will definitely make getting an About Me page set up one of my top priorities now! Thank you for some great tips that will help me improve my blog, and for introducing me to some sites I'd probably never have thought of using on my own!

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  31. Oh wow, this post is insanely handy, and I've never heard of Pic Monkey, but it sounds exactly like something I've been looking for. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  32. Megan, thanks for updating this.

    BTW: I love picmonkey and have been afraid of Canva, but now that I tried it I LOVE it. Try it, the quality is better and a bit more user friendly for nooby noobs :)

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