Friday, 21 November 2014

Blogging Tips: How To Make A Good First Impression

blogging advice, how to make a good first impression bloggers, fashion blog tips, beauty blog tips

I wrote some blogging tips a few weeks back on how to start a blog and if you're new to blogging, you might find this blogpost handy for when you're making your blog look nice! First impressions count so I will go through a few of the basics such as blog design, layout and what information to include on your blog. Ultimately, how you want your blog to look is completely and entirely up to you and my advice only serves as a guide, or a starting point, on how to impress people (and brands) and turn those visitors into readers.

Easy-On-The-Eyes Navigation
I don't know about you but I like it when a blog layout is familiar. Just like a well designed website, a well design blog makes me trust the site more. The "familiar" layout is usually a logo header centred at the top of the page, the content (blogposts) in the middle and then a static side bar. That's a pretty standard blog layout but there's a few templates to choose from so play around and pick the one that suits you. Some people don't like side bars but I think it's acts as a tool to give people a snapshot of who you are.

Another thing worth noting is that it's important to keep your blog user friendly so set your blog within a decent width, don't be tempted to go big just because you want to. Side scroll isn't a popular feature to use because some people get a bit put off by it, especially if it's an addition to scrolling vertically. Visually, it looks better but it also ensures that ALL of the content you've worked so hard on stays right in front of people's eyes. I've kept the width of my blog approximately 1000px wide. There are also technical web design things to consider like what to put above the fold and below the fold but this isn't important when you're starting out and finding your feet.

Design and Colours
I love white space but on the other hand, I am one for encouraging the use of colours and background to add a bit of personality to your blog. A unique blog design/layout makes people remember your blog too. Your background can be a single colour, it can have a nice pattern or illustration. Get creative and put your own stamp on your digital home. You can always change things around if you don't like it. One thing I will say is try to avoid bright, neon colours or at least stay away from using large blocks of neon colours... it might make your readers vision go a bit funny!

Font and Text
I used to be put off by blogs with small fonts (needless to say, I have very bad eye sight!) so the bigger the better. However, I now understand that when you write a lot of text for each blogpost, large font can be a bit too much! Keep it tidy and use the same font all the way through. Stay away from the fancy, curly fonts and opt for something standard and web friendly. Use paragraphs to make your content easy to read, you may want to break the text up by adding images in between to make it easier to read. In regards to alignment, this is of course down to personal taste. I use justified text alignment because I like both sides of the text to line up but some may argue that it's too formal, and that left alignment is more of a relaxed, laid back approach. Go with what whichever one you prefer , there isn't a right or wrong, but stick to the same one each time.

Good Quality Photos and Images
Large, clear and high quality photos always makes a good first impression with anything as it catches people's attention almost straight away. Try to tell a story with your photos or put them in to some logical order. Use a variation of photos to show different sides of the product or an outfit, and include full length and close up on details or anything you want to pinpoint.

For beauty content, I would suggest using 2-4 photos per blogpost and for fashion and personal style posts, limit it to 6-8 images per post but all they should all be different to keep the reader interested. If you can't decide on which photo to use, put them side by side and eliminate them out of the running until you've narrowed it down to your favourite in order to avoid using several photos that all look the same.

For neatness, keep all the images centred and within the width pixels of your blog layout. All of my photos measure 640px wide, and the length depends on what aspect ratio the image is. Usually, if it's a rectangle photos, I can automatically resize by clicking "X-large" on blogger but if that doesn't work, I can go in to the html section of the blogpost and adjust the size myself. I wrote some blogger photography tips a few months ago so have a read if you're thinking of stepping it up a notch on your blog photography.

Utilize The Sidebar
As mentioned above, a static side bar can be a useful tool to give everyone a snapshot of who you are and what they can expect to see on your blog. Near the top of the page, include your name, a small thumbnail photo of yourself, what your blog is about, your blog email address plus social media buttons. You may want to add an archive in the sidebar, a bloglovin' button, Google Friend Connect and other widgets that might appeal to your readers. Make it easy for people to follow your blog. You can put almost anything you want on there like a lists of your favourite bloggers or links to your most popular blogposts.

Add An About Me Page
I spent the longest time avoiding this because I thought "isn't the blog itself self-indulgent enough?!" but a lot of people like to read an About Me, especially new visitors and brands/PR agency who want to know more about you in the space of five minutes. Not everyone has the time to go through several pages of your blog to find information that may or may not be there so make it easy for them. In terms of user experience, an About Me page makes the reader to trust your blog from the word go. Obviously, don't include anything personal, instead use this section to sell yourself and talk yourself up but keep it as relevant as possible, just like you would in a CV! Don't be shy, we want to know about your achievements and the interesting things you've experience in your life. It's what makes you special and unique!

Include Contact Details
As bloggers, it's great to have the opportunity to work with brands. I've contacted bloggers for my work, and as a blogger myself I have been approached by brands, so I've been on both side of the spectrum. I've been doing blogger outreach at work on-off for about a year now and have come across a few things that can sometimes cause a bit of a problem. It's absolutely fine if you don't want to work with brands or do anything like that. However, if you do, make sure you have the following details shown somewhere clearly on your blog: Name, email address and social media icons which links to correct profile (or at least your Twitter handle). There are loads of people who don't include this information on your blog and I haven't been able to contact bloggers to work with them, either for gifting or blogger outreach. It's best to set up a new email account just for blogging and make the address match your blog name.

If anyone has other tips and advice for bloggers, pop them in the comment section! ♥︎

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20 comments

  1. OMG yes to bigger text and also- I wish bloggers would stop using pale grey text on white- impossible to read, or it is with my sight. I hear lots of bloggers bitch about large text and I don't know why because the smaller it is, the harder to read.

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  2. good post :)

    http://youbeefashion.blogspot.com/

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  3. Those tips are all really good ! They are so simple but make such a difference !

    Sara,
    http://thecrimeofashion.blogspot.fr

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  4. Great post! I will definitely be fixing some things on my blog after reading this :)

    Missmacbeauty | Missmacbeauty

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  5. Lovely tips. I have recently started a new blog and I am looking for some great tips for getting my blog recognized. Thank you for this post x

    pintsizedbeauty.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. Love this post Sarah!

    Jegz xo
    http://jegz-loves-tea.blogspot.co.uk/

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  7. Thank you for this blogpost! Very helpful points to think about!
    Love,
    Svenja

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  8. Great advice. This is the third post I have read about that suggests putting your contact information on your blog, so maybe this is a sign that I need to get on that! I'm too big about doing sponsored reviews, but good to have to have other bloggers contact me.

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  9. Great and useful tips, thanks for share this post!!!

    New outfit on lb-lc fashion blog
    GIVEAWAY HERE

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  10. Great post, I shall be taking these tips in, so I can enhance my blog layout :)

    x

    http://roseannanna.wordpress.com/

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  11. Great tips, really useful.

    Eea P
    www.eeapetrescu.com

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  12. Thank you for some very useful tips :-). Your blog is lovely!
    alice xo | beautybyalicee

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  13. Yayay I Guess i got blog design right! love your tips.

    www.bumascloset.com

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  14. Really enjoyed this post and totally agree! Especially feeling self indulgent about having a blog x

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  15. this is really useful! I am currently working to get more viewers and followers on my blog! :) x

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  16. These are great tips, I've been struggling with sizing my blog and images
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

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  17. I could do with bigger text, my eyesight is getting worse :) I find that sticking to tex size about 12 is pretty good. I totally agree with the width of blogs, it puts me off completely when I have to scroll across to keep reading.

    Hayley \\ Compass To Guide

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  18. So helpful for people trying to improve. great tips sarah!
    Stefanie | Casualllyawkward | Bloglovin

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  19. Thanks for this post! I'm a newbie blogger and these are some really valuable tips ☺

    twitter.com/lifeofsinead


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  20. great post and awesome tips :) xx

    http://www.thewhimsicalwildling.com/

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