New year, new me!

I joke, but that’s the way a lot of people think (I guess it’s too strange to change in the middle of a year, might as well keep up those bad habits until New Years) and so in honor of New Year’s Resolutions, 2017, and a fresh start, I decided to write up a post on everything I’ve learned in the past year about stepping up your blogging game and making it a place that people actually want to visit.  In no particular order…

1. Make It Pretty

This is one of the first things that people will see when coming across your blog, whether they read your comment and wanted to see more, google searched for a blog, or they’re your best friend and you asked them to come.  If a blog is ugly, overwhelming, or otherwise not visually appealing, they’re going to click off the page.  Nobody wants to continuously go to a blog that makes their eyes hurt.  The key for a nice blog is to have a lot of white space, and a consistent color scheme.  Pictures are nice, but if there are too many it will just overwhelm your reader, and leave them wondering where the actual content is.  White space gives a fresh, clean look, and makes everyone happy (I promise it doesn’t look “empty”).  The color scheme is crucial because even if you have a lot of blank space, if the colors you do have clash, that hurts.  It is more important to have a TONE that matches than color.  ex. only post in pastels, or neons.  I use primarily black and white, with color only for book covers, or tags where other people made the cover.  This way, there is some color, but not too much.  Then, in my actual posts, I use purple, and my links are a coral.  Minimal, but pretty (I think).

2. Make it Easy

This goes along with making it pretty, but this one might be even more important.  Your menu bar at the top of your page should have only the essentials.  Don’t clutter it, but make it easy to find what’s important (About menu, Book review index, contact page).  It’s fine to have dropdown menus there, but the first things that people say should be organized and attractive.  The same goes for the sidebar.  Tag clouds, excessive images, and awards, only clutter up the sidebar and cause people to miss the more important things (such as the FOLLOW BUTTON) which is nothing that you want to happen.  Plus, nobody really cares if you’ve won an award (sorry).  They’ll decide for themselves if your blog is worth staying at.

3. High Quality Content

This is the most important thing of all because, right after they look at the pictures and layout, they’re going to actually read what you’re writing.  The prettiest blog in the world won’t have followers if there isn’t actual writing there.  Post what you want to write, but make sure it’s proofread, and interesting.  Longer, more high quality, insightful, unique posts will get more views than quick filler content.  Memes are fun, but a blog that only does quick memes or tags is unlikely to find readers.  Mix these in, but make sure that you are doing things that nobody else is, or posting reviews that share opinions and are well written.  AVOID FILLER CONTENT NO MATTER WHAT!!1

4. Consistent Content

This may seem like an oxymoron.  It’s hard to have consistent quality content.  I understand.  But it really helps if you pick a schedule and actually stick to it.  THIS STILL MEANS NO FILLER CONTENT!!! If you can only write a post about once a week, then only post then, even if one week you write 4.  Schedule these for the future, and it will make it easier on weeks that you can’t write at all.  Readers want to know when you’re posting new content, and hate month long breaks, or week long breaks for authors who normally post daily.  Trust me, it’s better to have fewer a week but consistent than 4 one week and 1 the next.  This is hard for new bloggers to understand (I remember) but it will pay off in the long run.

5. Get Involved, ASAP

There is no excuse for not getting involved in the blogger community.  Create a blog social media, participate in blogger chats, join groups on Goodreads (or other communities in your niche) and start emailing bloggers you love.  It will help get you the attention you deserve.  Twitter chats are a free way to get traffic and make awesome friends, so make sure that you’re doing it.  Even just a simple DM to a blogger you love could be the start to getting you a TON more traffic.

6. Build an Internal Community

This is crucial if you ever want people to comment again.  Reply to every single comment, no matter how trivial it is, and like all the comments too.  You want to encourage people to contribute to your site, and bring them back, so make them feel loved.  When people like a post on your site, pay a visit to theirs and maybe comment.  Give to receive, and when people give to you, give back even more.  Thus, a cycle where everyone is happy!  This doesn’t mean random following or liking.  People know when you really care and when you’re just trying to get cheap followers.

7. Post Elsewhere

This goes along a lot with number 6.  You need to read other blogs, and comment.  Not only will this put you in other people’s heads for when they are looking for a blog to read, but your Gravatar leaves a URL so that everyone can track back to your site.  Plus, it’s an amazing way to share the love.  If you like a blog post, you should say it! Nobody is going to find your site if you sit isolated in the corner and don’t make a sound.

8. Get Organized

This is essential. There’s no way that you’re going to be able to stick to a schedule without being organized. Write out a plan of what you want to do, and stick to it. And then, write out posts in advance (at least a week, I do up to a month with gaps for time relevant posts to be inserted) so that you can post on time. Being neater in your outside world life will make your blog neater.

9. Find What Makes You Special and Exploit it for Personal Gain

This sounds a bit evil dictator, take over the worldy, but seriously.  You do want to take over the internet, don’t you?  In all honesty, nobody wants to read a blog that is the exact same as everyone else’s.  If you want to get people to like your blog, throw something special in.  Are you great at graphics?  Are you hilarious?  Do you write the most tear jerking reviews that make everyone obsessed? If you have nothing special, you’re lying.  Just throw in some personality, and have fun.  There’s no need for embarrassment about anything.  The weirder, the more the blogging world will embrace you.

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With any luck, these few steps will have gotten you on your way to creating an even more amazing blog.  At this time of year, there are many new blogs and so I thought it would be a great time to post this!!! And, even if you’ve had your blog for a while, it’s always a great time to mix it up and make your blog better than ever.

But I’m not perfect either.  Do you have any advice for making your blog better that I missed?  Which step do you think is the most important?  Comment below!!

Find me elsewhere:

Twitter | Bloglovin’Email | Goodreads | FictionPress

~ Now venture off and change the world ~