I have earlier shared 2 posts about Blogging
- Easy tips for bloggers – covers Basic blogger tips so read it first if you are a new blogger or if you haven’t read that post before.
- Photo tips for bloggers- Important for us crafters since we post a lot of photos on our blogs
WARNING : I must warn you beforehand that at the end of this post you may feel rather overwhelmed-- please don't-- these are tips and tricks I garnered over years and in the end its your blog-- go with what you love!!
So ---Sharing a few easy and not so easy tricks to spruce up your blog
1. Add your signatureYou may have noticed that many bloggers have a stylish signature beneath every blog-post. Not only does a signature add a lovely touch to your blog-post but it helps a new visitor address you by name easily. You don’t actually have to manually do this every time you post a blog and it’s a one of the easy blogger tricks out there!
PS: It doesn't work if you are posting using Windows Live Write and that is why some of my own posts dont have it[more about that later!]
2. Add links to old postsThis is one of the coolest and easiest ways to entice your visitors to explore more of your projects and breathe life into older posts.
- Manual – Whenever you write a new blog-post try to incorporate links to older posts whenever you can. E.g. If you are sharing a stamped card, share the link to another card you had made earlier using the same stamp/technique etc. Or simply thank your readers for comments on your last post. Yes it may mean adding an extra minute to your Blogpost writing time but do it whenever you can and make it a habit!
- Linkwithin – If you are not familiar with it –it’s a cool widget which shows 3- 4 thumbnails of related projects beneath every blog-post on your blog.
Blogging tipsMost times related posts with same label are displayed – just add relevant “labels” to your blog posts and “Linkwithin” will do all the hard work for you!! Here is the link :Linkwithin
- Nrelate- this is an alternative to Linkwithin. My friend Tanvi had some problems with Linkwithin so she used “Nrelate” – which does the same function but looks a bit more stylish in my opinion. Opt for whichever you like better.
3. Make use of Archives and Labels
Many a times when you land on a blog and like a particular post , you like to see the earlier works of the blogger and if there is no archives widget ,there is a high chance you may lose interest just clicking the “older posts” . And I find this especially useful in Challenge blogs as its easy to locate the new challenge posts, winners post etc
The Labels widget is another must have on your blog.See this Basic blogging tips post on importance of labels. In fact your labels widget is something which can be customized and added several times on your sidebar! Eg. I have 2 types of labels widgets- one displays a wide variety of crafts with the number of posts and another categorizes my posts according to the craft material used eg Foam, Clay etc !
4. Blog BackgroundI have done a lot of reading up on this one!!
- Background Color: Black may be your favorite color but in choosing a background for your blog, always choose a background with a light color as it’s easier to read and more pleasing to the eye. And not only that since we crafters share a lot of photos , neutral background colors such as white and cream wont clash with the project's colors . It’s not a coincidence that the big websites out there have a white background!
- Blogger Templates: There are lots of free blogger templates which can help stylize your blogs easily with a few clicks but exercise caution on what you add to your blog as some of the html codes in the free blogger templates may have errors; and graphics on some blog designs can drastically affect your blog load time so choose from sites which are already popular in blog land
- Always be careful what html code you publish to your blog.
- Always backup your blog template before you make any changes so that if anything goes wrong or you find you don’t like it you can always revert back easily!
Blogging tips-template backup
5. Blogpost Font
I have researched a lot on this one too and will share the most important points! Last year I found I tended to skip reading blogs with script style font and that lead me to discover age had caught up with my eyesight and I needed glasses! Well, there are zillions of readers out there with suboptimal eyesight and tweaking your blog just a little bit will be so helpful to them!
|Blogging tips- fonts|
- Choose a font based on readability rather than beauty! You may be attracted to stylish script style fonts such as “Monotype Corsiva” but these are so much more difficult to read than “Arial” or “Verdana”.
- Size of the fonts – Your readers eyesight may not be as good as yours and they will not really bother to peer too long and try to read if your website is in a small font size!
Experts recommend : Font size 14 -16 pixels and fonts Arial, Trebuchet, Verdana, Impact, Ms Sans Serif, Lucida Sans unicode, Tahoma or Comic Sans
And if you are wondering which font I have on this blog its Arial.
6. Blog layout
- Blogger Sidebar: Blogger gives you an option of 2 sidebars. Opting for one sidebar makes your blog less cluttered and your readers don’t have to keep scrolling all over to read your blog! Here is how to tweak your blog layout
Add caption Blogging tips
- Follow Widget: Many a times I have had to scroll all over a blog to find the all important “Follow” widget. I have written about this earlier too but since it’s so important and a mistake I see made all over blog-land stressing on it again. Place your “follow me” widget at the top of your sidebar or at the top of your blog.
Follow me widget
- Some time back Google restricted Google Friend Connect to only blogger blogs [and GFC does act crazy at times by not allowing people to follow a blog] so its prudent to have other options like Bloglovin, email subscription, or other options on your blog to allow readers to follow your blog. Place all the “following” options you want at easy to see positions on your blog.
7. Use your sidebar wiselyYour sidebar is an important part of your blog. Use it wisely and effectively! People are willing to pay for advertising space on your sidebar [I know since I have had lots of offers!] so even if you don’t sell it to advertisers, use it optimally for your own benefit!
- Place what is most important to you right at the top of your sidebar. If you have a shop, place your shop logo and link it or add enticing pictures of your new products/handmade crafts etc! If you take craft classes, advertise that! I could go on and on but I think you get the picture!!
- Be very cautious in adding 3rd party widgets! – When you install a 3rd party widget you add extra html coding to your blog and can leave your blog potentially open to hackers! So think twice- do you really need to have that ticking clock or cute animated kitty on your sidebar?
8. De-clutter your sidebar
- Do you really need those awards and badges to hog your sidebar space? If you are very much attached to them for sentimental reasons—relegate them to a “page”
- Track those giveaway photos and remove them as soon as they expire
- Once you have accumulated numerous top 3 and winners’ badges, shift them to a “page” like I have done or if you still want to spotlight projects you are especially proud of, add the project photos instead of the badge photo with a link to the respective posts.
9. Creating Interactive MenusYou can see a couple of interactive drop down menus in my blog sidebar.
|Blogger tips- drop down menu|
They look nice and are useful too, but I don’t update them much because frankly speaking it’s quite time consuming! If you have quite a bit of time on hand and feeling adventurous blog wise, here is tutorial link I followed to make the drop down widgets:How to make drop down menus
Warning: If you get even a single character wrong in the html script your code won’t work!
10. Creating ThumbnailsIf you want to add thumbnails to your blog like in the handmade flowers tutorial page, here are 2 links
|Blogging tips- Gallery|
How to create thumbnails
How to create a thumbnail Gallery - by my blogger friend and well know crafter Lisa
I hope this compilation of tips is useful to you
I have plans for 2 more posts on Blogging tips - Blogging Etiquette and My Blogging Secrets - will work on it if this one proves popular- So do tell me if you like this one!
I have to be certain I don't put my crafty friends to sleep or chase them away from my blog!!
Edited : this tutorial has been featured on Totally Tutorials twice