The basics of blogging: creating a site that creates a great first impression

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It’s always important to walk before you run in this world, especially when dealing with your blog. Before worrying too much about your revenue, merchandising, and future expansions, it’s vital to get the look right.   

The harsh reality of running a modern website is that you have a handful of seconds to keep the user interested in your brand. Your blog is no different, which is why you must pay attention to the related aspects right away. Here are some helpful tips to get you on your way.

The basics of blogging creating a site that creates a great first impressio

Choose a good domain

Whether you like it or not, audiences will look down on blogs that do not have their own domains. For the sake of a very small investment, getting a .co.uk or a .com address is vital. Try to keep the name short and sweet too. Nobody wants to type an essay into their address bar, especially as a single typo could stop them reaching your site.  Something short, catchy and memorable is best.

You can get a WordPress blog for just £51 per year on their personal plan which gives you a website with your own domain to get started blogging.  You can grab $25 credit towards a paid WordPress plan if you sign up using my referral link by clicking here!

And yes, I know, my blog name and domain is awful!  It was never meant to be a blog in the beginning, but the business grew and evolved from what started out as a handmade card shop – hence the pretty name.  If it had been a blog from the beginning it would be more catchy and easy to spell like my other blogs: Travel Vixta, Healthy Vix and Wood Create. 

Read the story of how Lylia Rose began to find out more about how Lylia Rose evolved!

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Choose a good host

A website that continues to show error messages or downtime will suffer. Likewise, one that has limited storage space could restrict your opportunities as a blogger. 

I have my WordPress blogs hosted by WordPress and this blog is hosted by Create.net.  I like to keep things simple and straightforward!  For blogging, however, I recommend WordPress.

However, you can choose to go self-hosted with your blog if you are using WordPress and there are a lot of options out there.  Many people make the switch to a different host to save money, especially if you want a larger plan than the personal WordPress plan when getting started.  Otherwise that plan will be adequate, especially if you want to keep blogging simple and not use any plugins. 

Do your research and be aware that many people may be recommending a host because they are on their affiliate scheme, not necessarily because they are the best.  Ask bloggers and get their recommendations.  Invest in the best right away, and it’ll provide a platform for ongoing triumphs!

The basics of blogging creating a site that creates a great first impressio

Choose the right platform

As a blogger, you may be tempted to try going it alone. In truth, using WordPress is probably your best bet. There are limitations, but the best templates give you a fantastic look right away. Moreover, it’ll provide a user-friendly appearance that offers easy navigation and avoids the threat of confusion.  

I use Create for this website as it was originally an ecommerce store, but it's not ideal for blogging. I use WordPress for three other blogs and I love the functionality.  It is built for blogs.

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More blogging tips and ways to monetize a blog:

Choose the best logo

The branding of your blogging site relies on many features, including the colour schemes and templates. However, the logo is something that will be judged right away. People Per Hour or Fiverr will help you find a cheap designer to get this right. You’ll be amazed at how this influences the overall appearance of your website.  Plus, it’s your brand and needs to be recognisable and memorable.  Otherwise, you can use Canva to design yourself a logo for free!

If you decide to use Fiverr, you may be able to grab yourself some cashback!  As I write this, there is £3.44 cashback if you make a purchase on Fiverr via TopCashback, which is amazing as many people sell things for a fiver on Fiverr hence the name!

Download the TopCashback browser extension so you never miss a cashback deal, even when buying things for your blog!

TopCashback

Choose to go mobile

Internet trends have changed in recent times, not least in regards to how we read blogs. Over half of your potential readership are using their smartphones and tablets to access your data. Ensuring that your site looks great on the mobile screen is pivotal. This is another reason to choose WordPress or another template site that will automatically change the size of your blog to suit the screen your reader is using. 

The basics of blogging creating a site that creates a great first impressio

Choose to go visual

While the quality of your writing will keep readers coming back for more, visual media is vital at the start. Seeing interesting images and knowing that the site includes videos will make it more attractive. Aside from appearing more professional, it shows that you have easy to digest media to support potentially complex writing.

You can use my free stock photos if you credit me with a link as the source :) 

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Choose a community vibe

Your readers are the greatest asset to your blog’s ongoing growth. Adding share buttons to posts and the homepage will have a positive impact as it can help you reach more people. While you will still need to produce the quality posts that users wish to share, the fact that you’ve made it easier for them will bring positive outcomes.

More blogging tips and ways to monetize a blog:

The basics of blogging creating a site that creates a great first impressio

Choose a transparent approach

A blog doesn't need to include phone numbers and address info, especially if you’re not selling items. Nevertheless, an email address and an about me section should be readily available. Without them, it can feel as though you have something to hide. Above all else, it makes it very tough for users to interact with your brand.  And as mentioned above, social share buttons so your users can share content, but also follow buttons so they can find you on social media. You can set up social media accounts for your blog - you don't have to use your personal accounts. 

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Choose relevant adverts

You won’t need to worry about other forms of revenue just yet. Still, it’s likely that you might wish to place adverts on your site. Making sure that they are relevant is vital. You can choose banners with affiliate links or you can sign up to an ad network.  Many ad networks are clever and will customise the adverts so they are relevant for the content on the page or for what your reader has been viewing elsewhere on the web.  Just don't have too many or it will ruin the appearance of your site and make users click away.

The basics of blogging creating a site that creates a great first impressio

Choose relevant sub-topics

The main blog topic is likely to cover a fairly wide spectrum. For example, a blog on fashion could cover a whole range of subjects. Therefore, you will need to create categories to let users know exactly what’s on offer. While you may be tempted to branch out in a bid to win clients, staying true to the brand is vital. The menu bars will have a major impact, so make sure these represent your main topics well.    

There’s little point in churning out content or the idea of collaborations until the site looks good. With the first task of the aesthetic items under control, you can then start to focus on producing great content and increasing your blog readership.

More blogging tips and ways to monetize a blog:

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Originally posted in Nov 2018 and updated in Dec 2021