I have recently redesigned my blog, with a new fresh theme and a custom logo to match (thank you to those who commented how much you like it!). This redesign project is part of a bigger plan: making my blog more memorable and easier to navigate – some of the key aspects of a successful blog. Apart from the big changes I have made a lot of subtle changes, to take my blog to the next level and make it more attractive to my readers and brands. I have seen improvements to my traffic and the number of email-proposals instantly, and so I have decided to put together a short guide to help you make your blog successful – if increase in traffic and attention from brands is what you want. We are all blog for different reasons and enjoyment is key.
Guide to creating a successful blog
Number one on my list was hiring a talented designer to create a logo. A good logo represents at a glance what the blog stands for and is clear and memorable. If you think hiring a designer to create a bespoke logo is expensive, think again. You can post your project on a website like freelancer.com and state your budget. Quotes I have received started at as little as £25 – courtesy of Indian designers. I have looked at lots of designers and samples of their work, but the one which stood out was Ella from Space & History. Her price was higher, but the designs reflected it. They are thoughtful and unique. The brief form I have received from her helped me further clarify what I want my blog to be, and give her clear answers, making our collaboration more fruitful.
2. Catch phrase/mission statement
A short – ideally three words – snippet further clarifying what your blog is about. In my case it’s ‘green family blog’, because my blog is focused on my family living a green life.
It’s hard to say what names work for a successful blog. There’s plenty of successful blog’s with an abstract name. It is a good idea though to choose a name, which will say something about blog’s content. Short names are good – easier to remember and easier to fit on a logo. It’s also important to name your domain the same as your blog. That is BlogName=www.BlogName.com. And of course all your social media accounts should have exactly the same name as your blog. It’s best not to make life difficult for your readers and make them remember different names or variations for different social media accounts.
4. Blog theme/design
It’s important for the blog design to be clear and easy to navigate. It makes it easier to read and find things – you want your readers to stay on your blog as long as possible. Important elements of a clear design are:
easy to read font – handwritten style may look nice, but it’s not easy to read, especially on smart phones (over 50% of population uses mobile devices for browsing)
spacing between lines – again this makes text easier to read
text should not take up the entire width of the screen – ideally 480-600 pixels. Studies show that shorter lines make it easier to read and comprehend text online, it’s also easier to keep your eyes focused (when adjusting your theme play around and try it out for yourself).
a clear, simple background – strong colours or patterns distract the reader and can be tiring for the eyes
tidy sidebar – too much will make the design look cluttered
limited and clear category names in the menu – it makes navigation easier
Of course you want your blog to feel personal and unique, but you also need to make it easy to navigate for the readers.
Having a clear niche might feel limiting, but it’s actually very helpful in choosing subjects for your blog posts. It also gives your readers a clear reason to visit/follow your blog and it is attractive to brands.
Labels like parenting or lifestyle may prove to be to wide. They don’t give your blog a true focus.
6. Social media
This is a hotly debated subject among bloggers. How many social media accounts should you have? Something I’ve learnt on BritmMumsLive 2015 was that it’s best to block all social media accounts with your blog name, just to make sure no one else starts using the same name as you, but only focus on 2-3. You are not able to run all your accounts well – it simply takes too much time – so it’s best to devote the time you have to a smaller number. There’s also personal preference. Twitter is my favourite social media, the one I find easiest for interacting, gaining followers and page views. Other bloggers prefer facebook or instagram. It’s your personal choice, which social media channel you will choose to focus on.
That’s it. Just a few simple steps, which will help you make your blog successful. Is there anything else you would add to this list? I love to hear from you so please leave me a comment or get in touch on Twitter (@mumbalance).