UPDATE 7/16: See bottom of post for more tips, plus details on individual blog mentoring.
Blogging has a steep learning curve and can be very overwhelming at the start. I thought I’d share a few tips today with you lovely folks. Obviously, I’m still learning. And half of these are just reminders to me to do my best every time I post. (aw) Still, I thought there were a few good tips I could share to help out a fellow blogger.
Remove the “capcha code”
This was the number one thing I found mentioned on every “10 things you should know about starting a blog”. And you know what? It IS really annoying. Find out how to check to see it you have it & remove it here.
Creating a Header (and removing the box around it)
If you’re like me and going the DIY route, you need to figure out some aspects of blog design.
If you want a header that runs across the whole page (as opposed to being a smaller box in the middle), then use this tutorial.
If you want a header that is basically your logo floating in space-like mine- here’s how you do it. (Note- this tip helps to remove the shadows from photos in blogger, including your header image)
DIY Social Icons & Blog Button
Another huge part of blogger design is a set of social icons to match the decor. These were a bit of work, but so worth it.
Could I have hired someone to design my site? Sure. Will I in the future? Probably. But every time I would run into a design snag, I would google it and consider it a personal challenge to hack it out myself. Stubborn, I guess.
Also, I finally found an easy-peasy way to create a blog button with the html code. Like you literally input your info and spits out a code. Nice. You just need to create a blog button image and save it first. Find out how to do that here.
White Balance/ Temperature Adjustment
I won’t get into specifics for my particular camera, I just know that my life changed when I figured out the “white balance” section. As for photo editing sites, I use Picmonkey the most. The three editing tools I use on every picture are:
Exposure– makes pictures brighter
Contrast– increases contrast between objects, helps with focus
Sharpen– focus/sharpens picture
Temperature- also makes a HUGE difference.
We’ll use this abysmally-lit photograph I took with my quick pix camera about four years ago. My daughter looks like a smurf!
But with a little warmth (from the temperature gauge), some brightening up, and a little sharpening.
Not perfect, but a usable photo, unlike the top one. NATURAL light, folks. Can’t beat it.
Let’s take a look at a more typical blog photograph; i.e., shot in natural light with a professional camera.
And After “Auto Edit” feature on Picmonkey, plus a little saturation (color), brightening, and sharpening.
Now that photo I would put on my blog. And did… ha. The point is, you can shoot with a camera phone or DSLR and get high quality photos with inexpensive editing tools.
So, so, so, so important. They need to be:
Pinnable- why else do you post them?
Big enough to see (usually bigger than you think they need to be)
Using natural light as much as possible
Fitting your blog size (check the width of your blog and edit photos to fill up that space)
Less is more
Put your best posts front and center. Place thumbnails of them in a visible spot near the top of the blog, where they won’t be missed. If you spent all that quality time to make a post and it becomes popular, show it off.
Get Your Name Out There
I read an interesting article one time about how you should spend less time churning out posts and more time promoting posts that you have written. It’s that “working smarter, not harder” mentality. Obviously, quality content is crucial, but it is just as necessary to promote it.
Pinterest does the work for you. A lot of successful bloggers, including this one, say that it’s the most powerful tool for reaching new readers and helping content to go viral. Create posts with pinnable images and pin them (as well as others’ work) daily.
Just a few tips & tricks to get you started with blogging!