I've come across a few things in the bloggy-verse lately that have made me curious, a few things that have made me grind my teeth, and a few things that have made me roll my eyes. I'm most definitely not an expert on blogging, but here's what's been standing out to me lately.
- Tip #1 - Tell Us Your Name
- Why would you run a blog and not tell people who you are???? Sure, you may not want to share your real name, but you need some kind of name. People connect to people. We remember names. When you put out your book, you're going to put a name on it. Start using that name now!
- in the same vein, use that same name across all your social media platforms. You don't want to be Crazy Hazy Harry on one, Harold Hazar on another and HH on a third. Consistency is important if you're trying to build a presence.
- Tip #2 - Photo Time
- for your avatar, a photo of yourself is best. (Yes, I know I don't have one! For more on my struggles with that, pop on over to my blog.)
- head shots appear to be the most popular - and for good reason. In a head shot, it's easy to identify the person. And suddenly, you're no longer Crazy Hazy, but a real person with a real face. As humans, we connect to faces. Take advantage of that. You don't have to be beautiful or handsome or tall or short or thin or chubby or anything except YOU. You're special and unique. Show that off!
- Tip #3 - Sharing Buttons
- It's hard to build up an audience. One great way to accomplish that is to have your current readers share your posts to their friends and contacts. Blogger has a handy-dandy bar of icons people can click on to share your posts to various social media (Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and more. Check the bottom of this post for an example.). All your reader has to do is click and your audience has grown.
- Some non-Blogger blogs have buttons that you can customize to include your twitter handle along with the post title and link when you share to twitter. This is awesome because that tweet will show up in your Mentions stream and you'll see exactly who is helping you out. (If you can do this in Blogger too, let me know how in the comments!)
- Tip #4 - Subscription Options
- make these easy to find and preferably near the top of your blog. The easier it is for people to receive your posts, the more they will read your posts.
- offer as many different options as you can. Don't know what RSS is? Add it anyway (although I'd suggest a simple Google search to solve that problem). Don't eliminate an avenue for people to find you simply because you find blog posts in one way and you assume everyone does it the same way
- Tip #5 - Lure Your Audience to Your Other Platforms
- make it easy! Include links to your presence on other forms of social media. Again, near the top of your blog is best. Don't make people work to find you.
- don't worry about joining any and all social media. Not only will you be exhausted, but you'll spread yourself too thin and not do any of them well.
- Tip #6 - Easy on the Eyes
- avoid dark backgrounds with light fonts. These are very difficult for some eyes to read
- keep your blog uncluttered. When an eye is drawn to too many areas, it tires out the reader and there's a sense of relief when the blog disappears - NOT what you want! Less clutter also makes the blog load more quickly.
- Tip #7 - No Tunes Please
- I'm a huge music lover, but please, please, please, don't have music playing automatically when someone opens your blog. First off, you might turn off some readers with your taste in music. Second, it makes your blog slower to load. Third, like many other bloggers, I often have music playing in the background as I'm blogging. Two competing songs at the same time does not equal double the fun.
(Stepping down off my soap box now!)
I think the key is keeping things easy for your reader. Think of them rather than yourself as you're setting up your blog, and make them look forward to coming back.
How about you? Any of my pet peeves match yours? Any tips to add?
Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs and tweets while searching for those HEAs.