So, you’ve decided to start blogging.
Let me start off by saying congratulations!
Running a successful blog can be a great source of income and blogging is also one of the best ways to funnel traffic to your business website. It also gives you the chance to position yourself as an expert in your niche.
Blogging also requires a lot of time and patience, so be proud of yourself for taking the plunge!
There’s a lot of posts out there that will promise you a certain number of clicks or views if you follow their exact steps. But this blog post isn’t about that.
To put it simply, my goal is to help you get your sh*t together and set up a successful looking blog that looks professional from day one!
Don’t worry blogging newbie, I’ve got your back.
Nothing screams NEW BLOGGER like creating your website on a free platform like Blogger.com or Wix.com.
Honestly, these types of platforms give you a website that looks pretty mickey mouse and seriously limits your design and ability to personalize.
And straight up, you’ll never have full control or ownership over your website when it’s being run by another company. If Blogger or Wix go bankrupt tomorrow (not saying they will), but if they did, your site is dead.
yes… that was dramatic.
That’s why the best solution is to own your own domain name and set up a self-hosted website. Don’t worry, it sounds more complicated than it is!
For example, you want your site to read:
See my point? Buying your blog a personalized domain name and and setting up a proper website host like Siteground, makes a world of difference.
Now, setting this up will cost a little in comparison to free, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, which is why I suggest Siteground!
They are by far the best happy medium. Fast, super reliable and still relatively cheap for about $4/month for hosting. Siteground is also a great place to start when you just want to see if your domain name (your blog or business name) is available!
*Pro-tip – buy the domain name of your own name. You might not use it tomorrow but unless you have a very unusual name, it might get snatched up by someone else with the same name!
Free hosting sites can also limit your chances of blog monetization as they don’t allow affiliate specific plugins or customizations.
K, so super quickly, in case you’re a super duper newbie, let’s cover what hosting is.
Just like you, your website needs somewhere to live. Your domain name is like your website’s street address and your hosting is the physical house your website lives in.
Your hosting company simply houses your website on their servers and make’s it available online. Just like you wouldn’t want to hire a crappy home builder, you don’t want to house your website on a crappy server. You need a fast and reliable hosting company that also offers you security and excellent customer support.
Makes sense right!
When weighing the pros of a “free website” with the cons of…well…limited ways of making future income, unreliability, no ownership… I think the choice is pretty obvious, my new blogger friend!
New Blogger Tip #2: Create an actual Brand
Okay, I get it, this whole branding thing can be a pain in the butt. It was for me too when I was a new blogger, and I’m a graphic designer.
The good news is, there are soo many tools and resources that are available to you to make it somewhat painless.
The 4 main (basic) elements you need are the following:
- Main Logo
- Alternate Logo (when your main logo doesn’t fit)
- Submark Logo (hello favicon, instagram, facebook etc…)
- Color Palette
THEY ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE.
There are 4 ways you can go about creating a cohesive brand.
I also wrote a guest post for ElleDrouin.com that walks you through the 5-Steps to Creating a Cohesive Brand.
1. Complete DIY – this is literally what it is. You go at it completely on your own to create all of your logos and color palette. This might be a good option for you if you have a very clear idea of what you want!
2. DIY with Templates – This is where Lady Boss Studio shines and puts soo much work into helping female entrepreneurs. We create branding templates that comes with your three logos, color palette and also a bunch of matching website elements. These templates help you to streamline the brand creation and website process. And… they are totally editable to match your vision!
3. Done-for-you Templates – Etsy is the Queen (yes, female) of this style of template. There are a ton of graphic designers that have pre-created logos that they will brand for you and deliver within a few days. *Remember though, you don’t only need 1 logo. Try to find some that offer you the whole package, or else you might still get stuck trying to create the rest of your logos and color palette.
4. Custom Logo and Brand Packages – this is exactly how it sounds! You can hire a professional graphic designer to design a completely custom brand package for you. We also offer this service at Lady Boss Studio as well, you can find out more on our services page.
So what’s the point of all of this?
So that when a reader lands on your blog, their not distracted by a random and disjointed blog aesthetic. It will also help you stand out to them the next time they spot one of your posts on Social Media, or they’re scrolling through Pinterest looking for reliable information!
New Blogger Tip #3: Choose a Professional Theme
If your blog isn’t visually appealing or easy to navigate, readers will skip to the next.
No one wants to the take extra time to figure out what the heck is going on with your layout.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a master of HTML or CSS to make your website look great! Thank God for that!
You just need to create a lasting first impression for new readers with a professional theme (that doesn’t take a professional to use).
Lucky for you, my fave Website Builder – Bluchic WordPress Themes – just came out with two new products. Both their Chicserve and Chicshop Themes are built mostly using Elementor (the best drag and drop editor), which is the PERFECT TOOL for a new blogger.
Using Bluchic with Elementor takes away the stress of trying to learn the back end of WordPress and let’s you instantly design stunning website pages and blog posts. They also have amazing Widgets and pre-built templates to save you time and give your website some serious branding power.
You can check out my two recommended WordPress themes here:
New Blogger Tip #4: Add a Favicon
Make your blog website look more legit with a personalized Favicon!
A Favicon is the small icon you can see in your browser tab next to the website name.
Examples from Bluchic, Elementor, and Canva:
Having a personalized icon for your blog or business website adds a professional touch that sets you apart from other sites.
A Favicon ties into your overall brand and it should be cohesive with your established style. (Similar coloring, a relevant icon to your niche, etc.)
You can usually find this under the customize tab – Site Identity. And while you’re there, make sure you fill out your site title – Name of your Blog or Business and Your Tagline!
Don’t get lost among the sea of tabs, make sure you stand out and look truly professional with your own favicon!
New Blogger Tip #5: Create an Opt-in Freebie
Blogging pros know that they need to have added value on their blog in order to grow their email list and entice new readers.
The easiest solution? Create an awesome Lead Magnet or Opt-in Freebie!
Lead Magnets are the best way to add value and you can offer them in exchange for email sign ups.
You can really create anything that your niche might want.
Running a fitness blog? Offer a meal planner. Mommy blog? Create a Mindfulness eBook. Crafting blog? Maybe it’s an eBook of sewing patterns or 5-minute crafts you can do with your kids.
You get the gist. You can create virtually anything – just as long as it adds value to your audience.
Would a financial blog offer a food guide? Don’t think so.
Be sure to check out our previous post, The Best Opt-in Freebies to explode your email list for more ideas of what you can create!
Here’s a great sample below. We offer a Freebie Library and we include it in all of our blog posts to increase our email list. One person on your email list is worth like 20 followers on Social Media!
New Blogger Tip #6: Stay Legal
A professional blogger is one that knows to protect themselves from all potential legal issues.
It may seem unnecessary to remind you to follow the law, but you’d be surprised with how many legal issues you could potentially run into as a blogger.
Now, I’m clearly not a lawyer, but these three are usually at the top of the list to make sure you take care of as a new blogger:
Terms and Conditions: What are the terms your audience is accepting by accessing, reading and using resources from your website.
Affiliate Disclosure: Letting all readers, buyers, brand fans etc… know that links on your website may be for affiliate companies and that you may be compensated. It’s super important to let them know before the link appears.
You obviously need to make sure all of these comply with the law and there are a ton of resources like The Contract Shop, that have standard clauses that are pre-written by lawyers for bloggers and online business owners.
New Blogger Tip #7: Use Professional Images
If you want to look like a new blogger, stick to blurry and distorted images.
But that’s not what we’re going for here.
A professional-looking blog will feature high-res photography in all their posts.
If you’re not a pro-photographer, look for stock photos or styled stock photography that you can use for your niche.
I get my styled stock images from a few different places, as I like a mix!
I have subscriptions to the following styled stock memberships:
We also offer our own stock photos plus 2 sets from Stock by Jewels per month, when you join our Lady Boss Studio Membership program!
If you want to see the full list of the best styled stock photography options on the market, be sure to check out our latest post: The Best Styled Stock Photos for Your Online Business!
New Blogger Tip #8: Create Quality Posts
If you want readers to see you as a professional blogger, you need to make sure that you’re creating high-quality posts.
There’s nothing worse than clicking an image from Pinterest that claims to answer your question, and all you get are 300 basic words that do nothing for you.
If you want your readers to lose instant faith, that’s the sure way to do it.
Above all else, when it comes to content, make sure you’re adding actual value.
If you’re really wanting to establish yourself as a pro blogger, you need to pay close attention to your audience and respond to their specific pain points or interests.
You need to blog about the information that is helpful to them so that you become their go-to-person for information, tutorials, DIY’s etc…
You can also read this article next to be sure you don’t make these Top Blog Post Mistakes!
Also – Keep an eye on your comments section, the questions your audience may have, could be answered with a future blog post!
New Blogger Tip #9: Choose Tasteful Advertising
Let’s be honest, no one likes ads in their face when they’re reading through a blog.
Now I’m not going to tell you not to advertise. For a lot of bloggers, advertisements are a huge driver for their income.
What I’m suggesting is that you stick to minimal, tasteful ads on your blog.
I’m talking about ads that aren’t plastered in every spot imaginable and are actually relevant to your niche.
New bloggers tend to go a little overboard with the ads. As I said, ads can drive a large percentage of a blogger’s income, so it’s especially easy to overdo it in the beginning.
If you actually use a service, an ad on your website makes sense. Tons of ads for random products? Looks more like a new blogger trying to make a quick buck.
Don’t be that person!
New Blogger Tip #10: Get a SSL Certificate
If you click onto a blog that reads “Not Secure” you’re going to click off, quickly, no questions asked.
An SSL Certificate secures your website, increases your SEO ranking, and also protects your reader’s information.
Remember that chat above that we had about Siteground and Security… well they give a free SSL certificate when you host your website with them.
Yet another reason my friend, to not choose free.
An SSL Certificate is especially important if you run an online shop! Make sure that your customer’s financial information (i.e. the credit card they use to checkout) stays safe and out of the wrong hands.
I hope this helps you to not look like a new blogger!
Just because you’re a blogging newbie doesn’t mean that you can’t prove yourself as a professional blogger and create some serious brand fans.
If you can think of any other ways to avoid looking like a new blogger, please share them in the comments! I’d love to hear your ideas.
Happy Pro Blogging!