25 January 2012

|| Tricks Of The Trade ||

I am noooo blog expert, but in the six years I have been blogging I have learned a thing or two. I thought I would share with you some of my blogging tips and advice to help you if you are in need. These are all from my knowledge, experience and perspective, but I know if you are looking to make your blog a better place than any one of these tips will help you. If you are new to blogging or don't have a blog yet, these will help give you some things to think about and keep in mind as you start off. As I was laying in bed last night I got the idea to do this post so I jotted down these tips in no particular order, but some are more important than others so I highlighted in blue those that I think are vital to a more appealing blog.

1. Photographs//The photographs you use are a huge element to any blog. I use a lot of images I find on the web and I am very particular about which I choose. I look for a certain size and image quality. I have already learned what size is best for my blog so that would be something you would want to find out for yours. The images I take myself I try and pick only the best. If a photo has bad quality if you can avoid using it THEN avoid using it. You can also fix up coloring if that helps. Keep your blog aesthetic in mind when choosing a photo too. Instead of just choosing ANY photo, find the best photo.
2. Be consistent//Your blog may or may not have a theme or aesthetic in mind, but either way try and stay true to the feel and look of your blog. If you have a color scheme, try and stay not far from it. When placing certain things on a post try and place it in the same spot. For example, on my song of the day posts I try and keep the posts similar and the placing similar...I put up a photo first, the video and then the photo source is always in the same spot. That way your blog isn't all over the place all the time...that there is some consistency which makes your blog easier to follow.
3. Blog what you love//I think it is really important to only blog things you love and not kinda love. If there is a photo you don't love or a topic you don't love than maybe not post about it. Also, don't blog certain things just cus other blogs are doing it.
4. Link!//I think at the beginning I was really bad about linking sources and websites and such. I just didn't keep track of them so I couldn't remember where I found things. I have created a system for myself so that I can remember where I found things. As a reader it is nice to know where things are from so I can actually go and see the art/jewelry/clothes etc for myself. If you don't know how to link a link to on your blog you just highlight the word you are connecting the link to and then copy and paste the url into the pop-up that is called "link" and it's that easy. This will make your blog more user friendly.
5. Stay organized//Whether you blog a lot or a little staying organized will really help. Not only organized visually on your blog, but also in the process of creating posts. I keep things in files on my desktop in categories and I throw images into the trash when I am done using it for a post. I have created a system to stay organized and so should you.
6. Try something new//Explore the possibilities for your blog especially if you want to take your blog to the next level. Try new topics and keep a variety going. I like to keep my blog "in suspense" you never know what posts will show up the next day...unless I do an every day series. I am not only posting stories of my life or only posting outfits{not that I ever have} or posting music...I love a lot of things so I share a lot and search for new things I love. Keep the variety going.
7. Blog like you are the viewer//This doesn't mean to blog what you think others want necessarily, but to also keep in mind what people do like. It's just a smart thing to do if you want someone to come back. It means see yourself looking at your blog and if you just found the blog would you love it? Would you be a fan? You can't expect someone to read or look at your blog if your blog is one you find turing down of others. Meaning, if you don't like a messy looking blog then don't be one yourself. If you don't like when bloggers post a million outfit photos, like I don't like, then don't do it yourself.
8. Fonts//This is not something you necessarily have to do, but if you do want fonts to play a big role in your design and aesthetic then this can be a great tool. With fonts though you have to be careful not to pick bad ones, ha. I have a few simpler fonts and then I have some more fun ones, but the fun ones I use sparingly. You can do a lot with type or a little, but be consistent and chose fonts that work well with your style. Also, I use dafont.com which is a great free font website.
9. Blog often//You don't have to be like me and post an average of 3 posts a day, but posting at least once a day I think is vital. Sometimes I can't post one day and so now I have started preparing posts in advance. Right now I have a lot of time in my day to post and trust me I spend a LOT of time on my blog, but I know someday I will have less time in the day. When I know I will only have a little time the next day to post I prepare that post ahead of time when I have time. Meaning, I will get the images and links ready so that it only takes me a few minuets to publish the post. I can quickly lose interest or even forget about someone's blog if they go days without blogging. Also, I consider blogging a great life journaling process whether it's about your personal life, things you love or a variety of the two and if you get behind you tend to feel more overwhelmed and then tend to just forget about blogging all together.
10. Don't compare//This is a hard one. I find myself wishing my blog looked different or that I knew how to create a "better" looking blog. I have to remind myself that my blog IS how I like it and it's fine if mine looks different than others and that maybe in the future I can change that, but that my blog isn't bad just because it doesn't look like everyone else's. Although, I think it is fine to see others and get inspiration on how to make yours better, but don't hate your blog if it's not exactly how you want it. Besides lots of people have the exact same looking blog than anothers and there is no fun in that either. Like I said before, do what you love and what is you. Don't try and copy others.
11. Text placement//This one is just for you to think about and be conscience of when working on a post. I personally think text looks better all at the bottom or all at the top, but sometimes I break out of that and type where it NEEDS to go even if it might not be so eye pleasing. I used to type in between photos, example here, to explain why I love that item, but I have stayed away from that these days. I am not saying you can't do it, but if you can avoid it, I would. For me, that changes the look of my blog and it doesn't work with my aesthetic. I also think it isn't the most good looking way to do it. But, I am a picky graphic designer who likes things just so. But just be aware of where type is.
12. Photoshop//I highly recommend Adobe Photoshop if you want to be a serious blogger. You can use other programs to edit, but Photoshop does more than they could. I use photoshop for everything. Editing pictures, cropping pictures, making photos lighter, combing images next to each other, using my Wacom Bamboo Tablet to draw and write and any type I use, I use Photoshop. Sometimes, I use Adobe Illustrator, but hardly. Sometimes I will find a photo, like on Etsy for example and the image is just too dark so I will lighten it to make it look better...because like I said photo quality is important. If you are a student, Photoshop is cheaper so get it while you are a student. Photoshop is always a great program to have.
13. Labels//Since I started using the "labels" icon it really has changed my efficiency level. Because I put categories on my posts I can faster access a past post. If I need to find a music post, I just go to my labels on my sidebar and search through my music posts instead of my whole blog. Also, I use it as a guide for my viewers as well. It really comes in handy.
14. Remember//Labels isn't enough sometimes, sometimes you just need to remember what you have already posted. I post a LOT each day and also on each post there is a lot of images. For the most part I can remember if I posted that picture or that subject or that item already. Know your blog and be familiar with it's content.
15. Positivity//Not saying negative things or negative reviews on things has been something I have really tried to implement on my blog. Sometimes it is SOOO hard not to write a bad review of something. Like if I read a bad book or watch a dumb movie I find myself reallly wanting to inform the masses to not read or watch that. BUT out of my own experience when I see someone on another blog "talking bad" about a book or movie I read, it drives me NUTS. I just find it inconsiderate and I really try to hold my tongue....or fingers. I once read some movie reviews on someones blog and they hated a movie that I loved and pretty much since then I haven't really been interested in their blog or their opinions. You are free to share your opinions, but just consider what those opinions will mean to others....like you should always be doing in life.

Well there you have it. These are my tips/advice of what I think is important. Tips I have learned from my own experience on my blog as well as noticed while viewing others blogs. For me it is important to spend time with my blog and make it the best to my own standards and if I am doing that I know I am fine. You should have your blog primarily for yourself and enjoy it. Make it your own.


Olivia Carter said...

Great blogging advice! And you have a fabulous blog!

Natalie said...

I enjoy your blog, obviously.....thanks for the advice, you never know if one day I will start blogging regularly.