Blogging 101: "Dos" and "Don'ts"

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For this week’s Blogging 101, I’m going to be talking about something a little different!  I am going to answer one of the first questions Laurie mentioned receiving when we first started talking about this blogging series.

Q: What are the most important elements on a blog?  Are there things I shouldn’t do?  How can I make my blog visually appealing to readers without going overboard?

A: These are important questions to consider if you’re trying to attract new readers or really just build a blog that you can be proud of.  As a designer, I’ve spent many hours viewing, reading, and designing blogs.  I’ve certainly formed my own opinions about what makes a great blog, but I thought I’d broaden my perspective by reaching out and asking other bloggers for their opinions.  I hopped over to BlogFrog and posed this question to readers.

It turns out that a lot of people, including myself, have similar opinions.  I think this is important to note because while one person’s opinion isn’t always critical, the shared opinion of many might be worth considering.  So here are a few blogging “dos” and “don’ts” for you to think about…

“Dont’s”:

1) One of the complaints I hear most often from blog readers has to do with automatic music players.  While readers don’t mind having the option to play a few songs, they do not want to hear the music start playing the minute they open a blog.  For me personally, if I open a blog where music immediately starts playing, I will quickly close out of the blog without ever reading a post.

2) Another “don’t” that was mentioned quite often was having a blog that is extremely cluttered.  Having sidebars filled with numerous ads, buttons, and other widgets is often distracting to readers.  Consider which things are really important to you and leave those on the sidebars while removing some of the unnecessary extras.

3) I’ve often heard people say that they will not read blogs with a black posting area—even if the text is written in white. Similarly, readers are often turned off by fonts and colors that are hard to read.  Pay careful attention to how your writing appears on your blog.  Afterall, your posts are inevitably what your followers are there to read.

4) Finally, although it may seem obvious, many bloggers mentioned that they are immediately turned off by vulgar or offensive blogs.  While honesty and authenticity are important, make sure to keep readers in mind.

“Dos”:

1) My personal favorite “do” has to do with the design of a blog.  🙂  Readers are drawn to your design.  Make sure that your blog design portrays who you are and what your blog is about.  Even before someone reads a post, they see your design.  Think of it as a first impression.  While you have the choice to hire a designer or create something yourself, take time to make your space on the internet truly yours.

2) A “do” that is often overlooked is including pictures in your blog posts.  Pictures are not only a great way to enhance your writing and tell a story, but they also serve as a great way to break up your posts—making them easier to read.

3) The most important “do” is simply to have good content.  This is almost always the first thing someone mentions when discussing what draws them to a blog.  Your content is ultimately what will keep readers coming back.  Be yourself, be friendly, and just write!

I hope you have found some of these blogging “dos” and “don’ts” useful.  While I think it is important to consider your readers and what makes a great blog, remember that ultimately it’s YOUR blog.  If you’re true to that, you will succeed.

Do you have a question you want me to answer?  Leave a comment!  🙂

P.S.  If you’re looking for ways to promote your blog, check out 31 Days to a Better Blog over on the SITSgirls Community.

5 Comments

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  1. Great tips. I love seeing pictures in posts. Even if I do not ‘need’ a picture to illustrate what I’m writing about, I still like to include one. Just seems easier on the eyes.
    Thanks!

  2. Oh yes, you are right on with all your do’s and dont’s! I have read all of the same concerns from many other articles. I might add that I am also turned off by blogs that are used as a forum to criticize or complain. I am usually looking for inspiration not more stress:)

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