You can earn – and lose – your blog audience in just a few seconds, with pro blogging or without. In much the same way that first impressions play an important role in real-life face-to-face relationships, the first impression of your blog to a new visitor can make or break the deal. As a Senior Writer and social media optimizer in When In Manila as well as a social media nerd both on my day job and on my personal blog, here are some of my secrets to help you get better traffic, longer average time spent on page (which means people read your stuff!), and a more solid reputation as a blogger. Welcome to the When In Manila Pro Blogging Series!
Pro Blogging – First Impressions
Open a new tab right now and check out your blog. Without scrolling or touching anything, list down the first three things you see. This bundle is your blog’s first impression to your audience, old and new. If the following three are not in your list, it’s never too late to update and upgrade.
3. Your Blog’s Name
Sure, a cool logo is awesome. Unless your logo is already pretty famous and gets around on physical media (think business cards, billboards, newspapers, etc.) no one really knows what it is – let alone connect it to you. As a blogger, you ARE your brand and your blog’s name reflects that. Ideally, it should either be short and sweet, or fantastically memorable. If it’s neither, you would have to make sure your audience remembers it, and remembers it well. I introduce myself to people with “Hi, I’m Jason Cruz” – and I’m sure you do too. “Introduce” your blog with its name first, and in text if possible. You’d be surprised how many blogs forget this – and become forgettable.
Pro blogging strategy: If you’re a relative new-comer to the blogging scene, skip the logo. At most, make sure your logo has clear, easy-to-read text that spells your blog. When possible, align your other social media accounts to reflect your blog name.
2. About Me
As mentioned above, your blog is you. Unless you’re writing for a blog with many guest authors and contributors like this one, let people know who you are. Believe it or not, readers do want to know who’s the person behind the awesome articles they are reading, and they genuinely want to get to know you. They want to see if you’re credible, and if you know what you’re talking about. This page is virtually permanent as well; it will most likely remain unchanged for long periods of time and since it’s a major link on your blog’s home page, likely to be clicked on a lot as well. Use this page wisely!
Pro blogging strategy: This is your opportunity to say something about yourself. Be honest, be funny, be irreverent – stamp your unique personality on this page! How you tell your personal story will also allow your readers to know why you write what you write when and how you do.
1. Your Articles
I actually opened up several blogs just before writing this paragraph – ones I know have huge, irrelevant, and pretty header images. What do these large header images do? Absolutely nothing. They take up page load time, valuable real estate on your Home page, and force your reader to “work more” by scrolling down to dig up articles and post. There is NOTHING good about a large and pretty header – your blog is a place to showcase your great and amazing content, not take up valuable Internet bandwidth. Content is your blog’s biggest asset (ideally), not second or nineteenth. Show them off!
Pro blogging strategy: Keep your headers small, and your header ads as small as possible. In fact, if your header ads aren’t pulling you minimal earnings, say a hundred or so pesos monthly, consider removing them. Why, do YOU like ads? Smaller headers make your pages load faster, which translates to less irritated readers, content immediately available on the first click, and a sleek, organized look.
PRO BLOGGING SERIES RECAP:
- Blog’s name is immediately visible in text.
- Blog has a very accessible ‘About Me’ page.
- Blog has an article or two available on the first click.
Questions and comments? Let me know!
For more on social media and other blogging articles, check out my blog!
Featured image from Smartphone Wallpaper, retrieved on September 16, 2012.