When you’re a new blogger, it can be difficult to be taken serious. Not just by new visitors to your blog, but by advertisers as well. When you’re a new blogger, you need to pretend to be a pro blogger, even if you’re not. In other words, you have to fake it ’til you make it.
The premise of this blog post is to teach the newbie blogger how to create a professional image for your blog from day one. After all, the first impression is the one that counts the most.
Here are 5 things every new blogger must do in order to make it appear they’re a professional blogger.
Have Your Own Domain Name
There is no way anybody will take you seriously if you are blogging on a free platform like blogger.com or wordpress.com. It just isn’t going to happen. Every blogger, in order to be taken seriously, needs to have their own domain name.
Buying a domain name is quick and it only costs less than 10 bucks at GoDaddy. You have no excuse not to have your own domain name.
As far as which domain name to get, that is entirely up to you, but let me give you a word of advice. You do not want to buy a domain that is not a .com. There are nearly 900 domain extensions available at the moment, with more to come in the coming years.
In my opinion, it is actually better to get a longer .com domain than a shorter one with a different extension. I would rather have ‘jennyscandyshop.com’ rather than ‘jennys.shop’. Many novice users are not aware of the newer domain extensions and may end up adding a .com at the end of the domain.
Another reason to have your own domain name is Google search visibility. It is practically impossible to rank for any good keyword terms if you do not own your own domain name. When looking at search results, when is the last time a blog on a free blog platform came up on the first page of the search results?
All things being equal, Google’s algorithm will always favor a blog on a purchased domain over a free hosted blog. The reasoning behind this is simple: the content on a domain is more trustworthy and likely more valuable, since the person on a purchased domain has more resources (ie: money and sources) to create better content.
If you want to be taken serious, even as a new blogger on day 1, you need your own domain name.
Write Product Reviews
I don’t care what your blog is about, there is surely a product out there about it. In order to make your blog more friendly to advertisers, add some reviews to your blog.
In your reviews, be authentic and write personal stories that can connect on a human level with your visitors. Write about why you needed a product, how the process went, how it helped you and whether you would use it again.
You can help create a loyal fan base by stating your opinion on a product and then asking for input from your visitors. This creates engagement and that is exactly what brands are looking for.
Advertisers are looking for brand ambassadors who can help pitch their product to an engaged audience.
If you state your opinion on a product and how it has benefited you, advertisers can get a glimpse of the type of coverage they can expect to receive.
Even if you are a new blogger and have never published a sponsored post before, pretend as if you already have sponsors and write about products in your niche. Other advertisers will see that and they’ll believe your blog is a good place to advertise on, since others have already done so.
When publish a review, tweet the url and mention the twitter handle of the company so they take note of your review. They may then choose to retweet it to their followers or even buy advertising on your blog.
Have A Lightning Fast Blog
Do you know what all the big bloggers have in common? Their websites load fast, lightning fast. If you are a new blogger, you may have skimped on hosting and opted to go with whatever shared host was the cheapest. Well, you get what you pay for.
While you may think your blog is loading fast, in actuality it is loading slowly. In the eyes of a visitor, a professional blog needs to just practically instantly.
Google also loves fast loading sites and rewards them with increased visibility on search results, so there is no good reason to not focus on speeding up your blog.
In order to have a fast loading blog, you need to do the following:
- Choose a blog that offers WordPress hosting. If it costs less than $10 per month, it is not true WordPress hosting.
- Cache your blog using the W3 Total Cache plugin or the WP Super Cache plugin.
- Choose a premium WordPress theme. They will be optimized for search engines and for speed.
- Do not activate a lot of plugins. The more plugins you use, the slower your site will be. Keep it under 10 total.
Show Your Face
If you want to appear like a professional blogger and not some anonymous nobody, you need to have a picture of yourself visible on your blog. Your picture should either be on the sidebar or the footer, in addition to on your About Me page.
If you are blogging anonymously, you will never be taken serious. After all, how can you trust someone you can’t see? Pro blogs are all run by real people who show their face on their homepage to give their site a more personal element to it.
As far as the picture is concerned, don’t just take your smartphone out and take a quick selfie with the front facing camera. Oh no, you’ll want to make sure to get a really good picture of yourself.
Holding the camera yourself for a quick selfie shows you aren’t even serious enough about your blog to have someone else take a picture of you. Get someone to snap some pictures of yourself if you can. If you’re going to do this alone, set up your camera on a tripod and put it on a timer.
Sure, it might take some time to get the right shot, but you’re only going to do this once and this image is really important.
If you are not photogenic, consider taking lots of pictures in various angles and in different settings. You are bound to find one you like.
Your picture will be on the homepage, on your about me page and will be the picture used when you guest post on another blog so make sure and get a good one.
Create A Favicon
Say what? What’s a favicon and why do I need it you ask?
A favicon is that little icon that appears on the left hand side next to your blog URL in the address bar. All of the professional bloggers have one, so why can’t you have one too? After all, it’s free and easy to create. You can create one yourself here.
Never pass up an opportunity to get your brand more visibility. Choose a favicon that matches the color scheme of your blog. Since the image will be very tiny, just one letter or a shape is enough.
The benefits of having a favicon are:
- It makes your URL stand out by adding a bit of color to an otherwise boring address bar.
- Your icon will show up when a visitor searches through their favorites or their browsing history.
How do you add it to your blog? There are two ways.
- Create the image using a favicon generator and save the file as ‘favicon.ico’. Then, using an FTP program or the File Manager in your cPanel, upload the file to the main folder of the homepage.
- On WordPress, navigate to Appearance > Customize. Then find ‘Site Identity’ or something similar to that. This is usually where you’d add a logo and some themes also let you add a ‘Site Icon’ as well.