Whether you're a newbie or a pro-blogger, chances are you would want to improve your blog and your blogging experience day by day. I started blogging back in 2008 and have blogged in several different platforms but through the years, I've become more comfortable using Blogger (Blogspot).
I don't even want to say dos or don'ts because in blogging, I believe you can create your own rules and be creative as long as you don't violate any type of policy.
Take these as reminders to build a better blogging experience for yourself and most importantly, for your readers. In fact, you may have already been doing some or all of these and that's good.
If you are a blogging newbie or just starting a blog, or maybe still learning how to blog effectively, here's a comprehensive blogging tutorial from Start Blogging Online that can assist you in your blogging journey. There are lots of great input about Wordpress. Check it out!
Now, shall we start? Here we go!
If you don't want to do this, then at least try to make your photos larger or make a collage if the photos are really small. :)
2. Resize your photos before uploading them to your blog.
As a follow-up to item number 1, I really think you need to resize your photos. Instead of uploading your photos directly from your phone or your camera, try saving them first on your drive or personal folder then resize them to the width of your blog post. This can definitely save you your blog loading time.
How To: I usually resize mine to 700px using PicMonkey. I also installed Fotosizer to batch resize my photos.
3. Add image properties such as Title and Alt tag on your photos.
In order for search engines to read or identify your images, you can add the best description of your photo through the title and alt tag or text. Plus if your blog is still loading your photos, readers will see the nice description instead of just photo 12_zps3j49hoqq.jpg. Right?
In my case, I usually just add an alt tag or text.
How To: Just click your photo after uploading, click properties, then add the title text and edit the alt text.
There are many ways for you to protect your photos. Although putting these ways into place does not necessarily mean that it's a guarantee your photos won't be stolen or copied, it's still better than doing nothing.
You can put your own watermark on it or have them copyrighted but there will always be people who will take photos from your blog or site and we don't know whatever they will do with those photos. On my end, I disabled the right click option for my images but I know there's still a way for my photos to be copied.
As bloggers, we just have to pay it forward. We want to be credited for our photos? Then by all means, let's give credit where credit is due when we decide to borrow personal photos from others.
Let's also be mindful of the photos we share and think that there's always a risk of posting them.
How To: Disable Right Click Context Menu On Images
5. Use stock photos instead of grabbing photos from Google.
In relation to item number 3, for me, it's best to look for stock photos instead of grabbing whatever you can see from Google as most of those photos are copyrighted.
There are several free stock photo websites out there and I myself use them whenever I don't have a good enough photo that fits my blog post. Most of them can be used for personal or business purposes or for your own websites and projects, and do not need attribution.
In other words, you can do whatever you like as long as you don't sell them.
How To: Check this list of stock photo websites you can use and download some good photos.
Tip: Read their general terms and conditions of use first.
Blog graphics can add sazz and pizzaz to your blog post. Usually, I am intentional with my first photo which is a blog graphic especially if it's something I think a lot will benefit from. Make your graphics stand out by editing them using PicMonkey or Canva.
I LOVE CANVA!! It's the best graphics editing tool I've ever known.
How To: I'm linking to this post where I first read and learned about it. Graphic Design Made Easy With Canva
7. Declutter your sidebar and footer. Get rid of unnecessary widgets or gadgets.
I know, I know. It may be hard for you to do this but just try. Again, this is just me! My sidebar and footer only contain things that I believe will be helpful to my readers. Too many unnecessary widgets, gadgets, or plug-ins can affect your blog speed negatively.
How To: Try to examine your sidebar and footer. Is everything there really necessary? Will your blog survive even without it? If it's not needed then there's no point cluttering your sidebar or footer for it. It will only distract your readers from the main focus of your blog which is your content.
When I visit a blog for the first time, I usually read a post or two and I never skip the About Me page. How about you? I always want to get to know the blogger behind the blog and I want to look for a certain human or blogger connection. That connection will definitely bring me back to that blog again and again.
So what are you waiting for? Update that About page and make your blog more personal! :) As for the Contact Me page, I think the reason is obvious. You don't want to lose potential loyal readers or maybe sponsors or advertisers if you don't have an updated contact information. Right?
9. Write in short paragraphs and make your content scannable.
Blogging is very different from technical writing. As my blog grew, I've learned to write in short paragraphs. I usually just have 2-4 sentences in one paragraph.
In technical writing, you have to group sentences with the same thought in one paragraph. Main idea followed by too many supporting ideas. You know high school and college formal theme days.
But blogging is different. People will read your content from their desktop screens or their mobile devices and it's hard to read if your paragraphs are longer.
How To: Just limit your sentences in each paragraph. You can also use bulleted list or sections with titles to make your content scannable (just like this post).
10. Add your Twitter handle to your share button.
For Blogger users, this may require you to get a little dirty with editing your HTML codes. I have a tutorial drafted for this and I hope I can publish it real soon. For the mean time, Google is your best friend.
As you know, readers can credit you properly if your twitter handle auto-populates when they share your content. I use AddThis share buttons for my blog and customized them to add my Twitter handle.
How To: Add Share Buttons for your Blogger Posts With AddThis
Blogspot In Post Share Buttons with Twitter Handle and Pinterest Tutorial
11. Check your website speed from time to time.
Of course, nobody likes a slow website! In truth though, this will generally be affected by your readers' internet connection. But just to see how your blog is doing in terms of speed, you can test it from time to time and check some recommendations on how to improve it.
How To: Check it using gtmetrix.com or Pingdom.
12. Back up your blog!!!
I can never stress this enough! Back up all the way! Back up your template. Back up your blog. When things go wrong, they definitely will. At least you have peace of mind, right? You wouldn't want your blog to be lost somewhere out there in the middle of nowhere.
I usually back up my template right after I make changes to it and back up my entire blog twice or thrice a month.
How To: Go to your Blogger dashboard. To back up your template...
To back up your blog..
13. Sign up on Gravatar.
You can actually set up a general thumbnail or photo on Gravatar so that your photo will show up on whatever website you leave a comment on. It follows you wherever you go!
I think doing this is a great idea for the blog author to recognize you as a commenter and to make your comments appear more personal.
It's great though that for Disqus, you can add a custom photo if the commenter doesn't have one so I set up mine and added that cute little bear photo with a heart. Hehehe.
|Blank gray thumbnail|
|Is the custom photo way better than my thumbnail photo? Hahaha!|
|Go ahead and show your pretty face out there! :)|
How To: Just sign up on Gravatar. If you're using Blogger, don't be surprised or be confused because it will say Sign up for Gravatar with Wordpress.com.
14. Check browser compatibility.
When I first started to code my own blog, I got upset because my blog looked absolutely perfect using Google Chrome but when I switched to Firefox or Internet Explorer, it looked sloppy.
So when designing your blog, it's also good to check whether it's compatible on all browsers. Then you can make changes as necessary. Remember that not all of your readers will use one browser only.
How To: I use viewlike.us to check browser compatibility.
15. Check if your blog is mobile-friendly.
Most of the people nowadays are on their smartphones, iPads, or other mobile devices because it's more convenient for them. Choose a theme that's mobile-friendly!
Note though that although your entire blog is mobile-friendly, not all blog posts or blog pages may be.
How To: To check if your blog is mobile-friendly, you can search your blog on Google using your mobile device and see if it says mobile-friendly. If yes, then good. If no, then maybe you can work on it.
Blissful Snapshots will turn 6 this June but even with years of blogging, I always take pride in learning new things. Because, why not? The world wide web is an ever-changing environment and a blooming culture. One day you're in, next day you're out. So I think it's a good idea to keep up.