September 10, 2013

On Blogging: Design, Content, and Consistency



Less is More. Don't go overboard with your blog's design or "look." When I stumble onto a blog that has tons of pictures on the sidebars linking to other blogs, crazy alignment issues, pages out the wazoo... I don't stay very long. I don't feel like I can focus on the content of the blog, because my eyes are being drawn in every single direction. Should blogs have an aesthetic feel to them? I think so. But I'm also a believer of "less is more." White space never really goes out of style for a reason, so use it to your advantage. But also put a little effort into your blog's design. If you don't know how to do that, ask around. Usually other bloggers have been more than helpful when I've had questions. It's also useful to pick up a little knowledge on html and css coding since a lot of designing is based on it. You can check out Codecadamy for free classes online, which I've heard are good. Other helpful tips and tricks...

Turn Off the Music. I'm not saying you have bad taste in your song selection, but there have been many times where I've forgotten my volume was turned on high, which resulted in my eardrum exploding or having a heart attack in the middle of a coffee shop. It's totally cool if you want music on your blog, but have it switched to 'off.' If I want to hear some of your favorite tunes, I'll do so when I'm ready.

Write What You Love. Really simple advice, but if you're not passionate about what your writing... it's unlikely, that beside your college professor, nobody else is either. Passion is what bleeds through and grabs your reader.

Hook 'Em With Your Titles. This is something I'm still trying to get good at, because I spent the whole of my writing in school hating when I had to title something. But in the blog world titles are super important because they have to grab peoples attention when they come up on their feeds. All my highest ranking posts were those with more attention grabbing titles or attention grabbing words within their titles... like this one on lingerie ;D

Be Consistent. If I can give myself credit for something in this whole blogging thing, I won't shy away from saying that for the past seven years I've been pretty consistent in posting (2-4 times a week). I took my first blogging break this past March, and true I've been blogging less than I was before then, but I don't let weeks and weeks go by without putting something new out.

There's the debate on whether it's important to be consistent or to have fantastic content... even if that means you only post a handful of times a year. Honestly though, those aren't really the blogs I follow, because I forget about those bloggers. I read something they write in January and think it's great... and then they don't pop up on my feed until September. I call these outlier blogs. The most successful bloggers always rate this tip high, because consistent bloggers get more web traffic. Loyalty (if I'm allowed to use that word) is a two way street here. Bloggers want loyal readers, and loyal readers want bloggers who actually blog... not just have a blog... there's a difference.

It mostly depends on the type of blog you want to have at the end of the day. If you have a blog that you're using to keep your family updated on events in your life, then I don't think you need to be posting every single day. However, if you've got the goal to have an active presence online (maybe eventually get some business out of it too), then consistency is a key ingredient. How does that become a reality? Here's what I do...
  • Stay inspired. Consistency hinges on creativity and inspiration. So I'm constantly sowing and harvesting those two things. Sitting around for inspiration to come to you… tends not to. So search it out, and then write.
  • Take breaks! Seems counter intuitive, but if you go for longer periods of time being consistent you need a brain break, and time to recharge. 
  • And it's all in the batch writing for me...

7 comments :

  1. Wow! Fabulous advice, Natalie - thank you for all the tips and links. You know, I love the old adage, "less is more," even if it is cliché. Keeping a blog clutter free is the only way to go in my book.

    Thanks, again! :)

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  2. Great advice, Natalie. I have never tried batch writing, but I think I should give it a whirl. Thanks!

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  3. Very fitting, especially since prettyladysmile is coming to an end. Hardest decision I've had to make....sighs.

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    1. =( That saddens me since I loved your blog Ash! Hope to see you write in the future in some format though!

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  4. Your blog has always been a blessing to me. I admit to referencing Heart Stirrings as my blog idol to Beka and my husband, haha!
    I definitely appreciated the busy-blog design advice, since I've always felt that way when visiting blogs as well. My very favorite blog design was back when I had no idea what I was doing with html and coding, and the only choice of pre-made blogger templates was the simple white one!

    Such provoking advice, since I have a ton of inspiration to write now. This was timely for me, too, since I'm praying to get back into blogging after a long season of being unable to.
    Thank you so much for sharing this, it was amazingly helpful!

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