14 August 2015

Blogger Hacks: 10 Helpful Tips


Below are 10 helpful tips that cover things like general housekeeping for your blog, design tips, and other things that will just help to make your blogging journey that little bit easier.



10 Helpful Tips

1. Keep Things Simple
When designing the look of your blog, try to keep things simple. If the site is too busy-looking, it can put some readers off and also make it hard to find the information that they are looking for.

Things to consider:
  • Try not to have anymore than 3-4 style colours for design elements (blockquotes, headings, social media icons)
  • Use a clean and easy to read fonts. 'Sans'-type fonts are usually best suited for websites.

2. Don't Over Crowd Your Sidebar
This follows on from the Keep-Things-Simple point. It is super easy to fill up your sidebar(s) with a heap of cool widgets that you find, but you've got to ask yourself, 'Is that virtual fish pond or 284 day countdown timer essential to your blog?' There is nothing worse than having to scroll enough redundant widgets for a finger workout to find what you're actually looking for.

Some ideas for useful widgets:
  • Search bar (Always keep at the top!)
  • Blog archive
  • Social media and subscribe links/buttons
  • Popular posts
  • Your blog button
  • Any events your scheduled to participate in
  • Any current giveaways you are running/hosting on your blog

3. User Friendly Interface
A User Friendly Interface is the secret to any successful website. The information/content your readers are looking for should never be more than 1-click away - whether that is using the search bar or a link.

4. Spread Out & Schedule Your Posts
You don't always have time to write a blog post every day - I know I certainly don't. An easy way to deal with this is maybe set aside one afternoon a week where you sit down and write all your posts for the week, and schedule them to post spread out over the week. This way your wont get a clump of posts one day a week and then radio silence for the rest.

5. Pictures Are Your Friend
In should get in the habit of always including a picture of some sort in your posts. This makes it more visually appealing and less intimidating than than just a block of text. This makes people more likely to stick around and read your content.

6. Use a Post Template
A Post Template is a serious time saver - especially with book blogs. This function can be found in Settings > Posts and comments > Post Template. When using this feature, your are going to have to use <br/> to signify a line break.

Here's one similar to the one I use:
<br/>
<b>Title</b><br/>
<b>Author</b><br/>
<br/>
<i>series</i><br/>
<br/>
Published<br/>
<br/>
<b>Purchase:</b> Link<br/>
<blockquote>
blurb</blockquote>
<br/>
<b>About the Author</b>
<br/>
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter</blockquote>
<blockquote>
author_info</blockquote>
<br/>

7. Comment Spam Protection
It goes without saying that everyone hates Spam. There are two different methods you can use to prevent spam from findings its way into your comments section.

Word Verification (Settings > Posts and comments > Show word verification)
Using word verification means that people leaving a comment with have to complete a 'verification' step before their comment can be posted. While it is a very effective method in preventing spam from getting posted, I find that they are kind of a nuisance for people and sometimes put people off commenting.

Comment Moderation (Settings > Posts and comments > Comment Moderation)
Comment moderation is my preferred method of spam protection. Commenters don't have to do anything extra, and you get notified of all comments. I suppose the down side is you have to be able to spot a spam comment. Usually they contain vague text that could be applied to any post (usually referring to it as an 'article') and end with a short link.

8. Icon Vectors
Icon Vectors are a blogger's best friend! They're super easy to use, and look awesome. I use them for my social media links, in my subscribe buttons, rating system, on my Review Archive page, and in my posts. The ones that I use are from Font Awesome Icons because there are hundreds of them (though they are still lacking a Goodreads one... I am complaining constantly to them about this. They will bow to my demands!) with more being added all the time. To start using them, all you have to do is add a line of code to your template as explained on their Get Started page. You can then check out their Examples page to see all the different ways you can use them.

9. Inspect Element Function
The 'Inspect Element' function that browsers have is a super helpful tool for either teaching yourself HTML/CSS code, or wanting to replicate an element that you've seen somewhere else.

Example: Say I wanted to know how the Facebook icon was made.

Right-click on element > select Inspect element (Ctrl+Shift+I)


A sidebar will appear in your browser.

Top box is the html, bottom two are CSS


Give it a go yourself!

10. Google is Your Friend
If there is a key element that you want to add to your blog, but don't know how to do it - Google it! Google knows everything, so try typing something like:
custom search bar blogger
into Google, and one of the results should be what you're looking for.

The key word 'blogger' is crucial, as not including it may give you results that are not compatible with Blogger. 

1 comment :

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts!

Happy reading,
Renae

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