If you would like to start your own blog (or give your present blog a makeover), this post can help. Most local websites (especially from councils and tourist offices) are pretty uninspiring. So creating a beautiful local blog that offers helpful information, interviews and a gorgeous aesthetic is sure to go down a treat with people who live nearby, or any visitors.
First of all, learn to write well and let go of distractions. Latest opinions show that people detest pop-ups of any kind (even to sign up to your newsletter) and banner blindness means sidebar images, social share buttons and slideshows are not welcome, and never used. People come for the info, then move on.
You’ll find it easier to get traffic is you write helpful posts with good titles, an nice image or two to break things up, and only use videos if relevent (we add a few here and there plus some nice music videos to make things fun, but no more than that). Too many will slow your site down, and cost you more in hosting fees as they take up space.
GO.CO is the official site of the new .co domains. This is ideal if your domain name of choice has already been gone or bought by companies, that then try to sell it back to you at high cost. This global domain ending is short and memorable and recognised the same for SEO.
Where to Find Beautiful Blog Themes
Most people decide in seconds if they like your site, so streamline things down and keep things simple (people read slower on the web and skim posts, looking for sub-headings if the information is detailed). Choose a nice theme from a reputable designer and keep it updated. What’s great is that Genesis framework is now open-source (free!) so you can pick choose your favourite child theme to go with it, without added expense.
This site runs on Code + Coconut, which offers beautiful and affordable themes for bloggers and website owners (also compatible with free WooCommerce software, if you are a small indie with an online shop). After years of experience with various theme designers, this is one of the best. Everything is very simple to set up (in 10 minutes or so) with solid support, and no fluff! You can also customise the fonts, colours and layouts if you wish. But one good thing to remember is that they are designers for a reason – so don’t go too far off-piste, to keep your site pretty! Other good themes are offered by:
- Bluchic (good online service and shop themes, with matching branding).
- 17th Avenue Designs has pretty simple & premium themes
- Station Seven (nice themes for Squarespace, with matching branding)
Turn Your Blog into a Business
Most blogs won’t make money, but a few do. If you are going down this route, choose a subject you are passionate about, and have a few quality affiliates, rather than trying to sell everything. Some useful resources to help:
Stray Curls Blogger’s Blueprint is a good all-round helper from a woman who earns good income from her own drawing/blogging site. Her 50-page blog planner includes space for income, ideas, a business plan, passwords, contacts and affiliates.
Launch with a Bang is a sweet little e-book on how to launch your blog. Make your blog people-friendly and use this book for a redesign, re-write and re-launch.
See You On The Internet is the best book on Internet marketing. Beautifully designed, this author takes you through the ins and outs of marketing your site online, in a friendly style.
If you are going to turn your blog into your business, then back it up. Updraft (free), Jetpack or Vaultpress (both paid) all have plugins to do this, in case you accidentally press the wrong button! See posts on how to back up your site and secure passwords.