Part 2 is here ..
This is the continuation of this post. The 2nd part of the 8 essentials of blogging. We have looked at the first 4 aspects already:
- The groundwork
- The posts
- The platform
- Blog name and title
And,as of now we have some content created, we have chosen our platform and decided on a name & title. The next steps would be to fix on the visual & design aspects of the blog. We will look at the elements, their Layout, themes etc and also discuss a little bit of blog promotion.
The Elements – Any blog will need a few elements for E.g: Header,About Page,Contact page/on sidebar, posts section, etc. These are basic elements and must be present on every blog. If you choose to monetise your blog, it will help to have spots for advertisements and commercial display too. Enough attention needs to be paid to these elements and their content should be created carefully. A good header image will serve to set the visual tone of the blog. About page is where the purpose of the blog is described, and a connection with the audience is established. A contact page is essential to allow your readers/ advertisers to contact you. Of course, the post section is where all your blog posts go. Now it is very important to keep the data in all these sections crisp and coherent.
The Appearance-The layout of the elements discussed above need to be in locations that will keep the visual flowing. For Example, the pages follow the header followed by the posts with the contact details on the side bar at the same level as the posts, or, the pages also are on the sidebar,etc. Both WordPress and BLogger allow for a lot of customisation in Layout depending on your need. The other important aspect of the appearance is the theme of the blog – The background image, the colour scheme and the image formatting etc needs to be in consistent and in line with the blog positioning. For WordPress blogs, there are a whole host of free and paid themes which are clean and neat to look at while keeping visual appeal. If you have a paid account with WordPress, you could also use themes from the web. Blogger too has a lot of ready made themes available for free & on the web. Some of the WordPress themes are also customised for blogger and are available with a little bit of searching.
The pictures- These are a very important part of your posts. Creating interesting graphics and clean images is essential to creating and keeping the readers interest in the blog. It has now become all the more important in the context of the new social sites with a focus on sharing pictures: Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter & Facebook as well. THere fore creating good images and collages are quite essential. There are a lot of options, paid and online, to help enhance images or create graphics.Photoshop is the best out there but asks for a budget while allowing for a huge possibilities for graphics creation and image manipulation. There are free online resources too(piktochart,picmonkey,gimp,etc.) that one can use to create really nice pictures. ANd for those using phones for pictures the list of apps is endless.
Blog Promotion-Promotion is a really important aspect of blogging. Before there is a community created for your blog, the blog must be discovered. A reader must be established. And promotion is key to that aspect. Email lists, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc are all good places to start. Also, it is important to generate content that individual to the medium, apart from simply posting links to the blog there. If your blog is centered on Recipes, instagram pictures of a simple breakfast that turned yummy, although the recipe is not necessarily on your blog, and it is fairly well known.You could, at a later date, create content for this picture on your blog. On twitter engage in a discussion about a topic, and then write a post including comments from the discussion and along with your research on the topic. This serves a lot of purposes – engages your readers, helps with content, promotes blog, and increases your presence in the community.
And that makes it all eight. The 8 essentials of blogging are now explained and clear I hope. So those who have been putting off that blog just because you could not figure out where to start, I hope this helps.Also, here is Map to chart out your blogging path:
While writing these 2 posts, I realised the 8 aspects are actually topics in themselves. I struggled to keep the posts at readable length. At a later date, do expects posts with more concentration on these individual elements to help clarify how best to use them.
Until later then.