This is not an all inclusive list. And it’s opinionated. Consider yourself warned. 😉
I don’t have a 100k+/month blog like Michelle from Making Sense of Cents.
I don’t have a 30k+/month blog like the lovely Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog.
(No, I’m not lying to you about either of those.)
I do, however, have an amazing hubby who does tons of work on the back-end of my site and is always trying to improve it, and I do seem to have an eye for things. Things like TYPOS. (At least ones that aren’t mine.) 😉
So here is MY all inclusive list of things I wish every blogger would remember (myself included!):
#1 – Proof, proof, proof. Then have someone else proof.
I can’t tell you how many typos I find reading other blogs. It drives me nuts because I’m fairly certain I was able to gloss over them before, without even flinching! I don’t know what changed other than maybe reading a lot more, but now I trip all over them and end up rereading to see if it was my brain messing up the message or what. Surprisingly, it’s most often not me. Even the big-name, famous, 500k subscribers, never-would-have-to-work-another-moment-of-their-lives bloggers have typos.
I know a very knowledgeable woman, with hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, an incredibly brave woman who says what needs to be said no matter the danger or consequences – who can’t proof for the life of her. If you can find where the group of people in your niche hang out for coffee, then maybe the vast majority will overlook your grammatical misgivings and punctuation problems, but typos just look *ahem* unprofessional. Especially if it’s more than one in the article. One: ok, one can slip by anyone. Two: guess she didn’t have Hubby check it before hitting ‘publish’, and was in a hurry. Three: this person can’t spell. Or use a period right. Four: this person didn’t go to school, or she wrote it while half asleep and drunk. Five and up: who gave this person a keyboard? How did they figure out how to use it? Possibly her toddler got a hold of it while she was in the bathroom for 48 seconds and published it accidentally? <- That is in short what we (people who see typos) think. 😛
If you want to be held in high regard as an expert in your field, it is pretty important that you can spell. And tell the difference between ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. (For example “when to pick up you kids” or “your the best” or “you’re stinky feet”). Those are some of the most common typos ever. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ve done it too. (Not the stinky feet one though.) 😉
Have Hubby proof your post. If he’s terrible with that sort of thing, ask your mom, or mother-in-law, or father/FIL, friend, co-worker, cashier at the grocery store, heck, ask the nursery director at your church if you know she can read. Switch it up even. The more eyes on your work, the more chances someone will catch your slip-ups. Personally, I don’t think there has been but one post I’ve let through that didn’t have Hubby’s eyes on it first. So any typos you find, blame them on him. 😉
#2 – A website with only a ‘home’ and ‘about’ page is boring
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying my page ISN’T boring. That’s something I couldn’t honestly judge, as rereading my own writing is boring. 😛 Some people like the whole journal entry style blogs, but in my personal (opinionated) opinion, things get buried and lost, never to be found again if they’re not categorized somehow and given headings so readers can easily click to an article or recipe.
Keep updating and improving. It can be tiresome, but a fresh updated look is always pleasing to your readers and can even attract new ones. 🙂
(No, this is not my work area. I wish mine was this neat, and colorful, and organized. And I definitely DON’T wear heels while I work. Though that is probably the easiest place to wear them.) 😉
#3 – Pictures are worth at least a hundred words
When I go to other blogs, I love to see smiling pictures in the sidebar and read the cheery words underneath about the writer and her/his family. If your blog has one picture of you and it’s of your back as you’re half a mile away, in a boat, fishing, with a hat and life vest on, I’m probably not sticking around. I love the personality and homey feel of pages who dare to share some about their personal lives. Believe me, I’m all about safety and I’m a mama bear with the roughest, toughest of you, but there is something to say for those brave enough to put their face online. 😉
#4 – Honesty is not the best policy. It’s the ONLY policy.
I’ve had experience with other bloggers being dishonest. In the name of getting a post out quick, they made up a recipe, BOUGHT A STOCK PHOTO, and pinned that stock photo to their recipe.
I don’t know about you, but when I want to try a recipe online, I look at the photo to get an idea of what my finished product should look like. You can almost taste a recipe just by looking at the picture! (Is that just me?) Not only was this totally misleading, but the picture was clearly of a muffin made with conventional white (wheat) flour, whereas the recipe was using almond flour. If you’ve ever baked with almond flour, though delicious, you know your muffin looks NOTHING like a wheat muffin. If you never have, you would be highly disappointed with your muffin and will either think you aren’t worthy to hold a spatula and never set foot in a kitchen again, or never try another recipe from that blogger. Either one isn’t good for anybody. 😛
I admit, now I’m gun-shy to try anything gluten or grain free online, because I have to ask – are all the paleo/alternative health bloggers using stock photos? Did they even try the recipe? How do you know which ones are being honest? No wonder all the almond and coconut flour pancake recipes Hubby and I ever tried were huge, disastrous, monstrosities of messes. I totally don’t blame anyone for being afraid to try my recipes because of this insecurity, but I try to prove the pictures are my own for the actual recipe by having a familiar setting and multiple pictures.
So, for crying out loud, be honest. Your readership depends on it. The moment your honest followers get a whiff that you aren’t who you pretend to be, *poof*, gone.
To sum it all up
Make sure you can spell, and put a sentence together that people can understand. Actually use periods (and commas, and paragraphs). It makes it so people will actually keep reading and not have to take a nap afterwards. 😉 Update your site. Add pages – interesting pages. Add pictures. Do not add pictures to recipe posts that are not your own. Share decent quality photos and don’t be afraid to share a little about yourself. I’m not talking intimate details here, people. I don’t want to know what cup size you are, or if you wear Hanes or Tooty Fruities (Fruit of the Loom). Just a little info about what makes you YOU (underwear has nothing to do with it). And lastly, don’t live in or make up a dream world. Be honest, truthful, someone anyone can trust.
Keep all that up, and you have a reader here. 😉
P.S. Here’s a cheap cheat: Google is awesome for spelling – in the search bar, type the word the way you think it’s spelled. If it’s not right, most often the beginning of your search results is Google making you feel stupid by asking you if you actually meant *insert correctly spelled word*. Just make sure you check the definition if it’s a word you’re not confident about. Just because something is spelled right doesn’t mean it actually means what you think it means. 😉 (Princess Bride, anyone?)
P.P.S. And a bonus tip – don’t swear. It’s unbecoming and believe it or not, it doesn’t make you look tougher or more put together. This is the internet. There are no ‘it just slipped out’ excuses here. You have to type it, and if you were actually proofing before posting, you should be deleting it. 😉 Too bad we can’t just delete things we say in real life before ‘posting’ them, huh? 😛