What does your blog's appearance say about you? Have you looked in the mirror lately to see what's staring back at you?
The second most common blog mistake I see professionals make is not putting their best foot forward, so to speak.
Don't let your blog hurt your credibility.
When we go to a networking event, or meet a new client, we try to present a professional appearance. We don't show up in our pajamas, right? (Unless it's a pajama party, in which case give me a call because I'd love to attend that event!)
Your blog is representing you to everyone who stops by. What image is it projecting?
Do you have...
- a lot of typos and errors scattered around?
- poor formatting that makes it difficult to read your content?
- a theme, layout or navigation that makes it really hard for visitors to find what they're looking for?
Here are the simple solutions:
1. Always Proofread
Proofread each post before it goes live. I find reading my posts out loud helps me catch errors I'd have otherwise missed.
Check out the "After the Deadline" plugin on WordPress to help you catch misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and even style issues.
2. Take Time to Format Nicely
Notice well formatted blog posts that are easy to read.
- a headline
- bulleted or numbered lists
- short paragraphs
- images, videos, or other multimedia elements
Follow that pattern so your posts are easy to scan and read as well as visually interesting.
3. Choose Your Theme Wisely
The layout and colors of a site are a personal choice and our tastes are all a bit different. But do follow some basic rules to make your blog easy to read:
- Use dark text on a light background, with enough contrast that it's readable.
- Go for muted and calm backgrounds unless you're really, really sure a wild background is appropriate for your audience and your branding.
- Be sure people can tell what text is a link. They should be a different color so they stand out.
Consider investing in a professional theme. I'm a fan of the Genesis themes from Studio Press. WooThemes and Thesis are also good. There are nice free themes, too. Today I like Academia, TrulyMinimal, Delicacy, and Weaver.
You might also check into having a custom banner designed for your blog. You can find talented graphic designers on Fiverr.com.
4. Check Your Navigation & Organization
Do the links on your navigation bar make sense to your visitors? Can they easily find what they're interested in?
Are your blog posts organized by category (not date, your visitors aren't looking for what your wrote last March!) and tagged with keywords?
Does your sidebar support making it easy for visitors to get around on your site and find what they're looking for?
Your Next Action Steps
Ask a few colleagues or clients for feedback on your blog. They may be able to offer suggestions and tips on what you can improve that you haven't thought of yet!
What do you like to see on a blog that builds it's credibility? What scares you off?