If you’re creating a new blog, then one of the first steps that you’ll need to take is to customize it. By making a blog visually unique, you’ll create an automatic desire within every visitor to take a look at the content that is being offered. Although quality content in any form will garner attention, even on a standard blog, a customized blog will reflect your personality. It will invite people in and offer them a chance to stay.
What Image Do You Wish To Convey?
Whether you’re a business or not, it is important to have a logo for your blog. Your logo becomes a branding tool that can be shared just as easily as a blog post can be shared. Any free standard blog template will give you the chance to upload a photograph to be used with the blog. If you’ve only got one place for an image, make sure it is your logo.
Your logo can communicate a number of things to a potential visitor.
1. It shows them what the topic of your blog happens to be.
2. It is a reflection of your mission statement so a visitor knows what kind of quality to expect and how it will relate to them.
3. It sets you apart from other blogs that your competitors are crafting, even if you’re running a personal blog instead of a business blog.
For a logo to be successful, it needs to be crisp and clean. It also needs to hold the attention of someone for enough time to get them interested in your blog. You’ve got 30 seconds to make a good first impression for most people, so your logo needs to make it count. Include an illustration, a special font that includes your blog name, and then include it near the top of every page that you create.
Your Header Is Essential to the Customization Process
The header is located at the top of every blog page that you have. It generally contains the name of your blog, so you’ll need to create a title that is reflective of the subject matter that is creative and memorable. A title that is three words or less is generally the best way to go. If your blog’s title is something like this: “Exploring Technology and the Ways That Tablets Have Changed the World for the Better” then you’ll cause visitors to bounce often.
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If you believe that your header needs more of a description to be accurate, then you’ve got the perfect opportunity to include a tagline with your title. The extended title example would actually be an excellent tagline! The title, however, would need to be related to this more specific description. That means a good blog title for this example could be “Tablet Tech.”
Headers also let visitors be able to navigate around your blog in whatever way suits them best. It can give them fast links toward more specific areas of your blog, such as a static page, that they might want to see. The header is also an excellent place to put your logo if you’ve got the option to do so.
How Busy Are Your Sidebars?
One of the major focus points of a blog is the sidebars that it may have. A good blog generally just as one sidebar, but having two sidebars has become more common. This is the place where you can put many of your links that can help with navigation. You’ll also find social sharing options placed here, a list of favorite blogs that you might want to share, and a full listing of all the posts that you’ve placed on your blog to date.
The problem with two sidebars instead of one is that it can distract from your content. If distraction, such as an advertisement, is your goal, then you’ll succeed. If, however, you want people to see your content, then you will wind up distracting them. Sidebars are consistent across every page of a blog and provide a visitor with information that you think will supplement the experience.
Don’t Forget About Your Footers
The footers are down at the bottom of every page and can be designed in a wide variety of ways. Many footers just have a standard copyright notice. Others use the footer to provide more internal navigation links to make getting around the blog a bit easier. It can also be a place for banner advertising if you want or provide profile information about yourself. The choices really are up to you.
The problem with many footers is that they can be difficult to fully customize. Blogging platforms generally just offer some text options down at the footer. Including images means being able to know how to code so that the image is appropriately placed. Advanced users can use this option to customize their blog, but that’s not something everyone can do.
There Are Some Additional Customization Features To Consider
The initial setup of your blog plays a big role toward how it is customized, but so do some of the small things that make a blog your own. Here are some additional features to consider adding to your blog to give it some personality.
Flair. The things that sparkle, shine, and flash on your blog is called “flair.” This is designed to grab someone’s attention, but it must be using sparingly. Too much flair will drive people away very quickly and they’ll never return.
Color. Sometimes you can adjust the CSS of your blog so that you’ve got different colors. Some colors work very well together, such as a white background with black text. Other colors don’t work so well, like yellow text on a red background. Be smart about your color scheme so that your blog is easy to read.
Spacing. If you can adjust your CSS, then you can also create more spacing within your blog as well. The text of your posts should be really easy to read and have its own distinct space instead of being jammed up together. No one wants to read claustrophobic content that is afraid to stand out on its own.
Link colors. If you are including hyperlinks with your blog posts, and that’s usually a good idea, then it pays to make these links stand out from the rest of the text. A cool link color is a good thing, but it shouldn’t be so bright that people look at the links instead of reading the content that you’ve offered.
Photographs, clip art, and other graphics are also essential to the customization of your blog. A blog post that has just one image associated with it will get double the traffic that a text blog post will receive. When you add more images to each post, you’ll get even more traffic. That means including photographs on your static pages and sidebars at minimum can help you gain more traffic for a small time investment.
Borders around a photograph are a good thing. It makes them stand out and provide a dramatic impact that automatically draws the eye to the image. A bad blog post can be made instantly better with a stunning image that has been bordered. You can even adjust the CSS of the border to change its width and color if you prefer as well.
What Is the One Thing You Should Always Do?
Comments drive your blog’s success. Having a good system of commenting will help you invite others to share their thoughts about what you’ve said. Every blogging platform has a comment system, but some of them allow you to integrate other forms of commenting. One of the best to include, if you can do it, is a Facebook integrated comment system.
This type of system gives you instant access to social sharing. When someone comments on your blog through the Facebook commenting system, that comment will show up in the newsfeed of their friends. You’ll sometimes even get a direct link to the post on Facebook to people you don’t even know simply because that one person made a comment. That generates a lot of extra traffic.
You should also make sure that you’ve got an account on StumbleUpon. Blogs that integrate StumbleUpon tend to get about 5% more traffic automatically, even if the posts aren’t shared. You can share each post that you create to this exploration network and sometimes you’ll get thousands of clicks to that one share, especially if others find the content to be fun, informative, or interesting.
Customizing a blog, as you can see, does more than just make a blog look pretty, Blog customization is an essential component to communicating the best possible message to every visitor. It goes beyond the aesthetics so that even your images or logo will pass along information about who you are and what you hope to accomplish. Take the time to customize your blog today using these tips and you may just see a large boost in traffic.