Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30-Day Challenge 23: The Secrets to a Hot Blog

Question of the Day: Today, I'd like to know what you think of my blog layout. I need your critique, your feedback! Should I stick with it? Is the foreground a little too narrow? What can I do to make my blog appearance more attractive to my readers' eyes?

Day 23: Something you crave for a lot. Oh my!! I will definitely have to say my craving for Smartfood popcorn is rather alarming and sempiternal. This popcorn has been my #1 go-to snack since before my age had double digits.

Today I'd like to talk about what makes a hot blog.....hot. Look on your Blog Profile, scroll down to your List of Blogs. What about those blogs made you want to follow them in the first place? Was it the colorful layout, the sexy font, the helpful content in posts, or perhaps the unique blog name?

I wouldn't call myself picky, but there are some absolute musts in my rulebook that, when I look at a blog, make me want to go 'w-o-w-z-a gimme summa dat!', and hit 'Follow.'

Check out these tips I've gathered during my time as a blogger, think about what attracts you to a blog, and ask yourself:

Does your blog need a makeover? Or is it one of the hottest blogs on the block?

1) Minimal White Space. By white space, I don't literally mean space on your blog that is white. "White space" is simply areas on your blog that don't have any content (graphics, links, text) on it at all. Of course, you don't need to cover your whole blog with junk, and not all white space is bad, but make sure everything is laid out evenly (and not too cramped!) so that there aren't any areas that look empty/blank/out of place. Exception = when your blog layout is white or some other solid color (in that case, move along now).

2) A complimentary color scheme. I recommend having at least two or three colors in your "color scheme," much of which is dependent on your blog layout and header/text fonts. (The exception is a white/solid color blog layout, which is actually pretty attractive and popular from what I see). Decide what colors you want to incorporate and why. For example, The Inspiration Tree blog has a color scheme that includes browns and pinks and emphasizes on the concept of nature, which is also prevalent in the blog name. Keep in mind, though, that you don't want your blog looking like a disorganized rainbow, either!

3) Organization. It's okay to have a lot of stuff on your blog, just make sure it's tidy and with a "boxed up" look--not messy. An example of the "boxed up" look is the right column of the blog oh, hello friend: you are loved. Put your links/graphics in different categories. Of course, a blog layout helps a lot with this. A three-column allows you to put more stuff on either side of your blog, but a two-column makes the blog look less cluttered and overwhelming to the reader.

4) Resources. We love resources! Blogfest links, lists to popular blog posts, a Goodreads shelf, Twitter feed, and recommended authors are all considered resources. Not only do they provide more lovely things for us to read but they also give us more information about what sort of common interests we may have with you. Also, they don't have to be all on your homepage--you can have separate tabs with them too. Examples of blogs with great resources include The Happiness Project, Ready. Write. Go., and Paperback Writer.

5) Unique blog name. Nothing is as boring and generic as "A Writer's World" or "The Diary of BLANK." Choose a blog name that is either or: fresh, mysterious, humorous, inspirational, romantic, unconventional, professional. Some of my favorite blog names include Adrielne's Box of Thoughts, Annelise White Photography, Big Apple, Little Bites, I'd like cheese on my entire family!, Left and Write Brained, and Sixtyfivewhatnow.

6) Theme + Different Posts. Have a healthy mixture of personal/random posts and posts that are related to your blog theme. I personally like spontaneity and am not a fan of designated weekly posts such as "Writing Wednesday" and "Picture Thursday" or "Friday Five," but some people really look forward to them. If you do plan on having designated weekly posts, make yours creative. An example of a successful and interesting weekly post is Lydia Kang's Medical Mondays. A blog with some pretty amazing and inspiring content is b-sPlendid.

7) A layout that tells a story, parallels with your personality, and is comfortable to the reader's eye. Customized blog layouts are the best, because they're usually pretty, impressive and spell P-R-O. It's okay if you don't use a customized blog layout, of course; if you use a 'premade' template, I would go with one that isn't overly used by other bloggers and balances out between the background and the foreground. Oh, hello friend: you are loved's and Talli Roland's blog layouts fit these criteria perfectly.

8) Correctly formatted blog posts. This is probably one of the more important elements I consider when looking at a blog. After all, these posts are what I am going to be reading every day! I've heard that shorter blog posts are better, but to me I don't think that's necessarily true. You just have to make sure that the text is formatted so your reader will be comfortable reading. Make sure you have plenty of paragraph breaks, perhaps a few bold sentences, and maybe even bulleted lists. Graphics or photos sometimes prevent the post from being too "texty". Also, you need to have a readable font. Nobody wants to read a post that is in Kristen or Joker. Keep your font face and size uniform throughout your blog.

Everyone has different preferences as to what they consider to be a hot blog. Share with us what makes a blog attractive (or what turns you off) and what makes you click 'Follow'!


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4 comments:

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

This is a very informative and thoughtful post. Thanks!

Clarissa Draper said...

I like the thin layout because it's easier for my eyes to cover the material. In fact, your blog is beautiful. The only thing I might suggest is to make the tabs at the top of the page look more like tabs (separate from the rest of the page somewhat) could you add a line underneath like the one under your header? That's it. Just love the background pic.

Sarah said...

I was going to say something similar to Clarissa. Your blog is really lovely, just would tidy up the tabs a bit. Interesting what you say about formatting posts. i hadn't put much thought into that before.

Theonlyfashionprincess said...

Interesting post! x

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