The information that pops up on the screen when I type the words “How to” in a search engine should not surprise me anymore but it does. Just this morning as I typed “How to” the first sentence that popped up (as always) was “How to make love”. When I decided to start blogging I had this idea that the moment I entered all relevant info on my chosen host, my blog would magically have the settings and appearances I wanted. It’s supposed to be as easy as 1, 2, 3 right? My last figures were 572, 573, 574 and counting. It’s not easy. Well at least not for me. Do you remember that tv ad of a few years back about… Ok, not sure of what product was being marketed but I can clearly see the woman in my minds eye and hear her say: “Blogging, blogging… Mikey set it up for me”.
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fools do it… But just in case you missed it, I’m not going to tell you how to make love. That kind of post is not husband approved. Oh, and I’m no Dr. Eve either. If anyone knows the Google person who added the text “How to make love” to appear first on the list of “How to” items, please tell them not to distract me when all I’m trying to do is just find out “How to” get my techno geek on.
Quick question though… Does anyone know where I can find the infamous Mikey? I could really do with his help right about now.
Thus far I’m convinced that technology has a conspiracy theory against me and elated that they were discreet enough to call me ‘Dummies’ instead of naming it “How to *insert own topic* for Celeste”. I’ve been seeing some fabulous blogs with stylish headers, organized sidebars, reader friendly navigation and don’t get me started on the widgets. Just typing that last word leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. All this time I’ve been concerned with the content of my blog, while finding my niche and slowly growing my audience that I wasn’t all too concerned about the design. Boy was I wrong. It’s like walking into a 5 star hotel dressed in a tacky outfit. Unless you’re playing the starring role in Pretty Woman, you’re not going to get any serious attention. No matter how good your content, you’re not going to get the response you want if design is not pleasing to the eye and everything is all over the show.
Joining the Facebook groups South African Bloggers and South African Mom Blogs was the best decision I’ve made because I’m learning so much from other bloggers. My blog is in need of a serious makeover and I have started with baby steps because I’m determined to do it myself. It’s my pet project and nothing will give me greater satisfaction than knowing I did it with mine own hands. I’m a DYI Diva like that.
Although I’m still a newbie and have yet to do all of it, I’ll run you through a list of things because I like lists as well as sharing experiences and knowledge. The list is based on my observations of other extraordinary #ProudlySouthAfrican blogs. Not sure of the exact order of arrangement but I’m sure you’ll get the general idea.
1) An eye catching header to make a memorable first impression. Choose good colours to strike a balance and be clear about your theme so that it speaks to your target audience.
2) Your ABOUT page should be your introduction to your readers and your platform to tell them what your blog is all about.
3) Easy to read texts (font) is a definite must.
4) Show your best/most popular post first.
5) A good sidebar that includes categories, social sharing buttons, search bar, RSS feed subscription etc.
6) Make sure your site works on all types of browsers not forgetting mobile. There are many people who take time out on their mobiles to catch up on some blog reading.
7) A good profile picture if you’re not doing it incognito. People want to be able to see the face behind the voice. So smile and say cheese.
And that dear readers is how I make love. By sharing whatever information I know. This is my bit for now. I’m sure I missed a whole lot of nitty gritty details so feel free to add on to this list.