I finally finished doing the blog critiques last week and let me tell you… it was a lot. I made a big mistake by not putting a limit on how many I would do because HUNDREDS of you responded. It took about two and a half weeks but I got through it. A few people who asked for a critique in the comments or through social media didn’t get one because of the first reason listed below so I’m sorry about that.
Being a blogger is a lot of work. It takes dedication and focus but it’s so rewarding when done right. Below I listed a few mistakes I saw over and over again plus some random thoughts I had while doing the blog critiques. In the upcoming months I’ll be focusing on creating more content to help you make your blogs better as well as updating the old tips we have here on the blog.
You need to have an easy way for people to contact you.
I can’t tell you how many bloggers didn’t have a contact page or only had a contact form on their blogs. I’m not against contact forms but I don’t think most people with websites benefit from only having them. You need to have your email address listed because some people (like me) want to have a copy of their email correspondence in their sent box. I never want misunderstandings to come from email communication so in most cases I’m never going to use a contact form. A lot of people think just like me.
Also, most of us aren’t important enough for people to go digging for our email address. This isn’t meant to be mean it’s just a fact. Most of us are replaceable so if you make it hard for people to email you they might decide to go elsewhere.
I know most people don’t list their email address because of spam but you can always break it up like this: info [at] browngirlbloggers.com. Most spammers won’t do the extra work. I get a lot of emails from having my email listed but I can tell you that I don’t get a ton of spam so you probably won’t either.
If you don’t have design skills you need to keep it simple.
Some of y’all were doing the most with the least. If you don’t know how to create a logo then you should pay someone to create it for you. I like 99designs if you need a inexpensive option. You can also make a very basic logo using Photoshop or a site like Picmonkey or Canva.
Look at BGB’s logo. It’s so simple. I know I’m not a designer so I don’t try to be. The same thing goes for the logo on my personal blog. One day I may pay a designer to help me rebrand but for now I’m staying in my lane and keeping it simple.
Although you should blog about your passion there needs to be focus.
Some bloggers want to blog about everything under the sun. Beauty, finance, dogs, relationships, branding, etc. I saw some blogs with about 5 different subjects that didn’t connect at all. That’s not a great strategy to growing your blog’s audience. People want to know what to expect from you. You can’t become an expert if you split your focus too much. Choose one or two topics that you can connect together and make them your focus. Just because you love something doesn’t mean that should be your blog’s topic. You have to find the balance between what you love and what people want to hear about from you.
I also noticed some people’s blog name didn’t connect with the content at all. For instance, if you have lipstick in your blog’s title but you blog about parenting that might throw people off. If your focus has changed during your blogging journey that’s fine but make sure every part of your blog reflects that.
Writing well is a blogging essential.
I hate to be a bubble buster but you have to write well to be a blogger. This doesn’t mean you have to be the greatest writer ever since most of us aren’t. This doesn’t even mean you have to follow grammar rules since most of us don’t. It also doesn’t mean you can’t have mistakes in your writing since that’s bound to happen when you edit yourself. What it does mean is that you have to write in a way that’s easy for people to understand. Your thoughts should be easy to follow and your posts should be as short as they can be while still getting your point across. If you don’t think you’re a good writer you should invest in a few courses.
Formatting needs to be a priority.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. Capitalize the first letter of your sentences, break down your writing into easy to digest paragraphs, use bold formatting when necessary, and make sure your spacing makes sense.
If you have a fashion or beauty focused blog your images need to be good.
You have to invest in good photography. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy the most expensive camera but, you have to figure out things like lighting, best times to shoot, photo composition, etc. One book that’s helped me a lot is Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs. I also think you can use your cellphone for pictures but if you want a camera that’s easy to use but doesn’t cost too much I recommend a refurbished Cannon T3i. I also recommend learning the basics of Lightroom and using it to edit your pictures instead of the apps on your phone. Those apps are great for social media but not always the best for your blog. I used to be really afraid of Lightroom but once I learned how to use it my blogging game changed.
You may never be a “big” blogger and you need to be ok with that.
Some of us will only be small or midsize bloggers for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with talent or what we do right or wrong. Maybe blogging will open other opportunities for you or help you make friends or maybe even just give you a creative outlet. Regardless of how big you get you should still do your best to make your blog as great as you can if you’re putting yourself out there. You never know what else might come from it other than “internet fame.”
If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to learn from this blog let me know in the comments!