This is another installment in my tips for beauty bloggers series. You can start with Great Tips for Beauty Bloggers or Photo Tips for Beauty Bloggers. I often get asked for advice about blogs, so I thought I would compile my tips and share them.
Credit: Free Digital Photos
WordPress or Blogger?
I have been asked more times than I can count, ‘Which should I use? WordPress or Blogger? Self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.com?’ The answer is, it depends. I started off on Blogger. While I liked it, and it made things easy, I eventually migrated to self-hosted WordPress because I wanted more control over my blog design. I chose self-hosted over WordPress.com because self-hosted WordPress seemed to be more robust and have better features and plugins.
However, if you’re not very technically savvy, and if you do not have a techie person that can help you, you may want to choose Blogger or WordPress.com. Self-hosted means that you have to be able to fix (or pay someone else to fix) the problems that can arise. Some examples would be if your machine gets hacked, if you suffer from a database glitch, if a plugin that you install breaks things… yeah you either need to be able to fix it yourself or have someone you can rely on. For me, I’ve got a good tech background from having worked with computers and software for all of my adult life, the ability to google, and the access to techs, self-hosted WordPress was the clear choice for me.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention Tumblr blogs. I personally find them very hard to navigate, and while they’re fantastic for photos, I think they’re unwieldy for blogging. There are other blogging platforms out there, such as Livejournal and Typepad, but WordPress is the clear winner right now with 49% of the world’s top blogs running it.
Credit: Free Digital Photos
A very important thing to consider when you blog is your blog layout. You want your site to be easy to navigate. Having a dropdown menu or page or plugin that makes your reviews, swatches, and looks easily accessible is a great thing for both you and your reader! It makes it easier for the reader to search by their interest and to spend more time on your site.
Another thing to consider with layout is location of your social media icons. You want to make it easy for your readers to follow you. Some people prefer to follow via email, others rss, facebook, etc so make sure that your icons are easy to read.
I actually use two methods, which is probably overkill, but it seems to have made things easier for people to follow me with the method they favor.
Blog Fonts and Colors
I am all for having a fun blog font for your headers! That said, you should consider having an easy to read font for the rest of your blog. If the font for the body text of your blog is hard to read, it will discourage people from reading it.
When it comes to colors for headers, again I say go with something fun, but for the body text, you want it to be easy on the eyes, not cause eye strain. I find black, dark grey or white to be the easiest font colors. I find white, black, and cream to be easy background colors for body text. Obviously, there are many more colors available, so whatever combination you choose, keep in mind your readers and what they will find appealing. I’m currently using a white body background with dark grey text for my body text. I use black for my post headers and blue for my post links. My navigation menus are white.
If you like having a music player on your blog with your favorite songs, be sure to set it to ‘off’ so that it your reader will only hear music if they turn it ‘on.’ Many people will be curious about your taste in music but some may not like it. A lot of people get cranky when they visit a website and music happens.
Blog Search Bar
I thought this was a standard feature for all blogs, but if not, it should be. You want to make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for. Make sure your Search Bar is easy to find (top right or top left corners of the site), and make sure the search function works.
What platform do you prefer for blogging? What things do you feel are important to consider when you’re creating or updating your blog?