First, a recap of the past posts and what's coming:
- Choosing a Name and Review Policy
- Branding Yourself With Imagery
- Picking a Platform for Publishing
- Design Considerations (you're there now)
- Structuring Your Rating System
- Building an Audience - Social Media Crazy
- Writing Reviews
- Money, You Say?
Now, take a close look at my blog. You'll see there's a background that encompasses my logo and color/design scheme. On the sidebar, I don't have a ton of clutter for folks to wade through. One thing I have going on right now is my UtopYA con author interview posts. Because of that, I have two additional images on the right hand side. But, as you can see, my subscribe box is above the fold (this is referencing the part of your blog that's visible before the scroll).
Moving on down, you'll see another couple of ways to follow me and my posts (you do want your blog to be read, right?), then it goes right into my archive. Not having an archive where people can browse your past posts isn't a good idea. You want them to stay and look around a while.
Let's go back to the top!
You see my banner telling you what my blog is about, then a set of links I think are pertinent for everyone on social media to make as easy to find as possible. Note they're above the fold.
Because I'm OCD, and my blog is my haven for all the information I impart to my fellow Indie authors, I have a categorized link list. This is a whole separate page on my blog I use to sort posts into categories (with a little snap of what the post is about) so people don't have to wade through my archive to find specific information.
But my blog loads fast on a browser. Six seconds. Ideally, you want five or less, but I'm okay with six. I've visited blogs that took over a minute to load because there was all this extra "stuff" all over them. I waited, but only to take a look at the mess, click away, and never return.
You have about fifteen seconds to catch someone's attention. They won't wait much longer than that (if they wait at all). So, keep the clutter down and increase your load times.
Black text on a white background in an easy to read font is the next thing you need to consider for your design. If you make it hard to read your posts, people will be turned off and not come back.
You want them to come back. That's why you're blogging.
Make sure all your stuff is harmonious. Not that everything has to be identical, but when someone clicks on the link to your Twitter page, make sure it at least resembles your blog, website (if you choose to have one), and Facebook page. Don't let them doubt they've found the person they're looking for.
The Chicken Coop can have one chicken image on their blog, a different one on Facebook and Twitter, and still another on their website, and (as long as the look and feel is the same) they'll connect the dots.
Remember your name! If you've chosen The Chicken Coop for your blog, be @TheChickenCoop on Twitter as well. Be facebook.com/TheChickenCoop or facebook.com/ChickenCoop. Sign up for TheChickenCoop [at] gmail!
Be consistent and keep it simple.
If you want a couple more tips and tricks on making your public appearance gel, grab my free PDF on branding here. Feel free to download, study, read, print, and redistribute at your leisure. As long as you don't charge for it, I'm good.
What do you think? Have you built up your blog yet? Got any subscribers?
Go on and get those signup boxes going! I'll be back later in the week with advice on structuring your rating system.
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!