How To Make Your Blog Look More Professional
1. Get a Self-Hosted Professional Domain!
Nothing looks less professional than a blog that says “moviereviews.wordpress.com" or “adventureblogger.blogspot.com"
Having a self-hosted site e.g. on bluehost.com, tells your site visitors that you know what you are doing, and it just helps emphasizing that you have your own identity and can stand on your own feet!
Bluehost is an excellent service, that offers both hosting and domain registration, for a monthly fee of as little as $7 / month.
A friendly tip when buying hosting or domain names: Always search for coupon / discount codes before you buy anything! 9 out 10 times you will find one that will save you a couple of bucks.
2. Don’t Use an RSS Feeder If You Don't Have Any Subscribers Yet!
If you have zero or perhaps just a handful of subscribers, why show off this minor accomplishment to your first time visitors?
Wait until you have a good amount of subscribers (100+), then put up the RSS feeder. Now when newcomers visit your site they will get a much better first time impression – and they will be more likely to sign up to your list!
3. Update Your Permalinks Structure
A Perma link is created when you publish new posts on your website. By default the Permalinks look ugly as hell, like this:
adventureblogger.com/?p=46 (meaning post 46)
This looks horrible for visitors, and it is also bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
We would much rather have it looking like this:
That’s understandable to anyone, and Google picks the keyword up with ease!
Go to WordPress: Settings – Permalinks
Change the Default to “Post name” if that option is available to you (it is available on most newer themes).
If “Post name” isn’t an option, go to “Custom Structure” and simply write /%postname%/ - that will do the exact same thing – making your post Perma links look logical and professional, both for your readers, and for Google!
4. Learn How To Polish Your Posts Before You Publish Them!
Nobody wants to look at never ending sentences with no paragraphs, styling, or images.
Images play an important psychological role for people viewing a blog / website.
Another tip. If you are selling products, either your own or as an affiliate, make your images click-able.
People love to click on images, and I have heard many Internet Marketers (Chris Guthrie from the Niche Profit Course is one of them) talk about a much higher click-through rate on images vs. regular links. Keep that in mind!
To get awesome free images for your posts, go to http://www.flickr.com
They stock millions of photos, and new ones are added every second.
Go to Advanced Search – Choose Creative Commons
Now search for your chosen criteria.
Or just use this direct link to go straight to the source!
Remember to credit the photographer in your post, and if you are using images for commercial websites, make sure to check the image license and see if it’s free for commercial use.
5. Update the Favicon For Your Website
A Favicon is that small 16x16 icon that appears right next to your web address at the top of web browsers
Sometimes it shows up next to the bookmarks or tabs section as well.
Do you see the problem with the empty square above the arrow? Fix this problem and you are one step closer to having a professional looking website!
You can easily make your own either in Photoshop, or for free at http://www.favicon.com
Once you have made your own Favicon, you need to place the 16x16 pixel icon (called favicon.ico) in your website’s root folder.
For WordPress users that means to put it directly into your public_html folder. Remember to rename your icon to favicon.ico, or it won’t work.
Those are some easy tips fixes that make a huge difference and should give you a good start.
Don't hesitate to comment if you have any questions, I will answer as quickly as I can :-)
Good luck with your blogging journey!