I know you’re new at this blogging thing
And you know you’re new at this blogging thing. But that guy over there, on Pinterest, clicking into your post? He doesn’t know you’re new. And we should try to keep it that way.
Part of growing a following, making affiliate sales or getting people to share you content (and therefore earning an income) quickly – well… as quickly as possible anyhow – with a new blog – is making a yourself stand out from the crowd of 3 million OTHER new bloggers who look like clueless lost people, just wandering around and bumping into stuff.
(You can BE lost and bumping into stuff, but you shouldn’t make that totally obvious to those who lands on your blog. That just scares people away. I should know, I made almost all of the mistakes you can make.)
But, don’t fret, there are a few easy ways to help your blog look a little less “new and confused” than it really is.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
7 quick things you can do right now to look less like a newbie blogger:
First, some blog design stuff. Having a nice theme is pretty important to not looking totally lost. (If you haven’t chosen a theme you love yet, read all about that here!)
(If you go with a free WordPress theme, these first two things are SUPER important.)
1 ) Delete that “hello world” post that WordPress comes with
It’s just an example post for you – it’s not meant to be left visible to the world. It SCREAMS “I have just installed this theme and have no idea how to do anything in WordPress”.
2 ) Also, delete all that “metadata” stuff in the bottom of your side bar
Have you ever seen a successful blog with a bunch of metadata stuff in the side bar? (Or gone to a blog to check out their metadata stuff?)
Nope. Me either.
(Do you even know what metadata MEANS?)
How to delete that metadata stuff:
→ Go to “widgets” under “appearance” in your WordPress dashboard. (Your sidebar won’t look like this, I’ve added a bunch of stuff to mine of course!) Locate the widget box that says “Meta” and click to open it. Then you can click “delete”. (Should you ever want to add it back in the future, for reasons beyond my understanding, you can do that here too.)
3 ) Keep your image sizes consistent
(You can edit your photos in picmonkey or canva for free, so there is really no excuse for having 3 different sized photos in one post!) Come up with 1 size for vertical images and 1 size for horizontal images and just stick with it. On my blog my vertical images are 800 pixels x 1200 pixels. My horizontal (feature image) pictures are 800 pixels x 500 pixels. Here’s a fantastic post on common image mistakes that bloggers make. Get this stuff right the first time and save yourself TONS of work later. (Unlike I did.)
4 ) Pick a few fonts and colors, and be consistent with them as well
Make sure they are fonts and colors that are easy to read. Especially on a phone, because that is where the majority of people are likely to read your blog from. I am guilty of picking a light teal color that isn’t easy to read on a phone and it needed to be changed on EVERYTHING, so learn from my mistake here. I also used to have a pretty script font, and I had to face the fact that it was hard to read as well. Changing stuff is time consuming. You are far better off going with something simple from the start.
(On that note, don’t use an obnoxious background that makes it hard to focus on the blog content. Look at a few of your favorite blogs – I’ll bet most of them are written on a plain white background, with plenty of white space left around. This makes reading easier… people will stick around longer if reading is easier.)
Once you get that blog design stuff ironed out, (and don’t be afraid to spend a few weeks working on it) there’s other stuff you can do / not do to avoid looking like you’re clueless.
These are things you will need eventually if you want to monetize your blog – but really, there is no time like the present and they DO help you to look more “professional”.
Here are some great posts written by ladies who will send you in the right direction regarding all this page creation stuff…
How to write a kick ass about page – Val Geisler
Tips for an awesome about page – Allyssa Barnes
Are you disclosing properly? – Amy Lynn Andrews
How to write a disclaimer for your blog –
6 ) Create categories, and don’t publish under “uncategorized” (the only category your theme comes with) EVER
→ To create categories, click “categories” under “posts” in your WordPress dashboard (1). Name your category (2). Click “Add New Category” (3). Not hard.
→ Once in your post writing screen, you can assign the categories you have created to your post.
7 ) Wait to start promoting your blog until you have a few posts in each of your categories
For example, my categories are Mommy Tips, All About Kids, Life at Home and Family Finances. If I started promoting my blog with only one “life at home” post published, and that was the post that brought you to my blog… well then you’d probably turn around and leave when you found out there were no other related posts to read. A blog with three posts looks like a brand new blog. Write 15 posts (or more) that you are REALLY proud of, then start promotion.
Now, onward and upward!
These 7 things can help you look just a little less like a newbie blogger. Remember, you can’t do it all at once. Start here and keep going! Now that you have the basics of blogging down, it’s time to really dig in and learn about what makes a profitable blog.
You have just – barley – scraped the surface of blog learning.
30 thoughts on “7 Ways To Make Your Blog Look Less Like A “Newbie Blog””
Immensely helpful and very believable post. In my haste to get going and prove to myself I ‘could’ do it I set up my blog and have half-heartedly promoted it with only 3 posts on it. I guess I knew this wasn’t anything like enough but I persisted. I’m now at the challenging stage of providing your suggested 15 posts before actually promoting it again. No wonder my bounce rate looked like a super-trampoline! I was lucky and grateful to get anyone paying attention.
So pleased to have found you, thank you very much for re-iterating what I knew in my heart of hearts and I am thrilled you are having success, well-deserved!
HI Suzy! I am so glad you enjoyed the post! Don’t get too down about bounce rate – it’s naturally high for blogs 🙂 (But yes – more posts WILL help with that a bit!)
That uncategorized tip is so helpful. Currently referencing your blog to work on my blog! Thanks for all the advice!
YAY Cait I am SO glad that you’re finding this series useful <3
It’s really amazing post. I am following your blog and I’ve also bookmarked it. This is the blog they I wanted. I was waiting for such an author who thinks like me.
MOMMY, I am the big fan of your blog and a regular reader 🙂
Nice to meet you! Soooo glad you’re enjoying the blog!
Great Blog, very informative. I started my Blog 6 months ago, did a lot of reading here and there to help get my head around it. Have slowly built my blog, by reading other blogs like yours, I’ve still got a long way to go.
Is the Privacy and Disclosure pages mandatory for all bloggers or just those in the States? I’m based in Qatar and I haven’t seen a blogger here that has those pages. I’m not sure if I should add those on my blog. What do you think?
I would definitely add them 🙂
You wrote “You have just – barley – scraped the surface of blog learning.”
Did you mean ‘barely’?
yes, that’s likely what I meant, since barley doesn’t make any sense.
Thank you! I need to work on more post in each category before promotion. Helpful tips! I will make sure to go through all the links provided.
Great post and thank you for the articles on writing a great About Me page, which is something that I struggle with.
Will you be updating this with information on the new GDPR?
Someday perhaps… lol. I am on maternity leave right now
Thank you so much for this series! I set up my blog by following your guide, step by step. I had been wanting to start a blog for years, and was just so overwhelmed by it all. I can’t thank you enough for breaking the process down and making it so doable.
Enjoy your maternity leave. Congratulations on your new addition!
Thank you <3
I just started a blog a week ago and I so wished I had found your post first. I only have two posts and I really love your tips about categories. I just found your site and I feel like I am just starting to learn this whole blog thing from a real person and not your average tutorial guide
SO glad you’re enjoying it!
Thanks Carly. I was too excited to promote with my 5 posts. Thanks for the tip.I will keep working on more posts.
I did one of the newbie things which was to promote my blog without having enough content to keep readers to stay. I was just so eager to get traffic that I thought maybe if I promote as I go it’ll drive in traffic, wrong. I spent more time on social media than I did on my blog which was a newbie move. I learned a lot from your blog and it kept me back on track. Thank you so much!
We ALL do those newbie things – don’t worry about it! SOOOO glad you enjoyed the series <3
Thank you SO MUCH! I am so glad that I subscribed to your course.
I am VERY new to this and definitely feel like I am wandering around aimlessly bumping into things. So far, your information has been incredibly helpful and encouraging!
Carly I just found you recently and I am a big fan! You have a way of hitting the nail right in the head. I also just enrolled in your Pintrest Course and I have been enjoying learning from your experiences. When I started out with blogging I really used to write for myself. Now that you burst that bubble right away with some of the posts I have been reading about monetising, I am really enjoying the thrill of writing to address and solve my audience’s problems. Now thats more exciting, and on top of that making money from it. Why not?I love it. Blogging surely takes more work and commitment than I though when I first stumbled into it. For me thats what makes it even more worthwhile because if it was easy everyone would do it.
Lorraine, oh thanks for the kind words! And I agree – the important work and commitment make it worth it!
Hi Carly! Your blog has been such an inspiration in FINALLY deciding to take the leap and start my own. One quick question – I know I’ve read in one of your courses that I have taken, or a post, about the pictures you post on your blog and making them look great. Many of the sites I’ve been looking at are free, and the images aren’t really what I’m looking for. Do you have a favorite site, or do you make/edit most of your own? Thanks!
Hi Sarah! I typically don’t recommend using free photos, as paid photos do better on Pinterest. You can also run into copyright issues sometimes with free pictures so it can be a little worrisome. I personally use DepositPhotos. They usually have a deal twice a year on AppSumo. If you can’t afford to purchase them at full price, I would recommend subscribing to AppSumo and waiting for the deal. The deal currently just finished so it’s hard to say when it’ll be around again because it’s not a guaranteed thing. Either way – I wish you the BEST of luck with the blog girl!!!
Thank you for sharing this post! I read it a couple months ago when I first started thinking about blogging and while I thought the advice was sound, I unintentionally ignored some of it (such as picking bright colors and not light options that barely show up). I happened upon this post again today and had a “Well, duh” moment so tomorrow is all about finding a new color scheme and working through the changes (fortunately, I’m only a couple of months in so it shouldn’t be too painful to update). Thanks again for all your advice! I also just finished your pinteresting strategies course and it was extremely helpful!!
very helpful and informative post. I couldn’t find meta in my widgets or side bar, only footer was there. Nevertheless, I learned so many things from this blog post. Thank you so much, looking forward for more posts from you.
Hi Carly: Can you rename categories? I have one labeled Dallas/Fort Worth Texas that I would just like to name Texas. Your steps are super helpful. Thanks for posting them. I have been blogging now for several months since retiring and taking it step by step.