A good blog shows personality. And some great blogs are great because their owner is human and not a perfect machine. But a serious blog also looks professional, even when it is new. As a new blogger, you should consider how you can make your blog look more professional.
There are some things that just don’t look professional on your blog. While little flaws may make your blog more human and personal, some of these flaws can seriously hurt your blog or business. Most of them are easy to avoid – even without spending tons of money on editors, graphic designers, and other little helpers.
Here are 13 ways to make your blog look more professional, even when you are just starting out with a new blog, and without spending loads of money.
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1. Get a domain – go self-hosted
Yes, I know. It is quick and easy to set up a blog on Blogspot or WordPress.com without buying your own domain. But to be honest, a blog with a domain like MyBlog.Blogspot.com or MySimpleLife.Wordpress.com is never going to look very professional.
But for a newbie blogger, the problems that come with a (free) Blogspot or WordPress.com blog may not be obvious.
First of all, let’s clarify that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different services.
WordPress.com is a Website builder that is very easy to set up for newbies. For this article, I am using WordPress.com as an example for all hosted Website builders that come with similar features.
With wordpress.com you don’t have to worry about hosting and updates, wordpress.com does it for you – but you will have to cope with a domain like myblog.wordpress.com – that is hosted on the wordpress.com domain. That means you get limited options to monetize your website – for the free plan you even have to accept ads on your site that do not even make you money.
WordPress.com limits your options with themes, you are not free to choose the plugins you want to use. Plus, you have limited control over your SEO.
Image Source: WPcompendium
All this sums up to: WordPress.com and similar website builders are good for a hobby blog, but if you are serious about turning a blog into a professional business it will not be enough.
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FREE Beginner's Guide: START A BLOG
And since a ton of people on the web know about this, a wordpress.com blogspot.com or similar domain a sure sign that a blog is not professional!
2. Choose the right WordPress Theme
Ok, I am assuming here that you are using WordPress – but the same goes for other website builders like Squarespace.
If you start your blog or setting up a blog, take the time and browse around a little. Choose a theme for your blog that fits your personal preferences and serves your needs. WordPress has a full library of themes and I am sure you can find one for free or a small budget that looks really nice.
If you don’t like the themes in WordPress you can browse the web – there are endless WordPress themes for free or for small budgets. But make sure that you choose one that you like and that looks beautiful.
You may also want to look at other blogs from your niche – just to get an impression of what people are used to in your niche. Some niches use more fancy themes than others. For instance, a blog in the programming or AI niche will use other themes than a blog in the DIY or mommy blogger niche.
3. Make your site load fast
This is not a joke. If you want to grow your audience you want your website to be fast. This does influence how Google ranks you in search results. But much more importantly your readers don’t want to wait for ages for your website to load.
And if your website is very slow, it does not give a professional impression but does look more like a hobby.
There are a number of tools and plugins that will help you to make your website load faster. Here is Jonathan’s list of 9 tools to help you to increase your page speed.
4. Choose your Blog Hosting Service with care
For fast page load times, you also need good web hosting.
But there are more reasons why choosing your hosting service with care is important.
For instance, the support the hosting service provides is essential. There may be some glitches or some things that simply do not work as they should. The support of your hosting provider is often the place you can turn for help – or not.
That means you have to choose your hosting with care.
We once were in the awful situation that we launched a course and the hosting kind of collapsed: it got so slow, no one could actually buy the course without waiting minutes for each step. And the web hosting company did not care or help to solve the problem.
Believe me: you don’t want something like that to happen to you, so make sure you choose a good hosting company with good customer service – and no, you do not have to pay for a more expensive hosting plan.
5. Consider your audience – stay focused
I have seen blogs that read more like a personal journal. Telling stories about a family outing one day and about a university class the next.
While a broad range of topics may work for your (one) audience, if your topics speak to a different audience every day, you will have a hard time to grow your audience.
And, this type of blog will appear more like a personal journal than a professional blog.
Make sure that you know who your target audience is and choose topics for them – not for you. A professional blog always knows who the content is for!
6. Consider Keywords and Niche Language
Every niche uses its own lingo.
Every time I changed my profession or work field, I had to learn some new words. And I am not speaking of having to refresh my English skills when I started Content Marketing for the international market.
What I am talking about is words and sentence structures that are commonly used in a given niche.
I am a mathematician and as a scientific researcher, I worked with engineers. And even within the scientific world, the mathematicians used a different lingo than the engineers in some areas.
I had to learn more words and meanings when I started as a consultant for utility companies. Simply to appear professional when talking to my new clients. If you don’t know what they are all talking about half the time, how can you expect to be taken seriously?
And as a blogger, you do not just have to learn keywords and phrases from your niche, you will also need to understand what other bloggers are talking about when they talk about “On-page SEO”, “Page Speed,” “Alt Tags,” and “Anchor Text.” Because you don’t just want to be a professional in your niche but also a professional blogger.
7. Edit your texts
It is hard to always come up with flawless posts, especially when you are new to blogging and are writing a lot.
That does not give you an excuse to NOT proofread and edit every single piece of content on your website.
If you have a friend who is willing to proofread your post before you publish: do it!
It helps to let someone read your content and give you feedback – especially when you are starting out and are not sure how to write the most engaging and interesting posts.
For editing and proofreading, you can use a tool instead of paying for an editor – we use Grammarly.
The chrome extension marks every spelling mistake you make while typing in your browser. That makes finding most of the spelling mistakes very easy.
To get better at writing an app like Hemmingway App can help you identify complicated sentences or even bad grammar. You can learn a lot about good writing from Hemmingway App.
8. Structure your post
Reading online text is much harder and slower than reading a book. The structure is crucial to keep the attention of your audience. With blog posts the paragraphs should be short – rather go for one-sentence paragraphs than paragraphs that cover several lines of text.
Also, use elements like subheadings and bullet lists. They help to skim the text, read much faster and find the important items in the text. – Your readers will be thankful for every bit of structure they get in your post, especially when you are writing longer blog posts of several hundred or even a thousand words.
Blog writing is not the same as writing a book!
9. Choose a great title
A lot more people will see your title than will see the actual blog post. And the title will decide over the success or failure of your post – at least to a large part.
Image Source: Quicksprout
A blogger who can come up with catchy titles that inspires clicks and shares is already halfway on his way to success, while a great storyteller who sucks at the titles will have a hard time to get people to click on the headline whether they find it in Google, Social Media – or even your email newsletter.
Do you want to learn more about creating a great headline for a blog post? Here are some interesting facts about creating a headline that gets clicks and shares!
10. Add Visuals
There are several reasons why you need visuals. They help to structure your post and make reading a longer text easier. People often find it easier to understand and remember things they „saw“ rather than read.
And if you want people to share your posts in social media you have to provide images that they can use.
The times when a tweet was 140 characters and that was it are long over. Well not really. But today a tweet that is supposed to get attention also needs an image. And the same goes for (almost) any other social media platform. If you want your post pinned to Pinterest you need a Pinterest ready image. If you want your post shared on Facebook you need an image in the right dimension.
And tools like Canva can make creating beautiful images for social media easy – and the free version of Canva is going to get you very far. They even provide templates for you – but if you want pins that will get a ton of repins and clicks from Pinterest, I rather recommend browsing around Pinterest, see what kind of images other people from your niche use, and learn from there.
11. Post Regularly – Consistently
Which one would you rate more professional?
While a famous and established blog with a large audience may get away with posting inconsistently, a new blog will have a hard time achieving a pro status, if the audience never knows when a new post can be expected and only a handful of content pieces can be found on the blog.
For a new blog, another question arises when you post on an inconsistent schedule: Is this blog really going to stay? Is the blogger meaning business or will the whole project vanish after this post?
If you want your audience to help you spread the word about your post, you need to make it easy. Share buttons certainly help a lot. Make sure your share buttons always provide a ready-made tweet, pin or post. Choose your share buttons with care so that they look good with your WordPress theme.
Don’t expect your audience to do your job and create the social media post and image for you – that does not give a professional impression.
13. Get Testimonials
Customer reviews and testimonials are a nice way of adding a professional touch and earning credibility for any blogger. But how the heck should you get those precious reviews or testimonials when you are new to the blogging game?
Ask for them!
Consider your friends, old colleagues, or even the contacts on LinkedIn that have given you recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn.
Think, who might be willing to write you a small testimonial for your new blog. And then just ask them!
Entrepreneurs and bloggers are a tight-knit community. We are here to help each other succeed. While we may not be willing to lie, most of us are very willing to help out with something as small as a testimonial for someone we know and appreciate!
Final words on how to make your blog look more professional
The above tips are things that everybody can do. They are not complicated. And they are achievable for you too! And they can make all the difference.
Even if you are starting out, you want to get the above things right. You don’t want to have your blog look as if you don’t care. It is not about being flawless. It is about providing a place where people like to come and feel welcome!
So you have a blog? Great!
Do you have an audience? A little one? It’s a start!
If you want to double your traffic in a few short weeks, check out our ebook “The Social Traffic Code!”
We have been struggling, trying everything we could think of and nothing worked. Until one day we found the solution. And what should I say? Our first business grew to 500k pageviews per months all with free traffic generation tactics that did not involve any advertising.
And what is best about this strategy? It works not only for us: it works for you, too!
Are you interested? Check out “The Social Traffic Code!”