Blog Tip: Your Blog’s Appearance

Cross posted on Blog4Edu – Blog Tip: What Can You Do To Improve Your Blog’s Appearance? I was asked by Shelly T. to do a blog tip for Blog4Edu.

This is one of those do as I say, not as I have done Blog Tips.

When we first start Blogging many of us tend to get caught up in the blog’s appearance and what we are using for widgets in the sidebar. We are not satisfied with the theme we are using and when we find the next perfect theme (for the umpteenth time), we just have to use it on our blog immediately and the same thing happens when we find that next great widget that we just have to use – right now.

I have the below tips:

Blog Tip: What Can You Do To Improve Your Blog’s Appearance?

  • Instead of using your primary blog to constantly experiment with new themes or widgets, set up a dummy blog site that mirrors your primary site. That way you can experiment to your heart’s content to see what works for you and what doesn’t, without affecting your primary blog. This will help protect your main blog site from themes that don’t work right, widgets that really slow down loading times or themes that when you see them the next day – you go “what was I thinking?”
  • Once you get your new blog setup the way you want it (usually after a couple of weeks) establish a schedule for when you will review your blog and only make changes at that time, unless an emergency occurs. The time frame is dependent upon your needs, but the longer between major revisions/updates shows more stability on your part.
  • Write down the things that you don’t like about your blog’s present appearance and what you can do to improve it.
  • Create a file folder or electronic notebook where you keep the ideas that you have tried first on your experimental blog site, that you still want to add to your primary site. This way you do not loose those great ideas to improve your blog and it also gives you a chance to stop and reflect on what changes you will make to the blog, instead of making impulse ones that you may regret later. Also when your scheduled blog review comes up, you are ready for what you want to do.
  • My last tip is to review your blog appearance and widgets, at least annually, to ensure that your blog is not stale or that the widgets you are using still meet your needs, this also ensures that the links are all working and pertinent to what you write about.

As anyone who has followed me at my various blogs will attest to, I have broken everyone one of the above tips and wished that I had used them over the course of the past three years.

I have learned from experience that if you are constantly are making changes to your blog’s appearance it does negatively affect your reader’s perception of your blog.

Remember people are not coming to your blog to see how great it looks, they are coming to read the words that you write.