Some people blog for fun, others want to start a business with their blogs. If this is you then when you start a blog there are a number of steps you can take to make yourself look like a professional blogger from the very beginning. By doing these from the start you won't need to make over your blog down the track and it will make you look like you know what you are doing.
How to Look like a Professional Blogger
After five years of trying and testing, here are my ways to look like a professional blogger from the start:
For me, WordPress is where you want to be. It has everything you need and is so easy to use. But don't waste your time starting with the .com version if you are looking to have this as a business. It doesn't support ads, plugins and loads of other things. You are better off starting on the .org platform from the very beginning. I made this mistake and it means then transferring everything from one site to another. It was annoying and unnecessary. You can also use Blogger but I know nothing about that platform. Avoid WIX and other things like that- WordPress and Blogger are the two biggest and they are the most supported.
You can also self-host with Siteground - this sets up your blog with WordPress once you sign up. This is one of the most popular ways for bloggers to set up their blog. It's very easy to use and only costs about $50 a year. This cost is to set up your blog and to host it for a year so it's really affordable and great for starting out.
Register a business and domain name
Make sure the domain name you want is available before you choose and register your business name. You don't want to be making changes down the track or having a domain that doesn't match your name. It's bad for your branding and your SEO. Make sure you check for any trademarks as well. You really don't want yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.blogspot.com. Also, make sure you register domain names that are similar to yours so that no one copies you with something so close. I buy all my domain names from Crazy Domains. I find them really affordable and easy to use and the instructions for setting up your DNS so you can have a Gmail account with your domain name is really easy. You can also check what domains are available.
Have an email address with your domain name
Nothing looks more unprofessional than having email@example.com as your email address. You can either set an email up through your host or, what I recommend, which is set up a business account with Gmail. I love this because you can access it anywhere like a regular Gmail account but it's all with your domain. This is also the account you'll use with your Google Analytics. Having a blog email that has your domain makes you instantly look like a professional blogger.
Have a Work with Me page
As a professional blogger, if you want to work with brands then they need to know how to reach you. Have a page about you, your blog, your interests and what you write about and then have your email address (not a form) available on this page so you are easy to contact. Nothing puts brands off more than you being uncontactable. As well as blogging I also work in PR and if I can't find a blogger's email immediately (not a form) I take them off the list. The reason a form doesn't work is that brands and PR can't add your details to their media list if there is only a form, so you end up in the too hard basket.
Align your social media
A Professional blogger needs business social media accounts. Have a blog instagram (not your personal one), blog facebook page, Pinterest, whatever you are into. Don't be using your personal pages as blog pages.
Once you have set these up make sure you have your blog link and your contact details clearly displayed as well.
To help with managing your social media I recommend Meet Edgar. It takes a little while to import all your content (if you have a lot) but it's the absolute best and it means you can set up a blog social calendar and not need to post manually to facebook every day. I post about 5 - 7 times a day on facebook so this seriously saves me about 20 hours a month. I would be lost without it. You don't have to only load it with your blog posts, you can set up questions, memes, videos - whatever you want to share.
This link for Meet Edgar will get you $10 off your first month so you can try it out.
If you want to build traffic, Pinterest is a great way to do it. But, just like other social accounts, it can take forever to be pinning every day. Time that could be spent on other things. So I use Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest. I increased my Pinterest traffic by about 1000% after using Tailwind (chances are you found this article on Pinterest!). Tailwind also has Tribes, which you can only access through them. They are basically group boards to join in your niche. If you sign up, get the year subscription. It's way better value for money.
Use great photographs
Blogs are a visual medium as well as a written one and it's important that your photographs are of a good standard. No grainy, crappy pics of the kids or badly lit shots of the product. I learned this the hard way. I'm not naturally a visual person so it took me a long time to learn what a good picture looks like. I had some solid lessons from a friend who is a photographer and I still send her pics for approval and advice. So if you have a photographer friend hit them up for some tips.
You want natural lighting, so take it near a window, not with the lights on. Get some MDF boards and paint or contact them to use as boards to photograph on or as backdrops. Below is my favourite board at the moment. I just use the $3 contact from Kmart on an MDF board and it looks like a table.
If you aren't great at photographs, don't be afraid of stock photos. Canva is what I use for all my graphic design. Images are either free or $1 for a single use license and they have thousands to choose from. You can also by stock photos from Etsy and there are free photos available on sites. Two of my favourites are Unsplash and Pixabay.
I mainly use my iPhone for photos as I have the iPhone 11 Pro and its camera is great. It doesn't matter if you have an DSLR or just a phone, as long as your photos are clear, clean and well lit. I edit my photos on Colour Story app on my phone but people also love VSCO.
Have a blog style guide
This is something I just didn't get at first. I used whatever sized photos etc. But it's really important for your blog to be consistent. Each of my blog posts has a header image and these are made in Canva. I use the facebook app template because then when I post to Facebook, the photos fit properly.
Have your fonts and colours too. If you get a Canva business subscription (about $12 a month) you can upload your own fonts and save your blog colours which makes this so easy when you are trying to look consistent.
Hopefully, these tips help you start off your blog on the right foot so you don't have to redo your blog several times like I did! There's nothing worse than looking back at those early posts and thinking, "what was I even doing?".
Now that you have read all this head over to find out how to turn a PR pitch into a sponsored post!
Good luck on your quest to be a professional blogger and let me know if you have any questions!