The blogging world has definitely changed a lot in the relatively short three years I’ve been a part of it. And those who have been around a little ( or a LOT ) longer have certainly noticed change as well. In fact, Grace of Design Sponge wrote about this very issue just last week, which you can read right here! It’s a good one, I promise. While I’m not here to talk about the state of blogging – mostly because it’s such a large subject, but also because I haven’t given it enough thought – I AM here to talk about something simple you can do to help encourage readership. And that, my friends, is communication.
It’s true … people don’t comment a lot on blogs nowadays. Our attention span is quickly dwindling as technology has SO MUCH to offer, making it increasingly difficult for bloggers to capture the attention of their readers. But here’s the thing : commenting and traffic hasn’t disappeared. People still come around, enjoy what they see, and leave an occasional comment. Sure, it may not be as much – but why should that matter? Quality over quantity always wins. A long time ago, I stopped caring about traffic and started investing in relationships, which has made all the difference. My readers ( YOU! I love you. You beautiful tropical fish. ) are so thoughtful + creative, that it’s been a blast reading their own thoughts in the comments section or through social media. And because of that, I made a choice to speak back.
I’ve been an avid user of Pinterest for awhile now. Just like most, I have endless boards dedicated to design, fashion, interior, and tasty FOOD. And some secret ones, too. ;) But it wasn’t until recently that I really considered how to use the platform to better my business. While Twitter and Facebook came easily to me, Pinterest was a whole different ball game in terms of marketing yourself. For the longest time, I just posted what was visually appealing to me – and that was that. Pretty mountains? Posted. Tasty cake? Posted. I didn’t give it much further thought and didn’t expect much in return, either.
But then it dawned on me : I have an audience there, too, so why not take advantage of it?? I decided to spend a couple weeks trying new things and learning easy ways of being productive over there for the betterment of my business. I’m not sure why I haven’t tried harder over there before ( face palm ), but it certainly does help! As I’ve always said : the more you put yourself out there, the greater your potential audience can be. Here are just a few things I have learned over on good old pinterest :
BE DESCRIPTIVE For the longest time, I thought it was “cool” to have subtle + overly creative descriptions. But guess what? That doesn’t make you very searchable. If I label that cookie recipe with “scrumptious,” people searching for “cookies” probably won’t find me. With that said, don’t be afraid to get blatent about what you post. I thought I was cheating my creative self and felt like a fraud by doing so, but that’s not the case. Cheers! You’ll now be found easier.
After receiving several emails inquiring about blogging platforms, I thought I would create a post for bloggers discussing the subject. While I highly suggest hiring a designer to create your own custom design, I realize that isn’t always in everyone’s budget from the get go, so I’m writing this from the perspective of template usage. The first thing you will need to do is decide which service you’d like to use for publishing. While there are many out there, the two that I always recommend are SquareSpace and WordPress ( self-hosted ). Their ease of use and support are what make them winners in my book, but I’ll dive more into them both below.
While I personally use WordPress, let’s start with SquareSpace ( SS ). Because if I hadn’t already paid for 2 years of hosting, I think I would switch over to SS sooner than later. You see, the thing that has always captured my attention with SS is their beautiful user interface. It’s much easier on the eyes and as a designer, I’ve definitely taken notice. Plus, they have several meticulously well designed templates that you can choose from and customize ( drag + drop style ), all of which do not require any HTML/CSS knowledge. A definite plus for beginners! Ultimately, you would receive a free domain name, an easily editable template, and a very secure website. It’s an all inclusive package that will leave you worry free.
It’s been awhile since I shared some favorite web fonts ( more here & here ), so I did a little research yesterday to find new ones I had actually never heard of before. And because of that, this may be one of my favorite groupings! I am now SO excited to put some of these into play when it comes to website design. Especially since some of these have a little funk to them, right!? Like the fun curly ends of the top left font, myra. Or the unique loops of the bottom right example, bellota. Well, those AND the pretty “Q” in the middle there. I have a soft spot for that letter since it’s not used much. If you like these, then please – give them a download below! They are free and ready for you to use.
I’ve been asked a few times what wordpress plugins I use + love, so I thought I’d do a little round-up post. Please note that these are subjective and there are usually several kinds of plugins for any given need out there! My suggestion would be to do your research and test em’ out to see what you like best. So without further ado, here are some sweet plugins :
PINTEREST PIN IT BUTTON Nowadays, it’s trendy to have an image hover that allows your readers to “pin” images straight to their boards. There are a TON of options out there for this, but I’ve been most successful with this plugin. The reason I love it is because a separate pinterest box pops up that doesn’t interfere with your actual site. Beware of some plugins that actually take visitors away from your site.
COMMENT REPLY I personally use WordPress’ native “reply to comments” feature in my theme, but if yours doesn’t have that enabled and you don’t know how to do so – I would suggest using a simple plugin like this one or this one. These work straight out of the box and send an email to anyone who has received a reply to their comment. I think having something like this enabled is KEY for communication within your blog. I absolutely love replying to comments on my end and the discussions that ensues!