As I hop around the blogesphere, I look at a couple of different things that will help me decide if I want to follow a blog within the first couple of minutes. A quick list of 10 things that can bring you more followers or make folks rum from your blog never to return again.
1. Design ~ A clean design, with minimal distraction on the sidebars will bring you more followers. A good way to do this is to use pages to display your Awards, have an "about" and contact pages (critical pages for ANY website). Keep your header at 774 x 198 px, this will allow more of the blog to show, and the readers won't have to scroll below the fold line before reading anything.
2. Videos and Music ~ DO NOT have music playing as soon as someone lands on your page. This is a big turn off, not to mention, some people blog hop while the kids are sleeping, or the rest of the family is watching tv. I will leave a blog almost immediately if a player starts up. If you really want music on your site, then set the player to let the visitor select the song, when they are ready to listen. Videos are great! But, if your going to have them on your sidebars, make sure they fit the area in which you placing them. If the video is too big to fit in the sidebar, it will throw off the rest of the site, and visitors will have to scroll sideways to see what you offer. Nobody likes to scroll sideways.
3. Fonts and Color ~ Keep your fonts simple. If you are using a fancy font that is hard to read, visitors will leave before reading the first sentence! And while we are talking fonts, lets talk about content area. Keep the background white, and use black fonts, These are what our eyes are trained to seek out when reading. Font style, content area, and font color can make or break a blog.
4. Flashing Graphics ~ A definite NO NO! When I first started blogging back in 2006, I loved using those flashy graphics that blinked and changed. I had a friend tell me that she could not visit my blog because of all the flashing images because they caused her to have seizures. I started hearing more about this reaction to the images, and now only use them in a minimal way.
5. Know Your Goals ~ Are you blogging just for you and your family? Or do you want to grow a following and maybe monetize your blog? Do you want Sponsors, to do reviews for pay, affiliate marketing? Think about your ultimate goal with your blog, and work your way there.
The most beneficial thing I have done with my Ranch Blog was to take Darren Rowe's 31 Day to Build a Better Blog Challenge. Although this challenge can seem daunting, it is well worth the time to take. And when you have completed the challenge, you can go back and work on days that needed more time to expand on. Get the E-Book, and work your way to a better blog in 31 days!
Orginally published at Jeans and Boots, by Michelle Steiner, Cloud 9 Ranch ~ Sharing Recipes, Gardening Tips, and Stories about living in the country. Michelle owns and publishes on both blogs, while operating her farm with her fiance, Nathan, and works seasonally at John Deere Power Productions (Lawn Mowers), in Greeneville, TN