In this article, I’ll give you 5 important blogging tips that even some professional bloggers overlook. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing this for years, I can assure you that these tips will totally optimize your blog and bring it to the next level. Note that all the tools I mention are completely free!
1. Use Royalty-Free Photos
Many popular stock photo websites actively look for copyright infringements. Don’t just google image search a picture and put it on your blog. Using copyrighted stock photos or other blogger’s pictures is not only poor etiquette, but could also result in a lawsuit. Also note that you see one of your pictures being used without your permission on another website, you can file a DMCA takedown request to their web-host. Chances are that your request is going to be taken very seriously, and that their entire website is going to be removed for copyright violation. Remember that anyone can do this, so be careful with copyrighted material on your website! Either take your own pictures, or use freely available photos. Some of my favortite sources for this are Flickr’s Creative Commons, Pixabay, and the Wikipedia commons. Since many royalty-free photos found there can be edited, you can easily tweak and crop them in photoshop to create something more personalized.
2. Use a Responsive Theme
Over half of my readers use phones and tablets. This is why it’s so important to have a responsive theme, meaning it adapts to smaller resolutions. To test if your theme is responsive if you’re on a computer, simply make your browser smaller. If everything moves so it’s still on the screen without needing to scroll to the right, then it’s responsive. You can also use this great tablet simulator.
3. Optimize Loading Speed
If your blog takes forever to load, people aren’t going to stick around. To find out how quickly your page loads when your readers access it, you can use Pingdom Website Speed Test. It will give your site a score out of 100. The most common mistake is having pictures that are too big in file size, so make sure to resize all your pictures and compress them! To shrink .png files, I use TinyPNG.
4. Get a Domain and Hosting
If you’re using Blogger/Blogspot, Google basically owns your blog. This means they can delete your site at any point without your permission. You’re also missing out on plugins (see tip#5), which Blogspot doesn’t have. If you’re using WordPress.com, you still can’t have plugins and you have to pay an absurd amount of money to have a decent ad-free blog. I highly suggest breaking free! This means buying a domain as well as hosting. You will be able to self-host your blog, which only costs about 5$ a month, and use an unrestricted version of WordPress for free. If you’re serious about blogging, this is an essential step.
5. Get Some Good Plugins
Simply put, WordPress Plugins are tiny add-ons that make your blog better. Plugins are super quick and easy to install, and there’s one for everything! You can add nifty things to your blog: for example, my contact form is a plugin, as well as the “related posts” feature at the end of every post. You can also use plugins to optimize your blog, such as image compressors or spam filters.
If you have any questions about these tips, or if you want me to go in-depth about either one of them, drop me a line!
Suzana Rose is the founder and editor-in-chief of Cruelty-Free Kitty. She loves using her creative energy to run her ethical businesses, and when she’s not working, you can find her thrifting cute clothes, listening to podcasts, or rewatching her favorite episodes of The Office.