Why is it important to look professional as a blogger?
If you are blogging as a hobby and only using it as a way to express yourself, the way that it is presented and how you are viewed as a blogger won’t really make that big of a difference.
On the other hand, if you intend on making money ever, working with other bloggers, collaborating with brands or being taken seriously, you’ll want to make sure that you are presenting yourself as a professional right from the start.
I’m going to share six simple things that will incorporate professionalism into the way you operate your blog, even as a newbie blogger.
1. Purchase a Domain and Be Self-Hosted
As a business owner, your business card and name are everything. For bloggers, your business card is often your blog site or web address. People can make a judgement really quickly as to whether you are taking your business seriously or if it’s just a side-gig.
If you intend on looking professional, you should absolutely own your own domain name. Setting up a free site and name through Weebly, WordPress .com or Wix is great for a hobby, but it’s got no place for someone that is taking their blogging business seriously.
I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my full Affiliate Disclosure for more information.
Let’s compare here. With free hosting and domains, your blog could look like yourbizname.wordpress.com or http://www.username.wix.com/yourbizname. Even if people knew your blog name, would they think to add the rest of the URL to find you? Probably not.
If you set up your blog through a self-hosting site like Siteground, you can purchase a custom domain name and get to be mybizname.com. This is the most widely recognized format and definitely more professional looking.
Outside from just looking professional, owning your own domain and self-hosted site means:
You own your name and your blog. You do not own your content on a freebie site. That means if the site goes under, so do you. Not cool.
You can monetize (make money) on your blog. You can do this with some freebie sites, but it is usually part of a paid upgrade
You have an opportunity to use keywords in your name to align your branding and niche and make your site SEO (search engine optimization) friendly
You can use your domain to create a professional email (more on this later)
The great news is that switching is usually not too difficult. There are a ton of
2. Decide on Your Brand
Branding is really important, right from the very beginning. It covers logos, colour schemes, font types, textures, and overall feel of your blog.
Choosing the right brand to compliment your content will help to keep readers coming back for more. It will also help people to recognize your work quickly and help you to become known as an industry expert.
Now, in saying this, branding can be difficult. There are so many things that go into it. This is something your that will represent your work, so choose carefully. Your brand will always be evolving over time but you won’t want to be making major changes.
If you are savvy, you can create your own branding board really easily. The simplest method is to find some pictures that inspire you. Go to Pinterest and look up colour palettes or check out my Pinterest board dedicated to branding.
Then create a secret board and save all your pins there. When you have around 50 things that inspire you, go back and see what the overall theme is. Remove anything that doesn’t seem to fit and you’ll have a good starting point.
Once you have the general idea, use my free branding board Canva template to create your own. Print it off and keep it handy for when you need to choose fonts and colours.
3. Choose a Great Theme
Choosing the right theme can make or break your blog. If it is cluttered and hard to read, your audience will be less likely to come back to it again. In the beginning, try to stick to clean, simple themes.
My favorite free feminine WordPress themes are Anissa, Kalon, Marlin Lite and Ashe. You can “try” them all on and then choose which one will work best in the beginning. These are easily changed out in
WordPress has thousands of themes that are free. Some of them even have an upgrade if you want to really put your branding into it at some point. But to start, choose something that is easy to read and incorporates at least one
If down the road you want to upgrade, there are a ton of really inexpensive themes at Creative Market and Etsy that you can purchase for under $100.
3. Have a Professional Email
This is really important. You’ll be signing up for all kinds of things as a new blogger. Tools, apps, software, affiliate accounts, social media accounts- and you’ll hopefully be connecting and marketing with other bloggers.
You won’t want to be using your old [email protected]. com if you want to look professional.
The great news is that most self-hosting companies like Siteground offer a free, professional email with your purchase. That way, when you send an email, it will be [email protected] instead.
Definitely more professional.
Also, you should consider what your email signature looks like. It’s a really great opportunity to put some information about you as well as your blog.
You can install and use WiseStamp very quickly and insert all kinds of information into your signature to help people find you and get to know you a little better. Almost like a business card.
Here’s an example of mine. Not only does it include my picture with all my information and ways to find me on social media, but it includes a link to my last blog post, a freebie that I offer and a link to my blogging group on Facebook, The Blogging Babes Collective!
The example shown below was created using the free version but you can upgrade to a paid version that will allow you to update your
5. Create Incredible Graphics
There are two parts to having good graphics.
One, you will need to have a good variety of stock photos to use as backgrounds.
The second is to have an app or software to create graphics for things like pins, posts, ads, header images, Instagram
When I got started, I hunted down all kinds of freebies to use throughout my posts. You would be amazed how quickly that you go through them!
Using stock images in your blog posts is
All of these sites offer beautiful, free stock photos that you can download and use in creating your graphics.
I highly advise against using generic images found on Google. Even with attribution. If you are unsure of what photographs you are allowed to use freely, here is a really great article written by Pikwizard on photography copyright laws.
Once you have a good selection of stock photos to use, you’ll want to use them in your
If you have good graphics, people will naturally want to check out your content. Or at least share your materials. Think about it. Have you ever been on Pinterest and seen an awful graphic and thought, no way, I’m not even looking at that!. I have.
It doesn’t matter what the content is- it could be incredible. But, it’s too late because it was passed up over crappy graphics.
6. Create Quality Content
I’ve saved this for last, but it’s probably the most important of all of these suggestions. You can have an absolutely incredible business sense. Have stellar graphics that get someone to your post and you can completely ruin it all based on poor content.
This will guarantee that no one is coming back for more.
Make sure that your content is useful. It needs to answer questions that your ideal reader wants to know more about. It needs a purpose and a good layout that makes sense.
It also needs good grammar and spelling! I will be the first to admit that I’ve been so excited about writing a post that I have even ignored the squiggly red lines from time to time. In two recent posts. Yes, two! I have had mistakes that I have thrown all over the internet. I can’t get those ones back.
I did some research and found Grammarly, which has been incredible. As I write, it shows little red dots beside my content when there may be errors so it makes it easy to go back and use their suggestions to fix it. Ahhhhh… Yes! No more embarrassing post-mess-ups.
Here’s what Forbes had to say about Grammarly:
Grammarly has a suite of things to help make sure your writing is up to par. There is obviously a grammar and spell checker, plagiarism detector, a browser extension, an add-on for Microsoft Office and you can even download a keyboard app for your phone.
So, here’s a recap of my six suggestions to help you look like a pro blogger in no time flat!
- Purchase a domain and be self-hosted
- Decide on a brand
- Choose a great theme
- Have a professional email
- Create amazing graphics
- Create great content
Those are my suggestions for helping you to look more professional as a blogger. What tools or techniques do you use to help you look more professional? Let me know below!