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I know you’re new at this.

And you know you’re new at this. But that guy over there, on Pinterest, clicking into your post? He doesn’t know you’re new. We should try to keep it that way.

Part of growing a following (and therefore an income) quickly – well… as quickly as possible anyhow – with a new blog is making a yourself stand out from the crowd of other newbie bloggers who look like… clueless lost people, just wandering around and bumping into stuff.

You can BE lost and bumping into stuff, but you shouldn’t make that totally obvious to those who land on your blog. That just scares people away. I should know, I made almost all of the mistakes you can make, and I’m still making some now. (YIKES!)

But, don’t fret, there are a few easy ways to help your blog look a little less new and confused than it really is.

Look less like a newbie blogger: Part 1

First, some blog design stuff. Having a nice theme is pretty important to not looking totally lost. (If you haven’t chosen a theme you love yet, read all about that here!)

(If you go with a free WordPress theme, these first two things are SUPER important.)

1 ) Delete that “hello world” post that WordPress comes with. It’s just an example post for you – it’s not meant to be left visible to the world. It SCREAMS “I have just installed this theme and have no idea how to do anything in WordPress”.

2 ) Also, delete all that “metadata” stuff in the bottom of your side bar. Have you ever seen a successful blog with a bunch of metadata stuff in the side bar? (Or gone to a blog to check out their metadata stuff?)

Nope. Me either.

How to delete that metadata stuff?

→ Go to “widgets” under “appearance” in your WordPress dashboard. (Your sidebar won’t look like this, I’ve added a bunch of stuff to mine of course!) Locate the widget box that says “Meta” and click to open it. Then you can click “delete”. (Should you ever want to add it back in the future, you can do that here too!)

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3 ) Keep your image sizes consistent. (You can edit your photos in picmonkey for FREE, so there is really no excuse for having 3 different sized photos in one post!) Come up with 1 size for vertical images and 1 size for horizontal images and just stick with it. On my blog my vertical images are 800 pixels x 1200 pixels. My horizontal (feature image) pictures are 800 pixels x 500 pixels. Here’s a fantastic post on common image mistakes that bloggers make. Get this stuff right the first time and save yourself TONS of work later. (Unlike I did.)

4 ) Pick a few fonts and colors, and be consistent with them as well. Make sure they are fonts and colors that are easy to read. Especially on a phone, because that is where the majority of people are likely to read your blog from. I am guilty of picking a light teal color that isn’t easy to read on a phone and it needs to be changed, so learn from my mistake here. I also used to have a pretty script font, and I had to face the fact that it was hard to read as well. Changing stuff is time consuming. You are far better off going with something simple from the start.

(On that note, don’t use an obnoxious background that makes it hard to focus on the blog content. Look at a few of your favorite blogs – I’ll bet most of them are written on a plain white background, with plenty of white space left around. This makes reading easier… people will stick around longer if reading is easier.)

Look less like a newbie blogger: Part 2

Once you get that blog design stuff ironed out, (and don’t be afraid to spend a few weeks working on it) there’s other stuff you can do / not do to avoid looking like you’re clueless.

5 ) Create an about page, a privacy policy and a disclaimer/disclosure policy. These are things you will need eventually if you want to monetize your blog – but really, there is no time like the present and they DO help you to look more “professional”.

Here are some great posts written by ladies who will send you in the right direction regarding all this page creation stuff…

How to write a kick ass about page – Val Geisler
Tips for an awesome about page – Allyssa Barnes
Are you disclosing properly? – Amy Lynn Andrews
How to write a disclaimer for your blog –  Nienke Krook

6 ) Create categories, and don’t publish under “uncategorized” (the only category your theme comes with) EVER. 

→ To create categories, click “categories” under “posts” in your WordPress dashboard (1). Name your category (2). Click “Add New Category” (3). Not hard.

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→ Once in your post writing screen, you can assign the categories you have created to your post.

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7 ) Wait to start promoting your blog until you have a few posts in each of your categories. For example, I have the categories of home, health, money, and reflect. If I started promoting my blog with only one money post published, and that was the post that brought you to my blog… well then you’d probably turn around and leave when you found out there were no other money posts to read. A blog with three posts looks like a brand new blog. Write 15 posts (or so) that you are REALLY proud of, then start promotion.

There you go.

7 ways you can help yourself look just a little less like a newbie blogger. Remember, you can’t do it all at once. Start here and keep going! Maybe this post made you realize your sidebar needs a whole lot of work? Well. We’ll get to that 🙂

(Annnnd if you are totally new / have been at it a little while but aren’t getting anywhere, I need to suggest something to you. I did not have a blog 8 months ago. Now I have a blog that I am excited to get up and work on everyday (and it makes money too! Real money). This is ONLY possible because I took a course that opens once a year – in February usually. Elite Blog Academy is freaking amazing. It is THE way to take your blog from nothing to awesome. Enrollment isn’t open right now, but you can put your name on the waiting list so they will notify you when it DOES open. And if you put your name on the list now, you get Ruth Soukup’s newest Ebook – 7 surefire ways to boost your blog income overnight for FREE – so get on the waiting list here.)

7 ways to look less like a newbie blogger