So You Think You Can Blog? Make your Blog Visually Appealing

January 26, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

I am a graphic designer. I make my living designing websites.

I’m letting you know that – because I’m going to tell you something that may seem self-serving…. but it’s true.
Your website will get better results if you pay a professional designer to set it up, to create your branding, to customize your theme – and make your wordpress site run.

CAN you do it yourself? Sure. But I don’t recommend it.

I know that not everyone has the kind of budget that would allow for such a thing – and so I’m cool with you deciding to do it on your own until you can afford to do it later. But I think you should decide that at some point – it’s going to be part of your plan.

What to do in the meantime? Install a nice looking theme for your blog  – and do a little customization if it lets you. Be CAREFUL where you get your themes though.
Check out this old article that explains why..

But you do want to make your blog appealing. Here’s a quick bit I did that talks about Good Design – and how to apply it.

Stay tuned next week for Why Design Matters: Ugly People Don’t Sell Cigarettes
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So You Think You Can Blog? Part 3 – Make a Plan! Work Ahead!

January 19, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

So you think you can blogIf you really want your blog to succeed – don’t just expect it to happen. I’m a huge fan of planning and working ahead when it comes to blogging.
1. It assures that you won’t get behind. You’ll always have content posting!
2. It gives you a chance to explore topics over the course of several weeks, rather than just a long boring posts that gets a <tl;dr> response. (too long;didn’t read)

My advice is to take the blog post that you would normally have written, and split it up into four or five smaller parts – posting those parts once a week.

That spreads ONE post into a whole month of posting!

I use Google Docs to create a calendar, and I chose a topic for every month. Then I split that topic into four or five parts – and write a short post for each part!

You can concievably do a whole year in just one month, if you really work on it!

That might be a little ambitious – but if you schedule a time when you will be writing – and if you try to do several weeks at a time – it keeps you ahead, and assures that you’ve got content ready to go!

Stay tuned next week for So You Think You Can Blog? Make your Blog Visually Appealing
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So You Think You Can Blog? Part 2- Mission/Vision/Goals

January 12, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

10410139_10203815116556050_7878995143543738718_nThis is the most important thing you’ll ever do for your blog!

1. Defining your mission –
Make sure your mission identifies your target, and what you want it to communicate.

IE – My blog at has this as it’s mission statement:

We are committed to equip, educate, and entertain men in a way that is engaging and fun.

Keep your mission statement simple, write it down – print it out – and memorize it. Everything your blog does should be GUIDED by your mission statement.

2. Vision –
This goes beyond your mission. This is what you hope your blog will accomplish. What you hope your blog will become. Keep in mind that monetization may be a part of this!

I’d like it if could be a site with dozens of writers, and with several posts a day, and a weekly podcast. I’d like it to generate revenue from affiliate links and advertisers, as well as to promote books and products from my writers. I’m hoping that one day it can become an actual men’s magazine!

Is this a detailed vision? No. Does it have to be a specific vision statement? No. But it helps to have an idea where you would like it to go – and what you want it to accomplish.

MAYBE you want to be an author – in which case your blog should help establish you as an expert in your field, and showcase your writing styles, and to build your platform. Eventually you want it to become a communication and PR hub for your work, as well as a sales tool to sell your books!

MAYBE you have a storefront in a small town – you might be using your blog to help promote your products, and inform your customers of specials and savings. You could say that your vision is to grow to an ecommerce site, or just to engage your clientele and attract new customers as well.

3. Goals –

Write some goals for your blog. This could include content goals – ie – I hope to have three posts a week written and schedule for the entire year by the end of January.

They may include readership goals – I hope to have 100 visitors a day to my blog by the end of June.

Remember that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.

S- Specific
M- Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Results-Focused
T – Timebound (give it a deadline!)

Stay tuned next week for So You Think You Can Blog? Make a Plan! Work Ahead!
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So you think you can blog? Where to start!

January 5, 2015 in Blog, Marketing Monday

Many people want to blog for a number of reasons. I can’t necessarily give an exact plan for ever possible purpose – but let’s talk about where to start if you plan on starting a blog.

A) Your Brand. If you desire to be a professional writer, I encourage you to build your brand around your name. Even if not – everyone that CAN should spend the 11 bucks a year to keep their name as a doman name if it is available, so that someone else doesn’t snag it! It’s a great way to secure that if you ever need that platform, it’s there.

But whatever you brand is – take some time to think about what it is. Next week, we’ll talk about Mission/Vision/Goals – and you can apply that brand thinking there as well.

B) WordPress (preferable self-hosted)
I know a lot of people like Blogger / Blogspot for their blogging – and I used it for years – but it isn’t as versatile as wordpress.

And I do recommend that you get started with a self-hosted wordpress blog.

How do you do that?
– Buy your doman name and hosting (Usually starting out at $11 a year and $5 a month)
-Install WordPress
-Pick a Theme and Customize it
-Start Blogging

Not sure how to do that? Let me know! I can get you setup with a basic wordpress install, hosting, domain name, and some basic theme customization for a reasonable monthly fee and a reasonable setup cost.

C) Make a plan! We’ll talk more about that in the coming weeks as well! But if you expect your blogging to just “happen” – it doesnt. You have to make a plan for what you are going to write, and when you are going to write it!

What if I don’t have ANY budget? I’d encourage you to start out at with a free account – but keep in mind that you will eventually want to transfer it to a self-hosted blog, if you want the credibility and flexibility that it offers!

Stay tuned next week for the next installment of So You Think You Can Blog? Mission/Vision/Goals
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