When you first started your blog, you will probably remember the very basic looking design and theme it had. This is because each WordPress installation comes with the default theme of WordPress. If you don’t change this theme, you will then be lost among the millions of other blogs on the internet that have this same default theme. Good for WordPress, bad for you!
However, there is good news. In addition to changing your WordPress theme, there are many other ways you can make your blog stand out from the crowd. In this post we are going to highlight seven of the best ways to make a great first impression with your site, while also looking like an established authority in the process.
Change Your WordPress Theme
As mentioned, changing your WordPress theme is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stand out from the crowd. There are hundreds of thousands of free and premium WordPress themes for you to choose from. Free themes are always nice, but they are often outdated and not the highest of quality.
Over the years, I’ve always had a custom theme for this blog. Right now I’m using a custom version of the RISE theme from ThriveThemes, and I definitely recommend that you check it out if you are serious about the look, feel and customization of your site.
If you can’t afford a custom theme or hiring a designer to do the customization work, there are many other premium theme sites like ElegantThemes.com, which offer a wide selection of themes at a very low annual cost.
Get a Domain Name and Premium Hosting
When starting a blog, you have the option between going with a free hosting service like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, or actually getting your own premium hosting and a domain name to go along with it. The later is definitely your best bet, as it will allow you to not only have complete control over your site, but it will look much more professional than having a long free address off another free service.
Invest in a Logo Design
A great way to make your blog and site name pop, is to have a logo created for your site. Years ago a logo design may have cost a few hundred dollars to create. Now with the addition of sites like Fiverr and many different logo design marketplaces (such as DesignHill and LogoMyWay), anyone can now have a great logo design created for their own site for under $50.
Don’t Let Your Blog Content Dry Out
With several hundred million blogs in the world today, many of them have died out and stopped creating content for their sites. This is the last thing you want to happen to your site, as anyone who comes to your site and see the content is a few years old, it’s likely they won’t keep reading or even come back again.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean you need to create content on a daily basis — just make sure it’s consistent over time. Some of the biggest blogs in the world today might only release new content once every few weeks or even per month.
Get Active on Social Media
With over two billion users spread across all of the major social networks, shouldn’t it be a priority for your blog to be there as well? Of course!
In addition to any personal profiles you might already have setup with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and so on… you should also create accounts for your blog as well. This way you can easily share blog content with your social followers, while also keep track of who is sharing your content and engaging with your audience on their favorite networks.
Engaging Comments Through Your Blog
Just like everyone is using social media to connect with friends and family, blogging is meant to be the same way. Go back ten years ago and most web sites were created with HTML and were a one-sided conversation. With the introduction of WordPress, blogs are now more interactive and allow people to place comments on any blog posts they like.
To increase engagements and comments on your site, be sure to end each post with a call to action, such as asking for your audience’s thoughts in the comments below. It’s also important for you to respond to these comments as well. Everyone loves to be appreciated, and there is no better way to appreciate a blog comment, then to acknowledge them and follow up with your own response.
Keep Your Distractions and Ads to a Minimum
In the world of blogging, it’s very tough to keep people on your site. In fact, over 70% of the people that visit your site for the first time will never come back. It’s not so much about your site content, but that there is already so much out there already.
For this reason, you need to make sure your blog is limited on how many distractions and advertisements you have. Gone are the days of creating a site and throwing as many advertisements on it as you can. Now it’s all about creating compelling content, building a trusted brand and growing your following on a daily basis. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of the Optin Monster popup window (shown below) to grab your visitors email address and follow up with them through a well thought out autoresponder series.
How to Create a Successful Blog from the Start
No matter where you are currently at with your blog, it’s important that you always keep all of these methods in place. Starting your blog off in the right direction from the beginning is one of the best ways to insure you find success down the road.
An excellent way to think about how others might find value in your blog, is to simply look at your site or article as if you were a visitor and what areas you might like or dislike. Put yourself in the eyes of your audience and if your content doesn’t provide value to yourself, why would it be worth posting for others to read?