I have been working on cleaning up my blog. Again.I read somewhere that the less clutter there is the more pleasant it is for visitors, and maybe they will return more often. I like that idea. What blogger doesn’t like repeat visitors? So, as a visitor of many other blogs, and keeping that advice in mind, I have tried to make my blog esthetically pleasing – easy on the eyes, interesting to view, and a snap to navigate.
Here are my ten points on how to create a welcoming blog:
- WordPress has many themes, most of them free, a few I have tried and liked a lot but I’ve decided that my choice of three columns is a convenience for me. I like that I have my written content in the middle and on either side I can choose widgets to contain the extra things I want to share, things I hope my readers will benefit from and enjoy.
- I have tried to keep it as simple as I can, removing the extra unnecessary items that really don’t do much to enhance what my blog is about. That has evolved over time and is ongoing.
- I chose a theme with adjustable background colours I can change if I want to; right now light blue is working well. It’s calming and, I think, makes the writing easy to see. Plus, for the month that WordPress has snow falling on my blog if I want it (and I do), I can adjust the colour to see the snow more clearly.
- I recently discovered menus! All my page names are in the top bar of every page and now you can mouse over them for drop-down menus. Fun! I enjoy that feature on blogs I visit; it’s like finding hidden treasure. 🙂 And it’s a convenient way to see what’s offered without having to take forever to search for it, such as writers helps. Another great thing is that using drop-down menus, I listed all my individual book reviews posted here so far, but – being concerned about monitors that have smaller screens – I divided the list into two per year where necessary so the reader can access every review. One long list could mean the reader might miss the books at the bottom, and they’re too good to miss. The menus can be layered to accommodate what I needed to do.
- The calendar in my left column has the dates of my blog posts in each month underlined.That way it is a reminder to me that I need to get busy writing, and an easy way for visitors to see if there is a post they may have missed.
- Because I find it difficult to keep to a tight routine, not as many posts are written as I would prefer, but I schedule posts ahead if I have been able to get them prepared. That’s another great feature on WordPress. It is very easy to use, along with drafts to save for later use.
- I wanted a countdown clock so did an online search for one. What I discovered is that WordPress has one right here! It’s called Milestone, which is why I didn’t recognize it as a countdown clock. It doesn’t even look like a clock but I like it; it’s easy to use and program. Now I have it in my right column to count down to writers workshop dates and to introduce upcoming topics. I also put up a second one when I have a scheduled author interview or book giveaway to announce. How simple, fun, and convenient!
- There are many other items offered by WordPress that are very helpful and some of them you can check out here on my blog. I mentioned only a few of the ones I chose and enjoy the most. I like that WordPress is so user-friendly and the team is always working to improve and add to what they offer. And one of the best things is most of the themes allow the user to personalize their blog, which is what a blogger really wants. Making your blog represent who you are can only enhance it.
- I am very grateful for the spam filter (Akismet), used here. It has been 99.87% accurate on my blog! The team is always aiming to stay ahead of that battle. Along with that, I’m happy with the way the comments section is set up as I have the choice to approve or deny comments as they come in. I choose to require people to fill out their name and email address in order to comment, but that is to be sure they are sincere. I also DO NOT give that information to anyone else, but I do use it to notify the person if they have won a book. 🙂 If that setting is discouraging you from leaving comments, please be assured that I am safe. 🙂 In my opinion, that setting qualifies as a good feature once the blog feels safe to the visitor.
- Perhaps the most important point in creating a welcoming blog is to BE welcoming. So simple a thing to do. My way of doing that is to try to be myself with everyone. I share what’s on my mind, what’s going on in my life – while trying to not go overboard with that, along with posting what my blog is mainly about … which is WRITING. I am delighted to have YOU visit me and let me know you have been here. I love it when you leave a comment or “like” a particular post. Oh, there’s another fun feature. 🙂
These are a few things I hope will help you a little in creating a welcoming blog. They are what I have figured out over the three years I’ve been here on WordPress. In fact, January 9 was my third WordPress birthday. Thank you for making my blogging an adventure I truly enjoy. (most of the time) 🙂 Oh, and if you want to subscribe to receive notice of new posts, you’ll find an easy-peasy widget at the top of my left column. It’s automated and free to sign up! 🙂
What blogging features or tips have you found that work for you?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂