Most of the time, a blog is information oriented. This means people visit a blog for a specific topic of information. There are many blogs. There are 1,320,434 registered on Technorati alone. Top blogs are The Huffington Post, Mashable! and CNN Political Ticker to name a few of the top 100 blogs.
How does a new home business blogger make their blog stand out. Of course, great blog posts, keywords and link building are the obvious solutions. But I’m not exactly referring to page rank.
I mean how does the home business blogger spruce up a blog? Make it interesting? Different. Maybe give it a design element or two?
It’s easy. First, a new home business blogger wants to devote their attention to the overall design of the blog and of course, the layout. [Then] there are a few common HTML snipits that can spruce up a blog post.
1. The blog header. There are some blogs that have this huge image at the top of the blog. I don’t fault the blogger for this. Everyone gets to do whatever they want with their blog. But… keep in mind that you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your visitor. Few, if any, will scroll down to find the gold.
What I mean is that what a visitor sees when she first lands on your blog is it. Be sure that you don’t waste this valuable real estate.
In other words, make your header small and leave the space available for the good stuff. This way the visitor sees the gold on your blog right away and sticks around to learn more.
I suggest to our clients that a header that is no deeper than 120 px is best. Maybe even less. It should be deep enough to hold a banner ad so you can get those money-making clicks.
2. The layout. I’ve experimented with 3 layouts: a) the 3-column layout where the main post goes in the center. It’s flanked by two smaller columns. Quite some time ago, I discovered that some search engine bots scan the source code top left down. Not across. If the first bit of code is ads at the top of the left column sidebar, it could affect page rank. In other words, if you use a 3-column layout, the bots scan that code before they even get to your main post. Ugh!
That’s when I went to the 3 column layout with both smaller columns on the right of the main post area. Well, this worked, except when I wanted to put something wide there.
Unless you maintain a huge or I should say wide blog such as 1500 px, you’re going to have 2 sidebar columns that are each quite narrow in width
I finally opted for the 2-column layout: The main post area shows first with the sidebar column on the right in a less wide depth. This is what works for me, but it may not work for you. It’s just info to use or discard.
3. Monetize. For those who want to monetize (make money) your blog, you probably want to add Google Adsense to your blog. Others, too, but Adsense is reliable and can deposit a tidy sum in your account every month.
The thing to remember here is that your visitor will click away at some point. I mean leave your blog. Give them a link to click that makes you money. Display Adsense text and banner ads.
One of the rules for Google Adsense is that you can only use their code 3 times on a page or post. Now keep in mind that that includes the post itself. So if you add the Google code to a post just once… but you have it on 10 posts — you’ve violated the rules. Penalties are not pleasant.
The best place to position your Google Adsense banners and text ads are the top of the blog where people can see them quickly and easily, and the sidebar, because it only shows once even though the posts change.
Now, Google’s blogger software also lets you show ads between posts. This may be a good option if making passive income is your goal, and you decide to go with Google’s Blogspot.
Of course, if you opt for a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can create a layout that suits you and install a plugin for Adsense to appear at the bottom of posts.
Common HTML to Spruce Up Blog Posts
After experimenting with Google’s blogspot, Typepad and WordPress, what I discovered is that most common HTML is accepted. In other words, you can write HTML code right into the HTML side of the post and it should display nicely.
Google’s Blogspot is quite flexible. You can even write the code on the non-HTML side and it automatically fixes itself to display as intended without the raw code showing.
Typepad is a little more finicky. Some HTML code needs to be applied using Typepad standards. But the code if fairly easy to locate and there is lots of support. You can see how I hard-coded some design elements into a Typepad page here. Obviously, this common HTML code works on a WordPress blog, as well.
For my purposes, the self-hosted WordPress blog is the best. Just about any HTML code is accepted. For my site, I attached my own CSS style sheet. This makes it easy to size type, change colors and add HTML code styles to spruce up blog posts as much as I want. Although, I did discover that too much design spuce up is not good. It distracts the reader and increases click-aways.
The dotted line common HTML code works well to highlight a text or a word passage that varies from the blog post topic but is important to note.
Much of what most bloggers need can be applied with the HTML editor [that most blogging platforms come with]. I personally don’t use the editor. I prefer to use my own CSS styles. Here are a couple of common HTML code snipits that are not part of most HTML editor that you may find useful:
Some blogs publish small text. This is 11/12px — It used to be the norm. Most think it’s too small for a font setting. Add the following code to your widget sidebar or post to increase the size of the type displayed.
Granted, the best way to handle this is with CSS, but try this. The type size on this blog is actually controlled by CSS and has a larger setting. Add the following code to the HTML of your blog post when you want to increase the font size. Of course, no guarantee it will work on your blog.
HTML Code to Increase Font Size
An example CSS style sheet you can download, review, modify and attach to your blog if allowed is coming up in a future issue of Home Business News. Don’t miss it. Subscribe now.
DM-Creative’s Home Business blog is dedicated to supporting home business success. Get posts by Email, follow @dmcreative on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, and please leave a comment. Any comment. It means so much. Thanks.