Hi, there I’m Bill K. Scamaton and I’m sure you’re here to learn a few tips and tricks about blogging and how you can learn to build a better blog. Oh, I’m no psychic, the reason I know that’s the reason you are reading this is I understand the concept of perceptive readers. While most beginning bloggers focus on the writing content, topics they cover, finding their voice; they often ignore how the reader has already made a subconscious decision of how they feel about your content before even reaching the first sentence. Like how you formulate an opinion about a restaurant before the food is even served, a blogger must know ways to make their blog a familiar, cozy, and efficient establishment before hoping customers give it a five-star review on Yelp or RestauRants. If you want to know more about perceptive readers and other useful advice be sure to purchase my book – Bloggles the Mind: Tips and Tricks for Better Blogging pre-orders available tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek of 5 different ways to ensure you don’t give off the wrong first impression.
This is the most important advice I could give a blogger and it’s what I tell everyone who comes to me for advice whether they’re just beginning their blogging journey or someone who’s looking for ways to take the next step. To go back to restaurant analogies have you ever heard of a place that just opened up and it’s popping! It’s the most hip and trendy place that everyone is going to check out this weekend? Well that should be the goal for your blog. People want in on what’s popular and will follow the crowd like a bandwagon; think about all those sports fans who follow those New Jersey Patriots of Golden Gate Warriors? To appear popular is to have a large follower amount (as an added bonus most sites have this awesome widget that let’s followers appear on the sidebar of people’s blogs) to achieve this all we have to do is remember L.I.F.E. . What does life stand for? Well it stands for:
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take so why not get familiar with the follow button or what I like to call the free advertisement button. Even if only 5% follow you back, that’s 5% more than if you don’t follow anyone at all. It’s good if you can find what market of people your blog wants as an audience. If you want to do movie reviews find and follow other people who discuss movies or anime or books or whatever you’re doing. Heck if you wanted to do blogging advice then you’d have the fortunate position to be able to literally follow everyone because everyone who owns a blog at least has a slight interest in making a good blog. Ha ha just become an expert like me first. Remember there’s nothing sadder than a blogger with no L.I.F.E.
Personalize and Design Your Blog
Now Everyone’s blog should be a reflection of the person behind it. Immediately you might feel limited by the free WordPress blog layouts and feel the need to purchase one of the more intricate designs. However, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to but you can still add a lot of personality through the graphic design you put on your website. I hear you; Bill I don’t know a lick about no graphic design, or I don’t have the budget to be downloading no Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Here’s a solution that solves both those problems.
There’s a website called Canva.com and it is a great resource for anyone looking to do simple graphic work. What’s great about Canva is that it comes in templates of different aspect ratios for your preferred task: blog banner, poster, infographic, CD covers, even resume among others and it will even give you design templates that practically do all the work for you. However, Canva gives you plenty of options to get creative and personal giving plenty of different: Photos, colors, text fonts and templates, backgrounds and even allows for you to upload your own images. You have access to a lot of convenient design options for free but you can upgrade to a pro version that has interesting features of building a personal brand kit, a design school to learn intermediate functions of Canva, and even share your design with a collaborative team.
When it comes to personalizing your site there’s a right way and a wrong way. Let’s look at this one example of a blog post I found where personalizing your site went wrong:
I know what you’re thinking, what a mess, an ugly view that’s completely un-clickable. Whoever this nincompoop is that made this trash thumbnail probably wasn’t thinking of perceptive readers. Yeah maybe you could say it gives an impression of who’s writing and maybe the crude aesthetic is a reflection of the childish and cheap content of the blog… but this ain’t what personalizing you’re blog is about. Designing for your blog should be about making the most clean and contemporary look for your content. Let’s Canva-ize it:
Now look at that beauty, honestly now doesn’t that look so nice and professional it could belong to any real website out there. Remember the motto “personalize the site, but make it look nice”.
If you want to blog, you’re must improve your ability to write… … … hashtags. Good thing there are the tools available to help you do that. The two I know about are Keyhole which is okay but requires a free trial or RiteTag. Below is an image of what analytics being available from a basic keyhole report.
RiteTag can actually be implemented so that it can generate and recommend hashtags for you. It can help you find the right hashtag based on whether you’re looking for impressions, sharing or what’s good for longevity. I have two examples from the sports world, as you can see here’s a data set on tweets revolving around the NBA Finals. Then a trendy topic right now is the WWE’s new competition, Ninja Sword Fighting Wrestling.
From this you can see what conversations are being held about Ninja Sword Fighting Wrestling and what are clever ways to approach fellow twitter users. You can see a lot of the conversation is how unlike the family family WWE, Ninja Sword Fighting Wrestling is a more mature adult product while admittedly more amateur. Everyone is wondering if this show will have a comparable girl wrestling division to compete with Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey of the WWE. If you really want to get into the weeds you can get some real traction talking about Chris Jericho’s new submission maneuver the cuckold in which he chock’s out his opponent to give his tag team partner the satisfaction of getting the pin. Knowing the most effective ways to join certain conversations and make your presence more visible shows just how we can work smarter not harder. To be a better blogger you have to improve your writing… …. …… of hashtags.
Knowing Copyright from Wrong
You think as an expert on all things blogging related that would mean I have a thorough understanding of article 13 and how that effects international copyright. However, that would take to long to explain so for this point I will be referring to U.S. copyright law. When you go and create an expression of an idea and convert it into a fixed medium of expression congratulations you own the copyright for that creation. Owning a copyright means you and only you have the right to copy, distribute, make derivative work, publicly display, and publicly perform that material. There are limits to copyright which include you can’t own historical facts or general ideas or concepts. If you want to make a movie about a poor boy falling in love with a rich girl nobody owns that vague idea. Likewise nobody owns the sole rights to make a movie about the Titanic sinking. Now if you combine both of those, make the names Tulip and John and have a substantially similar story to a “certain” flick than you might be in violation of copyright.
Your defense is fair use, and it’s important to know when using images or material that ain’t your own you must believe you are justified by:
Purpose of the use (educational, nonprofit, review, commentary, parody)
Nature of copyrighted work (movies, novels, and song are meant to be discussed and provoke creativity)
Amount of copyrighted material taken (How much do you steal)
Effect on the market value of the copyrighted work (How much damage does it do to the original owner/ can it act as a substitute of experiencing the original).
If you want to know how much of a certain material you can take or think because you check one of the fair use clauses you’re safe don’t be so sure. Copyright is tricky because the rulings are dealt out by a subjective jury or judge ruling. Someone is going to be giving these factors as things to consider and they can say “yeah, that’s transformative” or “nah, too similar to exhibit A”.
Copyright is most problematic when you want to use an image or song that you don’t own. Images are easy to avoid, if you’re willing to deal with limited search results. You can go to plenty of sites Flickr, Pixabay, Pexels, Wikimedia Commons, etc. or you can Google image search and filter Labeled for reuse in the tools bar. Of course, it is always good practice to follow through and find it on the site and confirm it is either CC 0 (Public Domain), CC-BY (Give author credit) or whatever copyright licensing the picture has. For music you should get the appropriate license for that song though there are plenty of libraries from: Bensounds, YouTube audio library, Jamendo, free sound.org, Incompetech, even Moby Gratis from that weird bald guy who likes to think he dated Natalie Portman will give you music if you give proper credit and you can get some pretty nice tunes without being a filthy thief.
However, stealing is only a crime if you get caught, Millions of people pirate Game of Thrones and you don’t see the Patty Wagon going around to arrest your neighbor Steve. So in my expert opinion in all my years of blogging nobody ever dealt with the consequences of a hand caught in the cookie jar so I say “use it, abuse it, why not? Just don’t get caught!”
Don’t Take Advice from Strangers
It gets to the point where there’s plenty of blogs going around and offering helpful whatnot’s and general Dodads that if someone appears in your feed claiming to be some sort of expert of the craft, how trustworthy are they? I’m sure that there are a lot of helpful and sincere people who do know some tricks to the trade but It really can’t beat getting that advice from a respective blogger who you follow and connect with their content that is willing to let you have some insight into their process than some self-proclaimed expert selling something.
For more fantastic advice that you just can’t get enough of be sure to purchase my book Bloggles the Mind: Tips and Tricks for Better Blogging. You might find good advice out there, but there just ain’t none as good as Bill K. Scamaton in helping blogs grow, and profit and profit. Thank you all for stopping by, be sure to follow me for more advice on how to better your blog!
I Don’t want to ruin anyone’s immersion to the bit, but I also want to peel the curtain back for a sec. While good ole Bill certainly has some interesting pointers if anyone is looking for some actual decent perspectives, I highly recommend The Anime Communities’ “The One Thing We Wish We Would Have Known When We First Started our Blogs” the panel really was insightful and covered a nice variety of topics. It put a smile on my face and it’s not because I might have a little cameo or even the ironic embarrassment of hearing people emphasize the importance of grammar and then being the one to have a grammar mistake…Oops. Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re a perceptive reader and found the right advice in any of this if it’s there.