As the second post of our "How-To" series, we want to share with you some tips on building a blog, based on our experience of starting and making Le Sycomore.
First and foremost, you want to decide on the host for your blog. A platform plays a very important role in conveying your lovely words and pictures to your audience, in the same way that your home decor tells a lot about your lifestyle.
If you are tech-savvy and know coding, Wordpress can empower you to do a lot of customizations, such as webpage design, embedded gadgets, etc.
For most of people, including us, CS is not our expertise, so it’s not a bad idea to leverage an existing template to skip the labor work. Plus, many platforms provide well-designed templates that are both beautiful and functional, meaning to save our work of communication design at the same time. Although you lose some liberty to customize, you get a modern, user-friendly website almost effortlessly. Good deal.
We wanted to build a blog with an emphasis on aesthetics, so Squarespace was a no-brainer, simply because it provides the best-looking modern templates. The only hard thing is to pick one from its large collection — every example looks amazing.
Squarespace makes it easy to import your blog posts from Wordpress and Blogger, so it’s never too late to switch.
Although Wordpress and Blogger offer a lot more templates than Squarespace, the quality of visual presentation is not up to our expectation.
You don’t have to pay for a domain, if you are fine with:
In our opinion, our blog is imperfect if its URL is not clean. Those above-mentioned service providers offering custom domain at an affordable price. Squarespace gives you a complimentary domain if you pay a full year in advance. Registering yourself with GoDaddy and Google Domain costs you as low as $10 a year.
A good domain complimenting with a good name will certainly make your blog looks established and serious. Plus, getting a custom domain doesn’t even require a CS degree, so why not?
Content and Design
This is the backbone and real deal. Every beautiful blog has thoughtfully made content. If the images of a post look out of proportion or the words read careless and casual, audience won’t appreciate or stay. The old saying stays true: “Content is the king."
Even though Squarespace saves you a lot of website design, you still need to customized your page by playing with different layouts of blocks (think LEGO). A personal touch elevates and differentiates your blogs, and demonstrates your taste and sense.
There is no easy laundry list for personalization. Studying your favorite bloggers’ websites is certainly a good way to get yourself started. Some of our favorites are Cup of Couple, Park & Cube, Cereal Magazine and Garance Dore. We explored many different ways and finally settled with the structure that suited us the best, and we will for sure modify it as we continue building up our content.
A helpful tip is to set parameters and guidelines for future blog posts. It not only improves your work efficiency, but also streamlines your style and formats.
Find Your Audience
Identify yourself, find your focus, and blog to your niche. Find your passion and stick with the consistent theme. (food, fashion, design, etc.)
Minimal and Bohemian can be beautiful alike.
As Peter Thiel pointed out in “From Zero to One”, one first needs to be a monopolist in one field to gain users, before expanding to other areas.
Secure your niche and loyal audience, and then explore other possibilities.
No one can deny the power of social media. It almost becomes a necessity to promote your blog.
Instagram and Pinterest are useful if your blog is visual. (Take a look at our tips on editing photos and managing your Instagram account).
Use twitter and Facebook if you are vocal and make informative posts. Snapchat has lately become the favorite tool for fashion bloggers. Its spontaneous engagement makes bloggers look more approachable and real.
You want to be on Bloglovin too, as almost every blogger is using it. It's a great platform not only to keep up with new posts from your favorite sites, but also to find similar great minds and to engage with peer bloggers.
Hope our two cents could be somewhat beneficial to your blog construction process. If you have any bright ideas or any comments, we would love to hear from you!