It seems like the to-do list is never-ending as a blogger, but if you are serious about blogging and growing your brand then there are a few must do's. But, don't worry, I'm going to share some things you can easily do to make yourself look like a pro blogger today.
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Buy a domain.
If you have not purchased your own domain name, this is something you can do that will immediately bring the professionalism of your blog up a few notches. Though prices vary, you should be able to get a domain through GoDaddy at a fairly low cost.
Get a self-hosted site.
While this may not be something the average reader will recognize, there are many benefits of having a self-hosted site that will make your site look professional (not to mention that it will increase your site security). I recommend SiteGround for self-hosting. If you haven't purchased a domain, yet, you can get it when you sign up for hosting. If you do have one, you can transfer it. SiteGround has excellent customer service and will handle the content migration and domain transfer for you, all you have to do is get signed up.
Use professional images.
You don't have to be an amazing photographer to create amazing images. You can use stock photography (there are many great sites with free photography, two of my favorites are Unsplash and Pixabay). You could also choose to pay for stock photos. I like to purchase photos from Canva, which is where I create my images.
Create social media images.
Look like a pro by creating images that are optimized for each social media platform. You can easily do this in Canva, as well.
Put legal policies and disclaimers on your site.
Install share buttons.
Every professional blogger knows that they need to make sharing easy for their readers. If you don't have buttons for your readers to share, you are missing out on potentially broadening your audience. Two of my favorite sharing platforms are SumoMe and Shareaholic.
Place social media buttons at the top of your sidebar.
You want to make sure that your readers know how to connect with you outside of your bar. Make sure to place your social network follow buttons at the top of your sidebar.
Make sure you have a picture and brief bio in your sidebar.
Your readers want to know who you are and what your blog is about! Place your picture and a very brief bio as close to the top of your sidebar as possible.
Declutter your blog.
When I first started blogging, I read this book on how to become a 6 figure blogger. While there were many things that I gained from the book, one thing that stuck out to me the most is that professional bloggers don't clutter their sidebars with buttons and badges, unless they appeared a nationally acclaimed publication. If you want to appear like a professional, take down the badges and buttons.
Create brand consistency.
Professional bloggers are consistent with their branding. It doesn't matter which social network you see them on, you will know it's them. You can easily create brand consistency by making sure all of your profile pictures, banners, etc. match.
Give plenty of opportunities to join your newsletter.
You will notice a common theme on any pro blogger's site - there is always a freebie. And, not just that, but there are plenty of opportunities to join the email list. I always say that you should give your readers three chances to join your list. On. every. single visit. (i.e. a pop-up, opt-in in the sidebar, embedded in the post).
One way to bring up the professionalism of your site and brand is to sell products. Don't have anything to sell? Not a problem! You can easily sell products with a drop shipping or print on demand services, such as Zazzle or Printful. You can also signup as an Amazon Influencer and easily suggest your favorite products to your readers and followers.