Today, I started planning my new lifestyle blog. I originally set up WordStamped as a place to describe the journey of building out my other as yet, non-existent, blog.
I want this series of posts to cover a few areas. These are specifically:
- why am I’m building the lifestyle blog
- how I chose the niche
- how I chose to build the blog
- how I set about gaining visitors using free traffic from Google
- how I aim to start earning income from the blog
I’ll tell you what I do as I go. If you’d like to follow along, please do. I’ll let you know which products I use too if you’d like to use the same ones.
As I said, today, the blog does not exist. All I’ve done so far is bought a domain name and some hosting. I will be building the blog using self-hosted WordPress.
Simplicity And Engagement
I will make my blog design very simple, as I want it to eventually attract lots of free organic traffic. Google, other search engines and people you don’t know, tend to prefer simple sites.
The reason that people you’ve never met prefer simple sites, is because, unlike your friends, family and existing clients, they’ve no interest in your ego. They’re interested in finding the answer to the question that brought them to your site.
So if you want them to stay, and even come back, don’t present them with a distracting design and don’t make the menu or navigation so innovative that no-one ever makes it past your homepage.
I’ve explained why I don’t think a fancy design is good for a blog. I also don’t think it’s good for Google. A blog design works best without fiddly bits, and with few animated graphic flourishes.
You don’t want the visitor waiting around for animated eye candy to cease rotating before something happens. People don’t have time, which means they’ll become impatient and leave your site to find one that quickly delivers what they’re looking for.
Every pretty animation costs loading time. You will have to sacrifice load time for features you actually need in order to have the blog make money. These are required – so don’t overload the site with heavy files just to include an animated feature or complicated layout.
The site will eventually run too slowly. Keep everything plain and simple.
Google hates slow sites. Even this site, WordStamped, is too slow for Google. I will optimise it later when I’ve ironed out the overall design and my content starts to flow.
Another reason to keep your site design very, very simple is the problem of visual fatigue. A particularly decorative site will look beautiful the first time and second time you see it, but by the time you’ve add your 90th post, it’ll be boring.
You’ll tire of the decorative borders and floral flourishes that looked so cool on day one, but now look clichéd .
Make your content shine, not the frame it sits in. The theme – the thing that holds all the content together – in my opinion, should be barely noticeable.
We’ve created a simple WordPress theme just for blogging, and I’m using it on this site. It’s still under development as I keep finding things I want to add to it.