Since starting Girl Loves Gloss five years ago, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about what makes a great blog. Truth be told, I wrote another blog before this for several years in a different field. So I’ve got at least a decades worth of blogging mistakes under my belt! When I read other blogs (which its a fave pastime of mine) I love for very specific things. There are 5 easy to fix changes that every blogger should make (in my opinion!) to give their readers a better experience. Since I know many of my readers are bloggers themselves, I thought I would share. If you’re not a blogger, fear not – regularly scheduled programming will return tomorrow!
1. Not directing links to open in a new tab
One of the biggest goals of any blogger is to get their content read. Ideally, we want you not to just read one article or post, but sniff around a little and read a few more. Heck, I want you all to fall in love and come back frequently to see what’s new! So when I see bloggers that don’t use links that open in a new tab or window, I scratch my head a little. As a reader, when I click on a link and it takes me to a retailer, my mind has changed thought path. I’m probably not going to remember to go back to the blog that mentioned that product in the first place, unless I already follow that person. However, if the link opens in a new tab/window, once I am done shopping and click away, your blog is still there and I might stick around a little longer and read a few more posts!
Not sure how to have your blog link open in a new window or tab?
2. Not Linking to Products
So speaking of linking, I personally believe one of the best ways to connect your readers to products, articles and studies that you mention is to directly link to them. It stems back to that whole ‘site your sources’ thing from school. If you mention a study saying a product is revolutionary, then linking to that study only solidifies your writing. On another plain, if you love a product and talk about it, then linking directly to it can not only help that reader find the right product for them but also can be a source of commission for you. After all, as a blogger, you are taking the time to test, photograph, and write about products and services and you should earn a commission for that hard work. There are many affiliates services out there. I’ve personally used RewardStyle and SkimLinks, as well as Amazon Associates.
Want to know how to ask brands for Press Samples? Check out my post here.
3. Not having a search function
I’m not sure how this one could be any more straightforward. Any website or blog should have a search function that is easy to find (ie on the navigation bar along the top of your page, or above the fold on the sidebar. If I discover your blog via google search/Twitter/Instagram/whatever chances are it was because I was already searching for something. Perhaps you had the answer, and now I wanna know more about what you have to say! I often find myself searching blogs for their writers opinion to guage whether a product is right for me.
4. Not having a mobile responsive theme
I am always a little surprised in this day and age that bloggers haven’t checked to make sure their theme/layout/blog design is mobile friendly. Google Analytics tells me that a significant portion of my monthly readers enjoy Girl Loves Gloss on their phones. When I customized my theme a couple years back during my blog facelift, I made sure that it read well on a phone or tablet and not just barebones like the default for Blogger or WordPress is.
See my theme as you would on your phone or tablet:
5. Undercutting fellow bloggers
Ohhhh you knew there would be some tea spilling here didn’t you? The blogging world is a big and a small place. Many of us work with the same networks and brands when it comes to sponsored work on our blogs and socials. This means we all often get the same pitches from networks asking us to promote product XYZ via a blog post, Instagram post etc. Often these pitches are for a paltry amount given the amount of work involved. This is rampant in the beauty industry and many bloggers will refuse to work for less than they are worth because it sets the tone. If you continue to work for pennies, no brand or network will pay you dollars. What it also means is that when bloggers counter with legitimate offers that are worth the work and time, they are less likely to be taken seriously because another blogger will work for significantly less.
“If you continue to work for pennies, no brand or network will pay you dollars.”
Recently, I was contacted by a network for an Instagram campaign for a drugstore brand shampoo known for flaky scalp. The requirements were 2 Instagram posts, posted by specific dates (the first of which was only a few days from receiving product). One post had to be a flat lay/product shot, the other a selfie with the product. One of these products had to be taken where they would be used – either near the shower/tub, or in the store where they could be bought. The images had specific tags and hashtags, as well as lit with natural lighting, high resolution and shot in aesthetically pleasing locations. Failure to meet requirements meant not only not getting paid, but actually being suspended from all future campaigns.
This was all to be completed for $40 total. As you can probably gather, that is not nearly enough money for the value of that campaign. Yet, a week later I see bloggers I know posting the campaign. I get that some money is good money for many, but the worth is so much more. It creates an unhealthy environment where influencers feel they need to work three times as hard for peanuts because there are no standards being held. There are undercutters in every field of work, but I promise you, you don’t want to become known as one. Know your worth, and charge appropriately; I promise the networks and brands have the budget.
Not sure what your work is worth? Try using this Blog Sponsored Post Calculator and this Social Media Calculator
I hope this post helped shed some light on some easy fixes you can implement to make your blog a great experience for you and your reader! Please leave your comments on what you think makes for a better blog down below!