I do not resent reflection tasks nearly as much as I used to. They seemed ridiculous and frustrating, and I suppose I just wasn’t too keen on dwelling on my shortcomings. However throughout my University years I have had a change of heart and realised this is exactly what I need. I need to be critical. I need to challenge myself. I need to not only gain feedback from others but also to analyse and criticise myself on both my strong suits and weak points. Early in the semester a BCM250 tutorial activity asked us to look at our blog objectively and think about how we could improve it, both design and content wise. Since then I have gradually been trying to work on the issues I discovered. I am using this blog as an opportunity to reflect on what worked and where I think I went wrong so hopefully my advice will enable people to avoid similar mistakes.
One of my favourite things about the blogging journey is blog design and layout (future career idea perhaps). I am constantly updating and altering designs, layouts, fonts etc. During our mid-semester holidays I decided that WordPress.com was too restricting and frustrating, as I desperately wanted the freedom to alter a theme to my liking. I underwent the journey to transfer everything to a WordPress.org blog and after many ups and downs I am finally here. Even though I know I will continue to alter my theme I am quite fond of its current clean and easy to navigate layout. I wanted a cohesive blog design that shows style and personality. I have taken on board advice from other experienced and successful blogs such as Creative Market (6 Tips for a Great Blog Layout) and also research driven strategies (11 Essential Elements of a Perfect Blog Design). Attractive and cohesive blog designs are essential because they create the viewers first impression. They set the tone of personality, style and theme within a matter of seconds when someone visits your blog.
I try to use popular yet gender-neutral tones to engage with a large audience (Colour Psychology 101). For example, research shows that males and females both prefers blues and greens, which works well with my appeal to nature colours such as plants and water.
“In a peer reviewed journal article, Satyendra Singh determined that it takes a mere 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product. And, 62-90% of that interaction is determined by the colour of the product alone” (as cited in Kissmetrics)
I also endeavoured to make my social media widgets prominent so that my audience can quickly and easily access them and get know me better. This is also why I included a mini summary/blurb on my home page to show readers what my blog is about and what to expect from me in the future.
Another aspect of design I endeavoured to improve on is my tags and categories. Originally I hardly even understood the difference or importance of utilising the two, until WPBeginner explained it quite neatly. It improved the organisation of my blog immensely, increased my SEO and also made it easier for visitors to navigate my blog a lot easier.
I decided to leave my “about” page as it is, which I worked on last semester once again following successful bloggers tips such as “How To Write Your About Page” and “Are You Making These 7 Mistakes With Your About Page?” My about page is currently a very casual tone aimed at younger generation and perhaps fellow Uni students. As I continue with my blogging I will eventually update it to reflect my blog style as it develops (maybe a tad more professional) and also outline my blogging topics as they focus. But for now, I feel like it portrays my laid back writing style and personality in a quick and efficient manner.
I try to portray my online personality not only in writing but also by using entertaining gifs and pictures throughout my content. This not only breaks up big blocks of writing but also relates to the audience. I also like to hyper-link all of my sources so that the writing flows smoothly and it is a simple one-click away for the reader to research further into what interests them.
I’ll be completely honest, I find networking very difficult. It is definitely one of my self-proclaimed weaker-points, which is a shame because it is one of the most essential promotional tools bloggers can use (ultimate guide). I am still quite new and not fully comfortable and confident using Twitter, but throughout this subject I have definitely gained a much larger appreciation for it. Not only for updates and promoting my own blog but also for engaging with my peers and professionals content. It’s broad global reach and topical hashtags makes it the perfect tool to promote your blog and also network and connect with the blogging community. In the future I hope to keep improving and gaining confidence with my twitter presence and utilise it to enhance my online presence.
I have ventured to join Bloglovin’, which enables me to find blogs that interest me and also promote my blog to people with similar interests. I have integrated Bloglovin’ with my site so that people follow me using the button in my sidebar. I also have an email subscription option where my readers will get new updates and blog posts straight to their inbox.
Although this assignment definitely challenged me in some aspects I believe it was one of the most productive and beneficial tasks I have undergone. I plan to keep producing content and improving my site, and in the near future I hope to start engaging in different categories that I love such as travel, food and music.