For a recent freelance writing assignment, I researched approximately 75 DIY projects on nearly as many blogs. Once I found the posts I wanted to include, I needed to contact each blogger for permission to use their photos.
Sounds easy, right?
You’d be surprised to hear how challenging it was to find the specific types of DIY projects I needed simply because of the way many of the blogs were designed. Sometimes it was even more frustrating to figure out how to get in touch with the bloggers whose work I wanted to feature! Sadly, I had to leave out some top-notch projects and even some popular bloggers because I couldn’t find what I was looking for on their sites.
When designing your blog, it’s tempting to focus on the aesthetic, but function is just as important as form. Your blog may look pretty, but are your readers able to find what they need, whether it’s a post in your archives or the best way to contact you? Do you clearly state who you are, what you do, and how people can reach you?
Based on my experience, I’ve put together a list of the 5 things your blog must have if you want me (or other writers / readers / advertisers / collaborators) to contact you about your work. Warning: You may let out an audible “Duh!” and slap your forehead after reading it.
1. Your Name
Who writes your blog? If your name isn’t part of your blog’s moniker like Sarah Hearts or Ciera Design, include it somewhere on the homepage. Preferably underneath your blog’s name or in the sidebar near your photo. Otherwise, make sure it’s one of the first things you mention on your About Page.
2. Your Email Address
Make it easy for me to contact you. Write out your email address or include an email social media icon in your side bar. If you rather, have a dedicated Contact Page, but whatever you do, don’t bury your email address at the bottom of your About Page. I don’t want to spend my time searching your blog for contact information.
3. A Search Bar
Speaking of searching… Every blog should have a big, obvious search bar in the sidebar. How else can I quickly discover whether you’re written about “DIY planters” or “floral arrangements”? I wish I had time to click through all of your archives and scroll page-by-page through your blog, but I’m on a deadline. I’ll come back to visit, I promise.
I don’t care whether you list your categories across the top of your blog or as drop-down items in the sidebar, but they need to be somewhere. If I can’t find a specific post via your search bar, I might browse categories like “DIY” or “Recipes” to see if anything else piques my interest. Organize your content so it’s easier to search at a glance (see: Sugar & Cloth).
5. Beautiful Photos
I’m sorry for stating the obvious, but if you want your photos to be reposted, they need to be worthy of sharing. Dark, blurry camera phone pictures aren’t going to cut it. You don’t need to splurge on a DSLR; there are lots of great tutorials available for taking beautiful photos with an iPhone. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have bright, clear, and colorful photos ESPECIALLY FOR DIY POSTS.
Have I forgotten anything? Do you have any questions? I’d love to help!
(image via Domino)