How to Look Like a Professional Blogger in 2020 (Even As a Newbie)

professional blogger

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professional blogger

Why is it important to look professional as a blogger?

Looking like a professional blogger (even if you’re not) is the key to start-up success.

If you are blogging as a hobby and only using it as a way to express yourself, the way that it is presented and how you are viewed as a blogger won’t really make that big of a difference.

I’m going to share six simple things that will incorporate professionalism into the way you operate your new small business, even as a newbie blogger. 

Purchase a Domain and Website Hosting

As a business owner, your business card and name are everything. For bloggers, your business card is often your blog site or web address. People can make a judgement really quickly as to whether you are taking your business seriously or if it’s just a hobby or side-gig.

If you intend on looking professional, you should absolutely own your own domain name through a well-known web hosting site. Setting up a free site and name through Weebly, WordPress .com or Wix is great for a hobby, but it’s got no place for someone that is taking their blogging business seriously.

Web Hosting

Let’s compare here. With free hosting and domains, your blog could look like yourbizname.wordpress.com or www.username.wix.com/yourbizname. Even if people knew your blog name, would they think to add the rest of the URL to find you? Probably not.

If you set up your blog through a self-hosting site like Siteground, you can purchase a custom domain name and get to be mybizname.com. This is the most widely recognized format and definitely more professional looking.

Outside from just looking professional, owning your own domain and self-hosted site means:

You own your name and your blog. You do not own your content on a free site. That means if the site goes under, so do you. Not cool.

You can monetize (make money) on your blog. You can do this with some freebie sites, but it is usually part of a paid upgrade

You have an opportunity to use keywords in your name to align your branding and niche and make your site SEO (search engine optimization) friendly

You can use your domain to create a professional email (more on this later)

The great news is that switching is usually not too difficult. There are a ton of tutorials available on how to switch from any free platform to a self-hosted one. You can purchase 3 years of hosting at Siteground for less than one year. BONUS!

Decide on Your Brand

Branding is really important, right from the very beginning. It covers logos, colour schemes, font types, textures, and overall feel of your blog. Think of it as the “dress code” for the online business world. If you dress professionally for your 9-5, people take you seriously – right?

switch themes to Astra website in a weekend launch plan

Choosing the right brand to compliment your content will help to keep readers coming back for more. It will also help people to recognize your work quickly and help you to become known as an industry expert. It’s a good idea to pay attention to this early on for the best chance of success.

Now, in saying this, branding can be difficult. There are so many things that go into it. This is something that will represent your work, so choose carefully. Your brand will always be evolving over time but you won’t want to be making major changes. 

If you are savvy, you can create your own branding board really easily. The simplest method is to find some pictures that inspire you. Go to Pinterest and look up colour palettes or check out my Pinterest board dedicated to branding.

Then create a secret board and save all your pins there. When you have around 50 things that inspire you, go back and see what the overall theme is. Remove anything that doesn’t seem to fit and you’ll have a good starting point. 

Once you have a general idea, print it off and keep it handy for when you need to choose fonts and colours. 

Choose a Great Theme for Success

Choosing the right theme can make or break your blog. If it is cluttered and hard to read, your audience will be less likely to come back to it again.

I know there’s a ton of choices and it can be hard to pick. If you’re really not sure in the beginning, try to stick to clean, simple themes.

WordPress has thousands of themes that are free. Some of them even have an upgrade if you want to really put your branding into it at some point. But to start, choose something that is easy to read and incorporates at least one colour or font from your branding board for consistency.

My favorite free feminine WordPress themes are Anissa, Kalon, Marlin Lite and Ashe. You can “try” them all on and then choose which one will work best in the beginning.

The great thing is that themes can easily be changed out in the future as your blog develops so you are not “stuck” with just one. If down the road you decide you want to upgrade, there are a ton of really inexpensive themes at Creative Market and Etsy that you can purchase for under $100.

This theme is from BluChic and I love it!

How to Look Like a Professional Blogger in 2020 (Even As a Newbie)

Have a Professional-Looking Email

This is really important. You’ll be signing up for all kinds of things as a new blogger. Tools, apps, software, affiliate accounts, social media accounts.  As you grow your business, you’ll hopefully be connecting and marketing with other bloggers and sharing your contact information with them.

You won’t want to be using your old email accounts that you started as a teenager like imjustacrazygirlinalberta@gmail. com if you want to look like you know what you’re doing.

So, what does a professional-looking email look like?

The great news is that most self-hosting companies like Siteground offer a free, business email address with your purchase. That way, when you send an email, it will be sasha@everydayshessparkling.com instead.

Definitely a more professional email address.

Also, you should consider what your email signature looks like. It’s a really great opportunity to put some information about you as well as your blog.

You can install and use WiseStamp very quickly and insert all kinds of information into your signature to help people find you and get to know you a little better. Almost like a business card.

Here’s an example of mine. Not only does it include my picture with all my information and ways to find me on social media, but it includes a link to my last blog post, a freebie that I offer and a link to my blogging group on Facebook, The Blogging Babes Collective

The example shown below was created using the free version but you can upgrade to a paid version that will allow you to update your colours to match your branding and remove the WiseStamp watermark.

How to Look Like a Professional Blogger in 2020 (Even As a Newbie)
Use WiseStamp in your email for a more professional blogging look

Use Incredible Graphics

Using quality stock images in your blog posts is really good business. There are two parts to having amazing graphics.

First, you will need to have a good variety of stock photos to use as backgrounds.

The second is to have an app or software to create graphics for things like pins, posts, ads, header images, Instagram fillers and so much more.

How to Look Like a Professional Blogger in 2020 (Even As a Newbie)

When I got started, I hunted down all kinds of freebies to use throughout my posts. You would be amazed how quickly you go through them!

If you are using a reputable free stock image site such as Pikwizard, Pixabay, or Unsplash, you can almost always guarantee that the image is free to use and you are not infringing on any copyrights.

All of these sites offer beautiful, free stock photos that you can download and use in creating your graphics. 

If you’ve run out of free images to use or are looking for a specific style, PixiStock, Styled Stock Society and IvoryMix all have beautiful images and reasonable packages.

I highly advise against using generic images found on Google. Even with attribution. If you are unsure of what photographs you are allowed to use freely, here is a really great article written by Pikwizard on photography copyright laws. 

Once you have a good selection of stock photos to use, you’ll want to use them in your graphic media. Two of my favorites are Canva and PicMonkey. Both offer free and paid versions and both have thousands of templates as well as some tutorials to get you started.

Great looking pics in two clicks, thanks to PicMonkey's photo editing tools

If you have good graphics, people will naturally want to check out your content. Or at least share your materials. Think about it. Have you ever been on Pinterest and seen an awful graphic and thought, no way, I’m not even looking at that!. I have. 

It doesn’t matter what the content is- it could be incredible. But, it’s too late because it was passed up over crappy graphics.

Create Quality Content

I’ve saved this for last, but it’s probably the most important of all of these suggestions. You can have an absolutely incredible business sense. Have stellar graphics that get someone to your post and you can completely ruin it all based on poor content. 

This will guarantee that no one is coming back for more.

Make sure that your content is useful. It needs to answer questions that your ideal reader wants to know more about. It needs a purpose and a good layout that makes sense.

It also needs good grammar and spelling! I will be the first to admit that I’ve been so excited about writing a post that I have even ignored the squiggly red lines from time to time.

In two recent posts. Yes, two! I have had mistakes that I have thrown all over the internet. I can’t get those ones back. Ughhhh

I did some research and found Grammarly, which has been incredible. As I write, it shows little red dots beside my content when there may be errors so it makes it easy to go back and use their suggestions to fix it. Ahhhhh… Yes! No more embarrassing post-mess-ups. 

Instant Grammar Checker - Correct all grammar errors and enhance your writing.

Here’s what Forbes had to say about Grammarly:


“It’s an online service that quickly and easily makes your writing better and makes you sound like a pro, or at least helps you avoid looking like a fool.”

FORBES

Grammarly has a suite of things to help make sure your writing is up to par. There is obviously a grammar and spell checker, plagiarism detector, a browser extension, an add-on for Microsoft Office and you can even download a keyboard app for your phone. 

Recap

So, here’s a recap of my six suggestions to help you look like a pro blogger in no time flat!

  1. Purchase a domain and be self-hosted
  2. Decide on a brand
  3. Choose a great theme
  4. Have a professional email
  5. Create amazing graphics
  6. Create great content

Those are my suggestions for helping you to look like a more professional blogger. What tools or techniques do you use to help you look more professional? Let me know below!

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36 thoughts on “How to Look Like a Professional Blogger in 2020 (Even As a Newbie)”

  1. Great tips. Many of them can be carried over into other areas too – choosing a brand, professional email, and good grammar (whether with Grammarly or at least spell-check/grammatics check).

    1. Thanks Natalya! I hadn’t thought of it either in the beginning but I had used WiseStamp before in another business and wanted to have something professional to send companies that I want to work with now so I re-installed it. It works so well!

  2. Very informative article! The layout of your blog post and the images are easy to read and eye-catching. I still consider myself a newbie blogger (and will be for a long time!) and am soaking all the information up I can!

    1. Thank you Gwendolyn! I’m actually very new to this as well! I’ve just been writing about all I’ve been learning about as I go along. And thanks for your comments on my blog layout. I actually just changed my theme this morning and it looks like it’s working out okay. A few Kinks but there will always be some LOL. Hope you have an amazing day!

  3. I’ve only been blogging for a little over 2 months so all of this was incredibly helpful. I’m still working on so much, but this is a great way to narrow down what I need to focus on. Thank you!

  4. Great info Sasha. I started blogging in August and while I’ve learned a lot, i still go back to basics and realized i’ve missed something. It’s 3 steps forward and 1 backwards. Still progress i assume…Thank you for this great summary!! I definitely need to add my blog in my e-mail signature going forward.

  5. Thank you for the advice sasha!! I am so happy I keep up with you on pinterest because you offer very good and applicable advice especially for newbies like moi. I was reading your checklist and going through my blog to see if there is something I need to add or remove. You rock!!

    1. Thank you for the wonderful feedback, Faith! We are always learning- things are changing all the time in blog-land ;). So happy that you can use some of the things I write to help you in your journey! Have a fabulous weekend 😉

  6. Some useful tips, thanks! I’m always scared of looking too much like a newbie. I’m thinking about getting a paid stock photography plan to stand out a little more too!

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