Your Active Rain blog should be an extension of your brand. It’s not only a location for additional information, but should be a destination for anyone looking to connect with you online.
The design of your blog plays an important role in your online presence. It allows you to share who you are, what you are all about and where anyone in need of your services can find you.
A messy or carelessly put together blog will not convey the professional presence you want your readers to receive. Whether you are new to Active Rain or just haven’t taken the time to customize your blog, committing 30 minutes to updating or adding to it can make a world of difference in how often your subscribers return.
1. Create a Unique Blog Header
There are many reasons to customize your blog header. Branding, visibility, marketing and promotional opportunities are just a few. Contrary to popular belief, creating a blog header does not have to be time consuming or left up to the pro’s.
Even if you don’t fancy yourself a blog designer, putting together an attractive header can be quick and simple to do. You have several options, but my favorite online editor is Picnik.
Steps to designing your Active Rain header with this FREE online photo editor:
- Sign up for a FREE Picnik account
- Upload your photos from your computer or connect to Facebook and access all of your Facebook photos
- From the Home Tab, choose “Collage”
- Choose the look of your collage
- The pictures you uploaded will be in the bottom left corner of your screen. Drag and drop the photos into your collage.
- Once your pictures are in the order you want them in, click Done.
- You are now able to add effects or text to your collage. Once you are finished, your final step is to choose your file size and then save. Your Active Rain header should be 960x130.
You can also choose to edit one photo as opposed to creating a collage. Simply upload your photo and crop to the desired size. Add effects or text and save just as above.
Once you have saved your header to your desktop, upload and save within your “Customize” tab in the top left hand corner of your home page. Then choose your background colors to match.
2. Unclutter Your Sidebar
As bloggers we have the ability to customize our Active Rain blog sidebar by adding widgets that either promotes our product, service or various other websites. The top two mistakes I see many Active Rain bloggers make are:
- Not customizing their sidebar at all
- Customizing their sidebar with all sorts of junk like misplaced widgets and oversized images.
Your sidebar should be a gateway to new connections, increased website visitors and in the end - additional income. Consequently, if it is poorly assembled, then there should be profit gained by improving it.
What to Add to Your Active Rain Sidebar:
- Your Facebook Fan Page Widget
- A free e-book that directs them to your website
- A “contact me” widget
- An RSS feed of your blog posts
- Promote Your YouTube Videos
- Google Voice Widget
- Make Your Own Widget
How to Add Widgets to Your Active Rain Sidebar:
- Click on Settings from the left side of your Home
- Grab html code from any of your social networking sites, rss feeds, etc and add them to the “Blog Description”
3. Use Customized Icons in Your Profile and Signature
So many times I see random sets of icons that are strewn about on a profile or signature. Clean up your profile by adding customized icons that offer a simple way for people to connect with you on all of your social networks.
For step by step instructions, see How to Add Social Media Buttons to Your Active Rain Signature.
Want to know how I capture, edit, add text and share all of my photo and video tutorials? See tomorrow’s Tuesday Tech Tip for all of the details!